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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for April, 27th, 2010

April 27th, 2010

After Avatar dominated last week's list, the selection of releases this week is not any better. There are only two first run releases of note, It's Complicated on DVD and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus on Blu-ray, while there are a few smaller releases that are also worth picking up. To find the Pick of the Week, however, we have to travel back in time as a couple of late releases finally found their way to my desk this week. Those late releases are Defendor (Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Blu-ray) and Yesterday Was A Lie (DVD) and they share the Pick of the Week honors.

Armageddon - Blu-ray _ Buy from Amazon
Michael Bay has made a career of making movies that are big, loud, and dumb. Now, one of his earliest hits is being released on Blu-ray. Is it worth the upgrade? Read our review for my opinion.

Avatar - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo
Just a quick note, the screener arrived on Monday so the review will go online hopefully tomorrow. In fact, I received two screeners, so the review will go online tomorrow and the contest will begin on Friday.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Armageddon, Buddha, Disgrace, District 13: Ultimatum, District B13 / District 13: Ultimatum, Dune, Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Five Minutes of Heaven, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, It's Complicated, The Jackal, Out of Africa, Pride and Prejudice, Ride with the Devil, Tombstone, and Traffic
Not a strong week for Blu-ray releases. The best selling DVD of the week, It's Complicated, is not the kind of film that does well on High Definition. Meanwhile, the best-selling day-and-date Blu-ray release is The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which was a box office disappointment. According to, the best-selling Blu-ray release overall is Tombstone, which is a midlevel hit from nearly 20 year ago. This all suggests Blu-ray won't have a particularly great week in sales.

Buddha - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A documentary about Buddha narrated by Richard Gere. Right now it is the tenth best selling new release on, and frankly I'm surprised it is selling this well. It's done by PBS and they have a reputation for high quality, but this doesn't seem like a blockbuster topic.

Warning: This Blu-ray does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 13th. However, the screener arrived late, hence the delay in this review.

Defendor - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Blu-ray
A Canadian drama that starred Woody Harrelson as Defendor. It's one of dozens of Super Hero movies that have come out in the past several years, but does it have enough going for it to stand out? Check out our review to find out.

The Descent: Part 2 - Buy from Amazon
The original Descent earned stellar reviews and became a surprise hit, both in its native U.K. and here. The sequel bombed in Britain and is being released direct-to-DVD here. Is it better than that result would indicate? Check out our review for my opinion.

Disgrace - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film stars John Malkovich and earned excellent reviews, but despite this, it wasn't able to find an audience during its limited release. It should do better on the home market, but with a DVD and a Blu-ray that feel overpriced, a rental will be enough for most.

District B13: Ultimatum - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The second foreign sequel that I reviewed this week. Strange coincidence. Does this action film live up to the original? If no, can it at least work on its own merits? Check out our review to find out.

The End of Poverty? - Buy from Amazon
An important documentary about the causes of global poverty. However, even most of the positive reviews complain that while the subject matter is important, the execution is mixed. This limits the value of the DVD to a rental for most people.

Five Minutes of Heaven - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt star in this film about murder and reconciliation. The performances of the two leads are powerful enough that the film is worth checking out, but there are not a lot of extras on the DVD while there are no exclusives on the Blu-ray. Call it a solid rental leaning toward a purchase, but the Blu-ray is a little pricey for what you get.

G.I. Joe A Real American Hero: Season Two - Buy from Amazon
Still waiting on this screener. It's weird, I got the first release, but after that all the rest of the DVDs have been MIA.

Ghost Hunters: Season Five, Part Two - Buy from Amazon
Scooby-doo is more realistic than this show.

The Hills: Season Five, Part Two - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV that focuses on a bunch of people who simply don't have what it takes to be on TV. Their personalities are equal parts petty and dull.

I Love Lucy: The Movie and Other Great Rarities - Buy from Amazon
One of a handful of this week's releases where I'm still waiting on the screener. The show was a classic, but I don't know enough about the movie to give specific details, so hopefully the screener will arrive shortly.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Will likely be remembered more for being the film Heath Ledger was filming when he died than for any other reason, which is a shame, since it is a good movie. Granted, Terry Gilliam is overly exuberant in his visual flair, which can get in the way of his storytelling at times, but fans of his have come to expect this. In fact, it's one of the reasons they are fans of his. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, making of featurettes, etc. There are a lot of little extras that add up. The Blu-ray has a few more extras, including some that push the technology. Definitely worth picking up, and definitely worth paying the extra 28% for High Definition.

