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DVD Releases for December 30, 2008 - Part I

December 29th, 2008

This week is a mess because we are dealing with DVDs released on the 26th, the 27th, and the 30th. Additionally, we are dealing with the latest two waves of Paramount Blu-rays, so there are a lot of spotlight reviews this week. (Although when it comes to those particular Blu-rays, I have previously reviewed nearly half of them previously, and I have seen more than half of the rest, so it was easy to review.) It was so easy, in fact, I was able to get a couple reviews done in advance, which lead to a record number of spotlight reviews. There are more spotlight reviews this week than the previous four weeks combined. Needless to say, the column had to be split into two, with the second part found here. As for the best of the best, Serenity - Blu-ray easily won the DVD Pick of the Week, while Duckman - Season Three and Four is the DVD Pick of Next Week. Also worth grabbing are Event Horizon on Blu-ray, Ghost Town on either DVD or Blu-ray, Greek - Chapter Two, and The Truman Show on Blu-ray

10 Items or Less - Seasons 1 & 2 - Buy from Amazon
Just a quick note that I will be doing a spotlight review for this DVD, as soon as the screener gets here. If it gets here.

An American Carol - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
There are two key rules when it comes to making political satire. Firstly, go for the throat. Don't be wishy-washy and try to please both sides, as you will end up with weak product. That is not a problem here, as the filmmakers set their sites on Micheal Moore, and all things to the left of Dick Cheney. The second rule when it comes to political satire is the funny comes first, the politics comes second. In this case, the politics came first, while there was practically no funny to be found. One of the worst movies of the year, which explains why it was one of the biggest bombs of the year as well. And this in turn could explain why there extras are rather light as the DVD and Blu-ray have just a commentary track, interviews with the cast and director, and some deleted scenes. For a first run release, this is rather weak. However, given its limited target audience, it makes sense that the studio didn't waste money on a top notch DVD. The obvious rating here is skip it.

Baghead - Buy from Amazon
A movie about a group of actors who travel to a secluded cabin to try to write a movie they can star in. They decide to make a teenage slasher where the main villain is a man with a bag on his head. ... But while they are writing the script, they are stalked by a man with a bag on his head. Reviews were good, but not great, and the film never found an audience theatrically. It should do better on the home market, especially with extras like an audio commentary track, interview with the filmmakers, and something called BAGHEAD Scares where people with bags on their heads jump out and scare people in real life. Worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

Beethoven's Big Break - Buy from Amazon
The latest Direct-to-DVD offering from the Beethoven franchise. Like most film franchises that hit the Direct-to-DVD market, the quality has taken a sharp decline. And here's the thing, the first movie wasn't that good to begin with. In fact, it was complete crap. Also coming out this week is Beethoven's Dog-Gone Best Movie Pack, which has all six movies from the franchise. Six movies? It makes me shutter just thinking about it.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: An American Carol, Days of Thunder, The Duchess, Eagle Eye, Event Horizon, Ghost, Ghost Town, Last Holiday, Resident Evil - Degeneration, Serenity, Surfer, Dude, The Truman Show, and Wedding Crashers
Just over a dozen Blu-ray releases this week, including a few that were released over the weekend. Of this lot, the vast majority are shovelware, but there are a few that are worth picking up. The best of the best is Serenity, which is coming out on a Blu-ray disc that has even more features than the Collector's Edition, but we will have more detail further down.

Warning: This Blu-ray does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 16th. However, the Blu-ray screener arrived late, hence the delay in the review.

Coach Carter - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Samuel L. Jackson stars as Ken Carter, who returns to the inner city high school where he was a basketball star. Now he's the coach looking to turn around a team that went 4 and 22 the year before. Yep, it's an inspirational coach movie that is based on real life events, and there have been dozens of those, perhaps hundreds. But this one is better than most, and despite the high number of clichés found within, it is worth checking out.

As for the Blu-ray, it isn't shovelware. It does have all of the previous features found on the DVD, starting with Coach Carter: The Man Behind the Movie, which is a 20-minute featurette on the man that inspired the movie. Fast Break and Richmond High is a 12-minute making of featurette that deals specifically with the basketball scenes. There are also six deleted scenes that run a combined 12 minutes. Finally, there's a music video. New to the Blu-ray are two additional featurettes, the first on the writers, and the second one on the behind-the-scenes. It's not a lot, nor does any of it push the technology, in fact, none of them are presented in High Definition. That said, with so much shovelware on this week's list, I'm happy with any exclusives I can get.

