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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for April 20th, 2010

April 20th, 2010

Paradoxically, this is arguably the biggest week of the year on the home market, as well as one of the slowest. It is the biggest because it marks the release of Avatar on DVD and Blu-ray. However, it is also one of the slowest, because Avatar scared away a lot of other releases. Looking down the list of top sellers and it isn't long before you find busted Oscar bait, TV movies, Direct-to-DVD releases, etc. I expect records could be broken this week, but it is a top-heavy list. As for Pick of the Week contenders, Avatar is obviously a contender, but I'm holding off until the screener arrives. For that matter, there are an awful lot of screeners for this week that are late.

44 Inch Chest - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A British gangster movie, which is a rather crowded sub-genre. Mixed reviews didn't help it at the box office. There's plenty of extras on the DVD / Blu-ray, with an audio commentary track, a "making of" featurette, some interviews, etc. but the Blu-ray is too expensive to be worth picking up.

Avatar - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo
Just a quick note on this release... actually, two of them. First, the DVD and the Blu-ray do not come out till Thursday. Second, the screeners won't ship till then. Since it has to cross the border to get to me, it might not make it till after the weekend, so the review might not come online till next Thursday.

The Basketball Diaries - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Not the kind of movie you think of when you think of High Definition. While this low budget Indie drama is unlikely to push the boundaries of what Blu-ray can do, is there at least enough here to be worth checking out? Read our review for my opinion.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: 44 Inch Chest, Avatar, The Basketball Diaries, Batman, Batman Returns, Battleship Potemkin, Cheech & Chong's Hey Watch This, Crazy Heart, Fist of Legend, Incognito Live In London: The 30th Anniversary Concert, The Lovely Bones, Minority Report, Summer Hours, and The Young Victoria
The list of Blu-ray releases can be divided up into Avatar and the rest. Avatar isn't the only film worth picking up here, but its sales will dominate the chart, even though it doesn't come out till Thursday.

Cheech & Chong's Hey Watch This - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A documentary / concert film that takes a look at Cheech and Chong's reunion tour, "Light Up America". Extras on both the DVD and the Blu-ray include deleted scenes, such as extended stand-up bits, which makes this worth picking up for fans. However, this isn't the type of film you really need to see in High Definition.

Crazy Heart - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film earned amazing reviews with most of the praise going to Jeff Bridges, who won his first Oscar after four previous nominations. Strangely, while the film was a major player during awards season and it earned nearly $40 million after opening in limited release, the DVD is weak with just a few deleted / alternate scenes. The Blu-ray has additional deleted / alternate scenes, as well as some interviews, so it is absolutely worth spending the extra $2 to upgrade. That said, if it had a full set of extras, it could have been a contender for the Pick of the Week.

Defendor - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Blu-ray
Just a short note that the DVD screener arrived, but not in time to get the review online for this week. Hopefully I will get it done today or tomorrow.

The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie! - Buy from Amazon
Drawn Together was a show that was too extreme for most people, but it had its fans. Will these fans like the movie? Check out our review to hear my opinion.

Falcon Crest: Season One - Buy from Amazon
A nighttime soap about two rival families living in California's wine country. I'm not a fan of the genre, but those who are should be happy to get the first season on DVD, even if it appears it is being released on a featureless 4-disc DVD.

Fish Out of Water - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about what the Bible says about gays and lesbians. An interesting topic, but the screener arrived too late to get the review online by today.

Handy Manny: Big Race - Buy from Amazon
Wilmer Valderrama provides the voice for Manny, a fix-it man who works with a tool box full of talking tools. Normally these DVDs arrive early, so I'll have to check why the screener isn't here yet.

Heartland: The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian TV series about life on a ranch. I can't go into more detail than that, because despite it being a Canadian series, I've never seen it. Hopefully the screener will get here soon so that can change.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Season One - Buy from Amazon
One of the most popular syndicated show of its day (1995 - 1999). Based on Greek mythology... well, loosely based on Greek mythology... it tells the stories of the travels of Hercules and his friend, Iolaus. The show never took itself too seriously and it was very funny, even if it was a little on the campy side at time. Hercules was previously released on DVD, but at a rather high price. (In their defense, it was at the very early stages of TV on DVD when the average price for a full season was about twice what it is now.) So if you held off, now is a great time to pick it up.

Homecoming - Buy from Amazon
Mischa Barton stars in this thriller as a woman who becomes obsessed with her ex-boyfriend. Mischa Barton had a small but important part in The Sixth Sense before breakout success on The O.C., but she hasn't been able to turn that into a major movie career. Given the reviews, it is unlikely that this film will change that.

