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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for August 3th, 2010

August 3rd, 2010

A good week with a number of interesting releases but no real blockbusters. Kick-Ass, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Escape from New York, and Bull Durham are all coming out this week and I will get a chance to review them. ... Note the future tense. None of the screeners have arrived yet, but hopefully they all will get here soon. I am always hesitant to award the Pick of the Week to a release when the screener is late, as I prefer to take the opportunity to delve further into the DVD / Blu-ray. Fortunately, one of the prime candidates did arrive on time and Road to Perdition on Blu-ray is worthy of Pick of the Week honors.

After.Life - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film had more big name cast members than most limited releases, but its reviews were weak and it was the wrong genre for limited release. The DVD and Blu-ray has an audio commentary track and a making-of featurette, but it is only worth a rental if you are a fan of the genre and / or cast.

Blood Done Signed My Name - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A film about a civil rights battle that took place in North Carolina in the 1970s. It opened in limited release earlier this year, but it opened in far too many theaters and with reviews that were far too weak. It should perform better on the home market, but to be frank, it could hardly perform worse.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: After.Life, Blood Done Sign My Name, The Breakfast Club, Bull Durham, Charlie's Angels, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Elvis: Blu-ray Collection, Elvis on Tour, Escape from New York, The Ghost Writer, Heroes: Season Four, Humanoids from the Deep, James and the Giant Peach, Kalifornia, Kick Ass, Open House, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, Piranha, A Prophet, Road to Perdition, Splinter, To Save A Life, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Damn the Torpedoes , Victory at Sea, and Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music
There are no first run monster hits on this week's list of Blu-ray releases. In fact, none of the first run releases came close to earning even $100 million at the box office and because of this, it is likely that Blu-ray sales will be quite low this week. That said, there are still a number of prime releases worth checking out: Kick Ass, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Escape from New York, Bull Durham, James and the Giant Peach, Road to Perdition, etc.

Diary of the Wimpy Kid - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
The first of two Chloe Moretz films on this week's list. This one didn't have nearly as much advance buzz going into its release as Kick-Ass, but it did a lot better at the domestic box office. I'm still waiting on the screener, which was apparently sent my way on Monday, so it should get here later this week.

Dora the Explorer: Dora's Big Birthday Adventure - Buy from Amazon
The latest Dora the Explorer hits the home market this week. How does it compare to previous releases from the franchise? Check out our review to find out.

Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa (The Criterion Collection) - Buy from Amazon
Not too long ago, Criterion released a massive box set that contained 25 Akira Kurosawa films, including four that had never been released on DVD. These are those four films. If you were really interested in that box set, but didn't buy it because of all of the double-dips, now is your chance to complete your collection.

Elvis: Various Releases - Buy from Amazon: 75th Anniversary DVD Collection, Blu-ray Collection, Elvis on Tour: DVD, or Elvis on Tour: Blu-ray
I don't get it. I just don't get it. Why do fans of Elvis celebrate the anniversary of his death (August 16th) and not his birthday (January 8th)? Regardless the reason, over the next few weeks, I expect a huge number of DVD releases coming out, as well as more than a few Blu-rays.

The Ghost Writer - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Single-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo
I have a funny feeling that this film would have earned half as much money as it did if it wasn't for Roman Polanski being arrested at about the same time the film was released. I remember the early buzz was that the film was good, but no where near as good as his earlier films. This made it a bit of a surprise that its reviews were so good. (I also can't help shake this idea that the critics were generous to the film as some sort of solidarity with the director. I hope I'm wrong, but I can't shake that feeling.) Both the DVD and the Blu-ray only have a trio of featurettes with a total running time of 30 minutes, which isn't a lot. I would call it a rental.

Hawaii Five-O: Season Nine - Buy from Amazon
Wow. Season Nine. Do you know how rare it is for a show to reach nine season? And we have three more seasons to go. How well does this season live up to the past? Check out our review to find out.