Coach Carter beat expectations, both with critics and at the box office. The original DVD was rather lackluster in terms of extras, but the Blu-ray is a big enough step up that it is worth the upgrade, especially with the $10 mail-in rebate.

Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget - Uncensored - Buy from Amazon
This is the third Comedy Central Roast I've reviewed, and I've yet to be impressed by any of them. This may stem from the fact that the comedy is mostly lazy dirty comedy meant to shock, and I am nearly 100% impossible to shock, especially when someone it obviously trying too hard to do so. Was anyone surprised that the comedy was raunchy? Was anyone surprised that the raunchy humor including bits about the Olsen Twins? I certainly wasn't, which lessened the impact when these jokes were told. And re-told. And told again.

I'm not adverse to comedy that is dirty, but it has to be funny first, and quite frankly, that's rare for these roasts. There were about a dozen 'sets' in this 70-minute special, including the host, John Stamos, and the victim, Bob Saget, and of those only a couple were really strong. Brian Posehn was the first comic to score in my opinion, while he was followed by Cloris Leachman, who was the highlight of the night. (On a side note, Jeff Garlin 'act' as the producer that got Full House on the air fell flat. However, once he went off-script, he was one of the funnier comics.) Most of the comics managed at least one or two laughs, and there were three shorter, recorded bits that had some laughs as well. But that's not a strong enough hit to miss ration for me to recommend this special.

Extras on the DVD are on par with previous such releases and include a behind-the-scenes featurette that lasts just a minute, two-and-a-half minute interview of Bob Saget, five-and-a-half minutes of After the Roast interviews, and finally there's an 11-minute segment called On the Blue Carpet, which is more interviews of random people. Again, the hit to miss ratio was rather low. Also, some of the extras are censored, which is highly annoying.

I have not seen every Celebrity Roast put out by Comedy Central, but so far I haven't seen one that is funny enough to recommend, and that trend continues here. I don't think Bob Saget made a great target, because too many of the jokes were about just two subjects: him being a pervert and him not being funny. The repetitiveness limits the replay value of the DVD and it is a rental, at the most.

Days of Thunder - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
It has been a long time since I've seen this movie, and it hasn't aged well. Then again, I never liked this movie, even it first came out. I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise's acting and never have been. I don't like stock car racing and prefer Formula One. I thought Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman had zero chemistry in this movie. And finally I thought it was too similar to Top Gun, which had come out a few years earlier. And the 'climatic' ending was pathetic. "He always goes high" "He's going low. He's going low." I will say that most critics liked the movie more than I did, but not by enough to recommend buying over renting.

As for the Blu-ray, I don't think it will win any technical awards. It looks at times, and there are no real extras either.

Skip it. The transfer, the extras, the movie itself. There's nothing about Days of Thunder's Blu-ray debut that is worth picking up, not even with the $10 mail-in rebate.

Death Note - Volume 8 - Buy from Amazon
Anime is still very much a niche market genre here, and while there are some dedicated fans, the releases rarely are among the top selling DVDs of the week. When they are, it usually is the result of a particularly light docket of releases. That is certainly the case here. Also available with a collectable figure.

The Duchess - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon
One of three spotlight reviews on this week's list that I'm not entirely sure when it is making its home market debut. It could be coming out anywhere from the 26th to the 28th. Perhaps even the 30th. I really don't know.

Keira Knightley stars as Georgiana, who at 17 years old marries the Duke of Devonshire, in what she hopes will be matrimonial bliss. However, it is more of a business arrangement as she is solely there to provide the Duke with a male heir, and his cold emotionless way drives her away. At first she puts her efforts into her social gatherings, and then into political causes, but when she reunites with and old friend, Charles, the Earl of Grey, her passions are finally ignited.

This is not the first costume drama Keira Knightley has starred in, nor will it be her last, as she seems to be quite comfortable in the genre. However, the overall picture is still just good, not great. I think it is fair to say is was made to win Oscars, but there's little hope it will be a major player during Awards Season, at least not in the prestige categories. (I expect it to earn at least a couple Oscar nominations for technical awards (Best Costumes, Set Design, etc.).) Watching the movie, I couldn't help think that I've seen it all before.

