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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for February 23rd, 2010

February 23rd, 2010

We're still in that no-man's land for the home market: it's way too late to take advantage of the Christmas shopping season and it's still too early for most Awards Season releases to be on shelves. There are a few wide releases coming out this week, but only one of them, The Informant!, is worth buying on either DVD or Blu-ray. The best release of the week, and the winner of our Pick of the Week honor, is The Damned United, which is worth picking up on DVD or Blu-ray. Meanwhile, Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day - Blu-ray earns the coveted and rarely-awarded Puck of the Week.

$9.99 - Buy from Amazon
A stop-motion animated movie about a man trying to learn the meaning of life, which apparently can be found in a book that costs a mere $9.99. The film earned good reviews, but went nowhere at the box office. Perhaps that's why it took so long to come out on DVD (it was first released in theaters more than a year ago, albeit as a limited Oscar-qualifier run). Definitely worth checking out for most, maybe even worth a blind buy if you are a fan of claymation.

Adam-12: Season Four - Buy from Amazon
One of Jack Webb's many TV shows, this one focuses on two beat cops and does so in a very realistic manner. It is not as flashy as some other shows in this genre from the era, which helps it age better than its companions.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Analyze This Double Feature, The Box, Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, The Crazies, The Damned United, Dead Snow, Dirty Harry Double-Feature, Grumpy Old Men Double Feature, The Informant, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Miss Congeniality Double Feature, Motherhood, Neil Diamond: Hot August Night/NYC - Live from Madison Square Garden, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, Presumed Innocent / Frantic Double Feature, Nurse Jackie: Season One, Sorority Row, Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day, The Universe: The Complete Season Four, and Wrong Side of Town
A rather big list of Blu-ray releases, but it is also rather short on quality. Most of the wide releases struggled with critics and at the box office. Only one of them, The Informant!, is truly worth picking up. There are some smaller releases, like Dead Snow and Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day that help pick up the slack, while Nurse Jackie and Justice League are also worth picking up. However, for the most part this list is filled with wide releases that disappointed at the box office and double-features that are just double-dips.

The Box - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Not quite the return to form Richard Kelly fans were hoping for. However, it wasn't a complete waste either. It is worth checking out. Extras on the DVD include just an interview with the author of the original story, Richard Matheson, while the Blu-ray has that, an audio commentary track, a "making-of" featurette, a featurette on the special effects, and three short 'prequels'. None of this pushes the technology, but I applaud the studio for giving more to those who have made the upgrade. The DVD is worth a rental, the Blu-ray is worth picking up.

Breakfast With Scot - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian movie about a gay couple who become the guardians of a 11-year old boy, whom they think might be gay as well. Its reviews were mixed, but I can't say if I'm in the pro or con camp till the screener arrives.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Like a cross between Harry Potter and Twilight. Okay, that might not be fair, but I think that was the impression a lot of people had, which is why it bombed at the box office. Granted, it wasn't a great movie, or even a good one, but it was better than its box office performance. As for the home market releases, the DVD has a couple featurettes about the making of the movie and its wide cast of characters, plus some deleted scenes. The Blu-ray has more deleted scenes, a Picture-in-Picture track, and it is BD-Live enabled. If you are interested in buying, then the Blu-ray is the way to go, but I think a rental will be enough for most.

Corner Gas - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An excellent show about life in a small Canadian town. The show's run is over, but it is now coming out on DVD in the United States at a very reasonable price.

The Damned United - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A movie about soccer, or as they say in the U.K., soccer. (Soccer is a British term.) Despite earning unbelievably positive reviews (with a lot of praise aimed at Michael Sheen), the film went nowhere here. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, some deleted scenes, a compilation of Cloughisms, two "making-of" featurettes, a look at soccer in the 1970s, and a look back at Brian Clough. Meanwhile, the Blu-ray is BD-Live enabled and doesn't cost too much. Even if you are not a fan of the sport, it is worth checking out. If you are a fan of the sport, it is worth picking up.

Dead Snow - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Two words: Nazi Zombies. Granted, this horror / comedy isn't exactly overflowing with originality, but it does have real cult appeal and I think they are already working on a remake. There are plenty of extras on the DVD/Blu-ray, especially for an import, with several "making-of" featurettes, outtakes, etc. The Blu-ray is a bargain compared to the DVD. Worth picking up, but maybe start with a rental if you are merely a casual fan of the genre.

Double Identity - Buy from Amazon
Just a quick note that the screener to the Val Kilmer movie arrived earlier today and I will get to the featured review A.S.A.P.

Everybody's Fine - Buy from Amazon
It would be overstating things to say this movie helped cause the demise of Miramax, as the studio was on life support long before the movie was made. However, when it bombed at the box office, it certainly didn't help matters. Is the film better than its box office performance? Almost certainly, but check out our review for more on the DVD.

FlashForward: Season One, Part One - Buy from Amazon
This film had a lot of buzz going in, but does it live up to the hype? And is this DVD worth picking up, or should you wait for the full season set? Check out our review to find out.

Ghost Hunters: Season Five, Part One - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV + Pseudo-Science = Ugh.

