DVD and Blu-ray Releases for February 11th, 2014

It's a strange week on the home market. If you look at the top ten selling new releases on Amazon.com, there are a couple of first run releases, a catalog title, TV on DVD release, and some limited releases. That's basically every category there is. The biggest release is Ender's Game, a film that failed to find an audience in theaters. It barely earned overall positive reviews and it isn't a contender for Pick of the Week. Some of the other best-selling releases are contenders, like The Jungle Book: Blu-ray Diamond Edition or Sherlock: Season Three on DVD or Blu-ray. There are also a few of the smaller releases that were in consideration, including Doctor Who: Story 33: The Moonbase and G.B.F. on DVD. But in the end, I went with Wadjda on Blu-ray Combo Pack for Pick of the Week. One last note, Dry Spell is coming out on Video on Demand. It's a good chance to support ultra-low-budget filmmaking and the reviews I've read have been positive.

All is Lost - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Robert Redford plays an unnamed character who is sailing solo when disaster strikes. There were some who thought his performance deserved an Oscar, but the film underperformed during Awards Season. It is still a fantastic film and it is worth picking up. The extras are not great with an audio commentary track and six featurettes. That doesn't sound bad, but most are under ten minutes and half are just three or four minutes long. Like I said, it is worth picking up, but it is not a contender for Pick of the Week.

The Americans: Season One - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I'm still waiting for the screener for this release. It was a long weekend where I live (I have no idea why) so that could explain why it didn't get here in time. I've heard good things, so I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

The Armstrong Lie - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
What started out as a documentary about Lance Armstrong's comeback turned into a documentary about his ultimate fall. If you are interested in Lance Armstrong in particular, or if you are interested in cycling in general, or for that matter, documentaries about the fall of powerful figures, then this movie is worth picking up.

Austenland - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A romantic comedy that opened in limited release. The genre rarely does well in limited release, but this film lasted long enough to earn just over $2 million. Is it as strong as its limited release run would indicate? Or is this film strictly for fans of the genre? Read our review to find out.

The Best Man Holiday - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
The sequel to The Best Man, which came out in 1999. There was a chance that fans of the first film would no longer remember it, which would mean they would be less interested in seeing this movie. The film's reviews are good, but not great, and it did really well at the box office, especially compared to its production budget. The extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, outtakes, and a making of featurette. The Blu-ray has this, plus alternate ending, deleted / extended scenes, and another featurette. If you liked the first movie, then this one is worth picking up.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: 22 Bullets, Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box, The Artist And The Model, Chicago (Diamond Edition), Festival Express, Jewtopia, Kamisama Kiss: The Complete Series, Killing Kennedy, Life of a King, Masquerade, MM! Complete Collection!, On the Job, The Returned: Season One, Shawn Michaels: Mr. Wrestlemania, Strike Witches: The Complete First Season, and Strike Witches: The Complete Second Season
Of all of the secondary Blu-ray releases on this week's list, Chicago is the one I'm most interested in seeing. Hopefully a screener is on its way.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Khumba
I like seeing more international offerings when it comes to kids movies; however, Khumba only earned mixed reviews.

Chastity Bites - Buy from Amazon
I'm still waiting for the screener for this release. There are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but they are both positive, so that's encouraging.

The Counselor - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film has an amazing cast and there was some good pre-release buzz. However, the reviews were weak and the box office was a disaster. Additionally, there are almost no reviews on the DVD or the Blu-ray. Even if you like the cast, there are better options out there.

Dallas: Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
This is the second incarnation of the nighttime soap opera. The show's reviews have been surprisingly strong, but now that Larry Hagman has passed away, I don't know how the show will survive.

Diana - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A biopic about a beloved dead person. This just screamed Oscar bait. However, while Naomi Watts earned some praise, that's where the praise ended and the overall reviews were only 8% positive. Ouch. Nothing more needs to be said.

Doctor Who - Buy from Amazon: Story 33: The Moonbase
One of the true classics, but sadly still incomplete. This DVD includes all four episodes, but the first and third are animated. This isn't perfect, but unless a minor miracle happens and the remaining two episodes are found, it is the best we will get and it is certainly worth picking up.

