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DVD Releases for September 30, 2008

September 30th, 2008

A much smaller list of films on this week's list. How small? It fit on one page. This is mainly for two reasons. One, I didn't get to the backlog of late arrivals. I hope to get a big chunk of them done for next week, but I have ten new releases to get through first. Secondly, the first of the summer monster hits came out this week, and Iron Man scared away a lot of the competition. Speaking of competition, there was quite a race for the DVD Pick of the Week with the Two-Disc Collector's Edition or Blu-ray release of Iron Man near the top of the list. As was the Judd Apatow Unrated Comedy Collection, also on Blu-ray. I couldn't decide which was better, so I'm giving the title of DVD Pick of the Week to both. Other contenders were Sports Night - The Complete Series 10th Anniversary Edition and Taxi to the Dark Side - Buy from Amazon, and Can't Hardly Wait, although the last one comes with a "Guilty Pleasure" warning.

2008 Olympics - Beijing 2008 Complete Opening Ceremony - Buy from Amazon
People watch the opening ceremony? Why? Also coming out tomorrow is a 2-hour DVD on Michael Phelps.

Adam-12 - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
A cop show from the late 1960s to mid 1970s that was created by Jack Webb. It has the same "no nonsense" as his other shows had, like Dragnet, and while that style fell out of favor, it has held up very well over the years. (I'm not sure that can be said of most similar shows on TV today.) I should be getting a DVD screener soon, and I will discuss it in greater detail then. (Yes, I am getting more DVDs that arrive late than arrive on time, but that's the nature of this time of year.)

An Autumn Afternoon - The Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
The final film from Japanese writer / director Yasujiro Ozu, and it is among his best work. The extras on the DVD are limited to an audio commentary track and excerpts from a documentary, which is better than most imports receive, but I'm still a little hesitant recommending it. Criterion Collection recently announced they are going Blu-ray, and their fans might want to save their money for the first wave, which is coming in November.

B.L. Stryker - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
This show only lasted 12 episodes over two seasons, so it is wise for them to release a complete series DVD set. However, it would have been nice for them to do that before releasing the first season earlier this year. Also, the price per minute is rather high.

Banacek - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Since the show only lasted 16 episodes over two seasons, this is how it should have been released in the first place.

Beaufort - Buy from Amazon
An Israeli action film about the final months of the Beaufort outpost in Lebanon and an officer's attempts to keep his men safe as they prepare to pullout. Good reviews couldn't save it at the box office, but hopefully more people will see it on the home market.

Beauty and the Beast - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
It's starting to look at lot like Christmas... On a serious note, this 16-disc release has all three seasons at an excellent price and it is perfect as a Christmas gift, assuming the person in question doesn't have the first two seasons already.

Bigger, Stronger, Faster* - Buy from Amazon
An interesting documentary about steroid use in the United States that earned nearly perfect reviews. However, it suffers from two major flaws. Firstly, the filmmaker claims there is no solid link between steroid use and many of the negative side-effects attributed to it. This is technically true, but not intellectually honest. After all, it is also technically true there is no solid link between smoking and cancer, because the experiments needed to confirm the link would be completely unethical. Just because no one is willing to take on the mantel of Dr. Mengele doesn't mean you can claim steroids are safe. Secondly, they imply that it is necessary for athletes to use steroids in order to perform, which is also crap. I can play baseball and I'm not in peak physical condition; I can't play well enough to be in the majors, but I can play. He is saying that since I can't get to the majors, I should be able to do what it takes to get there. Basically his argument boils down to, "If you are no good enough to get by on talent, then it is morally acceptable to cheat." I don't think that's a valid argument to make. In the end, the film comes across as a vanity piece made by someone trying to justify breaking the law. But it is made in a professional way, and is sadly compelling to a lot of people.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: The 40-Year Old Virgin, Angel in the Family, Can't Hardly Wait, The Christmas Visitor, Daredevil - The Director's Cut, Dawn of the Dead, Fatal Move, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Gianni Schicci, Halloween Starter Pack, Iron Man - Ultimate 2-Disc Edition, Knocked Up, La La Traviata at La Scala, Land of the Dead, Legends - Live at Montreux 1997, Live at Montreux - Jethro Tull, Magic Kitchen, The Man Who Saved Christmas, Masters of Horror - Season One, Norma, Re-Cycle, Rest Stop: Dead Ahead, Rest Stop - Don't Look Back, Roy Orbison: Black & White Night, Salem Witch Trails, Secret, Seven Swords, The Sixth Sense, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974 Original), The Thing, Three Kingdoms, Ultimate Unrated Comedy Collection, Warlords, When We Left Earth - The NASA Missions, and Zombie Bundle
Wow! Just an awesome list of Blu-ray releases, including the obvious number one seller, Iron Man. There are a number of other releases that are must-haves, including the Judd Apatow three-pack, The Thing, The Sixth Sense, Can't Hardly Wait ... Okay, it might be stretching it to call that last Blu-ray a must have, however, it is a guilty pleasure for me. (It is also not just shovelware and contains a number of additional extras compared to the original DVD release. Certainly worth upgrading for fans.)

