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DVD Releases for April 1, 2008

April 1st, 2008

A mixed week when it comes to top-notch releases and there were very few that caught my eye. There are several that are worth picking up, but only Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Baker Street - 2-Disc Special Edition was a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Alvin and the Chipmunks - Buy from Amazon: The Chipmunk Adventure and Go To The Movies - Funny We Shrunk The Adults
Two DVD releases featuring the animated adventures of the trio form the 1980s coming out on DVD the same day as the recent theatrical release hits the home market. But I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

The Chipmunk Adventure
Dave Seville goes off to Europe on a business trip leaving the three boys in the less than capable hands of Miss Miller. However, after getting into a heated fight between them and the Chipettes over a video game, they are approached by a brother and sister who wager $1 million on who could complete a round-the-world hot air balloon trip first and they will pay $100,000 to the winner. However, these two are in fact diamond smugglers and are looking to use the race as a way to make the diamond drops and to pick up the cash.

If that makes any sense to you, you're a better man than I am. Seriously, the plot of this movie is a mess with way too many elements thrown in and so many are so far out there that is it nearly impossible to suspend disbelief long enough to get through the 76 minute running time. At least for adults. Kids, on the other hand, should have an easier time digesting the overstuffed adventure and perhaps they will appreciate the songs as well. As an adult, I couldn't deal with either; however, I was impressed by the animation, which is top of the line for the 1980s.

Moving onto the extras, there are almost none. There is a gallery of original artwork, but that's it on the DVD. However, it comes with a CD soundtrack, which is a bonus for anyone who likes their music.

Alvin & The Chipmunks Go To The Movies - Funny We Shrunk The Adults
Three episodes from the massively popular TV series released on this themed DVD. Each episode has the trio remaking a popular movie from back then.

  • Funny... We Shrunk the Adults: The Chipmunk take on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids has Alvin showing off for a new neighbor while accidentally shrinking Dave and Zelda, the babysitter. Chaos ensues.
    The weakest of the three episodes and the animation felt weak, even for a Saturday morning cartoon.
  • Bigger: This time the film they follow is Big with Alvin taking the role Tom Hanks played in the movie. Here he's upset that his rock band hasn't taken off yet, so he wishes he was an adult. Like most wishes, it backfires.
    It's interesting how often we tell kids through popular media that being an adult sucks. I'm amazed anyone wants to grow up, ever. Just an average for the series and little better than the first one.
  • Back to Our Future: The Chipmunks travel back to 1958 to meet themselves and convince their counterparts to not give up on their music careers, if Professor Clyde can get his time machine to work properly. But in order to convince the Alvin of the past to keep up the music biz, they send the old Chipmunks to the future, but will they want to leave?
    This is the best episode as it features the original character designs when they go in the past and that's a fun touch, at least for a while. They updated the show for a reason and I don't think I could have taken too much more of the halting style of 1957.
There are no extras on the DVD.

I think the main drawing power for these two DVDs is nostalgia. While The Chipmunk Adventure is clearly better than Alvin & The Chipmunks Go To The Movies - Funny We Shrunk The Adults, I can't recommend either for purchase as there is not enough bang for your buck in either case. Perhaps for those who really love the Chipmunks music, the DVD / CD combo for The Chipmunk Adventure is worth the price, but I'm not in that group.

Alvin and the Chipmunks - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the biggest hits of the winter, Alvin and the Chipmunks surprised analysts by pulling in more than $200 million during its theatrical run and winning over many, many moviegoers. Critics, on the other hand, were less impressed.

I have to agree with the critics here, but there is something you must take into account while reading this review. I despise the Chipmunks' music. I loathe it. When it comes to songs written for them, like The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late), I can handle it. But when they take a song I like, like Funkytown, and ruin it, I can't listen to it, as it fills me with a rage unparalleled in my existence. That said, there was very little here that I could recommend, even ignoring the music, which played an important role in the plot. The writing can be summed up as, "It's a movie for kids, so aim low." And the acting was sub-par. I like Jason Lee, but he was not strong in this movie, especially when he yelled, "Alvin." When you yell on camera like that, you have to really feel it, or it comes across as very phony. You can see this effect at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Even David Cross, who can usually elevate any material he is given, was unable to do so here.

