DVD and Blu-ray Releases for August 23rd, 2011

Summer is winding down, and while that means weaker box office numbers, it also means stronger home market releases. We are still a little early for summer blockbusters; however, TV on DVD releases are really heating up and will begin to dominate the scene. There are a few of those worth checking out, including NCIS: Season Eight, which is a contender for Pick of the Week. However, that honor goes to Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension. (An honorable mention also goes to Reboot: The Definitive Mainframe Edition, which finally arrived last week. It was worth the wait.)

The Angry Beavers: Seasons One & Two - Buy from Amazon
A fun cartoon from the 1990s. I was a little old to be watching cartoons when it first aired and only saw a few episodes while babysitting. I only have vague memories as a result, but those memories are positive. Hopefully I will get a screener soon so I can give a more informed opinion.

Bambi II - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
A direct-to-DVD sequel to Bambi. A lot of direct-to-DVD sequels are terrible. Is this one of the exceptions? Read our review to find out.

The Beaver - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film had a lot problems, including a plot that was never going to be an easy sell to mainstream moviegoers. It's about a man who has a breakdown and start talking through a puppet. Also, it's star, Mel Gibson, had some PR problems recently. Okay, he said some vile, bigoted things. The end result was a weak result and a rather short stay in theaters. It probably deserved better given its reviews, and with extras that include an audio commentary track, a making of featurette, and deleted scenes, it's worth checking out. Maybe start with a rental.

The Best of Global Lens: Brazil - Buy from Amazon
The first of two box sets that I might be reviewing from the same distributor. Givin its price, as long as three of the four movies are worth checking out, the box set as a whole will be worth buying, but I won't know if that is true till it arrives.

Blitz - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The latest Jason Statham movie, which is coming out direct-to-DVD. I might get a screener later, but since it did earn decent reviews, fans of the actor should be interested. It would probably smart to start with a rental.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Bambi II, The Beaver, Blitz, Eden of the East: Paradise Lost, Henry's Crime, Hostage, Little Big Soldier, Poetry, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Road to Nowhere, Roger Corman's Cult Classics Triple Feature - The Women in Cages Collection, Rounders, Samurai Girls: The Complete Collection, Secret Sunshine (The Criterion Collection), Swingers, Tom & Jerry & The Wizard of Oz, Trollhunter, and Win Win
It's a terrible week for Blu-ray releases with no first run releases. There are a few limited releases and catalog titles worth picking up, but odds are the overall sales will be quite low.

Brothers & Sisters: Season Five - Buy from Amazon
I reviewed a few of the previous seasons of this show. It started strong, but by season four, it felt like the writers didn't quite know what to do with the characters anymore. I don't know if the quality of the show improved over this season, but the ratings clearly didn't, as the show is officially over. That said, if you bought the previous seasons, it's probably worth completing your collection, even if it is off its peak in terms of quality.

Christmas Releases - Buy from Amazon: How the Toys Saved Christmas and In Search of Santa
Really? Christmas movies already?

Cold Fish - Buy from Amazon
Still waiting for the screener for this film, but given its reviews, it should be worth the wait.

Dear Uncle Adolf: The Germans and Their Fuhrer - Buy from Amazon
A look at some of the letters the German people wrote to Adolf Hilter from his rise to power to his death at the end of World War II and how they reflect the mood of the country as a whole. It is certainly an interesting premise, but it is just an hour long, so it is hard to be as comprehensive as one would like.

Dinosaur Train: Dinosaur Big City - Buy from Amazon
One of the best preschool education shows out there, as it not only teaches kids about dinosaurs, but also helps them learn about the scientific method in general. Is the latest release worth adding to your collection? Read our review to find out.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - Buy from Amazon
The remake comes out this week, so it makes sense to re-release the original this week.

The Event: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
The latest series that tried to be the next Lost but failed. (There are several more in this category debuting this fall.) It's not a bad show, and the five-disc set is loaded with extras. However, it's hard to recommend a show with a complex storyline that ended before any real answers were given out.

The Garfield Show: Spooky Tails - Buy from Amazon
The latest single-disc release for this TV show comes out this week, while next week the 52nd Book hits stores. The character certainly has longevity and is still popular with kids, and with many adults who grew up on the show.

