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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for January 19th, 2010

January 19th, 2010

The flood of home debuts for September releases continues this week and unfortunately there are not a lot of TV on DVD releases or limited releases to take up the slack at the top. There are a few releases that are of interest though, including The Invention of Lying on Blu-ray and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging on DVD. The former probably has more mainstream appeal, but the latter is the better film, and with plenty of extras on the DVD, it is the Pick of the Week.

2081 | based on Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" - Buy from Amazon
That's a cumbersome name. It's a good short story that has previously been adapted into a feature-length movie starring Sean Astin. The movie actually makes more sense than the short story, as they never explain in the short story why people want to force equality. I can understand equality of opportunity, but equality of ability? It sounds like a strawman used to attack liberals.

21 Jump Street - Season One - Buy from Amazon
The show that helped launch Johnny Depp's career. It did the same for Richard Grieco ("Who?" Exactly.) It has been released already, but there were a number of problems with the DVDs (music replacements, misleading cover art, etc. ) that hopefully have been fixed. If nothing else, the price has been drastically cut.

According to Greta - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Hilary Duff continues her attempts to move on from hit child star roots with more mature roles in Indie pics. So far she hasn't been able to find a lot of box office success in these films, nor have many of them earned a lot of critical praise. (I did like War, Inc., but I was not in the majority.) This film has only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but at least both are positive and her performance has been getting good marks in a few other reviews I've seen online. Extras include a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending. The Blu-ray has no additional extras, but it costs less, so it is definitely the way to go. However, it is probably a smart idea to start with a rental.

Across the Hall - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A noir thriller starring Britany Murphy in one of her last roles; in fact, she died just weeks after its Red Carpet premiere. Some people might be drawn to the film because of that fact, but the reviews suggest it was better as a short film. Extras include a handful of making-of featurettes with a total running time of roughly 20 minutes. The Blu-ray costs about 10% more than the DVD, so it is the better deal even though there are no exclusives.

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging - Buy from Amazon
This movie debuted in North America on Nick on New Year's Day and I reviewed the movie and the DVD at the end of December. I have nothing to add that I didn't say then, but I will emphasize that I loved this movie and with a rather loaded DVD, it is a contender for Pick of the Week.

Artie Lange: Jack and Coke - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A new release with mostly old material. If you are a fan of Artie Lange, then it is still worth checking out. However, if you own some of his previous DVDs, then a rental is probably enough. On the other hand, the Blu-ray is cheaper than the DVD, so if you want to see him in High Definition, it's a great deal.

Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening - Buy from Amazon
This stand-up concert DVD comes out on Tuesday while the special aired on TV on Sunday. The review, on the other hand, was publish on Saturday and can be read here.

Blood Creek - Buy from Amazon
A Nazi horror film, which is a narrow sub-genre with more entries than one would think. I'm not sure where this film fits in that list quality-wise, and I won't know until the screener shows up.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: According to Greta, Across the Hall, Artie Lange: Jack and Coke, Boogie Nights, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Che - Criterion Collection, Children of the Corn / Hellraiser, Deadly Duo, Death in Love, Element - Music Experience in 3-Dimensional Sound Reality, Gamer, Ghajini, The Invention of Lying, Magnolia, Pandorum, Smokin' Aces, Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball, Status Quo - Pictures - Live at Montreux, Weeds - Season Five, and Whiteout
Not much in the way of prime Blu-ray releases, as every single wide release making its home market debut this week struggled at the box office. The best-selling release of the week according to Amazon is Weeds, while there are a few limited / Direct-to-DVD releases also in the mix.

The Bourne Trilogy - Blu-ray / DVD Combo Discs - Buy from Amazon: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum
Combining High Definition and Standard Definition on a flipper disc isn't a new idea, but it never caught on with HD-DVD, mainly because it neutralized the few advantages HD-DVD had over Blu-ray. (It cost more to make and it was a bit buggy.) Will it be more successfully implemented on Blu-ray? Check out our review to find out.