Buried Alive - Buy from Amazon
The second movie to be released to DVD going by the name Buried Alive. Although, to call it a movie might not be entirely accurate. It is a collection of 2-minute shorts from the Buried Alive series of webisodes done by FEARNet, and while it is an interesting experiment in filmmaking to combine these shorts into a single film, it is not a successful experiment.

The movie starts with five people being stalked and captured by an unknown assailant, who are then buried in separate coffins, and they have to try and figure out who is doing this and hope that their two friends, who are free above ground, can save them. The film is shot using entirely practical camerawork, that is to say, all of the footage was filmed by one of the characters. This is no longer new or original, while filming everything with web cameras just makes it look cheap. Than again, the movie probably is cheap. (On a side note, the bouncing camerawork does not make the movie seem more real. If anything, it keeps me from becoming fully involved.) There were some tense moments, the flashbacks were employed well, and there is a surprise twist in the end, but it was only moderately engaging.

Extras include an audio commentary track with the director, the producer, and two of the actors in the movie. It has a good balance between entertainment and information, while there are almost no dead zones. Next up is a 27-minute making of featurette, which deals with its origins on the internet. Finally, there are 23 minutes of deleted scenes, which is about a third of the film's actual running time.

Overall, watching Buried Alive feels more like watching an experimental film than watching a movie that is supposed to be enjoyed for its narrative. I guess the DVD is worth renting in that regard, but that's as much praise as I am willing to give it.

Can't Hardly Wait - Tenth Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Not a great movie, but I always considered it a fun movie. This movie has an amazing cast of young actors, many of which have gone on to do amazing work like Seth Green, Liv Tyler, Selma Blair, Jaime Pressly and Amber Benson (whose scenes were deleted). (On a side note, I can't believe she is still not in our database. This is not acceptable for a Fanboy like myself.) The original DVD wasn't bad and had a very fun audio commentary track. However, on this track they talked about several deleted scenes, including entire characters that were wiped from the film in order to maintain a PG-13 rating. However, while they talked about the deleted scenes, they didn't have any deleted scenes. The new versions have the deleted scenes. They also have an extensive retrospective, a less extensive second retrospective, interviews with the cast, a reunion audio commentary track, subtitle trivia track, and a lot more. The Blu-ray is also coming out this week, but while it doesn't have much in the way of additional extras, it does present most of them in High Definition. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a director's cut of the movie with all of the deleted scenes back in place, but this is close enough and it is easily worth picking up. At least in my opinion.

Chapter 27 - Buy from Amazon
An extremely boring movie about an extremely boring guy. The film had one big week at the box office, before fizzling out, while the DVD has a short making-of featurette as its lone extra. I can't even rate it a rental.

Click & Clack - As the Wrench Turns - Buy from Amazon
A PBS program featuring the voice talent of Ray Magliozzi and Tom Magliozzi from NPR's Car Talk. In this show, the two are reluctant auto mechanics / radio hosts who spend more time trying to avoid work than doing either job. The radio show has been going on for more than three decades, and a lot of their fans were likely looking forward to their animated doppelgangers, although the first season is not as lively as their regular show. It's rather slow moving, while the scripted humor doesn't have the zing of their unscripted radio show.

