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DVD Releases for October 19, 2004

October 18th, 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 winners of the DVD Pick of the Week, all of which come from the TV on DVD category. First there's Greg the Bunny - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon which Fox cancelled too soon, and Arrested Development - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon, which Fox will probably cancel too soon. A couple of Canadian shows are also picks of the week with Corner Gas: First Season - Buy from Amazon.ca and SCTV - Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon. And one last note, previous Pick of the Week, Degrassi: The Next Generation - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon.ca, is now available in Canada.

Alexander the Great - Buy from Amazon
With the latest epic about Alexander the Great just around the corner, what better time could it be to release this 1956 classic starring Richard Burton? The DVD is featureless making it appear to be a crass marketing ploy.

Arrested Development - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
The best TV show you're not watching. One of the funniest shows on TV, but the ratings are so low the first season it was flirting with cancellation from day one so these DVD sales are even more important. Strong sales should help convince the Fox executives to keep the show on the air despite low ratings. As for the DVD set, it is excellent with plenty of special features including a few commentary tracks, deleted scenes, Behind the scenes, etc. Most importantly, there's a preview for Season 2, hopefully the show will last that long.

Born of the Fourth of July - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
A classic film that is politically as relevant today as it was when it was released 15 years ago. The label Special Edition is not really earned on the DVD, however, with below average special features.

A Cinderella Story - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
Poor reviews make it clear that this film is strictly for Hilary Duff fans. Special features are well done with an audio commentary, deleted scenes, screen tests, music video and fashion featurette, so her fans should really enjoy the DVD.

Corner Gas: First Season - Buy from Amazon.ca
Corner Gas is a Canadian show set in a small town in Saskatchewan where everyone obviously has too much spare time. The show is hilarious and a major hit in Canada where it draws an average of 1.15 million viewers every week. That may not seem like much but with the size of Canada's population it's like an American show having roughly 11 million viewers. The DVD set contains all 13 episodes, audio commentaries on 3 episodes, outtakes, deleted scenes and a game on DVD-Rom. Definitely worth picking up. Note: This DVD set is only available from Canada, so Americans will need to import it.

D.A.R.Y.L. - Buy from Amazon
A fun film that is making its DVD debut tomorrow. Unfortunately, it is a featureless DVD and with the 20th anniversary less than a year away it makes sense to just rent it and wait to see if a special edition is in the works.

Degrassi: The Next Generation - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon.ca
This was already a DVD Pick of the Week a few weeks ago, but it wasn't available in Canada at the time. Since it's a Canadian show, I'm not sure why the Canadian release was 3 weeks later than the American release.

Due South - Season 3 - Buy from Amazon
I've mentioned this series in this column before. There are two major differences between season 2 and season 3. Firstly, the show was entirely produced by a Canadian company and not a Canadian / American co-production. Secondly, the season was only 13 episodes but it does include the 2-hour pilot movie as well. No I don't know why either.

Ed Wood - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Ed Wood is widely regarded as the worst movie director of all time. This charming Biopic with heartwarming where a lesser movie could have been cruel. This is the first time the film has been released on DVD and it's a special edition. An unlike some of the other Special Editions on today's list, this DVD deserves to be called that with an excellent audio commentary, behind the scenes featurette, deleted scenes and more.

Explorers - Buy from Amazon
A fun film that is making its DVD debut tomorrow. Unfortunately, it is a featureless DVD and with the 20th anniversary less than a year away it makes sense to just rent it and wait to see if a special edition is in the works.

Fat Girl - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
This film is difficult to watch, but is powerful if you can get through it. Unfortunately, this is not the uncut version.

Fire in the Sky - Buy from Amazon
The DVD box claims that this film is based on a true story, but based less on reality than Who Framer Roger Rabbit?.

Garfield the Movie - Buy from Amazon
There were a lot of jokes made about this movie, some people calling it a sign of the apocalypse, Jon Stewart even called Bill Murray a, "crazy whore for money" for taking the role of Garfield. Reviews were awful so expectations at the box office were low. However, not only did the film start out stronger than expected, it had better legs. And in the international marketplace, it did even better and will finish with close to $200 million worldwide. The gulf between the critical scorn and the populous appeal is easy to explain, this is strictly a kids' movie.

Godzilla - Buy from Amazon: Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla 1974, Godzilla Vs Hedorah, Godzilla Vs Gigan 1972, 3-Pack, 5-Pack or 7-Pack
It's a great week to be a Godzilla fan. The real question for fans is what package to get. To get all of the movies being released you can pick up the 7-Pack and both Godzilla Vs Hedorah, Godzilla Vs Gigan 1972. Or for just a couple dollars more you can pick up the 7-Pack and the 3-Pack and you'll have two copies of Godzilla.

Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry - Buy from Amazon
Ok, we get it. There's an election going on. We don't need another Political Documentary to prove that. Man, I can't wait till November 3rd when the election is finally over. Unless we have a repeat of last election, in which case the election won't end till sometime in the next millenium. As with most Biopics that have come out recently, this is an interesting but partisan look at the subject, in this case John Kerry.

Greg the Bunny - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
One of the many great, imaginative shows that Fox have cancelled before their time. In the show puppets and humans living in the same world and has some of the funniest people in one show, people like Seth Green, Eugene Levy, Sarah Silverman, etc. This DVD set contains all 13 episodes filmed, (including 2 that were never aired), commentary tracks on six of those episodes, deleted scenes and more. This show was too unique for TV but should thrive on DVD. One thing you have to give Fox credit for, they may not know how to handle quality shows when they are on the air, but after they cancel them they really do a good job on the DVD release.