That said, little kids should love, or at least like this movie. I just feel sorry for parents who will be forced to watch the movie over and over again after they buy it on DVD.

As for the extras, there's a 12-minute long featurette on the history of the Chipmunks, which I found interesting, and a 9-minute long featurette on the music of the Chipmunks, which I did not. This is completely unacceptable, especially for a movie that made more than $200 million at the box office.

(I do not have the Blu-ray edition to review, but there are no additional extras to be found on the high definition disc.)

I can nearly guarantee that there will be a sequel to Alvin and the Chipmunks and that there will be a special edition DVD released on the home market when the sequel hits the theaters. Rent this DVD, if you must, and wait to buy the Special Edition.

Becker - Season One - Buy from Amazon
Ted Danson's second TV series after he starred in Cheers. The first was the short-lived Ink, which represented the sophomore slump, so to speak. Becker didn't earn particularly great reviews, nor was it a major ratings winner, but it did find an appreciative audience that stuck around with the show for six years. And it deserved to last that long, despite what most critics said. Fans of the show will be happy to be able to watch Ted Danson's portrayal of the caustic Dr. Becker, but will be saddened to find out there are no extras on the 3-disc set. Still, worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

The Bette Davis Collection - Volume 3 - Buy from Amazon
Eventually they are going to run out of Bette Davis movies that are worth featuring in a box set. That will happen eventually, but it hasn't happened yet. Granted, the 6 films presented here on this six-disc set are not among her best known, but they maintain her high level of quality. Extras include audio commentary tracks on all 6 movies, as well as several short films on each disc. Easily worth picking up for fans of Bette Davis, or of films from the era in general.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: 10.5 Apocalypse: The Complete Miniseries, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Artie Lange's Beer League, Blackbeard, Category 7: The End of the World, Coyote Ugly, The Curse of King Tut's Tomb: The Complete Miniseries, Futuresex / Loveshow - Live from Madison Square Garden, Hidalgo, The Last Sentinel, and Unbreakable
Big week in terms of raw numbers, bad week in terms of quality releases with only one Blu-ray that I can really recommend (Unbreakable). The rest are second-tier releases, or worse.

The Cook - Buy from Amazon
Hmmm... A movie about a serial killer serving his victims to unsuspecting people coming out the same week as Sweeney Todd. Must be a coincidence.

Coyote Ugly - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
The first of three Disney catalogue releases coming out on Blu-ray this week. This one is clearly the worst.

Wow. This is a bad movie. I can't emphasize that enough. The movie stars Piper Perabo as Violet, a young lady from a small town in New Jersey who movies to New York to make it as a songwriter. But the big city is tough on aspiring artists and in need of money, she goes to work at Coyote Ugly, a bar that only hires good looking women who spend more time dancing on the bar than serving drinks. Early in the commentary track one of the actresses thanks Jerry Bruckheimer for making so many movies with strong female leads. Huh? Are we watching the same movie? These bartenders were little more than strippers who didn't get naked.

Speaking of naked, the unrated edition has a few extra scenes including the extended sex scene with actual nudity, but it is a really, really obvious body double and it is cut badly with the original scene. (Violet's bra comes on and off halfway through. If you are noticing continuity errors during a sex scene, it is poorly done.) There are more other scenes, but nothing that is particularly interesting.

As for the extras, there are two audio commentary tracks, one with Jerry Bruckheimer and David McNally, the director. The other is with the actresses. Neither offers a lot of insight. There are 7 minutes worth of deleted scenes, an 11-minute featurette on the cast, 4-minute featurette on the songs, 6-minute featurette on the bartending moves. None have replay value. None are new to the Blu-ray. And none are in High Definition.

This is shovelware and even at $20 it is not worth upgrading. However, like many Disney catalogue titles, it comes with a $10 mail-in rebate that cuts the price in half. If you enjoyed the movie on DVD, upgrading isn't a bad idea at that price. However, quite frankly, I can't recommend anyone spends money on this movie.

