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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for August 16th, 2011

August 16th, 2011

It's a deceptively busy week, as there are several significant releases hitting the home market on Tuesday. However, most of these are wide releases that flopped, to one degree or another. In fact, one of the best selling releases of the week is Jane Eyre, an early success story in limited release. When a limited release could conceivably lead the way in sales... well, that's a sure sign of weakness in the overall market. As for the best release of the week, that would have to go to The Big Lebowski Limited Edition Blu-ray Digibook. The latest season of Dexter would come close, but while the show is great, the releases are not Pick of the Week material.

The Bang Bang Club - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A film that looks at the lives of four photojournalists and their role in covering war. The reviews were only mixed, but it does tell an important story so I'm looking forward to reviewing it when the screener arrives.

Batman: Brave & The Bold - Season Two, Part One - Buy from Amazon
A popular cartoon based on D.C. Comics' most popular character. I don't like how they split the season into two parts, but it is still worth picking up.

The Best and the Brightest - Buy from Amazon
This film has a good cast, but the reviews were weak and it never came close to finding an audience theatrically. If you are a fan of some of the cast members, it might be worth a rental, but that's as enthusiastic as I can be.

The Big Lebowski - Limited Edition Digibook Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
One of the most quoted films made in the 1990s. It is finally making its Blu-ray debut here, but it has been released on a number of DVDs, so is the Blu-ray debut worth upgrading to? Read our review for my opinion.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Armed and Dangerous, Assassins, The Bang Bang Club, The Big Lebowski, Cobra, The Conspirator, Cul-de-sac: The Criterion Collection, Demolition Man, Dexter: Season Five, Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil, Jane Eyre, The Killing: The Criterion Collection, Meet Monica Velour, Muppets from Space, Muppets take Manhattan, Outcasts: Season One, Priest, Something Borrowed, The Specialist, That's What I Am, and The Ward
Slow week for Blu-ray releases. According to, the number one selling release is The Big Lebowski, which is a great film, but it is a catalog title. Number two is Dexter, which is a TV on DVD show, which also don't sell well on Blu-ray. On a side note, there are a few other catalog titles of interest to me, including Muppets Take Manhattan and Demolition Man.

Blu-ray 3-D releases - Buy from Amazon: Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil and Priest
Two 3D Blu-rays coming out this week, which is a lot more than most weeks. While it seems every wide release coming out in theaters is being shown in 3D, home market adoption of the technology hasn't quite taken off. Given the quality of the two releases coming out this week, I don't think that will change right away.

Note: This Blu-ray made its home market debut on the 2nd.

Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I love Burn Notice and think it is a near perfect balance of action and humor. Much of the humor of the show comes from Bruce Campbell, who plays Sam Axe. The prequel was hyped quite a bit and a lot of people watched it on TV when it first aired, but did it live up to the hype? Is it worth checking out if you missed it? Is it worth picking up? Read our review for my opinion.

The Conspirator - Buy from Amazon: Two-Disc DVD or Blu-ray
This film opened in semi-limited release, which is usually a big mistake. However, it had a lot of buzz going in and many thought that would be enough to thrive. It wasn't. It didn't bomb, but it wasn't a hit either. Part of the problem were the reviews, which were only mixed. A lot of critics complained that the politics overshadowed everything else. I won't know if I agree with that assessment till after the screener arrives.

Dexter - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the best shows on TV, but after big changes at the end of season four, would it continue being one of the best? Check out our review to find out.

Elvira's Movie Macabre - Buy from Amazon: The Brain That Wouldn't Die / The Manster and The Terror / Eegah!
Still waiting on the screeners for these two DVDs. I like Elvira so I'm looking forward to reviewing it, but since I didn't get the previous two DVDs, I'm not overly optimistic they will arrive.

Fanboy and Chum Chum: Brain Freeze - Buy from Amazon
I've reviewed a lot of kids shows and while I'm not in the target demographic for this show, I've seen enough of its direct competition to know if such a show is working or not. So what's the verdict? Check out our review for my opinion.

Note: This Blu-ray made its home market debut on the 9th.

The Fox and the Hound / The Fox and the Hound 2 - Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack - Buy from Amazon
The first film isn't exactly considered a classic from Disney, while the second film was direct-to-DVD and was one of the last before that line was cut. They are being released on one Blu-ray, but it is worth checking out? Picking up? Or does it deserve to be considered part of the low point of the history of the studio? Read our review for my opinion.

The Grace Card - Buy from Amazon
A film aimed strictly at churchgoers that many critics found heavy-handed and preachy. It didn't exactly bomb at the box office, but it also wasn't a real hit either. Both of these factors suggest there's very little crossover appeal here.

