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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for May 17th, 2011

May 16th, 2011

It's kind of an odd week for DVD / Blu-ray releases. While it is a busier week than average when it comes to first run releases, none of them did well with critics and I don't think any of them will be big sellers. There are a few limited releases, TV on DVD releases, and catalogue titles that are vying to make up the difference. As far the best, there's not a lot here that can even compete with The Hustler's Blu-ray debut.

All in the Family: The Complete Ninth Season - Buy from Amazon
One of the best shows of all time, but by season nine it was getting to be hardly recognizable with both Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner leaving the show. That said, it still finished in the top 10 in the ratings for the year, so it still had a lot of fans.

Amanda Knox - Buy from Amazon
Hayden Panettiere stars as the titular Amanda Knox in this ripped from the headlines story. I was supposed to receive a screener for this film, but the release has been delayed with no new release date scheduled.

Beverly Hill Cop - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
One of the biggest hits of the 1980s and starring one of the decade's biggest stars. But has it aged well? And is the Blu-ray worth picking up? Check out our review for my opinion.

The Bionic Woman: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
A high-concept show that ran for three seasons in the 1970s. It has a dedicated fanbase, but I'm not sure if people who discover the show now will see the appeal.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Beverly Hills Cop, The Comancheros, Daydream Nation, Deep Red, Diabolique (The Criterion Collection), Elephant White, The Five Deadly Venoms, Freedom Riders, The Hustler, I Want Your Money, Jagged Edge, Ju-On: White Ghost / Black Ghost, Marriage Italian Style, The Mechanic, The Money Train, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit Part 2, The Other Woman, Pale Flower (The Criterion Collection), The Rite (Blu-ray / DVD Combo), The Rite (Blu-ray Only), The Roommate, Sunflower, Thor: Tales of Asgard, The Twilight Zone: Season Four, Vanishing on 7th Street, and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
It's a great week for Blu-ray releases, if you are interested in catalogue titles. The Hustler is making its Blu-ray debut, as are several Sophia Loren titles. Even The Twilight Zone: Season Four is coming out on High Definition. On the other hand, the first run releases are very weak. The Mechanic might do okay in terms of sales, while there are a couple limited releases I'm interested in (Daydream Nation, for instance). But I don't think the overall sales numbers will be strong.

Broken Hill - Buy from Amazon
I might receive a copy of this DVD to review, but it is late. The film has a few actors in it I like, including Timothy Hutton and Alexa Vega, while the reviews are mixed. I remain cautiously optimistic.

The Comancheros - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
The final film by Oscar-winning director Michael Curtiz had him team up with John Wayne. It's not among the best-known films for either men, but now that it is coming out on Blu-ray, is it worth (re)discovering? Read our review for my opinion.

Covert Affairs: Season One - Buy from Amazon
This show earned its star, Piper Perabo, a Golden Globe nomination. However, the first season is only 11 episodes long, but the DVD is the same price as many shows that are twice as long. The extras are good (audio commentary tracks on three episodes, deleted scenes for most, featurettes, etc.) but that price is still a bit much to ask for the running time.

Daydream Nation - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
There are few films on this week's list that I'm still waiting for the screener to review. Out of those, this film is the one I'm most looking forward to watching. It is a Canadian film, which boosts my interest, while it stars Kat Dennings, who is one of my favorite young actresses. The reviews are good and while there are not a lot of extras, it appears to be worth picking up. I'll know for sure if / when the screener arrives.

Degrassi: Season 10 Part 1 - Buy from Amazon
Great show, but why are they are splitting the season into two? Seems unnecessary, but at least the price-per-minute isn't too high as a result.

Elephant White - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Prachya Pinkaew, the director of such films as Ong-Pak and Tom yum goong, makes his English-language debut with this film. The results are less than satisfying. Critics point out that the script it rather standard action fare and the main actors don't have the martial arts prowess Prachya Pinkaew is used to dealing with, so it fails to have the same level of excitement there.

ESPN Films 30 for 30 Gift Set Collection, Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
30 more sports documentaries from the critically acclaimed series. Depending on what sports you are interested in the most, and how many, there should be enough individual films to make this six-disc box set worth picking up. It can also be purchased with Volume 1 as a Limited Edition Collector Set.

Festival Selects - Buy from Amazon: Best Lesbian Shorts or Best Gay Shorts
Two collections of shorts aimed at LGBT audiences. Will they be a hit with this niche market? Will they find crossover appeal? Read our review for my opinion.

Flashpoint: Third Season - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian show about the SRU, or Strategic Response Unit. (Basically a fictionalized version of SWAT.) I liked the first season when I reviewed it, but I haven't been able to get screeners for the other seasons.

The French Art of Seduction - Buy from Amazon
Four French films about, well, not seduction. Will fans of French Cinema be happy with the selection? Will it be a good introduction for neophytes? Read our review for my opinion.