The Cutting Edge - Chasing the Dream - Buy from Amazon
The second direct-to-DVD sequel to a movie that I never thought was that good to begin with. This time around there's a twist as it's a female hockey player who is recruited by a male figure skater. Otherwise the plots are very similar between the three movies, as is the quality. Extras include a making-of featurette, behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, etc. On par with other, similar releases and worth checking out for fans of the franchise.

Day of the Dead - Buy from Amazon
Dear Hollywood,

Fire is hot. Really hot. And you don't have to physically touch the flames to be burnt by it. Please take this into account whenever you plan a big scene involving fire; as to maintain at least a minimum level of reality.



Sorry, but it is a huge pet peeve of mine how fire is portrayed in movies. And it's not like people don't have plenty of experience with the phenomenon that they can draw from. Think about it; fire never touches the food in your oven, but the food still gets cooked. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people outrun fireballs in movies and come away unharmed. You can't outrun infrared radiation! Okay, maybe complaining about realism in a zombie movie is unreasonable, but still, it bugs me.

Back to the movie, Day of the Dead is purportedly a remake of the George A. Romero film of the same name. As a remake, it is a failure and it can't compare to the original in any way. That said, if you ignore the George A. Romero connection, it is a reasonable low budget horror film and compared to other direct-to-DVD offerings, it isn't that bad. It's got the right level of gore, more action than most zombie movies, and the special effects are acceptable, for the most part. It adds nothing really new to the genre, but that would be practically impossible at this point.

(On a side note, I spent most of the movie trying to figure out who played Nina. Turns out she's AnnaLynne McCord, who was in an episode of Greek - Chapter One, which I reviewed recently. She was in the Halloween episode as the hot, possibly psychotic, woman.)

Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track with half a dozen members of the cast and crew, an alternate ending, and a behind-the-scenes featurette. Not a great selection, but better than most direct-to-DVD release.

Day of the Dead is not a great movie, or even a good movie. But it does pack in enough entertainment that the DVD is worth a rental for fans of the genre. However, under no circumstances should anyone go into the movie thinking it is a remake of the George A. Romero film, Day of the Dead. That just creates unrealistic expectations.

Doctor Who - Buy from Amazon: Episode 70 - The Time Warrior and Episode 142 - Timelash
Two more Doctor Who stories coming out on DVD. Episode 70 - The Time Warrior is the better of the two stories, but both are packed with extras and are worth picking up.

Father Knows Best - Season One - Buy from Amazon
A show that is more than 50 years old, and is showing its age in more than one way. First of all, the show's themes are dated, the moralization feels preachy, and the depiction of the 'perfect family' comes across as corny. However, fans of the show accept that thanks to a generous helping of nostalgia. The bigger issue is on the technical side. The sound and audio on this 4-disc set is weak, very weak at times and more than half of the episodes are presented in the syndicated version. There are more extras than one would expect for a TV show this old, including a never before aired episode, home movies, footage of the sets, etc. But the problem with the syndicated episodes is a deal-breaker for a lot of people.

The Good Night - Buy from Amazon
A great cast is wasted on script that doesn't do enough with the interesting hook. After disappearing in limited release, the DVD comes to the home market with only an audio commentary from the director, which is not enough to recommend buying the movie. Even renting will be a stretch for many.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle - Extreme Unrated Edition - Buy from Amazon
You know the drill, upcoming sequel means Special Edition DVD release. But in this case, it is not special enough to warrant an upgrade.

HD DVD Releases - Buy from Amazon: Appleseed Ex Machina, August Rush, and Rachmaninov - Piano Concertos Nos. 2&3 - Acoustic Reality Experience
Just the three HD DVD releases this week, and the last one doesn't come out until Friday. Strangely, Appleseed Ex Machina is the best selling High Definition release of the week, at least according to Amazon. It did do brisk business on Blu-ray not too long ago, and there's little to no competition on HD DVD, not to mention firesale level prices. I don't expect it to register on the overall sales, on the other hand.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II - Buy from Amazon
Upcoming remake. Flood market with the original and its sequels. It's Standard Operating Procedure at this point.

