DVD and Blu-ray Releases for May 27th, 2014

While summer time is a great time for theatrical releases, it is a terrible time on the home market. This week, there are nearly no first-run releases, and the one that came out, Endless Love, earned terrible reviews and failed to find an audience in theaters. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of other releases to make up for the lack of first-run releases. There are some catalog releases, like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which is coming out on Blu-ray. There are also some summer shows coming out on DVD ahead of the premiere of the latest season, like Suits: Season Three. There's not much in the way of contenders for Pick of the Week. Cheap Thrills is one such contender, but I'm still waiting for the DVD or the Blu-ray screener to arrive. This leaves Journey to the West on Blu-ray as the only choice for Pick of the Week.

A Birder's Guide to Everything - Buy from Amazon
A coming of age story that revolves around the discovery of a duck that was thought to have gone extinct. The reviews were excellent, but it couldn't find an audience in theaters. Hopefully that will change on the home market.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Aquarion EVOL - Season 2, Part 2, Death Spa, Eden and After, Greatest Wrestling Factions, Jack Irish: Set 2, Longmire: Seasons 1 & 2, The Man Who Lies, Motto to Love Ru: Season 2, Red River (Criterion Collection), and SERENGETI - Nature's Greatest Journey
Not a lot of secondary Blu-ray releases of note this week. Death Spa is kind of interesting, because it apparently never came out on DVD.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Buy from Amazon
The only 3D release this week is an erotic box set.

The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
All six seasons from this classic 1970s sitcom. A lot of people are complaining that this Megaset is coming out while seasons five and six were never released separately. However, since Fox stopped releasing individual seasons in 2006, I think it is safe to say most people didn't grab them when they came out originally. I also think it is safe to say Shout!Factory, who now has the DVD rights, will release the seasons individually later on. In the meantime, if you don't have any of the seasons on DVD but like Bob Newhart's sense of humor, then this is worth picking up.

Cheap Thrills - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A man who just lost his job and is about to be evicted gets roped into doing dares for money by a rich millionaire and his wife. The film's reviews are excellent and I'm really looking forward to seeing it, but the screener is late.

Child's Pose - Buy from Amazon
After her son kills someone in a car crash, Cornelia tries to convince everyone her son wasn't recklessly speeding and caused the accident. The reviews are amazing and it opened well in limited release, for a foreign-language film, but struggled to expand.

Cimarron Strip: Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
The label "Complete Series" is a bit of a stretch, as the show only lasted one season. In fact, it was one of the last TV Westerns from the golden era of the genre. It is also an odd show, because it's running time was 90 minutes (with commercials). If you are a fan of the genre, it is worth checking out, even if it is not as well remembered as Gunsmoke or Bonanza.

Covert Affairs: Season 4 - Buy from Amazon
Piper Perabo stars as a CIA trainee promoted to field agent to help catch her ex-boyfriend. The show's fifth season begins on the 24th of June, but ratings for the last season were much lower than for the first two seasons, so I'm not sure how much longer it will last. Hopefully it will get a good ending, whenever that happens.

Diagnosis Murder - Buy from Amazon: Season Seven and Season Eight
The final two seasons of this murder mystery series hits the home market this weekend. It is not the best in the genre, but still rather good.

Dan Curtis' Dracula - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
An adaptation of Bram Stroker's Dracula starring Jack Palance. He's not the first choice I would make, but does it work? And is the Blu-ray worth picking up? Check out our review for my opinion.

Dragons: Defenders of Berk Part 2 - Buy from Amazon
A TV adaptation of How to Train Your Dragon. It is one of the better cartoons based on a movie, but I didn't get a screener for this particular release to review. It is not as good as the movie, but should entertain its target demographic.

Endless Love - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
In the original novel, David becomes obsessively in love with Jade, begins to stalk her and she is even scared of him. In this movie, David and Jade are truly in love and her parents are the bad guys for not accepting that. It is easy to see why critics didn't like the movie. Extras on the DVD include just a making of featurette, while the Blu-ray has Deleted, Extended, and Alternative scenes, including an extended ending. That's lower than average for a first-run release and certainly not enough to be worth picking up. I wouldn't even recommend renting it. The Endless Love is also coming out on DVD this week. It is a better movie, but not by enough to matter.

Gambit - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A heist film with lots of talent on both sides of the camera. However, the reviews are terrible. If the premise looks good, grab the original. It's a much better movie.

Hitler & The Nazis - Buy from Amazon
A TV documentary series about Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany. The screener arrived without notice, but I didn't have room in my schedule to get to it. I'll put it into the prize pool and give it away in a couple of weeks.

How to Train Your Dragon - Collector's Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack - Buy from Amazon
The sequel comes out in just a couple of weeks, so it makes sense to re-release the original on a special edition Blu-ray. But is this edition truly special? Or is it a cash grab. Read our review review to find out.

Journey to the West - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The latest film from writer / director Stephen Chow. How does it compare to Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer? And is the Blu-ray worth picking up? Check out our review for my opinion.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Criterion Collection Blu-ray Buy from Amazon
Wes Anderson's weakest movie. It has a good sense of style and it is rather unique, but the story and the characters seem more forced this time around. Extras include an audio commentary track, behind-the-scenes featurette, making of featurette, lots of interviews, and more. If you liked the movie, it is worth picking up. It normally wouldn't be a contender for Pick of the Week, but it is a slow week.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Series 2 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An Australian murder mystery TV series set in the 1920s. Fans of British murder mystery shows know the drill by this point. This is a a great show, but the price-per-minute is really high for TV on DVD releases. Worth checking out if you like the genre, but only worth picking up if you are not deterred by the price. Strangely, the Blu-ray is $1 cheaper than the DVD. It is still more expensive than most TV on Blu-ray releases, not not outrageously so.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 13th.

Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
The screener arrived a little late, but I got the review done this weekend. How do the movies compare to the TV series? And is the box set worth picking up? Read our review for my opinion.

Run & Jump - Buy from Amazon
A wife has to run the household after her husband has a devastating stroke. A doctor arrives to document how the family is handling the situation, for research. At first she hates having yet another person in the home, but soon the pair connect. The film's reviews were excellent, but it opened below the Mendoza Line and quickly disappeared from theaters. Hopefully it will find an audience in theaters.

Sleepaway Camp (Collector's Edition) - Blu-ray Combo Pack - Buy from Amazon
A teenage slasher from the 1980s. According to Amazon.com, it is in the top ten best-selling new releases of the week. It has earned a cult following since it came out, but this ranking shows how weak the new releases are overall.

Suits: Season Three - Buy from Amazon
This show centers on Mike Ross, a law school drop-out with a photographic memory, who pretends to be a lawyer. This is a good summer show, but this is a rather crowded genre. Psych, White Collar, etc. are all similar shows and if you like one, you will probably like the others, but won't have time to watch all of them.

Universe - Season 7: Ancient Mysteries Solved - DVD or Blu-ray
This show can be good, but History has a really bad track record when it comes to "ancient mysteries". I would proceed with caution.

Wallander: Season 3 - Buy from Amazon
A Swedish murder mystery show. Like most such imports, the price-per-minute is rather high compared to the average TV on DVD release. However, since the episodes are 90 minutes each, you could consider this a series of TV movies, in which case the price is pretty good.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-05-26