The Gruffalo - Buy from Amazon
An Oscar nominated short film narrated by Helena Bonham Carter. It is a short film, so the price-per-minute is a little high, but on par with TV on DVD releases and worth picking up.

Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack, or 3D / Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
The screener for this film just arrived today, so I will get to the review A.S.A.P.

Jane Eyre - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An early success story at the box office. This film opened in limited release but was able to earn over $10 million at the box office, which is more than a few wide releases managed. It earned excellent reviews and if it were opening in theaters in a couple months, I would assume it would be an Awards Season contender. Extras on both the DVD and the Blu-ray include an audio commentary and a few short featurettes, while the Blu-ray is also BD-Live enabled. Fans of costume dramas in general, or of Brontë in particular, will certainly want to own this film and the Blu-ray is a marginally better deal.

Marley and Me: The Puppy Years
Just a quick note that this film is coming out this week on DVD and Blu-ray, but only as a Walmart / Sam's Club exclusive. I'll talk about it in depth when it is in general release, as I think I'll be getting a screener then.

Meet Monica Velour - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Kim Cattrall stars as a former porn star who meets Tobe her biggest fan. Overall reviews are mixed, but the screener is late so I don't know which group I side with.

Note: These Blu-rays made their home market debuts on the 26th of July.

National Lampoon's Animal House - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon and The Blues Brothers - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Arguably the best National Lampoon's film and arguably the best Saturday Night Live movie coming out on Blu-ray on the same day. (Of course that day was last month.) Are either of them worth picking up? Perhaps both of them? Check out our review for my opinion.

Paranormal State: Season Five - Buy from Amazon
Tagline: Believe yet? ... No. Not even close.

Priest - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or 3D Blu-ray
This film was pushed back a few times before opening during the second weekend of May. Nearly every weekend of summer is a prime time to open a film, except for the second weekend of May. It was expected to struggle with critics and with moviegoers, but managed to underperform with both groups. In fact, with just 17% positive reviews, it is one of the worst reviewed wide releases of the summer. The DVD has the usual extras (audio commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes) while the Blu-ray does have some exclusives (Picture-in-Picture, BD-Live enabled), but I think calling it just a rental is being generous.

Queen to Play - Buy from Amazon
Kevin Kline's first foreign language role. The film did well with critics, for the most part, and while it didn't start out great, it held on better than expected. It's worth checking out, and for most worth picking up over just renting, even if there are not a lot of extras on the DVD (just a making of featurette).

Note: This Blu-ray made its home market debut on the 2nd.

Rio - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Two-Disc Party Edition DVD, Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack, or 3-D Blu-ray / Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
This film was one of the few bright spots at the box office this spring, but will its appeal extend beyond kids and to adult aficionados of computer animation? And is it worth picking up on DVD or Blu-ray? Check out our review for my opinion.

Something Borrowed - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
One of the worst-reviewed wide releases of the summer. It also failed to make much of an impact at the box office. The DVD only has some deleted scenes, while the Blu-ray has outtakes and a handful of featurettes. Neither is worth renting.

Spin City: Season Five - Buy from Amazon
This is the year Charlie Sheen took over. Still waiting for the screener, but I remember the transition going smoothly, more or less. While I like Micheal J. Fox better on the show, it was still very entertaining.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Season 9 - Buy from Amazon
One of a handful of DVDs / Blu-rays where I'm still waiting on the screener. I only watched a couple a seasons of the show, so I have no idea what it was like this far into its run.

That's What I Am - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Made by WWE Films, but it's not the typical action film they are known for. It did earn better reviews than the average for the studio, but it didn't find a bigger audience. The DVD has deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes, and more. The Blu-ray has some exclusive featurettes and it is the better deal.

VeggieTales: Princess & The Popstar - Buy from Amazon
The VeggieTales spin on the popular The Prince and the Pauper story. I've always liked these DVDs and I wish I was able to review more of them.

The Ward - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
It has been a while since John Carpenter has had a hit with critics and moviegoers. In fact, he hadn't made any film in nearly a decade. Sadly, this film didn't end his streak. The reviews were weak, while it never found an audience in limited release. The only extra on either the DVD or the Blu-ray is an audio commentary track limiting the value to a rental, and that's only if you like John Carpenter or Amber Heard.


Filed under: Video Releases, National Lampoon's Animal House, Demolition Man, The Blues Brothers, Cobra, The Fox and the Hound, Assassins, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Big Lebowski, Muppets From Space, The Specialists, Priest, Rio, The Fox and the Hound 2, Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil, Armed and Dangerous, The Bang Bang Club, The Conspirator, Something Borrowed, Jane Eyre, The Ward, The Grace Card, That's What I Am, Meet Monica Velour, Joueuse, The Best and the Brightest, Marley and Me: The Puppy Years