Gargoyles - Buy from Amazon
These aren't gargoyles, they are grotesques. Gargoyles are specifically used to drain water away from a building. A little bit of useless information for the day.

The Hustler - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
It's been 50 years since this Oscar-winning film was released. Has it aged well? And is its Blu-ray debut worth picking up? Check out our review to find out.

I Want Your Money - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ran
This film opened in way too many theaters for a limited release, it earned no positive reviews, and completely bombed at the box office. The politics, economics, and animation are all well below acceptable levels. Hell, it would have been better if they had used Not even worth renting to mock. And $31 for the Blu-ray?

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
My first encounter with a Justin Bieber song. Was it worth the wait? Check out our review to find out.

Love Kittens - Buy from Amazon
One of two reviews on this week's list for DVD releases that are more than two months old. But in my defense, they did arrive two months late, so there's nothing I could do about that. Was it worth the wait? Read our review to find out.

The Mechanic - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I was hoping to get this film to review, but I'm not optimistic about my chances that a screener will arrive. It appears to be a solid, but typical Jason Statham film, which is good news if you are a fan of the action star. On the other hand, it limits its target audience. Extras on both the DVD and the Blu-ray only include some deleted scenes and a making of featurette, which is not a lot. On the other hand, the Blu-ray is very inexpensive and is only $1 more than the DVD, while it is BD-Live enabled. For most fans, it is worth picking up, while going High Definition is the smarter choice.

Mob Rules - Buy from Amazon
Two British thieves head to Los Angeles to steal from the former partner of one of them. It's a classic setup for this type of story, but how is the execution? Check out our review to find out.

Nickelodeon Favorites: Food With Friends - Buy from Amazon
Six episodes from six Nickelodeon preschool shows, all centered around the theme of food. So what shows are featured and are there any extras? Read our review to find out.

Note: This DVD / Blu-ray made its home market debut on the 10th.

No Strings - DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
The Blu-ray arrived just a day late, but I was able to get to the review over the weekend. I mentioned last weekend that I was optimistic, but was this optimism rewarded? Follow the link to find out.

The Other Woman - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of a few new releases that I'm still waiting for the screener. Given the reviews and the lack of extras, I would say its probably only worth a rental. Certainly start with a rental if you are interested.

RiffTrax: LIVE! - Buy from Amazon: House on Haunted Hill: DVD or Blu-ray and Reefer Madness: DVD or Blu-ray
A great show taken on the road for two live performances. If you are fan of MST3k, RiffTrax, The Film Crew, etc., then these are worth picking up. One note, the DVDs come out this week, but the Blu-rays don't come out till July. They only cost $2 more than the DVD, but I'm not sure if that will make a huge difference, considering the age of the films. The fact that they are live performances might be enough.

The Rite - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
Despite its reviews, this film beat expectations at the box office. However, that's only because it was expected to bomb hard. Its box office difficulties explain why the only extras on the DVD are some deleted scenes. Meanwhile, the Blu-ray has an alternate ending and a featurette on real life exorcism. Given the reviews, it's simply not worth picking up. It's not even worth renting.

The Roommate - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
If this movie doesn't end up as one of the worst movies of the year, we are in trouble. The only question is, is it so bad it's good? Many critics claimed that it was too boring, so that's not a good sign on that front. As for the extras, they are pretty limited (audio commentary / deleted scenes on the DVD while the Blu-ray has an additional couple featurettes) and for most it is purely skippable.

Royal Pains: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
A medical show where the lead character, Dr. Hank Lawson, works in a high-priced resort and deals with high maintenance rich people. Reviews have been mixed while there's enough extras on the four-disc set to satisfy most fans, so if you are a fan of medical mystery shows, it's worth checking out.

South Riding - Buy from Amazon
Anna Maxwell Martin stars as Sarah Burton, who returns to her home to take over as headmistress of an exclusive boarding school for girls. She earned a nomination at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival for her performance, but it is not one of the BBC's most acclaimed productions of recent years.

Thor: Tales of Asgard - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
One of several releases where the screener is late. I enjoyed the comics as a kid, so I'm looking forward to this adaptation.

Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job: Season 5 - Buy from Amazon
A sketch comedy show that's a little too hit and miss for my taste.

Vanishing on Seventh Street - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A short blackout results in the disappearance of nearly every person on Earth, but a group of survivors gather in a local bar and try to figure out a way to survive. Is is compelling enough to watch? Check out our review for my opinion.


Filed under: Video Releases, Beverly Hills Cop, Jagged Edge, Money Train, The Hustler, Broken Hill, The Roommate, I Want Your Money, Daydream Nation, The Rite, The Mechanic, No Strings Attached, Vanishing on Seventh Street, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, The Other Woman, Mob Rules, Elephant White