Gossip Girl: The Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
Teenage soap opera. I'm not a fan of these shows in general, but this one has proven popular with its target audience. The five-disc set doesn't have a lot of extras with just a couple featurettes, outtakes, and deleted scenes, but that's enough to lift it to a purchase for fans of the show.

Henry's Crime - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A good cast but weak reviews resulted in a poor box office performance. I'm still waiting for the screener, so I don't know if it deserved better or not. Hopefully it will get here soon.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 9th.

Hey Arnold! Season One - Buy from Amazon
From the creator of Dinosaur Train, which I also reviewed this week. Creator Craig Bartlett made the pitch for this show while working on Rugrats, so he's been involved in a couple of hits in his time. Is this show one of them? Read our review to find out.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 9th.

M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
A cartoon from the 1980s, which in many ways was the Golden Era of cartoons made specifically to sell toys. Some of these shows were pathetic cash grabs. Others were classics in their own right. Which end of the spectrum does M.A.S.K. fall under? Check out our review for my opinion.

NCIS: Season Eight - Buy from Amazon
It's been well over a decade since JAG first aired, but the franchise is still going strong with two spin-offs currently on air. This is the elder of the two, but is it still going strong, or has it run out of steam? Check out our review for my opinion.

NCIS: Los Angeles: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
A spin-off of a spin-off. Is there enough left of the original premise to sustain a show, or does it feel derivative. Read our review to find out.

Off the Map: Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
A medical drama, but one set in a small clinic in an third-world nation in South America. That did help set the show apart, but not enough to save it, and it was canceled partway through its first season. Extras on the three-disc set include two featurettes, outtakes, and deleted scenes, which is enough for fans of the show, but probably not enough for newcomers to want to buy it.

Poetry - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film earned perfect reviews, but never found the audience it deserved. Given its reviews, it is worth a blind buy, while the Blu-ray costs just $2 more then the DVD, so it is the better deal.

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I was really hoping to get a screener for this movie, as it looked really interesting. Its reviews were good, but not great, and it is worth checking out. The DVD has an audio commentary track, nearly an hour of deleted scenes, a collection of commercials featured in the film, and a short making of featurette. The Blu-ray has more deleted scenes, film festival footage, and more. It's easily worth picking up, and worth paying extra for High Definition.

Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension - Buy from Amazon
One of the best cartoons currently on TV, but can the simple premise, which is normally told in 11-minute slices, expand to feature-length? Or will the end result feel padded or simply run out of steam? Read our review to find out.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 28th of June.

Reboot: The Definitive Mainframe Edition - Buy from Amazon
Sometimes screeners arrive a couple days late, sometimes they arrive a couple weeks late. This one arrived almost a couple months late. Was it worth the wait? Read our review to find out.

Roger Corman's Cult Classics Sword And Sorcery Collection - Buy from Amazon
This two-disc set has four movies from the master of B-movies. Hopefully the screener will arrive soon, because I love these movies.

Steamy Art House Hits - Buy from Amazon
One of two box sets on this week's list that I may or may not get to review. Sometimes these screeners arrive quite late.

Tally Deushane: Songs I Wrote in Class - Buy Direct
Tally Deushane, a.k.a., live2tivo, is one of the YouTubers I subscribe to. She writes these great songs and recently released her first CD. You can download it from the link, or buy a physical copy if you are lucky enough to go to DragonCon this year. It's worth grabbing.

Tom & Jerry & The Wizard of Oz - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
It's Tom & Jerry meets The Wizard of Oz. I was never a huge fan of Tom & Jerry and preferred Looney Toons to these two, but if you disagree, then it is worth checking out.

Tracker - Buy from Amazon
It's a western, set in New Zealand. That does help it stand out in the crowd, but is it enough to be worth checking out? Read our review for my opinion.

Troll Hunter - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A low-budget import from Norway. The film had strong advance buzz, but it couldn't find an audience in limited release. Was the buzz wrong? Or was it unfairly passed over by moviegoers? Read our review to find out.

Win Win - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film was one of this year's early success stories in limited release and managed to climb above $10 million. It was also a success with critics earning award-worthy reviews. Is it worth picking up? Won't know till the screener arrives, but I'm very optimistic that it is at least worth buying, if not a contender for Pick of the Week.

- C.S.Strowbridge

Date posted: 2011-08-23