Hidalgo - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Another catalogue title coming out on Blu-ray in the standard fashion, right down to the menu, which has been used in countless Disney Blu-ray releases.

Hidalgo stars Viggo Mortensen as Frank T. Hopkins, an endurance racer who had won many, many races atop his mustang, Hidalgo. However, he also runs orders for the United States military, and it is this capacity that he witnesses an atrocity that causes him to lose his way. But then a challenge is issued by Sheikh Riyadh to the greatest of all endurance races, the 3,000-mile journey across the Arabian Desert to Damascus. The Ocean of Fire.

Hidalgo is a Western set in the east. It could also be described as a swashbuckler with sand. At its best, it is a rousing epic adventure; however, it does tend to drag in parts. Man vs. Nature might be one of the most enduring conflicts of all time, but watching a man suffer under the heat of the desert is not cinematic. There are some great scenes, including the sandstorm, which looks great in high definition, but overall it is not a great movie, although it is entertaining enough.

There are only two special features on the Blu-ray disc, both are from the original movie and both are in Standard Definition. Sand & Celluloid is a 9-minute making-of featurette that is pretty standard stuff mixing talking heads, clips from the movie, and behind-the-scenes footage. Nothing special, but it doesn't feel like pure promotional fluff either. The second featurette, America's First Horse, is longer at 21 and a half minutes and it is about the history of the Spanish horses in the America and should be of interest for the target audience of the movie.

It's Shovelware and Shovelware sucks. Even at just under $20, which is the price on Amazon, it is not worth upgrading from DVD. However, if you have the DVD, there is a mail-in rebate that drops the price to just $10, which is the perfect price for an upgrade. Got to give Disney props for knowing how to handle the marketing of a new format. If you've never seen the movie, it is worth a rental and perhaps a purchase. If you have the DVD and enjoy watching it, then the mail-in rebate makes upgrading worth it.

John from Cincinnati - Buy from Amazon
Created by the man behind Deadwood. This turned out to be a bad thing. The expectations were just way too high for the TV series and there was almost no way for it to survive with people anticipating an award-worthy show right off the bat. That said, looking at the show with a clean slate, it isn't bad either and is worth checking out, but a rental will suffice. Like too many HBO shows, this DVD release costs too much on a per minute basis and the extras are only average (two audio commentary tracks and a making of featurette).

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit - The Sixth Year - Buy from Amazon
On the one hand, I prefer the various Law & Order shows over the CSI shows. On the other hand, CSI knows how to package its DVDs. Without an arcing storyline, there's little need to see the shows in their proper order, so without a lot of extras, there's little reason to buy over rent. For that matter, there's little reason to rent over catching it on syndication.

Martin - Season Four - Buy from Amazon
The penultimate season of Martin, the show that made Martin Lawrence a star. This season starts with Martin and Gina married, which many think was the reason the show jumped the shark. However, the show is still funny this year and it doesn't really show its age until its fifth and final season.

Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Eighth Season - Buy from Amazon
One of the longest running shows on U.S. Network TV (not counting sports, news programs, or movie programs). After 8 seasons, it is really hard to find anything new to say about each DVD release, but this is the season J. Michael Straczynski became a co-producer and he even wrote a few episodes. (He even got in a few Lovecraft references in one episode.) As for the 5-disc set, they have all 22 episodes, but no special features.

New Street Law - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
John Hannah should be more famous than he is. He's impressed me in nearly everything he's done. Even in movies that were otherwise without merit, at least I could at least like his performance. While he isn't making many movies here, at least he's gotten steady work on British TV and these shows are getting regular releases here.

Pucca - Buy from Amazon: Kung Fu Kisses and Ninjas Love Noodles
Two separate DVDs from the Canadian animated series that is based on the South Korean internet flash cartoons. The show focuses on the adventures of Pucca, an 11-year old girl, and her friends, who live in the town of Sooga Village.

There are plenty of other main characters in the show...