Hellboy - Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Giftset
I am so sorry. Had I known they were going to release a Director's Cut I would have never given the Special Edition the DVD pick of the Week when it was released. In retrospect, I would have given that honor to Sledgehammer - Season 1. If you didn't pick up the special edition, this is an excellent 3-DVD set but it is too much like a cash grab to earn a recommendation.

The Hole - Buy from Amazon
Most notable for being an early role for Keira Knightly. Reviews are weak and so are the special features.

Intermission - Buy from Amazon
Colm Meaney is one of my favorite actors, and overall this film is a strong effort. But it was never able to find an audience hear and is being released on a nearly featureless DVD.

It's a Wonderful Red Green Christmas - Buy from Amazon
Not one but two Christmas specials from the gang from Possum Lodge.

The Legacy Collection - Buy from Amazon: The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man and The Mummy
Three more collections of Universal's classic movie monsters. These monsters are not as popular as the first three that were released earlier, but are still excellent sets for fans of classic Monster Movies.

Love Me If You Dare - Buy from Amazon
The film could only earn mixed reviews and failed to make much of an impact with domestic audiences. And now to wrap up the trifecta of missed opportunities, it is being released on a featureless DVD.

Phil Hellmuth's Million Dollor Vol 1 - Buy from Amazon
I hate this man! To me he represents all that's wrong with Poker today. He has zero sportsmanship and even worse for a Poker player, no emotional control. Why would you want to learn from him, when's the last time he won a major tournament? What's he going to teach you? How to tilt after drowning at the river. The bet way to whine after going bust. I'd rather learn from class acts like Doyle Brunson and T.J. Cloutier, who would never taunt a player after winning a big hand. Or Daniel Negreanu, who is arguably the best tournament Poker Player today, and win or lose he'll shake your hand afterwards.

SCTV - Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
Volume 1 of this classic sketch-com from Canada was nearly a pick of the week when it was released, and amazingly Volume 2 is even better. This is worth picking up for even casual fans of the show.

Secret Honor - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Philip Baker Hall is amazing in this Robert Altman adaptation of a one-man play. Special features include 2 audio commentaries, an interview with Philip Baker Hall and archive footage of Richard Nixon.

A Slipping Down Life - Buy from Amazon
Lili Taylor's performance is excellent, the rest of the movie isn't and the DVD is featureless.

Species - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Did this movie really need to be released on a Special Edition DVD? Both the critics and the 1589th place on the Amazon Sales Chart both suggest no. Add in the list of special features, which includes an ad / preview for the upcoming direct to video Species 3 and this is a DVD worth skipping.

SpongeBob SquarePants - The Complete 2nd Season = Buy from Amazon
Sing it with me ….
Ooooooooooohhhhh, Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
SpongeBob SquarePants!
Absorbent and yellow and porous is he!
SpongeBob Squarepants!
If nautical nonsense be something you wish!
SpongeBob SquarePants!
Then drop on the deck and flop like a fish!
SpongeBob SquarePants!
After many compilation packs, season 2 finally comes out on DVD. Special feature on the 3 disc set are very good with 7 audio commentaries, two episodes done in storyboard form and even free ticket to the Spongebob Movie.

Stargate SG-1 - The Complete Seventh Season - Buy from Amazon
Fans of this franchise know what to expect in terms of show quality and special features, but the big new with this release is the limited time bonus disc of ads … I mean previews for Stargate Atlantis. The first seven season can also be purchased as part of a package deal.

Straw Dogs - Buy from Amazon
One of the more controversial offering from Sam Peckinpah, which says a lot about the content of this movie. This classic film is being released unrated, but also without any special features.

Tom and Jerry - Spotlight Collection, The Premiere Volume - Buy from Amazon
Like the Looney Tunes Collection, this DVD set contains a lot of historical information as part of its special features. This is an amazing collection and fans of the pair will be ecstatic over the 2-Disc DVD set.

The Ultimate Oliver Stone Collection - Buy from Amazon
12 films from Oliver Stone's amazing career. This set contains some of his greatest films, (Platoon - Reviews, Wall Street - Reviews and Salvador) and some of his missteps, (Natural Born Killers - Reviews, U-Turn - Reviews and Any Given Sunday - Reviews.) The set also includes a bonus disc with all-new material produced for this set.

Universal Soldier - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Another Special Edition for a movie that doesn't deserve it. At least the special features are good, for a movie that was released more than a decade ago. On a side note, it's Jean-Claude Van Damme's 44th birthday today.

Van Helsing - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen, Pan & Scan or Ultimate Edition
Van Helsing started off the summer season but the film was a mess and it disappointed at the box office when compared to its huge production budget. Still, with a bit of luck, the studio should see a profit early in its home market run. The DVD has plenty of special features, especial the Ultimate Edition, which has the 1931 classic films Dracula, Frankenstein and the 1941 film The Wolf Man.

Wacky Races - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Contains all 34 episodes of this auto-racing cartoon featuring the likes of Dick Dastardly, Penelope Pitstop and more. This set is better than most cartoons DVDs, but it focuses on the nostalgia market and lacks the historical context that the Looney Tunes Collection has.

Xena: Warrior Princess - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
Fans of this franchise or the Hercules franchise know what to expect when it comes to the quality of the show and the extras on the DVDs. These sets continue to excel and are worth picking up even for the more casual fans.

Various Fox TV DVD Sets - Buy from Amazon
Last, but not least we have some amazing marketing by Fox. They have slashed the price for the First Season of eight different TV Series to just $14.99. This is brilliant because very few people are just going to buy just the first season of a long running show. You can only purchase two copies of each DVD set and it is a limited time offer, so act now. I personally picked up four of these sets and would have bought more, but I already owned them.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Van Helsing, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie, Garfield, Hellboy, A Cinderella Story, Intermission, Love Me If You Dare, A Slipping Down Life