This 2-disc set includes the 10 episodes from the first season, starting with Campaign, where the two brothers try to save the show by running for president and misusing campaign donations and federal money. They get some good shots in at politics in that episode, and they touch on subjects like outsourcing, energy efficiency, and others. However, I kept getting the feeling that these were 15-minute topics being padded out to 30-minute shows.

Extras on the 2-disc set include nothing.

Fans of Car Talk will likely be interested in checking out this show, once. As the Wrench Turns doesn't live up to the radio show and there's noting extra on the DVD to improve the replay value beyond a rental. And that's only for fans of Car Talk and the Magliozzi brothers.

CSNY: Déjà Vu - Buy from Amazon
A documentary that looks at the music and the politics of the band. It opened with mixed reviews and went nowhere at the box office. The extras on the DVD include an extended interview with the director, and band member, Neil Young, as well as 10 music videos. Work checking out, but for most a rental will be enough.

Deadliest Catch - The Complete 4th Season - Buy from Amazon
A documentary TV series that follows the crews of several crab fishing boats in the north Alaskan seas. The show is called Deadlist Catch for a reason: crab fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs around with an on job fatality rate that is more than twice as high as the average for commercial fisheries, which is the most dangerous job according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One of the best programs on the Discovery Channel, and even without substantive extras, it is worth picking up over just renting.

Dora the Explorer - Dora Saves the Snow Princess - Buy from Amazon
One of the most popular pre-school shows out there, I've lost track of how many DVD releases there have been for this franchise. Fortunately, there is a little site called Wikipedia that can help in this situation. ... Good lord, there are a lot of them. At this point, fans of the franchise know what to expect, others don't care.

Emily of New Moon - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian TV series based on the books written by the same author that wrote Anne of Green Gables. This is a hugely popular series of books in Canada, but I'm not sure anyone in the States has heard of them. Still, worth checking out if you like Little House on the Prairie and similar shows.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc Edition, 3-Disc Collector's Edition, or Blu-ray
This movie earned excellent reviews and it was from the same gang that brought us The 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, so there were high expectations at the box office. However, while it matched expectations with critics, it struggled at the box office. Don't get me wrong, making more than $60 million on a $30 million budget is great, but it didn't come close to $100 million as some were expecting. Fortunately, the home market releases are excellent, at least most of them are. You can skip the Single-Disc Edition, unless are you are interested in just renting the movie. If you are interested in buying it, and you should be, you can check out the 3-Disc Collector's Edition, which has both the theatrical and the unrated edition of the movie. It also has a ton of extras, including audio commentary tracks on both versions, deleted scenes, alternate scenes, alternate lines, outtakes, Karaoke, a puppet show or two, and even more. The Blu-ray as all of those features, as well as a video commentary track, and BD-Live features. However, if you are interested in getting this movie on High Definition, grab the Aptatow Three-Pack instead. It has Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The 40-Year Old Virgin, and Knocked Up at a buy 2 get 1 free price. Certainly worth picking up, and even a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Iron Man - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc Edition, Two-Disc Collector's Edition, or Blu-ray
The 2008 summer blockbuster season got off to a great start, as Iron Man beat almost all expectations, opening with $100 million during its first weekend (assuming you count Thursday's box office) while it ended north of $300 million. And it wasn't a case of hype drawing people into the theaters, because the film's reviews were even better than its box office performance.

The movie starts with Tony Stark in a war zone demonstrating his company's latest weapon. His convoy is ambushed on the trip back and he is captured by a group of terrorists and forced to build them a weapon. He has other plans. This is one of the best Super Hero movies ever made and combines action with character development. Especially Tony Stark, who is played to perfection by Robert Downey, Jr. And character development is important, as we don't actually see the iconic Iron Man suit till about halfway through the movie. There were a couple times where suspension of disbelief was stretched, but this is a minor complaint, especially given its genre.

