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DVD Releases for November 2, 2004

November 1st, 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 Looney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon and Star Trek - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon.

2003 World Series of Poker - Buy from Amazon
I'll admit, I'm a huge fan of the World Series of Poker tournament and I watch it and other Texas Hold'em Tournaments when they are on TV. But it's not something you can watch over and over again and because of that this DVD set is only worth a rental for fans of the game. On the other hand, Celebrity Poker would definitely be watchable more than once as it has less to do with the game as it does with the celebrities playing it.

Alexander the Great - Footsteps in the Sand: A Documentary - Buy from Amazon
Hey, a documentary about Alexander the Great is coming out just a couple of weeks before the release of the $150 million movie. It must be a coincidence.

Ali G Indahouse - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
This movie is based on a TV series, which is also available on DVD. Ali G is a character by Sacha Baron Cohen who is a white rapper wannabe / interviewer / moron. This film never played in the States because the studio thought it wouldn't work, and they were probably right. It did strong business in the U.K., but bombed everywhere else.

Animal Farm - Special Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
An animated film based on a novel written by George Orwell. The novel is a satirical look at the Russian Revolution, but the film itself was funded by the C.I.A. as anti-Communist piece. Unfortunately, by changing the ending of the novel is lessens the effect of the work. Special features on this collector's edition includes audio commentary by a film historian, BBC documentary, and more.

Around the World in 80 Days - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
Will go down in history as one of the most expensive bombs of all time. The reviews were bad, but not as bad as the final box office would suggest. Special features are not special enough to boost the DVD to even the rental level.

Babes in Toyland - Buy from Amazon
There have been many versions of this classic fairytale, but definitely not the best version available on DVD.

California Spit - Buy from Amazon
This movie is 30 years old, so why isn't this an anniversary edition? This DVD has an audio commentary as its only real special features.

Castle Keep - Buy from Amazon
This film was released earlier in the year in Pan & Scan only. Good news, the studio realized that was a mistake and put out this widescreen version. Bad new, it still doesn't have any real special features.

Cirque du Soleil - Fire Within - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Cirque du Soleil is a world-renowned acrobatic circus. The Fire Within was a 13 episode, Emmy winning TV series that followed several members of the troupe as they developed a new show called Varekai. The set can also be purchased with the DVD of that show in a package deal. Also available tomorrow is the DVD release of La Nouba.

The Criterion Collection Holiday 2004 Gift Set - Buy from Amazon
Got five grand burning a hole in your pocket? Criterion has put out 260 films over the years, and this set contains 241 or them. It's a amazing collection, but the price is too much to shell out in one go.

Dazed and Confused - Flashback Edition - Widescreen or Pan & Scan
An excellent look at the day in the life of a group of high school students on their last day of school. The film has recently been in the new because three people are suing director, Richard Linklater, over using their names and portraying them as stoned slackers, among other things. And it only took them 11 years to file the lawsuit. Can also be purchased with Fast Times at Ridgemont High in the Ultimate Party Collection - Widescreen or Pan & Scan.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - 40th Anniversary Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Arguably Stanley Kibrick's greatest work, and that's saying a lot. Also arguably Peter Sellers' best work as well and that's almost as good of a complement. Whether or not this DVD release is worth picking up depends a lot on whether or not they already have the Special Edition. The differences between the two releases are significant, but perhaps not enough to justify shelling out another $25.00 for this version. On the other hand, if you don't have this film on DVD, you should.

Dr. Who - Lost in Time Collection of Rare Episodes - Buy from Amazon: The William Hartnell Years 1963-1966 and The Patrick Troughton Years 1966-1969
The longest runnning Sci-Fi show off all time, and there will never be another like it. Most of the 200 episodes of this show are considered lost, but at least some of these shows will be seen again. These two sets are also available as part of a package.

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues - Buy from Amazon
Based on a cult novel by Tom Robbins. The film is … I'm trying to be diplomatic here … it's a mess, but it's a mess in such a way that it almost compels you to watch. A lot like The Island of Dr. Moreau in that respect. However, there is no way you should be spending money just for that experience. Look for it on late night TV.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
A Dazed and Confused for the 80s. Well, not really. But I had to think of a way of connecting the two films besides the fact that they are part of the Ultimate Party Collection - Widescreen or Pan & Scan. The film earned surprisingly high grades and features a strong ensemble cast of up and comers.

Festival Express - 2 Disc Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
A fascinating look at an amazing travelling concert from 1970. The concert took place on a train in Canada carrying some of the greatest musicians of the day, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Band and more. This is the first time the concert film has been released on DVD because it spent the last 34 years festering in legal hell over who had the rights to distribute the film. The 2-Disc set contains 10 additional songs, more interviews, a making of featurette and more. Well worth picking up for fans of 70s music.

A Home at the End of the World - Buy from Amazon
Despite having a strong cast, this limited release film failed to make much of an impact, either with the critics or at the box office. And, like most limited releases, the DVD has little in the way of special features to add to its appeal.