Che: The Argentine and Guerrilla - The Criterion Collection: DVD or Blu-ray
This movie is a mess. And I'm not talking about its critical reception, I'm talking about keeping track of it. The full cut is four hours long, so it goes without saying that in many markets it was cut into two parts. However, it wasn't in all markets, so you have three sets of reviewson Rotten Tomatoes. Its scores range from 63% to 76%, which is too wide a margin to judge if it is worth picking up, especially given the Criterion price. On a side note, none of these really live up to the buzz, as there was talk that this film would be an Awards Season player before it came out, which never came to pass. There are a lot of extras here, including an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, and a lot more. Also, the Blu-ray costs $1 less than the DVD. If you are interested in buying, then High Definition is the way to go. However, it might be wise to start with a rental.

Cranford: Return to Cranford - Buy from Amazon
A BBC TV mini-series. This is a sequel to Cranford, which was based on a series of books by E Gaskell. Can also be purchased with the earlier production as part of a Box Set.

Dallas - Season 12 - Buy from Amazon
I hate this show and I don't like the DVD releases. Flipper discs? Really? If the studio is going to do that, they could at least load them up with extras, but most of these releases have had no extras at all.

Damages - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
Glenn Close and Rose Byrne star in this award-winning drama about high stakes litigation. This series has won four Emmys and one Golden Globe (although it went zero for three on Sunday). It also boasts an impressive supporting cast, including William Hurt, Ted Danson, and others. Extras on this three-disc set include a recap of season one, audio commentary tracks on four episodes, deleted scenes, a look back at season two, and more. Worth picking up, especially with season three starting next week.

Defying Gravity - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
It's strange that the box would call this the first season, given that it was canceled and would be more appropriately called the complete series. This Sci-fi series about space exploration never found an audience, but at least fans of the show will be able to finally see the five episodes that didn't air before it was yanked from the schedule.

Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
A lot of the charm of Fraggle Rock comes from the puppet creations, which is obviously lost when the show is animated. Is there still enough here to make it worth checking out, or even picking up? Won't be able to say for sure until the screener arrives.

The Game - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
Although this show has virtually the same target demographic as Girlfriends, which is a show that I like, I was not impressed by season one. Was season two able to change my opinion of the show? Check out our review to find out.

Gamer - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Gerard Butler stars as Kable, a convict who is part of a video game / Reality TV series. The film earned poor reviews and went nowhere at the box office. Was this a deserved fate? I won't be able to say for sure until after the screener arrives.

Girlfriends - Season Eight - Buy from Amazon
Even thought I'm outside the target audience for this show, I've enjoyed the previous seasons I've reviewed. Will I enjoy the final season as much? Check out the review to find out.

Instant Star - Season Three - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian series about a young up-and-coming musician, Jude Harrison (played by Alexz Johnson) and her attempts to navigate the industry. It's a good show and Alexz Johnson shines in the lead (she even won a Gemini Award and was nominated two other times in the show's three-year run). If you are a fan, this is worth picking up. If you haven't seen it, check it out, but start with the previous seasons.

The Invention of Lying - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A slice of social satire that doesn't have the heart to go for the throat. It is still a funny movie, but it doesn't live up to its potential given the subject matter and the cast. Extras include a short film that acts as a prequel to the movie, deleted scenes, outtakes, making-of featurette, and more. Sadly, the Blu-ray has no additional extras, but it only costs 18% more, so it is worth the extra cash. This film absolutely deserves to be seen by more people, and in a soft week, it is even a contender for Pick of the Week.

Jonathan Creek - Season Four - Buy from Amazon
One of three British murder mystery shows coming out this week. And while I prefer New Tricks, this is still a very strong show.

The Keeper - Buy from Amazon
I was given a chance to review this DVD, but I passed since I couldn't sit through the last Steven Seagal film I tried to review. I literally had to get up and walk away from the movie several times just to save my sanity. Even if this movie is ten time better, it is still not worth watching.

Kingdom of the Spiders - Buy from Amazon
It's William Shatner vs. Thousands of Tarantulas in this low-budget "When Animals Attack" film from the 1970s. It has a terrible reputation, but is it really that bad? Check out our review to find out.

Law & Order - Season Seven - Buy from Amazon
Awesome show. Terrible DVD release. I've said it before and it is very likely that I will say it again. Because of the nature of the show, you can watch any epsiode from any season in any order and still enjoy it just as much as watching them all in the right order. Therefore, the DVD needs to have a lot of value-added extras (audio commentary tracks, interviews, etc.) or there's no reason to buy the DVD over just catching the episodes in syndication.