Extras on the Single-Disc Edition edition are terrible with just some deleted scenes. I was really hoping there would be an audio commentary track with the director, Jon Favreau, and star, Robert Downey, Jr, but we only get 11 extended / deleted scenes that run 24 minutes. Some are cool and perhaps could have fit in the movie, but most were wise choices to cut.

Two-Disc Collector's Edition has the above deleted scenes, and several major featurettes, starting with I Am Iron Man, a 7-part, 109-minute long making-of documentary. (It's not as long as the movie is, but it is close.) It's very comprehensive and deals with just about every aspect of the filmmaking process, especially the special effects. The Invincible Iron Man is a little under half as long and deals with the character of Iron Man, including its comic book origins and the depth of the mythology. Even hardcore fans of the character should learn something new here. Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man is a 27-minute featurette on the special effects, which is clearly an important aspect of the movie. There is a 6-minute screen test for Robert Downey, Jr and a 4-minute behind-the-scenes look at Robert Downey, Jr and Jeff Bridges rehearsing a scene with Jon Favreau. There's also a bit from Onion News Network, which many had probably seen on their official site. Finally, there are a boatload of images.

Unfortunately, I don't have the Blu-ray edition yet, but there will be a BD-Live extra on the disc for those with Profile 2.0 players, as well as other High Definition exclusive extras.

Iron Man is one of the best movies of the year, and one of the biggest hits. Fans of high action summer blockbusters will certainly want to add this movie to their collection, the only question is what version. The Single-Disc Edition is too bare-bones to be worth the meager price. The Two-Disc Collector's Edition is an excellent value and likely will be the DVD Pick of the Week when it comes out. Meanwhile, the Blu-ray edition appears to be worth the upgrade, and depending on how well the additional features are implemented, it could be enough to sell hardware and become the fastest selling Blu-ray ever.

Jazz Icons - Series 3 Box Set - Buy from Amazon
An 8-disc set that includes a bonus disc that is not available if you buy the program separately.

Jellyfish - Buy from Amazon
An Israeli drama that earned excellent reviews but never found an audience during its theatrical run. The only extra on the DVD is an interview with the filmmakers, but that's still enough to lift it past the rental level and to a purchase.

Kenny - Buy from Amazon
A mockumentary from Australia about Kenny, a man who services port-a-potties. The film earned perfect reviews but went nowhere at the box office. Fortunately the extras do not reflect the film's poor showing at the box office and include an audio commentary track with the lead actor (in character), deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and more. Easily worth checking out, and worth picking up over just renting. In fact, it has serious cult potential.

Lewis Black - The Root of All Evil - Season One - Buy from Amazon
The show has a simple premise, Lewis Black is the judge in a case pitting two sides against each other to see which is really the Root of All Evil. Arguing the case are two 'lawyers', who have the lion's share of the screen time, so Lewis Black is really a supporting player on his own show. This is mistake number one.

Mistake number two was some of the choices to play the advocates. Specifically, Greg Giraldo, whom I don't find funny, at all, yet he is in five of the eight episodes of season one. Worse yet, he's on more shows with Patton Oswalt than anyone else, and Patton Oswalt is arguably the funniest 'lawyer' on the show. (Although when Andrew Daly and Paul F. Tompkins go at it, it is magical.) The actual topics are also hit and miss. Beer vs. Weed, Porn vs. YouTube, High School vs. American Idol, and Las Vegas vs. The Human Body are hits, most of the rest are misses.

Extras on disc one include post show interviews, which we see as short clips at the end of the show. Your Day in Court is a three-minute featurette on how to appear in court. I'm sure Comedy Central is not legally responsible for following this advice. Meet Judge Black is a 90-second featurette on Lewis Black. Meet the Lawyers has Lewis Black talking about the lawyers for nearly 3 minutes. Politibits is just over a minute of Lewis Black's advice to politicians. Strangely, these are censored while the main show is not. Also strangely, the same is true of all the extras on the first DVD, while it is usually the opposite. Finally, there are no subtitles, no proper chapter placements, but there are play all buttons.

