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DVD Releases for August 10, 2004

August 9th, 2004

Every week films get a second chance at success from the home market; or, in some cases, a first chance at success. Here is a list of wide releases, limited releases and a few from the growing TV on DVD section, including the winner of the DVD Pick of the Week, The Lost Boys - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon.

ALF - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
I'm thinking nostalgia has a lot to do with the high customer ratings on Amazon. Despite predictions of a quick death by TV critics, this series lasted four seasons and spawned a cartoon as well as other merchandise. It's a shame there are apparently no special features on the discs.

Anaconda / Boa - 2 Pack - Buy from Amazon
What's the most important part about releasing a sequel? Re-releasing the original on a special edition DVD, of course. Which is why this release is such a bad omen for Anacondas: The Hunt for the Black Orchid. This isn't a special edition DVD; it's just a re-release packaged with a direct-to-video dud. Makes me think Sony knows they have a bomb on their hands.

Beetlejuice - Buy from Amazon
This is a re-release of a nearly featureless DVD, (the best special feature is the isolated music track by Danny Elfman. Normally I wouldn't mention such a DVD, but I really like this movie. Can also be picked up with The Goonies in a Two Pack.

The Best of So Graham Norton - Buy from Amazon
An irreverent British Talk show. This best of DVD focuses heavily on the celebrities most known in the States, for obvious reasons. An acquired taste, but very funny.

Bill Cosby: Himself - Buy from Amazon
Good news, this DVD has an hour and 45 minutes of Bill Cosby stand-up. Bad news, this DVD only has an hour and 45 minutes of Bill Cosby stand-up. There are no special features. Fans of The Cosby Show will recognize quite a bit of this material.

Freaks - Buy from Amazon
"One of us! One of us!" Masterpiece or exploitive trash, most people usually use one of those terms when they talk about this film. But the truth is somewhere in the middle. When it was originally release it was brutally attacked by critics and audiences alike, but now it's considered a classic. There are not a lot of special features on this disc compared to most movies released today, but for a movie made in 1932, there's plenty.

Goodbye, Lenin! - Buy from Amazon
Winner of lots of awards, although it wasn't even nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film. Critically the film did very well and earned an impressive $4 million in limited release. And the DVD release is excellent, especially for a limited release. Two commentary tracks, (both in German with English subtitles), deleted scenes, a couple of featurettes, etc. Worth a rental at the very least.

Highlander - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
The original Highlander movie was really cool. The rest of the franchise was an unmitigated disaster. On the other hand, the TV series was pretty cool. As with most TV on DVD release from later seasons, either you are very familiar with the previous releases, or you just don't care. The set does have excellent special features, something I've come to expect from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Hilary Duff - The Concert - The Girl Can Rock - Buy from Amazon
I'm still unsure how well Hilary Duff will make the transition from 'Tween Queen to more mature acting roles. But for now she's taking full advantage of her fame. This DVD is actually very well done with lots of special features and doesn't look like something rushed out to soak her fans for more money.

Johnson Family Vacation - Buy from Amazon
No, you're not imaging things. Movies are taking a lot less time to come out on DVD. Although with reviews like this, they probably should have waited longer to release the DVD. Possibly never.

Kill Bill: Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
Easily the DVD Pick of the Week, right? Wrong. Because Miramax will be releasing a special edition of the film later, possibly more than one. This is obviously an attempt to soak its audience for as much as they can, and I can't reward that.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien - Buy from Amazon: 10th Anniversary Special and The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Two DVDs from Late Night with Conan O'Brien. The first is the 10th Anniversary Special, which is very funny, but perhaps not as funny 5th Anniversary special. The second is a best of compilation of Triumph skits. I've never understood the appeal of that character, but it's apparently very popular.

The Lost Boys - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
I love this movie. I own in on VHS, I own it on DVD, and tomorrow I'll probably pick up the special edition. I'm not alone in liking this film, as it has good reviews. The 2 DVD set also has more than enough special features to earn the moniker Special Edition. And if that's not enough to convince you, it's probably the only movie worth owning that stars both Corey Feldman and Corey Haim.

Manchild - The First Season - Buy from Amazon
The series follows the lives of four men, four immature men … four very immature men. Well, it's not so much that they are immature, it's that they are in their forties, yet they insist on acting like they are 16. The writing is crisp and the acting is superb. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will recognize Anthony Stewart Head has James, the dentist. Lack of any real special features is disappointing, on the other hand.

National Lampoon's Dorm Daze - Buy from Amazon: R-Rated or Unrated
Films like this make it harder and harder to recall a time when the National Lampoon label meant something. Makes Van Wilder look like Animal House.

Predator - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
What's the most important part about releasing a spin-off? Releasing a special edition DVD of the original, of course. And don't forget to include extras that are merely ads for the upcoming film.

The Prince and Me - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
The movie that taught us that women hate it when you pretend to not be a prince. And if my collection of restraining orders means anything, they really hate it when you pretend to be a prince. I was expecting more out of this film, both at the box office and with the critics, mainly because I happen to be a fan of Julia Stiles. (She is singled out for praise in many of the good reviews as well as the bad ones.) But at least the DVD release is good with plenty of special features; maybe not enough to be called a Special Edition, but close.

The Three Stooges - Buy from Amazon: Goofs on the Loose, Stooged & Confoosed or Two Pack
These DVDs are generating a lot of complaints. Complaint one is the colorization of the shorts. While many people really dislike colorization, it can be turned off so it's not that big of a deal. However, the other complaints are very valid. Firstly, there are fewer shorts than on previous DVDs and some of the shorts included have already been released. So you have to pay more for less.

Village of the Damned / Children of the Damned - Buy from Amazon
The original and classic version and not the 1995 remake. The sequel, Children of the Damned, is not nearly as good and there are some who don't even consider it a sequel to The Village of the Damned. Each film has a commentary track, but there are no real special features beyond that. Not surprising for films made in 1960 and 1963.

Zatoichi - Buy from Amazon: Zatoichi's Conspiracy and Zatoichi in Desperation
Another two entries in The Zatoichi Series are being released tomorrow.

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Filed under: Video Releases, AVP: Alien Vs. Predator, Kill Bill: Volume 2, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Johnson Family Vacation, The Prince & Me, Goodbye, Lenin!, National Lampoon's Dorm Daze