  • Pucca: An 11-year old girl who is madly in love with Garu. She doesn't appear to have any martial arts training, which makes her practically unique on the series, but she has incredible strength and speed to make up for her lack in training. Almost never speaks but communicates mostly with giggles. This sounds like it would be highly annoying, but it is part of the show's charm.
  • Garu: The town's 12-year old ninja protector. All Garu wants is to practice his martial arts. All Pucca wants to do is kiss Garu, much to his dismay. Has made a vow of silence, so also never speaks.
  • Abyo: Another martial art's master who looks a lot like Bruce Lee. Uses the nunchucks as weapons and his signature move involves ripping his shirt off. (This tendency is used to kick off the episode Misplaced Face while the running gag is taken to the extreme in Scenes from a Maul.)
  • Ching: Pucca's best friend who has a chicken on her head. I don't know why. Just as Pucca is in love with Garu, she is in love with Abyo, with only marginally better results. She's trained in the use of swords.
  • Ring Ring: A shellfish girl who is the rival to Pucca. When angered, she transforms into a... into a... I'm not sure what she transforms into, but she can use her hair and her robe's sleeves as weapons. This may sound really strange, but I've seen this power in other martial arts movies.
  • Uncle Dumpling, Ho and Linguini: Pucca's three uncles, or fathers, or something. They take care of her while cooking world famous noodles at the Goh-Rong Chinese restaurant. They are also skilled in martial arts, but with a more culinary twist to it.
  • Dada: The dishwasher at the Goh-Rong Chinese restaurant. Has bladder control issues; in fact, it is his defining characteristic. Also has martial arts training, but almost never uses it.
  • Master Soo: The leader of the village, who lives in a palace above the town and is tended to by his maidens. Speaks Yiddish, and I don't know why.
  • Santa Claus: Yes, Santa Claus is a character in the show. If you think about it, it's not even the most confusing aspect of the show.
  • Smiley People: The common village people. They look like smiley faces. They don't talk, but when the move, they make music.
  • Tobe: The most prevalent villain. He and his ninja clan try and defeat Garu. Sadly, he's rather incompetent and his minions are even worse. Usually Garu can defeat him quite handily, if they don't defeat each other. And when he can't, Pucca always can.
I was going to write a list of the highlight episodes, but I couldn't. I can't narrow it down to five or six top episodes as they were almost all great. (I dare you to watch Scenes from a Maul and not laugh.) I don't know what age group this show is aimed at, but I loved the show. I'm not the only one as the show has been nominated for several Leos, winning three of them in the past two years. It's hyper cute, and extremely funny, and I just loved it.

Sadly, there are almost no extras on the two DVDs. Kung Fu Kisses has five bumpers, but these short animated segments run less than 2 minutes total. Additionally, these are not full season sets, which is just as big of an issue.

Pucca loves Garu
He's a pretty boy
Ninjas eat noodles

That theme song is going to be stuck in my head for months. However, that's a small price to pay for this charming show. Both Pucca DVDs, Kung Fu Kisses and Ninjas Love Noodles are worth picking up. I would have preferred full season sets, but the DVDs releases are worth the money.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Baker Street - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc DVD or 2-Disc Special Edition
This is a movie that was in the works for a long, long time, decades in fact. So many people were connected to direct or star in it that it would be virtually impossible to list them all. However, upon seeing the final product, I find it nearly impossible to conceive of a better trio than Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter.

This is not a movie for everyone. It is very rare for one movie to have the both beautiful songs and gory serial killers. It is almost as rare for a moviegoer to be able to appreciate the music and the murder; I certainly tilt to the latter over the former, but Sweeney Todd works on both levels and is possibly my favorite live action musical of all time. (It is either this or Into the Woods.) The songs are great, the acting is fantastic, and the film sets a mood that is nearly perfect. It isn't quite able to keep up its pace throughout, but that's a minor complaint overall.

As for the extras, the Single-Disc DVD has but a single featurette, Burton + Depp + Carter = Todd. It is a very good featurette and has serious replay value, but it is not enough to recommend that DVD.