Lewis Black - The Root of All Evil is an interesting idea that doesn't quite live up to its potential. Some of the topics were a little out there to work. I understand putting Weed up against Beer, but Donald Trump vs. Viagra? Also, they need to stop Greg Giraldo from appearing on the show ever again, even if it means burning down the set to do so. That said, while Season One has a batting average of about .500, it is still worth checking out. And the ones that do work have enough replay value that this 2-disc set is worth picking up, especially if you judge the show as a stand-up coming act, and not a TV on DVD release.

Lou Reed's Berlin - Buy from Amazon
The latest from the Miriam Collection, which is a line of DVDs from the Weinstein Co. that specializes in musical movies, including documentaries, BioPics, and concert films. This one is from the last category, and it is a long time coming.

Berlin was Lou Reed's third solo album, coming on the heels of Transformer. That earlier album was Lou Reed's breakthrough album and spawned the hit, "Walk on the Wild Side" and is one of Lou Reed's best known albums. Berlin, on the other hand, performed poorly with critics and on the charts, which meant the planned tour to support the concept album never went forth. However, as the years went by, more and more people discovered this concept album and the overall opinion grew. Now, nearly 35 years after it was recorded, the Rock Opera was performed in a limited tour and recorded to everyone to see. This is a great album, however, I'm less enthusiastic about the film. The concert production is rather simple and not that cinematic, but worse, the sound was not as strong as it should have been. (Perhaps Lou Reed is a little past his prime by the time this concert was performed.)

Extras on the DVD are also limited with just a 5-minute interview with Lou Reed and director Julian Schnabel by Elvis Costello and a 6-minute look at the tour set to instrumental music. That's not a lot in terms of extras. In fact, it's barely anything.

Lou Reed's Berlin affected a lot of people and for them they will certainly want to buy this DVD. Even those who have not heard the music before, but like Lou Reed, will want to check it out. But unless you are a fan of the album specifically, a rental will be enough for most.

The Mindscape of Alan Moore - Buy from Amazon
A documentary look at comic book legend, Alan Moore, who is responsible for some classic work, including V for Vendetta and the upcoming Watchmen. (He also wrote the comic that was turned into The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but don't hold that against him.)

Mr. Bean - Best Of - Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
This series has been released in full season sets and a full series set, so these Best Of releases are for those who are such hardcore fans that they must have everything, or for more casual fans who just was a few bits and not full seasons.

My Name is Earl - Season Three - Buy from Amazon
I admit, this was the season where I stopped watching this series on TV on a regular basis. Partially this was due to schedule issues, but also due to the drop in quality in the show. (The whole coma aspect of the show didn't work for me) That said, I still plan on getting it on DVD, but I'm hoping season four improves.

My Three Sons - The First Season - Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
The second-longest-running TV sitcom of all time, and with good reason. (Although many today would call it old-fashioned.) However, many fans will not be happy with the show's debut on DVD, as the first season has been split into two. I figure a show this popular will be given a full series releases eventually, and picking it up then will be a much better deal.

Necroville - Buy from Amazon
A no-budget horror / comedy about two guys who get a job at Zom-B-Gone, which helps clean up the monster menace, which includes vampires and werewolves. The film should please fans of the genre, while the DVD has more extras than most similar films have, including audio commentary track, deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes on the FX, and more. Worth checking out, and worth picking up over just renting.

Numb3rs - Season Four - Buy from Amazon
A police procedural show, and there are a ton of those on TV right now. This one has an interesting hook as it focuses on two brothers, one an FBI agent and the other a mathematical genius. The show has proven to be quite popular, especially given its Friday night timeslot, which tends to be a weak night for TV. However, many fans will be annoyed that the fourth season, which was cut short by a significant amount, is being released on a DVD that costs more than season three. Additionally, the extras are limited to a 5-part making of featurette, which is a serious step back from previous releases. Still worth picking up, but I can't be as enthusiastic as I was with previous seasons.

OSS 117 - Buy from Amazon
This French film about secret agents is an excellent mix of action and humor. However, it never found an audience Stateside. That said, the DVD has extras that are on par with most imports (a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, outtakes) and it is worth checking out for fans of French cinema.

