DVD and Blu-ray Releases for January 7th, 2014

It is a relatively slow week this week. That's not to say there are no releases worth picking up, in fact, there's a close race for Pick of the Week. It's just none of the releases were monster hits at the theaters. This includes a couple of documentaries, The Act of Killing and Inequality for All, as well as a couple of TV on DVD releases, Archer: Season Four and Being Human: Complete Third Season. However, in the end, I went with We Are What We Are on DVD or Blu-ray for Pick of the Week. Meanwhile, Being Human: Complete Third Season on DVD or Blu-ray earns Puck of the Week, for the best Canadian release.

The Act of Killing - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the best reviewed documentaries from last year. It is also on the short list for the Oscars and will likely earn a nomination. Finally, the two-disc set is loaded with extras, including the theatrical and extended versions of the movie. It is absolutely worth picking up and a contender for Pick of the Week.

Archer: Season Four - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I'm still waiting for the screener for this TV show. It is, in my opinion, the best animated show on TV at the moment, while the extras for the previous season were strong enough that I think this release could be the Pick of the Week.

Being Human: Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of a handful of releases where I'm still waiting for the screener. I got a chance to review season two and I really liked it, so I hope season three arrives soon.

Big Ass Spider! - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An intentionally bad B-movie monster movie. There are a lot of films in this genre, but this one is better than most. Extras include some interviews and a featurette on the film's premiere. That's not a lot, but better than most limited releases have. Worth picking up for fans of the genre.

Birth of the Living Dead - Buy from Amazon
A biography of George A. Romero and how he created Night of the Living Dead and created the modern zombie industry. The film's reviews are incredible and if you are a fan of zombies in general or of George A. Romero in particular, this movie is worth picking up.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Badges of Fury, Cassandra Crossing / Domino Principle, Coal Miner's Daughter, Duck Dynasty: Season 1, Duck Dynasty: Season 2, Duck Dynasty: Season 3, Gorillas in the Mist, Hail Mary, Hurricane, I'm So Excited, Killing Fields: 30th Anniversary, Lagrange: Set 2, Patlabor: TV Collection 4, Tequila Sunrise, and Throne of Blood (Criterion Collection)
Not a lot of interesting secondary Blu-ray releases this week. I'm So Excited did better than most limited releases do at the box office, but the critics were split, extremely so. (Some liked it's bold portrayal of gay characters. Others thought it was horribly stereotypical.) Personally, I'm much more interested in Throne of Blood, which is a classic from Akira Kurosawa. It is arguably the second best Shakespearean adaptation ever. (Strange Brew is the best).

Closed Circuit - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This film came out in late August, which is a bad time of year to release a film. Its reviews weren't terrible, but its box office numbers were. To be fair, the film opened in under 1000 theaters, which is a really awkward number of theaters. It's too wide for a targeted ad campaign, but too narrow for a nationwide campaign. At least it didn't open below the Mendoza Line. If you like courtroom thrillers, it is worth checking out, but I think for most fans of the genre, a rental will be enough.

Copper: Season 2 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The first fully American produced show for BBC America. It ended after just two seasons, but its reviews are better than its short run would indicate. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray, but enough that it is worth picking up if you were a fan of the show. If you haven't seen it, then you might not want to start knowing as it ends so soon.

Duck Dynasty: Season Four - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Long time readers know how much I hate reality TV in general and this show is no exception. However, there's a recent controversy surrounding some anti-gay remarks made by Phil Robertson. I don't want to into the whole debate, but I think there is a relevant Bible passage that Phil Robertson should read. 1 Corinthians 11:14 "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" Not that is matters. If you've seen pictures of the Robertson clan before they made a reality TV show, you would know they were preppies, not hillbillies. As Cult of Dusty pointed out in a recent video, they wouldn't look out of place at a Mitt Romney family reunion. I wouldn't be terribly surprised to learn they are not really Christians.

The Following: Season One - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This TV show was a big hit for Fox when it debuted midseason last year; however, while it started as Fox's biggest hit of the season, its ratings sunk and at one point it lost more than a third of its series premiere viewership. It was renewed, but again as a midseason replacement. Perhaps it will be more stable this season. Or perhaps it will continue to lose viewers and end up in the middle of the pack. I mention this because you might want to wait until after a couple episodes of the new season air. If the ratings drop, then the show might not last too long. Given the complicated plot, you might not want to spend money on the DVD or Blu-ray knowing the show won't last long enough to tie up all of the lose ends.

House of Lies: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
I really wanted to like this show, but after reviewing season one, I wasn't interested in season season two.

Inequality for All - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Robert Reich is the focus of this political documentary. Robert Reich is one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to economic issues, especially those that deal with the middle class. As many economists have stated recently, there is troubling inequality in the United States and that's hurting the overall economy. This isn't the first documentary to deal with this subject, but it is one of the best. Certainly worth picking up.

Linsanity - Buy from Amazon: Buy from Amazon
A documentary about Jeremy Lin, who became a huge sensation when he got off to a fast start while playing with the New York Nicks. The reviews are good, but not great. If you are a fan of sports documentaries in general, or of the Lin in particular, then it is worth checking out.

Piloxing - The Original V Pilates Workout - Buy from Amazon
As I'm writing this, this is the 14th best selling new release according Amazon.com. That shows you it's a slow week.

Runner Runner - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
One of the worst movies of last year. The only extra is a featurette on online poker and some deleted scenes, which is really low for a first run release. Nothing about this release makes it worth renting. Skip it.

Star Trek: Enterprise: Season Three: Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
The first two seasons of this show were terrible, to be blunt. Did the show finally start to show some promise? Or did it continue to stink? Read our review for my opinion.

Thanks for Sharing - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film barely avoiding opening below the Mendoza Line during its opening weekend and quickly disappeared after that. It didn't earn good reviews, but its reviews were better than its box office numbers. If you like the cast, then it is worth checking out.

Top of the Lake - Buy from Amazon
A BBC mini-series starring Elisabeth Moss as a police detective investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year old. The film earned great reviews and even two Golden Globe nominations, two SAG nominations, and eight Emmy Nominations, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie. The subject matter makes it difficult to watch, so it is unlikely you will want to watch it over and over, but it is still worth checking out.

We Are What We Are - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A remake of Somos lo que hay, which earned very good reviews and because it was a Spanish film, it was perfect for an English-language remake. Amazingly, this film's reviews are even better. Unfortunately, the screener is late, so I don't know if I agree with other critics. There are good extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray (audio commentary track, interviews, and a making of featurette) so it is a contender for Pick of the Week.

The Wicker Man: The Final Cut - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
The 1975 version of this film is considered a cult classic of the horror genre. Messing with a classic is dangerous (as we saw with the remake) but amazingly, The Final Cut version earned even better reviews. Extras are good for this type of the release and the Blu-ray is worth upgrading to.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-01-05