DVD Releases for November 23, 2004
November 22nd, 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, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Buy from Amazon and Seinfeld - Giftset.
L'Age D'Or - Buy from Amazon
A film by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel. Most people know who Salvador Dalí is, but Luis Buñuel is one of the pioneers of Surrealism in film, so combining these two men's talents and you're in for a wild ride. So wild in fact that when the film was first released it sparked riots, threats of excommunication and was eventually pulled from circulation. It is important for its place in film history, and while it is impressive on some levels, it is too extreme for most people. On a side note, this is the second collaboration between the two men and the first film ranked number 6 on retroCRUSH's list of Top 100 Scariest Movie Scenes.
Boy Meets World - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
This is one of those shows that lasted a lot longer than most people thought it would, (Full House is another such show.) The reason it lasted so long is simple, it was a safe show and that meant it was perfectly suited for Friday night TV. The show hadn't jumped the shark yet and the special features are about the same as the first season.
Cloak and Dagger - Buy from Amazon
I loved this movie as a kid, the key phrase being, 'as a kid.' It's been too long since I've seen it to know if it has aged well, and that alone might make it worth a rental. The lack of special features, on the other hand, prevents it from being worth purchasing.
The Golden Girls - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
The award winning show first aired nearly 20 years ago, so it's great for fans of the show that it is finally coming out on DVD. Although it is disappointing that the only extra is a featurette on the show's fashions. That limits the appeal of the DVD set.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
The film earned the best reviews of the franchise, but strangely it also earned the smallest box office of the bunch. Anyone who owns any of the previous films in the series will know what to expect when it comes to special features in this 2-Disc set. In fact, most of those people will have already pre-ordered the DVDs. Can also be bought with the first two movies as part of a package deal: Widescreen or Pan & Scan.
Home Improvement - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Based on the Stand-Up comedy routines of Tim Allen, this show lasted for 8 seasons and was one of the most popular shows on TV during much of that time. Fans of the show will be happy that it's finally coming out on DVD, but the special features are not that special. Just commentary tracks on 3 episodes and a clip show best-of featurette.
In Search of Santa - Buy from Amazon
It is generally accepted that the Christmas season begins on Thanksgiving Sunday, which is the second busiest shopping day of the year, (the busiest shopping day is Christmas Eve, talk about procrastination.) So even though it's technically too early for Christmas films, it's the last Tuesday before that big day and it's a smart plan to release Christmas DVDs before then. The film is a CGI starring Hilary Duff and her sister Haylie Duff as a pair of penguins in search of Santa and the true meaning of Christmas. Sounds pretty schmaltzy to me, but I'm not part of the target audience, (kids age 3-7.)
The Lizzie McGuire Show Boxed Set - Volume One - Buy from Amazon
Normally I don't go for TV on DVD unless it's full season sets, but there are two exceptions. Firstly, if due to legal reasons certain episodes can't be released on DVD and therefore you have to take what you can get, (MST3K is a good example of this.) And secondly, when the show was aired erratically enough that the term, 'season' no longer really applies, (Futurama, for example.) With Lizzie McGuire it's hard to tell when one season began and another ended, so the DVD release is being divided into 3 volumes. Fortunately, they are being release mostly in the production order and not the order they were originally aired. As for the special features, they are a cut above most with audio commentary tracks on 3 episodes featuring members of the cast, interviews with those same members and two featurettes regarding the fashion on the show. What you won't find on the special features is Hilary Duff, which is not surprising since her split with Disney was pretty harsh.
Rambo - The Ultimate Edition - Buy from Amazon: First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part 2 and Rambo III or The Complete Trilogy
The first film was a smart action film, the sequels, on the other hand, were dumbed downed macho crap. If you own the previous Special Edition then it's probably not worth the upgrade. And if you don't, First Blood is the only one of the bunch really worth owning.
Seinfeld - Buy from Amazon: Season 1 & 2, Season 3 and Giftset
One of the most highly anticipated TV on DVD releases of the year, perhaps ever. I can't imagine anyone not knowing about this show, so I'll skip right to the features. Season 1 & 2 is a 4 disc set containing all 18 episodes from the first two seasons with special features like deleted scenes, extra stand-up comedy footage, outtakes, 6 audio commentary tracks, interviews and a featurette on the origins of the show. Season 3 is a 4-disc set containing all 23 episodes from season 3 with the same type of special feature as above but with 9 audio commentary tracks and a featurette on the real Cosmo Kramer, Kenny Kramer. Giftset, which is what I'm picking up, contains the above two sets and an original script, "Monk's Diner" salt & pepper shakers and playing cards.
Sleepover - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Bad reviews and a poor box office usually result in a DVD being dumped on the market without any extras. However, give credit to the studio for not doing that in this case. On the other hand, even with strong special features, the movie typifies the genre and is DVD is strictly for 'Tweens.
Splitting Heirs - Buy from Amazon
Considering the comedic talent in this film, this is a really bad movie and possibly the only funny part of it is during the opening credits when it says, 'and introducing John Cleese.
Star Wars - Animated Adventures - Buy from Amazon: Droids and Ewoks
TV on DVD that isn't full season sets? Skip it. On the other hand the Ewoks Adventures TV specials aren't bad, but without and special features the DVD is strictly for hardcore fans.
Tanner on Tanner - Buy from Amazon
Follow up mini-series to Tanner '88. Robert Altman and writer Garry Trudeau return but the focus has moved partially from the political campaign and more to the way political documentaries cover the events. The DVD contains the 4 half-hour episodes plus some behind the scene footage and interviews with the creators and the stars.
The Terminal - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen, Pan & Scan and Widescreen 2-Disc Collector's Set
Some might call this film a disappointment, both with the critics and at the box office. However, that says more about Tom Hanks' strong track record than it does about the quality of this film. If you are going to pick up this movie, get the Widescreen 2-Disc Collector's Set because if the studios think they can get away with selling featureless DVDs then they'll stop putting special feature on all DVDs. The collector's set contains a bonus disc of special feature, which is mostly a series of making of featurettes, as well as the cast telling stories of their experiences in airports. It also has the Soundtrack as an additional bonus.
Zhou Yu's Train - Buy from Amazon
The film earned mediocre reviews with most of the praise going to the cinematography. It failed to connect with an audience here, and is now being dumped on the home market on a featureless DVD.
Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
L'Age D'Or - Buy from Amazon
Filed under: Video Releases, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Terminal, Sleepover, Zhou Yu's Train