Pulse 2 - Afterlife - Buy from Amazon
I reviewed Pulse when it first came out on DVD. I wanted to like that movie, mostly because Kristen Bell was in it. However, I found very little worth liking. Sadly, the sequel is worse.

There are some interesting parts of the movie, but they all seem to be borrowed from better films. There are a couple of plot points that work, but I can't say more than that without spoiling the movie. The technological aspect is the other interesting part of the movie. Nearly every scene in the movie was shot on a green screen with backgrounds composited into the scene. This has been done before in movies like 300 and Sin City, but they were done a lot better in those movies. So much better. Granted, the stylized visuals worked out okay for the ghostly perspective, but when we shifted to the 'real world', it just looked fake. So fake that I couldn't get into the movie. Perhaps if the writing and the acting were better this wouldn't have been a problem, but they weren't better.

Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track with several participants who give a lot of information on the making of the movie. While they seem to be willing to give too much praise to the green screen effects, even they admit some weaknesses. The only other extras are two deleted scenes, in workprint form, and a sneak peak for Pulse 3. That's right, as bad as Pulse II was, they are making a third one.

Fans of the first film, and there aren't many, will not find a lot to like about this movie. It takes the weaknesses of the original, including the lack of tension and real scares, and amplifies them by filming almost entirely in front of a green screen. Additionally, the extras are weak and the replay value is low. I can't even recommend Pulse 2 - Afterlife for a rental.

R.L. Stine's Mostly Ghostly - Buy from Amazon
The cast for this kids show includes Ali Lohan, sister of Lindsay Lohan; and Noah Cyrus, sister of Miley Cyrus. I think the word for that is nepotism.

The Rebel - Two-Disc Ultimate Edtion - Buy from Amazon
The latest release from Dragon Dynasty, which has an amazing track record when it comes to importing martial arts movies. The reason is simply that out of the hundreds of such movies made in Asia every year, they only choose the best. The Rebel is no exception.

The film is set in Vietnam during French colonial times. Action starts with an assassination attempt on a minister of the French government. Two of his guards help thwart the attempt, sort of, and capture one of the rebels, who is the daughter of the leader. The government attempt to root out the rebels, which not only involves a lot of action, but also intrigue, drama, and more than a few twists. In a lot of martial arts movies, even great martial arts movies, the plot is just filler between the fight scenes, so it is nice to see a movie that has more going for it than just the action. On a side note, if I saw someone using martial arts, I think I would be able to identify that person's county of origin based on the nature of their fighting style. Vietnamese fighting certainly has a style of its own, which is not given a major showcase in movies here. This helps make this movie stand out in the crowded genre.

Extras on the two-disc set are impressive, starting with an audio commentary with Bey Logan, obviously, who is joined by the three main stars. This amps the entertainment level of the commentary track, as the quartet joke around a bit. However There are plenty of informational tidbits given, for those who want to learn more about the movie. Over on disc two there are a trio of interviews with the same cast members featured in the audio commentary track. Combined they are more than 100 minutes long. Behind-the-Scenes Gallery has a number of short clips from the filming of the movie. There are nearly a dozen of them running 24 minutes, but they are in non-anamorphic wide screen. Strange. Johnny Tri Nguyen gives a 3-minute martial arts demonstration. There is also a single deleted scene that runs just under a minute. Finally, there's a 38-minute making-of featurette.

I don't think there's been a Dragon Dynasty release that I've reviewed that I wasn't at least somewhat happy with, at least enough to recommend renting. The Rebel isn't ending that streak, in fact, the Two-Disc Ultimate Edition is easily worth picking up for fans of the genre, especially for those who have not seen much of the Vietnamese fighting style on screen.

Rest Stop - Don't Look Back - Buy from Amazon: Buy from Amazon or Blu-ray
The original Rest Stop was not a good movie. I'm not sure if anyone thinks the sequel will be better, but of the handful of reviews I've seen, none of the critics do. The DVD does have an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, alternate ending, etc. As for the Blu-ray, it has no additional extras and it is not worth the upgrade. But the DVD is not worth buying, so that's immaterial.

