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DVD Releases for November 16, 2004

November 15th, 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, Iron Giant - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon and The Kids in the Hall - Complete Season 2 - Buy from Amazon

The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This is probably one of the most famous shows of its era, so much so that its memorable theme song is probably already stuck in your head. It is so famous that there's really not much to say about it, except the 4-disc DVD set contains all 32 episodes in the first season, but regrettably, no special features. Not surprising since the show is over 40 years old, but disappointing nonetheless.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The third season in this demented series comes out on DVD. The cartoon tells the story of a shake called Master Shake, an order of fries called Frylock and a wad of meat called Meatwad. If your reaction to that is, 'What the hell are you talking about?' then this show not for you. But those of you that are twisted enough to pick the set up will be rewarded with plenty of special features including audio commentaries, deleted scenes and more. Also available tomorrow are all three seasons as part of a package deal.

The Beast - 3-Disc Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
An erotic version of Beauty and the Beast. Well, maybe 'erotic' isn't the right word. Practically pornographic is more accurate, but it's a French film so it is some more legitimacy. The 3-disc set contains the theatrical version, the director's cut and nearly 2 hours of special features.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
The show only lasted 37 episodes, but it still has plenty of fans as its placing on the Amazon Sales Chart proves. The studio smartly put out both seasons in one package, however, they are doing it by using double-sided DVDs and forgoing any special features.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Seventh Season - Buy from Amazon
The last season of the long running series, season seven was a bit of step up from season six, but not as good as earlier seasons. The special features are a little stronger with seven audio commentaries, a handful of featurettes, outtakes and more. If you already own the first six seasons of this series, then picking this set up is a no-brainer, otherwise it's not a good place to start.

The Chronicles of Riddick - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen, Pan and Scan or Unrated Edition
Pitch Black was a bit of a hit compared to its relatively small budget. For the sequel the studio went all out with a $120 million spectacular. Unfortunately, the reviews were very poor and the film suffered at the box office. The unrated edition has 15 minutes more footage, but in this case that might not be a good thing.

The Commish - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
A quirky dramedy set in a small town focusing on the police force. Similar to Picket Fences in that regard, which ran during the same time. The show had a small but loyal audience, which have waited a while for the show to be released on DVD. However, the wait has not been richly rewarded as the only special features on this 3-disc set are some interviews with 2 members of the cast and the co-creators.

Director's Label Series Boxed Set - The Works of Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, and Michel Gondry - Buy from Amazon
The early work of three of the most creative new directors out on DVD. The 4-disc set contains dozens of music videos, shorts, interviews and more that really let you take a look inside the minds of these creative forces.

Elf - Infinifilm Edition - Buy from Amazon
Over a year since the film was released in theatres, it finally comes out on DVD, smart plan for a Christmas in November movie. Reviews were surprisingly strong and the film showed enough legs to become one of the biggest hits at the end of last year. This 2-disc set contains some great special features including the ever present audio commentary, (the movie has two such tracks, one with the director, Jon Favreau and one with the star, Will Ferrell), deleted and extended scenes, making of featurettes, interactive games and more. With none of this year's Christmas in November movies doing well, this DVD release will most likely benefit a lot from the unfulfilled demand.

Fanny and Alexander - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon: Theatrical Version or Special Edition
The most auto-biographical film from Swedish film legend, Ingmar Bergman. Both sets are Criterion Collection, but the Theatrical Version contains just the 3-hour theatrical version of the movie with an audio commentary. The Special Edition includes not only the 3-hour theatrical version, but also the 5-hour TV version, making of documentary, video intro by Ingmar Bergman and more.

Frasier - The Complete Final Season - Buy from Amazon
I'm of two minds about this DVD release. On the one hand, it's nice to be able to watch the final season of this long running series on DVD so soon after the show finished airing. On the other hand, it is a bit bizarre to release a show out of order. One other problem, the special features are a little light considering it’s the end of the show. Lastly, you can purchase this set with the first three seasons as part of a package deal.

Foul Play - Buy from Amazon
When one thinks about the collective works of Chevy Chase, quality is usually not the first word to spring to mind. So it's ironic that arguably his best work was not available on DVD for so long. And while it is nice to be able to watch this crime caper comedy again, it is a shame that it is being released on a featureless DVD.

The Hebrew Hammer - Buy from Amazon
How can you tell if this movie is for you? First of all, go to the Official Site and download the theme song. If you can't get past the first line of the song without being offended, stay away from this movie, stay far, far away. Even if you are not immediately offended by this 'Jewsploitation' film, it is not from everybody. As far as special features go, the disc isn't loaded, but is certainly above average for a limited release with an audio commentary, deleted scenes and the short student film the movie is based on, which in many ways is better than the film itself.

Hilary Duff - Learning to Fly - Buy from Amazon
A behind the scenes look at the making of Hilary Duff's latest music video, 'Fly' from the certified platinum self-titled album as well as a look at her getting ready to perform a concert.

Home Movies - Season One - Buy from Amazon
Filmed in Squigglevision. The first 13 episodes of this largely improvised, semi-autobiographical cartoon comes out on DVD tomorrow. The show was actually made for UPN, but was cancelled after just 6 episodes, it then moved to the Cartoon Network where it lasted 3 more seasons. The 3-disc set has plenty of special features including audio commentaries on 10 of the 13 episodes, (why they didn't have audio commentaries on the remaining three is beyond me.)