My Fuhrer - Buy from Amazon
A satire about Adolf Hitler. Reviews were mixed with many critics either saying it was offensive or that it was too tame. It's that kind of dichotomy that one would expect given the subject matter. It would be almost impossible to please everyone, so it would have been better if the filmmakers decided to go to the extreme instead of trying to play it safe.

New Tricks - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
I love this show. It's about a group of retired detectives brought back to handle cold cases and the interplay between the three men and their boss is great. The mysteries are also fantastic and there's great replay value in each episode. This is good news, as there are only eight of them on this three-disc set, which is rather pricey on a per minute basis compared to most TV on DVD releases. Still, this is common for imports and it is still worth picking up.

No Greater Love - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD movie aimed at the Churchgoing set. No reviews on Rotten Tomatoes makes it hard to tell if it is a good movie, but it is selling well on Amazon.

No Impact Man - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about a man who decided to see if he could live his life without any negative impact on the environment. He probably should have talked to his wife before he made that decision. The film earned excellent reviews but never really found an audience theatrically. Extras on the DVD include several deleted scenes, a Q&A featurette, and a featurette on the composer. Worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

Outrage - Buy from Amazon
A political documentary about the number of gays and lesbians working in Washington. More specifically, the number of closeted gays and lesbians working for politicians that are trying to prevent other gays and lesbians from getting equal rights. The film earned strong reviews, but some argued that it went too far when it exposed some who wanted to keep their sexual orientation private; however, the filmmakers make the case that once you try to get the government involved in someone else's sex life, you lose the right to privacy in your own. It's not the sexual orientation they are exposing, but the hypocrisy. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, interviews, Q&A session, and more. Easily worth picking up.

Pandorum - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of several September releases coming out on the home market this week. This one isn't the worst, but it certainly isn't good. It was also one of the biggest bombs of the month, but fortunately the DVD release is pretty good. Extras include an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, making-of featurette, and two short films that serve as background for the movie. The Blu-ray has no additional extras, but costs just 10% more. If you are interested in buying, then the Blu-ray is the way to go. On the other hand, for most a rental will be enough.

Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year - Buy from Amazon
This Indian film cost just over $1 million to make, but earned more than double that during its opening weekend at the worldwide box office. Reviews suggest that is should have some crossover appeal and anyone interested in a workplace comedy should check it out.

Smokin Aces 2: Assassins Ball - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
How can they make a sequel of Smokin' Aces? Didn't just about everyone die at the end of the first movie? Maybe it will make sense, but until the screener arrives, I won't be able to say for sure. Can also be purchased as part of the Smokin' Aces Collection, but that's not much of a discount in price.

Streamers - Buy from Amazon
It's been more than 25 years since this movie was release, and nearly 25 years since the play that it is based on came out. How has the movie aged? Check out our review to find out.

thirtysomething - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
I remember when this show first debuted, it struck a cord with its target audience, which was under-served at the time. I also remember the show didn't last on TV as long as the initial buzz suggested it would, but that's all I remember. I'm currently in that target audience, but until the screener arrives I can't say if the show has aged well.

Waking the Dead - Season Four - Buy from Amazon
The third and final British murder mystery show on this week's list. Like most similar releases, it is quite pricey on a per minute basis compared to other TV on DVD releases. However, it is best to consider this season to be six two-hour TV movies rather than a 12-episode season. Looking at it that way and it's a steal.

Weeds - Season Five - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
I reviewed season four and while I liked most of it, it did take a much darker turn than previous seasons. Hopefully season five returns to its roots, but I won't be able to say if it did until the screener arrives.

Whiteout - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This September release earned some of the worst reviews of the year and bombed at the box office. The DVD has a few deleted scenes while the Blu-ray has a couple of featurettes as well. With exclusives and price tag that is just 18% more than the DVD, the Blu-ray is obviously the better deal, but with those reviews, this is strictly for hardcore fans of Kate Beckinsale.


Filed under: Video Releases, The Bourne Ultimatum, Smokin' Aces, Gamer, Whiteout, Outrage, No Impact Man, Mein Fuhrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler, No Greater Love, According to Greta, The Invention of Lying, Pandorum, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Across the Hall, Smokin Aces 2: Assassins Ball, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year