On the other hand, the 2-Disc Special Edition has several other extras starting with a 20-minute press conference with the cast and crew answering questions from the crowd. Sweeney is Alive talks to experts about whether or not Sweeney Todd is based on fact or is pure fiction. (Most think the latter, but there are some dissenting opinions.) Musical Mayhem runs just over 12 minutes and talks about how Stephen Sondheim created his musical. Sweeney's London talks about the how London was when Sweeney Todd was alleged to live there. There's also a 24-minute-long making-of featurette , which is quite in-depth. Grand Guignol talks about the tradition of horror theater, which started in the Grand Guignol theater in France, and this movement's influence on the Sweeney Todd legend. Designs for a Demon Barber deals more with the costume, production, and set designs from the movie. A Bloody Business looks at the special effects for the killings. Very fun. The final featurette is an Unscripted interview with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. There are also two photo galleries and the trailer.

Destined to be a cult classic, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Baker Street might not have earned the mainstream success people were hoping for, but it will certainly find a very appreciative audience. Meanwhile, the 2-Disc Special Edition is certainly worth checking out and a clear contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Terry Jones - Medieval Lives - Buy from Amazon
The latest history program from Monty Python's Terry Jones. This time around he looks at medieval life for several groups of people (peasants, knights, outlaws, etc.) and how reality is often very different than what the average person believes. There's something about taking a comedic mind and putting it to work explaining history, science, etc. that is simply fascinating. Even with limited extras (there's an episode that talks about gladiators in Roman times) this DVD is certainly worth picking up.

That '70s Show - Season 8 - Buy from Amazon
Ugh. I love this show, however, season 8 was an abomination. After Topher Grace left, they should have just canceled the show. I can understand if even diehard fans decide to skip this season and end their collection at season seven. There are some great extras, including audio commentary tracks, and several retrospective interviews, but this 4-disc set is for completists only.

The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder - John, Paul, Tom and Ringo - Buy from Amazon
Three episodes from the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder interviewing John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr (on separate shows). This includes the very last interview John Lennon did before his death, which was recorded the day before he was killed. (Personally, I find this more than a little creepy.) The 2-disc set is expensive on a per minute basis for a TV on DVD release, but this is not the typical TV on DVD release and it is worth checking out.

Unbreakable - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
I would consider this M. Night Shyamalan's most underrated film. I don't consider it his best, but it is his most underrated.

Bruce Willis stars as David Dunne, a man who works as a security guard and who just seems to be getting by. His zest for life is gone. One day on the way to work, his train is involved in a terrible crash, and he is the only survivor. In fact, he is left without a scratch. He is soon approached by the mysterious Elijah Price, a.k.a. Mr. Glass, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who tells him that he is a superhero, like the kind you find in comic books. Elijah Price wants to help David Dunne find his destiny as a superhero, but as a M. Night Shyamalan film, you know it will not be that simple.

M. Night Shyamalan's follow up to the amazing The Sixth Sense was not as well received by critics and was his worst box office performer until Lady in the Water. Looking back, I find this completely unfair and I consider it a much better movie than Signs. It is also the last time I was really satisfied with the surprise twist in one of his movies.

As for the extras, the Blu-ray has all of the extras that were on the DVD, but that's it. Behind the Scenes runs just over 14 minutes and is exactly what the title says. Comic Books & Superheroes in an interview featurette with a lot of experts talking about comic books and super heroes with some small connection to the movie, but it is interesting for people interested in the subject. Those who want more information on the movie will need to look elsewhere. Next up is a 4-minute storyboard to screen comparison of the train station scene. There are also seven deleted scenes with introductions by M. Night Shyamalan; in total it runs nearly 30 minutes. Finally, there's the first fight scene directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It's cute, but nothing much.

The third and finale slice of shovelware for the week. Unbreakable is the best of the three movies and has enough extras that I could recommend the Blu-ray even if you don't already have the DVD. And with the mail-in rebate, it is also worth the upgrade.

What Love Is - Buy from Amazon
Remember when Cuba Gooding, Jr. won an Oscar? Neither does Cuba Gooding, Jr.


Filed under: Video Releases, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Hidalgo, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, August Rush, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Artie Lange's Beer League, The Good Night, What Love Is, Day of the Dead, Appurushido Ex Machina