It's Complicated - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Divorcee romance with a twist: the two divorcees were previously married to each other. Despite an excellent cast and a director that knows her way around the subject matter, the reviews were only good and not great. Then again, for its genre, 57% is great. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track and a 20-minute "making of" featurette. The Blu-ray has bookmarks and it is BD-Live enabled, but it also costs nearly 50% more, and let's face it, this is not a movie you need to see in High Definition to enjoy. It's worth picking up, but the DVD is probably the better deal.

It's Garry Shandling's Show: The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Skip it. They've already released a full-series Megaset and it's a much better deal.

Life Blood - Buy from Amazon
Sophie Monk and Anya Lahiri star as lesbians killed in 1968 and brought back 2009 as vampires. Okay, that's sounds really bad, but the few reviews I've seem suggest it is a lot better than a lot of recent vampire movies. Worth checking out for fans of the genre, and some might want to pick it up sight unseen. That's likely what I will be doing.

Megapiranha - Buy from Amazon
Attack of the giant mutant piranhas! Probably not a good movie, but it could be B-movie fun. I won't know for sure till the screener arrives.

Murphy's Law: Series 2 - Buy from Amazon
James Nesbitt stars as an undercover cop in this BBC series. Great show, but this DVD is pricey and there are no real special features. I guess if you are a fan of British TV shows you will be used to paying more for imports and getting little in the way of extras, but it still hurts.

Old Enough - Buy from Amazon
A coming of age story starring two child actresses that are no longer acting. Sarah Boyd is now an editor while Rainbow Harvest appears to have retired from the business completely. (It also has Alyssa Milano in her first film credit.) The film came out more than 25 years ago and it seems to be mostly forgotten, but the few reviews I've seen online are mostly positive, while the DVD reportedly has an audio commentary track and an interview as special features. Worth checking out.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 20th. However, the screener arrived late, hence the delay in this review.

Pressure Cooker - Buy from Amazon
Films about inspirational teachers are a dime a dozen; they are almost as common as movies about inspirational coaches. However, documentaries on the subject are less common. Does this help the film stand out? Check out our review to read my opinion.

Pride and Prejudice: Restored Edition - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This mini-series is not that old, so why does it need to be restored? The Blu-ray edition I get, but why release it again on DVD? For that matter, why is the Blu-ray more than twice as much as the DVD?

Ride with the Devil - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon
Directed by Ang Lee and at the time it was expected to be a big hit. However, early buzz turned sour and it was only given a limited theatrical release. Now it is coming out on a Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray with a new director's cut. The reviews are not as bad as the buzz, but for a lot of people, a rental will be enough. Fans of the film, on the other hand, will love the new release, which has plenty of extras. Also coming out this week on a Criterion Collection DVD is Fugitive Kind.

Rita Rocks: Season One - Buy from Amazon
Nicole Sullivan stars as the titular Rita, a middle-age mother who used to be part of a Bangles cover bad that decides to get back to rock'n'roll, albeit in a garage band. The show aired on Lifetime, which explains why you probably haven't heard of it, but it is worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of Nicole Sullivan.

Spectacular Spider-Man: Volume 8 - Buy from Amazon
I've reviewed most of the previous DVD releases for this TV series, but this time around the screener is MIA. Perhaps it is late, or perhaps they are just waiting for the next full season release.

Survivors: Complete Seasons One & Two - Buy from Amazon
A virus wipes out 90% of the population and this show focuses on a handful of the survivors. A "not-quite-a-remake" of the series from the mid-1970s, it has earned good reviews, even if not everyone thinks it lives up to the original. It appears it has been canceled after just two seasons, but it is still worth checking out. Also coming out this week is the original series, which isn't selling as well but earned better reviews.

Tales from the Dark Side: Season Three - Buy from Amazon
This series has nearly completed its run on the home market. Can season three live up to previous seasons? Read our review to find out my opinion.

Tombstone - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Tombstone was one of two films about Wyatt Earp that were released within a year of each other. While this film won the box office contest, it was still only a midlevel hit. Is it better than its box office performance would indicate? And if so, is it worth picking up on Blu-ray? Check out our review to find out.

Transylmania - Buy from Amazon
One of the worst movies of the year and one of the biggest bombs. Skip it.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 6th. However, the screener arrived late, hence the delay in this review.

Yesterday Was A Lie - Buy from Amazon
It's been nearly five years since the film was first mentioned on our site, so a three-week delay in the review seems trivial. Now that it has arrived, was it worth the wait? Check out our review to find out.


Filed under: Video Releases, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Pressure Cooker, Five Minutes of Heaven, Disgrace, Banlieue 13: Ultimatum, Yesterday Was a Lie, Transylmania, It’s Complicated, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The End of Poverty?, Defendor, The Descent: Part 2