Henson's Place: The Man Behind the Muppets - Buy from Amazon
A TV documentary about Jim Henson that was made in 1984. That's a long time ago and obviously the film is going to be missing out on a lot of his legacy, but will it still intrigue his fans? Check out our review for my opinion.

Heroes: Season Four - DVD or Blu-ray
This show got off to amazing start and it looked like it would be one of the greatest shows on network TV. However, the first season finale was a little weak, which was a concern. Fans were saying, "Don't worry. It's just a minor speed bump. It's a still a great show." Then it didn't get better in season two, or season three, or season four. Every single year people were hoping it would get better, but it never really did return to its potential. Even so, it's a shame that they were unable to give the show a proper send-off. Perhaps there will be a TV movie in the works. There are plenty of extras on the two releases, but it is hard to recommend picking it up.

Humanoids from the Deep - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A relatively well-known slice of exploitation theater from Roger Corman. Not as well-known as Piranha, which is also coming out this week, but is it the better choice? Read our review for my opinion.

James and the Giant Peach: Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Henry Selick directed The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is my favorite musical of all time. He followed up this success with James and the Giant Peach, which I remember enjoying when it first came out, but I haven't seen it in years. So how well does it compare to his previous film? Check out our review for my opinion.

Kick-Ass - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack
This film had huge, huge buzz. Then, as a bonus, its reviews were good; however, it still struggled at the box office, earning less than $50 million. That's not a bad deal for a film that cost less than $30 million to make, but given the buzz and the reviews, I was expecting more. Maybe it just has a very, very limited target demographic. I guess I'll find out when the screener arrives.

The Kim Novak Collection - Buy from Amazon
A three-disc, five-movie set featuring films from the mid-to-late 1950s. It also includes some of her best-reviewed and best known films, like Picnic. Granted, there's a large drop-off in both metrics from Vertigo to the rest of her filmography, but for fans of hers, this DVD is still worth checking out.

Mercy: Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
NBC cancels E.R. and replaces it with this show, which then gets canceled after one year. I'm amazed they haven't fired everyone that works there.

Open House - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon
Looking at the cover of the DVD and / or Blu-ray, one would get the impression that this movie starred Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, both from True Blood. It doesn't. They do both have important supporting roles in the movie, however. But besides that bit of... marketing on the cover, can the movie deliver? Check out our review for my opinion.

Piranha - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Just in time for the upcoming remake, the original is making its debut on Blu-ray. Sadly, I don't have the Blu-ray, but I got the DVD to review!

A Prophet - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A French film about a Muslim sent to prison for a relatively short amount of time, but once there becomes a member of an organized crime syndicate. The film earned fantastic reviews, a number of award nominations, and it is now coming out on DVD and Blu-ray. Extras including an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, and some behind-the-scenes footage and it is worth picking up. The Blu-ray has no additional extras, but it costs 45% more, which is a bit much in this case.

Road to Perdition: Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
The expectations put on this film were extremely high and while the film did well with critics and moviegoers, it is arguable that it didn't live up to those expectations in either area. Now looking back nearly a decade after it first came out, has time been kind to the film? Check out our review for my opinion.

Roger Corman Double-Feature: Deathsport & Battle Truck - Buy from Amazon
Two Roger Corman movies on one DVD, but is this bargain disc worth checking out? Read our review to find out.

TCM Spotlight: Errol Flynn Adventures - Buy from Amazon
A five-disc, five-movie collection of Errol Flynn all made during World War II. Probably the best known among these five is Objective, Burma!, but for fans of the actor, all five are worth checking out.

To Save a Life - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon
The latest semi-wide release aimed at the Churchgoing set. Like most similar films, this one earned weak reviews, it opened with a soft per theater average, and then disappeared from theaters. It should do rather well on the home market, as it is a film aimed at an under-served demographic. On the other hand, if you are not part of the target demographic, it is safely skippable.


Filed under: Video Releases, Splinter, Un Prophète, To Save a Life, The Ghost Writer, Kick-Ass, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Blood Done Sign My Name, After.Life, Open House