Dry Spell - Video on Demand: Rental, HD Rental, Purchase, or HD Purchase
From the writer / director of Raymond Did It, which was a great ultra-low-budget teenage slasher. This film is a romantic comedy of sorts about a woman, Sasha (Suzi Lorraine), who realizes she won't be able to move on from her divorce until her ex, Kyle, starts dating again. She convinced him to allow her to set him up on blind dates. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but I've seen a couple reviews and they were very positive. I was going to try to review this, but I would have to see it through YouTube, and me and YouTube are not friends. The number of problems I've had recently includes blank videos, videos that appear to be a zoomed in section of the video, crashes, freezing, etc. Maybe when it comes out on DVD I will get a screener.

Ender's Game - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
An adaptation of a Young Adults novel. It cost more than $100 million to make, but some controversial statements by the author came to light just before the release, which really hurt its buzz. (Controversial is an understatement. He once declared his support for an armed revolt should gay marriage pass.) Even if this hadn't of hurt its box office numbers, it would have never been a classic, as the film is merely good and not great, but it might have done well enough to break even. As for the DVD, it has two audio commentary tracks and some deleted scenes. The Blu-ray has this, plus an eight-part making of featurette. It is worth checking out for most, picking up for fans of the genre.

G.B.F. - Buy from Amazon
When I first heard about this film, I thought it was going to be terrible. It is about a group of mean girls fighting over the must-have fashion accessory, the Gay Best Friend. However, the reviews were excellent. Sadly, not excellent enough to find an audience in limited release, while its current standing on the Amazon.com's sales chart (#6,279) suggests it won't do better on the home market. That's too bad.

Grace Unplugged - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
A Christian film about a musician, Grace, who leaves her church to become a pop star. It isn't as bad as a lot of faith-based films are, but it is still merely mediocre. It was even worse at the box office opening below the Mendoza Line. Extras are not bad with outtakes, deleted scenes, and a couple of featurettes. Unless your are a churchgoer looking to find a music themed Christian film, there are better options out there.

Haunter - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A Canadian horror film that opened in Video on Demand last fall and is hitting DVD and Blu-ray this week. (There may or may not have been a theatrical release in-between.) Is it worth checking out? Well, it only costs $10 on Amazon.com, so it is worth buying. If you want more details, read our review to find out.

How I Live Now - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A film based on a Young Adult novel. There are certainly a lot of those. Does this one bring anything new to the genre? Or will there be an overwhelming sense of déjà vu? Read our review for my opinion.

The Jungle Book - Blu-ray Diamond Edition - Buy from Amazon
This is not the first time I've reviewed this film and there's little that needs to be said about the quality. It's not among the very best Disney put out, but it is widely considered a classic. The real question is, is the Blu-ray debut worth the upgrade? Check out our review to find out.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie-rella - Buy from Amazon
I've reviewed a few of these DVDs, but none recently. They are certainly popular with preschoolers and better than most similar shows.

Newhart: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
The second smash hit TV show starring Bob Newhart. This one is set in a Vermont mountain resort, as opposed to a big city therapists office, which is where the first series was set. Or is it? (The show has one of the best surprise endings ever.) It has been six years, six years, since season one came out, but season three is already scheduled for April.

Rocky - The Heavyweight Collection - Buy from Amazon
The second title on this week's list that I'm reviewing for the second time. A lot of people are freaking out on Amazon.com claiming this is just the old box set missing the bonus disc. Well, I can tell you that's not true. What is different about this box set? Check out our review to find out.

Sherlock: Season Three - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the most popular shows on BBC America and the reason why Benedict Cumberbatch has been in so many movies these past few years. This modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes is certainly worth picking, assuming you think of the two-disc sets as three TV movies and not a TV on DVD release. Otherwise the price-per-minute is rather high. Extras include a trio of featurettes, which is on par with most British imports and enough to make it worth the price.

The Summit - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the worst tragedy ever on K2, which is the second highest mountain in the world and considered to be one of the deadliest as well. Will this documentary intrigue even if you are unfamiliar with mountain climbing? Check out our review for my opinion.

Wadjda - Blu-ray Combo Pack - Buy from Amazon
A movie about a young girl trying to raise the money to buy a bike. That doesn't sound like it is enough to carry a movie; however, this young girl lives in Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed the freedom to be in public without a male relative. The film's reviews are nearly perfect. I don't know if there are any extras, but it doesn't matter. Even if there are none, this is still a contender for Pick of the Week.

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A prequel to Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame, which I loved. I didn't get a chance to review this film and there are almost no reviews to judge the movie. It might be worth a blind buy.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-02-11