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DVD Releases for December 28, 2004

December 27th, 2004

Every week films get a second chance at success from the home market; or, in some cases, a first chance at success. The week after Christmas is usually a real letdown when it comes to quality for two reasons, firstly, it's the week after the biggest gift giving season of the year and if the studio had any real confidence in the film they would have released it last week. And secondly, its just over four months after the worst time and just over four months is the average time between theatrical release and DVD release. So it comes as a real surprise that Garden State - Buy from Amazon, one of the biggest pleasant surprises of the year is being released this week.

ADD / ADHD Smart Solutions: Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior - Buy from Amazon
ADD / ADHD is a very serious problem and I'd never use it to make a cheap -- hey look, a puppy!

Anchorman - The Legend of Ron Burgundy - Buy from Amazon: Unrated Widescreen, Unrated Pan & Scan, PG-13 Pan & Scan or Giftset
The latest comedy from one of the busiest men in show business, Will Ferrell. Not as strong has his last film either at the box office or with the critics, but was still a hit with moviegoers. The DVD release comes in three flavors, the theatrical release, the unrated version and the giftset, which contains a second DVD featuring a full-length film comprised of scenes cut the from the film. One of the weirdest special features I've ever heard of and it makes the Giftset the best one to pick up.

Battlestar Galactica - 2003 Miniseries - Buy from Amazon
Fans of the original series have a love hate relationship with this mini-series. There were so many changes that it turned off a lot of long-time fans, but the show was able to win over many fans during its four hour run. So much so that it's coming back as a regular series. The set contains the basics when it comes to special features, audio commentary, deleted scenes, featurette; not bad, but not enough to get the more casual fans to pick up the set.

Un Chien Andalou - Buy from Amazon
Just over a month ago I mentioned this film when L'Age D'OrM was released. It is a very interesting film, to say the least, but at just 17 minutes long it really should have been included on the earlier DVD as a bonus feature, not sold on its own.

Code 46 - Buy from Amazon
One of several limited releases on this week's list. This one didn't have the best reviews, biggest box office, but nor was it at the bottom of the list either. Set in a dystopian near-future where the genetics of the population are controlled. The film works on some levels, but not enough for the film to be an overall success. The DVD isn't featureless but with just a few deleted / extended scenes plus a short featurette it is not a big enough selling point either.

The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen - Legendary Monster Series - Buy from Amazon
Not too long ago the Ray Harryhaussen Sci-Fi Collection was released, and while that one is not bad, this one contains his best work including Clash of the Titans. Stop-Motion animation has never looked cooler.

Garden State - Buy from Amazon
It was a good year for smaller films and one of the biggest hits was this one, which not only earned more than $25 million at the box office and excellent reviews but a couple of Independent Spirit Award nominations. Most limited releases have next to nothing when it comes to special features, and while this disc isn't loaded, it is on par with most first run releases with two audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes and a making of featurette. Easily the DVD pick of the week.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Buy from Amazon
Quite a bit of a disappointment from the first film in the franchise, it's not like its reviews were bad, but they were merely mediocre compared to those of the original. Still, it's a great visual feast let down by a merely average story.

The H.P. Lovecraft Collection Volume 2: Rough Magik - Buy from Amazon
The second H.P.Lovecraft collection from Lurker Films. This one deals with The Night Scholars, a modern day covert government agency set up to stop the Cthulhu cult, The Dreamers. Like the first collection, this one contains plenty of special features including an audio commentary track, two bonus shorts, music video and more.

Intimate Strangers - Buy from Amazon
A woman walks into an accountants office thinking he's a therapist and before he con correct her she starts telling him all her personal secrets. A very compelling movie that is unfortunately being released on a featureless disc.

King of the Hill - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The latest release from this popular franchise comes out on DVD. And while the TV show is great, (some are even calling it better than The Simpsons) the 3-disc set is completely featureless. Can also be purchased with the first two seasons as part of a package deal.

Open Water - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
When this film first opened the studio was calling it the next Blair Witch Project, and while it made an amazing amount of money at the box office for a $500,000 movie, it didn't reach anywhere near that lofty goal. I'm not a fan of Shark Attack films, a sub-category of the Animals Gone Bad genre since these movies tend to demonize these animals, and you are more likely to die from eating shark than get eaten by one. However, for fans of the genre this is an effective thriller and should please.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
A really bad sequel to a movie that was pretty bad to begin with. The DVD release is very impressive at least with hours of bonus features like three audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes, making of featurettes, and more. Can also be purchased with the original as part of a package deal.

Sex and the City - Season Six - Part 2 - Buy from Amazon
The final episodes of this highly acclaimed series come out on DVD. Good show, bad DVD releases as the last three releases in the series were quite expensive on a per episode basis. At least this release has good special features with a few audio commentary tracks, 3 alternate endings, two farewell specials and more. Can also be purchased with the rest of the series as part of a package deal.

Sneakers - Buy from Amazon
Heist films, when done well, are one of the most entertaining genres, and this film is one of the best. This DVD, on the other hand, is a re-release of a rather featureless, 'Collector's Edition.'

Tank - Buy from Amazon
Not the greatest film about Military Life, but a personal favorite of mine. Too bad it's being released on a featureless DVD.

Tour of Duty - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
Like the first season, this 5-disc set contains no special features and quite a bit of music substitution. Music substitution is one of the scourges of TV on DVD, but the fault lies with the music studios and not the TV studios. (Although in many cases, these are the same corporate entity.)

The Twilight Zone - Buy from Amazon: The Definitive Edition - Season 1 and 1980s Series - Season 1
Few shows have had the cultural impact that this show has and now the first season of the first two versions of the Twilight Zone TV series comes out on DVD this week. The earlier version is clearly the better one, both in terms of the quality of the show and the quality of the extras. But that is not to say the 1980s edition didn't have its charms. Both 6-disc sets contain audio commentary tracks on selective episodes, while the Definitive collection also contains archival interviews, promos and the unaired original version of the pilot.

Wake of Death - Buy from Amazon
Jean-Claude Van Damme is still making movies?

Wicker Park - Buy from Amazon
Like so many other September releases, this one received less than adequate reviews, equally poor box office and a merely average DVD release.

Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself - Buy from Amazon
The film deals with a chronically depressed … make that chronically, suicidally depressed man, and his brother run a worn-down used bookstore they inherited from their father. Like so many limited releases, the film earned excellent reviews, weak box office and is being released on a featureless DVD release.

Wimbledon - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
One of many box office disappointments that came out in the fall, although its reviews were not as bad as its box office would suggest. Special features are good for a first run and should help the film to outperform its theatrical release on the home market.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Open Water, Garden State, Wimbledon, Wicker Park, Confidences trop intimes, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, Code 46