Howard Hughes - The Real Aviator - Buy from Amazon
A DVD about the life of Howard Hughes released just weeks before a Biopic is released theatrically. The timing must be a coincidence.

Iron Giant - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Directed by Brad Bird, who also directed The Incredibles, this is a criminally under-appreciated film, which earned unbelievable reviews but was all but ignored at the box office. Hopefully the special edition DVD, with audio commentary, deleted scenes, making of and more, will help bring the film the recognition it deserves.

Kangaroo Jack - G'Day U.S.A.! - Buy from Amazon
You have to be joking.

The Kids in the Hall - Complete Season 2 - Buy from Amazon
One of the greatest comedy troupes of all time, and have been called the Canadian Monty Python. This DVD set has been available through their official site for quite some time, but now it's available through other retailers. If you haven't already picked it up, do so now.

Live Aid - Buy from Amazon
It's been nearly 20 years since this concert took place for hunger relief, and it is one of the biggest musical events of all time. In fact, it's so close to 20 years that I'm surprised they didn't wait a few months to put out a 20th anniversary edition. Another reason to think that is the missing songs, including the performance by Led Zeppelin.

The Man Who Knew Bush - Buy from Amazon
I though the whole point of having an election was so we wouldn't have to see anymore movies like this ever again. Or at least until the next election campaign starts, (currently scheduled for January 21st, 2005).

The Office - The Christmas Specials - Buy from Amazon
The last of the award winning British series finally comes out on DVD. The DVD has the two-part Christmas special plus a number of special features, (audio commentary, behind the scenes and more.) You can also purchase the specials as part of a collection. Get them now before the memory of show is ruined by the American adaptation.

Pee-wee's Playhouse - Buy from Amazon: Volume 1 and Voume 2
Fans of the series should wait. Next year a box set with actual special features will be released, so there's no real reason to pick these up now. Unless you absolutely can't wait.

Peter Gabriel - Play - Buy from Amazon
Peter Gabriel is one of those musicians who treated the music video not as a 3 minute commercial for his albums, but as a format to be experimented with. And this DVD contains 18 music videos spanning his entire solo career. Amazing work.

Ragtime - Buy from Amazon
The film has been called an underrated classic and is also notable for being the last movie James Cagney acted in. The film takes place early in the 1900s and tells the story of Coalhouse Walker Jr., a famous black piano player whose success raises the ire of some local white firemen, who take it out on his car. There are only a few special features on the disc (audio commentary, retrospective and a deleted scene), but that is to be expected for a film this old.

Richard Pryor - I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!! - Uncensored - Buy from Amazon
Richard Pryor is equally controversial as he is groundbreaking. This special takes a look back at his career and the effect it had on other comedians both at the time and now. The DVD is uncensored, which if you are not familiar with his work means there are a lot of foul language. You have been warned.

The Saddest Music in the World - Buy from Amazon
Isabella Rossellini stars as Lady Port-Huntley, the legless Prohibition era beer Baroness who believes sad music makes people drink more beer, so she holds a contest to try and find the saddest music in the world. The film did rather well with the critics, but the film was too strange for most moviegoers and never played in more than 25 theatres. However, unlike most limited releases the DVD has quite a few special features including a made for TV making of documentary, a look at the characters and a short film called, get this, "Sissy Boy Slap Party", in case the movie itself wasn't weird enough.

Short Cuts - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Robert Altman's classic film is actually a collection of intertwining short stories. As with all Criterion Collection films, this 2-DVD set is impeccably done, with a feature length making of documentary, a look at Raymond Carver, whose stories serve as the basis for the film, deleted scenes, interviews with the director and more. I've never been disappointed with any of the Criterion Collection DVDs I've purchased.

Smallville - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The third season of the early life of Superman comes out on DVD tomorrow. This season was a downer with most characters suffering loses, none worse than Lex Luther, who survived a plane crash, murder attempt, commitment to a psychological hospital, electroshock therapy and more. (No wonder he turned out evil!) The show continues to improve, as does the DVD release. Compared to the previous releases, this set has more audio commentaries, deleted scenes, outtakes, behind the scenes and more. Definitely worth picking up this week. Also available with the first two seasons as part of a package deal.

Space Ghost Coast to Coast - Volume Two - Buy from Amazon
Another one of those demented cartoons that are definitely not for everyone. Retired super hero, Space Ghost, now hosts a late night talk show with his co-host and former arch nemesis, Zorak. Yeah, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either. The special features on the 2-disc set are very impressive, making it a must buy for fans of the show. However, the show is too unique to appeal to most people. Volumes 1 and 2 can be purchased together as part of a package deal.

Tiger - The Authorized DVD Collection - Buy from Amazon
I wonder if this 3-DVD set would have sold better before Tiger Wood was in his year long slump. Tiger's still one of greatest players in the game and has plenty of fans, and they will be well rewarded for picking up this 3-Disc set.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie - Buy from Amazon
The film earned some of the worst reviews of the year, and is only worth watching for the diehard fans of the show. Speaking of the TV show, Volume 9 and Volume 10 are also being released tomorrow.


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Filed under: Video Releases, Elf, The Chronicles of Riddick, Yu-Gi-Oh, The Saddest Music in the World, The Hebrew Hammer