The Lovely Bones - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film had a lot of hype surrounding it from long before it hit theaters. However, it wasn't able to live up to this hype, either with critics or at the box office. Was this a case of the Curse of Great Expectations? Or was the film genuinely flawed? Check out our review to read my opinion.

Merlin: The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
The King Arthur myths, but with all the protagonists in their teens. There have been many comparisons to Harry Potter, as well as comparisons to Smallville, both good and bad. Fans of the legends should be interested, while the extras on the 5-disc set are better than expected. On a side note, included in the cast is Anthony Head from Buffy, who has earned quite a bit of praise from genre fans for his performance in this show. He is also the main reason I'm interested in seeing it.

Minority Report - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
A big hit from 2002 that earned good reviews. However, can it live up to the original short story by Philip K. Dick, or is that setting the bar too high? The short answers are "No" and "Yes", but read our review for more details.

My Fake Fiance - Buy from Amazon
Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence team up in this TV movie that aired on ABC Family last year. Coincidentally, they also star together in a TV series that debuts on ABC family later this summer. I'm more interested in the TV show than this movie, as ABC Family does not have a great record when it comes to TV movies.

Naked Ambition: An R Rated Look at an X Rated Industry - Buy from Amazon
Based on the book of the same name, this film looks at the porn industry. Its reviews were only mixed and its target audience it probably rather limited.

Necrosis - Buy from Amazon
A horror film that stars, among other people, Tiffany. Yes, Tiffany, the 1980s teenage pop star. I hope to get the screener to this DVD shortly.

Neowolf - Buy from Amazon
A movie about Rock 'n' Roll werewolves. Is it as bad as it sounds? Click here to find out.

Peacock - Buy from Amazon
A Direct-to-DVD release starring Cillian Murphy, Susan Sarandon, Ellen Page, and others. That cast alone should have been enough to earn the film at least a token theatrical release, so was it really a mess, or was there something else at work here? Check out our review to read my opinion.

Perry Mason: Season Five, Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
Excellent TV series, mediocre DVD releases. Not only do they have no extras, they split the season into two parts. I won't even be able to say if the episodes are better than average for the run till after the screener arrives.

Pressure Cooker - Buy from Amazon
Just a quick note that the screener arrived on Monday, which is not enough time to get the review online. It will happen shortly.

Prom Wars - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian movie that tells the story of an All Girls School that tests two other boarding schools for the right to date their members. The film actually opened in my hometown, which is amazing because Abbotsford it rather tiny (about 125,000 people). It had been released on DVD in Canada months ago, but it is getting its American release today. Hopefully the screener will get here shortly.

Tales from the Script - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about screenwriters that is worth checking out for those interested in how a film is made, especially if you are interested in becoming a screenwriter. It might be a little too insider Hollywood for most people.

Transformers: Seasons Three & Four - Buy from Amazon
I reviewed the first season, but the rest of the DVD releases never made it to me. Hopefully this four-disc is just late, because this is a great show.

Uncertainty - Buy from Amazon
A traveling couple have to decide what route to take and flip a coin. The movie then splits into two as we follow them on their day and see just how much difference on decision can make. The movie has an interesting premise and a good cast, but it only earned mixed reviews and struggled during its limited release. There's not much in the way of extras, but it is still worth checking out.

Wake - Buy from Amazon
Bijou Phillips stars as Carys, a woman who likes to go to funerals to unwind. However, after a mix-up at one of them, she winds up with the engagement ring of the dead woman and she falls in love with her fiancée. It's a high concept setup and the results are only mixed. However, that's better than most romantic comedies, and fans of the genre should give it a try. Meanwhile, with an audio commentary track and a "making of" featurette, the DVD is worth picking up for fans.

Xena: Warrior Princess: Season One - Buy from Amazon
The spin-off of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys with a very similar formula and a slightly different mix of camp to action. This show first aired 15 years ago, but it still has plenty of fans today. Additionally, it is a very good price, even though there doesn't appear to be any extras.

The Young Victoria - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The term, "Busted Oscar Bait" is generally used as a derogatory term, but while this film didn't live up to its Awards Season aspirations, it is still a very good movie and deserves to be seen by more. Extras on the DVD included deleted / extended scenes, as well as featurettes on a number of subjects. The Blu-ray is BD-Live enabled and has the MovieIQ system. It is worth the extra 30%.


Filed under: Video Releases, Pressure Cooker, Naked Ambition: An R Rated Look at an X Rated Industry, The Young Victoria, 44 Inch Chest, Uncertainty, Peacock, Avatar, The Lovely Bones, Crazy Heart, Wake, Homecoming, Tales From the Script, Cheech & Chong's Hey Watch This