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DVD Releases for September 14, 2004

September 13th, 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. This week was a strong week for independent films with Baadasssss! - Buy from Amazon, THX 1138 - The George Lucas Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon and Slacker - The Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon all coming out on DVD. All worth picking up, but if I have to limit myself to just one of them, (and after last week's spending spree, I have to) it would be THX 1138 - The George Lucas Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon.

7th Heaven - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
I was surprised to learn that this is the first season of this long running show to be released on DVD. Season 9 starts tonight, and unlike sitcoms, dramas rarely have the opportunity for big money with syndication rights, so they tend to come out on DVD much faster. Unfortunately, not only have fans of this show had to wait, the DVD release is completely featureless.

Angels in America - Buy from Amazon
The multiple Golden Globe winning mini-series comes to DVD. Based on an award winning play and with an amazing cast, which easily overcomes some problems with the script. This should be a great DVD, except there are no special features. A real letdown.

Baadasssss! - Buy from Amazon
This film was also known as, " How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass", (I love that title.) The film is directed by Mario Van Peebles and is about his father's attempt to make Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which revolutionized black cinema. The film earned amazing reviews but could not find an audience when it was release. Even with strong special features, especially for a limited release, I fear it will suffer a similar fate at the home market. Also worth noting, the Melvin Van Peebles' film, Watermelon Man is also being released tomorrow.

Body Parts - Buy from Amazon
After losing his own arm in a car crash, crime psychologist Bill Crushank receives a transplanted arm, and arm from an executed murderer. But the arm has it's own murderous will! The film is as bad as that brief description makes it sound.

Close Your Eyes - Buy from Amazon
This movie, originally titled Hypnotic, sat on the studio's shelf for a long time. Eventually, he was dumped in a few theatres earning poor reviews and an even worse box office tally. Surprisingly, the film isn't being released on an featureless DVD, but there are not enough special features to make it worth picking up.

Demonlover - Unrated Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon
A movie about corporate competition in the world of 3-D porn. The reviews were mixed and the film never found an audience when it was first released. The Unrated label may help bring in a few more viewer, and the special feature are good for a limited release.

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This is one of those shows that I'm really glad is coming out on DVD, not because I'm a huge fan of the show, but it means other shows from the same era are more likely to also be released on DVD. This show is probably best known for the troubles that its cast got into after it was cancelled. The special features, (several audio commentaries and two featurettes) are quite good given the age of the source material.

Everybody Loves Raymond - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
With what is reported to be the last season of this show beginning in just one week, the first season is coming to DVD. The show has an amazing cast, (Peter Boyle is the only main cast member not to win an Emmy for his work on the show, but he's nominated again this year.) It has an easy-going, safe approach to comedy that has really connected with its audience. There are a few special features on the disc, 2 episodes have audio commentaries, featurettes and Ray Romano's appearance on Letterman that lead to the show.

Hardcore - Buy from Amazon
This is one of those films that could have been great, but writer / director Paul Schrader decided to change the ending, which ruined it for me. Still worth watching for George C. Scott's performance. The neutered ending and the lack of special features prevents the DVD from making it past rental level.

Home on the Range - Buy from Amazon
There used to be a time when the home market debut of the latest animated film from Disney was an event, but that is not the case with this movie. The last film from Disney's 2D animation study was a real disappointment, both with the critics and especially at the box office. The DVD isn't even packed with extras to draw in customers. A sad way for Disney to exit the 2D animation biz.

I Married a Monster From Outer Space - Buy from Amazon
With a name like that, you expect a certain level of cheesiness. But it's a well done film, despite its similar nature to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which came out just 2 years earlier. For a movie that's closing in on its 50th anniversary, the lack of special features are understandable if a little disappointing.

Man on Fire - Buy from Amazon
Well below average revenge flick. Its strong performance at the box office is thanks mostly to Denzel Washington. Average special features may elevate this DVD to a rental level, but not beyond.

Law and Order - Season 14 - Buy from Amazon
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 5 - Buy from Amazon
Law and Order: Criminal Intent - Season 3 - Buy from Amazon
The latest seasons of each of the Law and Order franchises are coming out on DVD just a few months after they ended. This is a good new bad news situation. Good news: the shows are out on DVD faster than ever, which is great. Bad news: there are 15 previous seasons of the various Law and Order franchises yet to be released. But don't worry too much, they will be released, hopefully on an expedited schedule. The special features are what we've come to expect: mostly actor profiles with set tours, interviews with consultants, etc.

Lost in Space - Season 2, Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
Fans of this show will love to continue the increasingly campy adventures of the space family Robinson. However, with the studio splitting season 2 into two separate volumes and releasing them with any special features, it looks like they are trying to grab as much money as possible from their fan base.

Re-Animator - Millennium Edition - Buy from Amazon
The term Cult-Classic is overused, in my opinion. But this is one film that definitely deserves that title. Arguably the best movie adaptation of any work by horror legend H.P.Lovecraft. It tells the story of a dedicated medical student and his roommate's experiments with bringing dead flesh back to life. The movie had lots of gore, a healthy serving of humor and perhaps the most memorable sex scene ever filmed. Not only is the movie worth the price, the special features are worthy of the Millennium Edition title with commentary tracks, interviews, extended and deleted scenes and more. Note: This a re-release from 2002, but it's worth mentioning anyway.

Sanford and Son - Season 5 - Buy from Amazon
On of the most memorable sitcoms from the 70s; this is season five from its 6 season run. And while the shows are still funny, the DVDs are featureless. But for a show that's nearly 3 decades old, this is completely understandable.

Scooby-Doo 2: Monster's Unleashed - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
Compared to the original, this film's reviews were roughly the same, while its box office was barely more than half that of the first one. There could be several reasons for this, backlash being just one of them. The special features are not all that special, but there's enough to make it worth a rental, if you enjoyed the first movie.

The Simpsons Gone Wild - Buy from Amazon
Four episode from the longest running prime-time cartoon. Stick with the season sets instead.

Slacker - The Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Probably the quintessential Gen-X movie. The second film from director Richard Linklater and is the film that inspired Kevin Smith to become a filmmaker. That alone should be enough to pick up this movie. But then you have to take into account the special features and it’s a Criterion Collection DVD, so there's plenty of them. 3 audio commentaries, Richard Linklater's first film, " It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books", deleted scenes, audition tapes, 10th anniversary reunion and more.

Survivor All-Stars - The Complete Season - Buy from Amazon
It's reality TV. And to avoid swearing, that's all I'm going to say on the matter.

THX 1138 - Buy from Amazon: The George Lucas Director's Cut or Standard Issue
The film was re-released into theatres on Friday, so the DVD release is a little on the quick side. However, since the film is unlikely to expand its theatre count too far, this is great news. The film is a classic with limited populous appeal, this can be seen in its reviews; it received only 68% positive overall, but 100% from the Cream of the Crop critics. Just one last note, if you intend to pick up this movie, and I highly recommend you do, pick up the Director's Cut. It is a little more expensive, but the extra features are more than worth it. Also, if the studio thinks they can get away with offering cheaper discs with fewer features, they will.

The Ultimate DVD Christmas Pack - Buy from Amazon
It's not even officially fall yet but you can buy five classic Christmas tales on DVD. The set includes Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, Frosty the Snowman, Frosty Returns and The Little Drummer Boy.

Young Adam - R-Rated Edition - Buy from Amazon
The original cut of this film was given an NC-17 rating, but it is the R-Rated version that is being released tomorrow. If you are interested in this movie, wait till the studio released the original, uncut version.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Man on Fire, Home on the Range, Young Adam, How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass, Demonlover, Close Your Eyes