The Informant! - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Matt Damon stars as the real life whistleblower Mark Whitacre, who helped break the case of price fixing in the food industry. Reviews were good and the film did well for a September release. Extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray include an audio commentary track and some deleted scenes, which isn't much, but it is still worth picking up. On the other hand, had there been a full slate of extras it could have been a contender for Pick of the Week.

Jersey Shore: Season 1 Uncensored - Buy from Amazon
As I write, this reality TV show is the second best selling release for the week on I weep for the species. If there are any aliens reading this, I beseech you: please invade our planet and put us out of our misery.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc DVD, Two-Disc DVD, or Blu-ray
The latest D.C.Comics release is an amalgam of the many, many dimensional crossover stories that have been published by the comic book company. Most other D.C. releases have ranged from merely average to good, but they are rarely great. The buzz is that this is one of the better films and should please fans, while have more crossover appeal than most. Extras on the Single-Disc DVD are limited and it's strictly a rental. On the other hand, the Two-Disc DVD is loaded with interviews, a short film, and a preview for the upcoming Batman: Under the Red Hood. Easily worth picking up. Meanwhile, the Blu-ray has all of that plus bonus episodes and two live-action pilots. It's the obvious choice, as $20 is not a lot to pay given the amount of extras on the Blu-ray.

LeapFrog Math Adventure to the Moon - Buy from Amazon
This DVD is selling very well compared to most releases this week, at least according to We have a copy for giveaway, which will be part of our Weekly Box Office Prediction contest, as soon as the Oscar hiatus ends.

LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers - Buy from Amazon
A CG animated cartoon based on the popular toys. It's obviously made for young kids and it should please its target audience.

Make Way for Tomorrow - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Directed by Leo McCarey, who throughout his career earned eight Oscar nominations, winning three of them. It is about an elderly couple who lose their home and have to live separately because none of their five kids will take them both in. A great film that has aged very well. Extras include an audio commentary track, an interview, and a booklet with cartoons, images, and essays. Worth picking up.

Midsomer Murders: Set 14 - Buy from Amazon
Not so much a TV series as a series of TV movies. (Each episode is 100 minutes long. That's a movie.) For fans of British murder mysteries, it's a must have. It's even worth a blind buy.

Motherhood - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Uma Thurman hasn't had a real hit since Kill Bill, and this film didn't end her slump. The reviews were weak, and its box office performance was even weaker. Extras include an audio commentary track and some interviews, but that's not enough to lift it past a rental. Even calling it a decent rental might be too generous.

My Three Sons: Season Two, Volume One - Buy from Amazon
A great show. It's old-fashioned, but for the most part still works. That said, a lot of fans are not happy with the DVD releases, as there have been problems with music replacements. Splitting the season into two volumes didn't help, either.

Night Court: The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
A good show that lasted a couple seasons more than it should have. This is the first season with Markie Post as Christine Sullivan, not to mention John Astin in a recurring role as Buddy Ryan. When Marsha Warfield joined the cast in season four, playing bailiff Roz Russell, it became the show that most remember today. Even without extras, it is hard to beat the price and it is worth picking up.

Nurse Jackie - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The latest series from Showtime stars Edie Falco as a dedicated nurse that has to balance work and home, which is made more complicated by her addiction to prescription painkillers. I had high expectations going in, but could the show live up to them? Check out our review to find out.

Project Runway: Season Six - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV, but not soul-crushing Reality TV. Even so, it may have jumped the shark.

The September Issue - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the creation of the September issue of Vogue, which is apparently considered the bible of the fashion world. I say apparently, because I know nothing of fashion and the only reason I would pick up a copy of Vogue was if I needed something heavy with which to hit someone (the 2007 issue weighted in at five pounds) So the film had a steep climb to win me over. Could it do it? Check out our review to find out.

Sinbad: Where U Been? - Buy from Amazon
Sinbad's first comedy special in more than a decade. But has his act aged well, or does he feel like a relic from the past? Check out our review to find out my opinion.

Sorority Row - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon
This Teenage Slasher remake tells the cautionary tale of what happens when a college prank goes fatally wrong. Quite possibly the only thing worse than its reviews was its box office performance. Extras include a couple interview featurettes, some deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a few outtakes, and a Kill Switch version of the movie that is just all ten kill scenes cut together. The Blu-ray has no additional extras and costs more than it should. Then again, unless you are hardcore fan of the original, the genre, and/or specific members of the cast, it's not even worth a rental.

Superjail!: Season One - Buy from Amazon
One of the stranger Adult Swim shows, and that's saying a lot. It's about the world's largest and weirdest jail, run by an insane warden. Its inmates include super-powered twins. It was popular enough to get a second season, although the premiere date is unknown at the moment.

Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
It is rare for a Canadian film to earn a DVD / Blu-ray release in the United States, so when I got a chance to review such a release, I jumped at it. You can read the resulting review here.

The Universe: The Complete Season Four - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A popular A&E program that looks at everything out there. Could take a long time to review, but I won't know for sure until after the screener arrives.

Wrong Side of Town - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A direct-to-DVD action flick starring professional wrestler Rob Van Dam. At least it won't be burdened by great expectations. Check out our review here.


Filed under: Video Releases, The Informant!, Sorority Row, The September Issue, $9.99, Dod sno, Breakfast with Scot, Everybody's Fine, The Damned United, Motherhood, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Wrong Side of Town, The Box, Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day