J.R.R. Tolkien and the Birth of The Lord of the Rings - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about J.R.R.Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. An interesting look at the man's life and the inspirations for his most famous work.

Looney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon
Sometimes I think Warner Bros. is the only studio that understands the serious cartoon collector. These sets are not for little kids to discover the joy of Bugs Bunny, these sets are for adults who grew up on Bugs Bunny and who want to know more about the cartoonists, the studio and the historical significance surrounding these cartoons. And the special features are geared to these collectors making them must haves. The only complaint about the two sets so far is the less than organized nature. For instance, probably the most beloved cartoon trilogy every made is the Hunting Trilogy, (Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning and Duck! Rabbit, Duck!) The first set had the first two, on different discs, in the wrong order. This problem continues into this set, but there are so many conflicting demands that this is almost unavoidable. Some people would like the cartoons released in chronological order, or by director, or by cartoon character, etc. Hopefully they can satisfy everyone by eventually releasing their entire cartoon library on DVD, even the ones that are no longer shown on TV, like Hillbilly Hare. A couple more notes, Spotlight Collection Volume 2 is also available, but if you like Looney Tunes enough to pay money for it, it's worth getting the 4 DVD set.

Mulholland Falls - Buy from Amazon
Jennifer Connelly was one of the few redeeming features in this otherwise inconsequential movie.

Mutant X - Season 1 - Box Set - Buy from Amazon
Mutant X is one of those shows that insists on releasing single DVDs with 2 episodes a piece, which makes collecting to whole season way too expensive. However, they are finally releasing season 1 in a single box set at a very reasonable price. Unfortunately, season one wasn't that good, the show didn't hit its stride till season two, and got cancelled after season 3.

NHL - Detroit Red Wings - Team History - Buy from Amazon
With the NHL on strike, I'm so starved for Hockey that I'm tempted to pick up this 4 Disc set, even though I hate the Wings. Go Canucks, go!

Philadelphia - Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
The film that won Tom Hanks his first Oscar. It is a historically important film as it was the first Hollywood film to tackle the subject of AIDS as part of its main plot. However, the film plays it safe too often, which hurts what could have been an otherwise excellent movie. The Anniversary Edition, released 11 years after its theatrical debut, has plenty of special features including an audio commentary, documentary, music video, deleted scenes, and more.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl - Special Edition - 3-Disc Gift Set - Buy from Amazon
The time between this release and the previous release is a little short to justify a special edition. If you own the original release, the special edition isn't worth the price just for the extra disc. And if you don't own the original release, chances are you didn't like the movie in the first place.

Real Genius - Buy from Amazon
They're re-releasing Real Genius, woo hoo! An excellent movie that proves Val Kilmer should stick to comedies.

A whole bunch of Shrek DVDs are being released this week, but not on Tuesday! Nope, Dreamworks is holding off their release till Friday to go head to head with the theatrical release of The Incredibles. I think it's an immature attempt to hurt the film's box office and I think it will backfire on them. It certainly cost them a shot at being the DVD Pick of the Week.

The Simple Life 2 - Road Trip - Buy from Amazon
Combining the worst properties of Reality TV and the Cult of Celebrity into one show. 'Nuff said.

The Simpsons - Christmas 2 - Buy from Amazon
Stick with the season sets instead.

Spongebob Squarepants - Sponge For Hire - Buy from Amazon
Stick with the Season Sets for this series as well.

Star Trek - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
Paramount has wisely decided to release the last few remaining Star Trek season sets on an expedited schedule, so instead of waiting six months between season sets, this set is being released just 2 months after Season 1, and Season 3 comes out in just 6 weeks. Most fans of the series would agree that Season 2 is the best of the bunch offering such classic episodes as "The Trouble with Tribbles", "I, Mudd", "Who Mourns for Adonis?" and more. The special features are on par with the season 1 set with featurettes on Season 2, Leonard Nimoy's photography, Nichelle Nichols's experiences on the show, and more. If you picked up the first season the choice to pick this season up is an easy one.

Three's Company - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
This is one of those shows that seemed really funny when your, how to put it, slightly intoxicated. Fans of the franchise will be pleased with the special features, including a tribute to John Ritter.

Too Close for Comfort - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Ted Knight was an excellent comedic actor, but this show left a lot to be desired. And while the DVD set isn't featureless, there's not a lot of extras to bring in customers.

Traffic - The Miniseries - The Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon
This is the Emmy nominated British miniseries and not the Oscar winning movie, but it is the inspiration for said movie. The miniseries is almost as good as the movie, but the DVD set is devoid of special features.

The West Wing - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
Depending on who you talk with, this season was either the best so far, or the beginning of the end. Season 3 focuses heavily on President Bartlet's re-election campaign … hmm, that's amazing timing. Other highlights for season 3 include the special episode, "Isaac and Ishmael", which is worth watching even if you are not a fan of the series. Special features are on par with the other releases in the franchise and include three audio commentary tracks, outtakes, featurettes and an award winning documentary. The first three seasons are also available as a Package Deal.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Shrek 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Around the World in 80 Days, Festival Express, A Home at the End of the World