The Sixth Sense - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
This release is the reason this column isn't getting published till after midnight. It arrived today, in the early evening, after I had mostly wrapped up the column. However, I didn't want to push it off till next week, as the number of DVDs that have arrived late is starting to pile up.

This is not M. Night Shyamalan's debut film, but it might as well be as Wide Awake came and went without anyone really paying attention. On the other hand, The Sixth Sense had one of the most impressive box office runs of the past decade, managing to stay on top of the charts for an impressive five weeks in a row. And this is not a fluke, as the movie is easily the best film of M. Night Shyamalan's career, and arguably one of the best surprise twist movies ever made. This is a movie that every film buff should have in their home collection. The real question is whether it is worth upgrading to high definition.

That's not as easy a question to answer because this is shovelware, plain and simple. Granted, it looks great (most Disney Blu-rays do), but this is a movie you watch for the story, not for the special effects. There are a lot of extras on the DVD including featurettes on the making of the movie, on the clues in the movie, on the storyboards, music, on the box office success and audience reaction, and ghost... and how they are real. I hate crap like this. Don't try and tell me ghosts are real, you are not going to convince me, you are just going to sound like a crackpot. Finally there are some deleted scenes. However, while there are a lot of extras, these were all found on the DVD, and none of them are in high definition. Like I said, shovelware.

The Sixth Sense is an amazing movie and it should be in everyone's collection, so if you don't have it yet, buy it. If you do have the DVD, you can get $10.00 off the price of the Blu-ray, which is a great deal and it is worth upgrading.

Soccer Mom - Buy from Amazon
Missi Pyle stars as a soccer mom who tries to get a world-famous soccer legend to coach her daughter, played by Emily Osment of Hannah Montana. However, when that falls through at the last moment, she decides to dress-up and pretend. Given the combination of genres (sports, underdogs, cross-dressing, well-intended lie, etc.) there are a lot of clichés in this movie. However, I don't think it's target audience will mind. Not a huge amount of replay value, but worth checking out.

Sports Night - The Complete Series 10th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
It is criminal how this show was ignored by TV audiences and canceled after just two seasons. At least it is getting a very nice 8-disc set to celebrate the show, which includes 2 full DVDs loaded with extras. Usually full series sets are just the individual seasons wrapped up in a new package, but here it is actually worth upgrading for. Excellent job, Shout! Factory.

The Starlost - Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian Sci-Fi TV series from the 1970s about an space ark sent out to avoid the extinction of the human race. Now hundreds of years later, the inhabitants of the space ship, all sealed in small sub-compartments, must explore the ship and find the controls to void crashing into a star. A great concept that was written by Harlan Ellison, however, a very limited budget hurt the execution. That said, it is still worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

Taxi to the Dark Side - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about a taxi driver who was captured by the Americans in Afghanistan, beaten, tortured, and eventually killed. However, he wasn't a terrorist, but an innocent man in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the best movies of the year, and winner of several awards, including the Oscar for Best Documentary. Even without any extras, the DVD would still be worth picking up. Fortunately, there are plenty of extras, including an audio commentary track, extended interviews, deleted scenes, and more. Easily worth picking up, and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

The Unforeseen - Buy from Amazon
Didn't this come out last week?

Voltron Volume 6 - Vehicle Voltron - Buy from Amazon
My personal favorite incarnation of Voltron, but I think Lion Voltron is the most popular here.

When We Left Earth - The NASA Missions - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Just a quick note that this 4-disc set is coming out this week on DVD and Blu-ray. We should have a full review up soon.


Filed under: Video Releases, Iron Man, Knocked Up, The 40 Year-old Virgin, Daredevil, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Dawn of the Dead, George A. Romero's Land of the Dead, Jellyfish, Bigger, Stronger, Faster*, OSS 117, Taxi to the Dark Side, Beaufort, The Unforeseen, CSNY: Déjà Vu, Chapter 27, Lou Reed's Berlin, Kenny, Rest Stop, Rest Stop: Don't Look Back