The film performed rather well when it opened in limited release, and showed some strength as it started to expand. However, as soon as it tried to open semi-wide, it collapsed. This could explain why there are only three featurettes on the DVD. The first is a multi-part making of featurette that runs 23 minutes in length. It not only talks about the making of the movie, but of the real Georgiana as well. Georgiana in Her Own Words is a seven-minute featurette on the actual letters written by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshite that helped influence the book that is the source of the movie. Finally, there's the Costume Diary, which is just shy of six minutes on the costumes, hair, and make-up.

Moving on to the Blu-ray, it just, just arrived. (The last delivery of the day.) I haven't rewatched the movie in High Definition, but I did check out a few key scenes I made note of while watching the DVD, and I'm happy to report that the DVD looks fantastic. I have no complaints at all, nor do I have complaints about its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. That said, there are no additional extras, but at least they are presented in High Definition. But despite the impressive technical presentation, I'm not sure it is worth the additional 60% it costs over on For this kind of upgrade, I would be willing to spend 30% to 40% more. (On a side note, that is the difference between the MSRP of the two items.)

The Duchess earned acceptable reviews for a wide release, but not the kind that normally indicate that the film will be able to open in limited release and expand wide. And this film wasn't. I should be able to find an audience on the home market, especially among costume drama enthusiasts, but it is hard to give the DVD an enthusiastic recommendation. Call it a solid rental, leaning towards a purchase. As for the Blu-ray, I will update this review when it arrives.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and makes its home market debut on the 6th of January. However, the DVD screener arrived early and I was able to get the review done this week. At least I was able to get it half done this week.

Duckman - Season Three and Four - Buy from Amazon
I am deeply depressed that this show's run on DVD is already over. On the other hand, at least the studio didn't try and drag out the release of the show over the course of two or three years. I've previously reviews the first DVD release, which can be found here, so I don't need to go over the basic plot of the show or the character, and this time around I will concentrate of the highlight episodes, and there are a bundle.

  • Noir Gang - Cornfed and Duckman fall for the same Femme Fatale, who hires the pair to protect her from someone who is trying to kill her. Season three got off to a great start, as this is one of the best episodes in the show's entire run, especially if you are a fan of Film Noir.
  • Forbidden Fruit - Bernice and Duckman hire a tutor to help Ajax, Charles, and Zamboni, but when Duckman hits on her, Bernice threatens to end him if he ruins the boys' chances at getting an education. For the sake of his boys, and his life, he resists all temptations, but despite all of his best efforts, he is still accused of acting inappropriately. Who would do something to an innocent duck?
  • Grandma-ma's Flatulent Adventure - Duckman accidentally leaves Grandma-ma in the car while he's eating at a topless Chinese restaurant, only to have the car, and Grandma-ma, stolen. While her family worries about her, well, while everyone but Duckman worries about her, we see the amazing adventure she goes on in her coma state.
  • Sperms of Endearment - Bernice decides to have a kid and uses a sperm bank, a sperm bank run by Terry Duke Tetzloff, so you know this is going to turn out poorly. However, it's worse than you can imagine, because it turns out the sperm donor is Duckman.
  • A Room With A Bellevue - Duckman is arrested for a traffic violation on his son's birthday, and in an attempt to get out of jail quickly, he pleads insanity and is sent to a mental institute for evaluation. However, he quickly learns to like it there, which is proof that he really is nuts.
  • Apocalypse Not - During an emergency drill, the town is accidentally locked into a bomb shelter, except for Duckman, who doesn't realize it was a drill and thinks he is the only survivor of a real disaster. So what does he do as the only survivor of a disaster? Destroy the town, of course.
  • Clear and Presidente Danger - While on vacation in a third world nation, Duckman goes on an extended rant and leads a revolution becoming the new Presidente. How long do you think it will take before the power corrupts Duckman? If you said immediately, you are correct.
  • The Mallardian Candidate - A spoof of The Manchurian Candidate, with Duckman being the brain-washed assassin.
  • Pig Amok - Cornfed confesses that his family is cursed and that if he doesn't lose his virginity in 24 hours, he will die. But don't worry, Duckman will help him. Oh boy.
  • The Once and Future Duck - Ajax accidentally creates a rip in the space - time continuum, which causes future Duckman to return to the past and give him advise. At first he's thrilled to avoid problems, but knowing the major consequences of the smallest actions paralyzes Duckman with fear.
  • They Craved Duckman's Brain! - Duckman is cast in a movie as "Freakishly tall bad accent man" (it's a long story) but during the filming he is accidentally bombarded with radiation, which causes his brain to mutate and develop a cure for cancer. And there's only one way to get at it, and it involves removing his brain.
  • The Road to Dendron - spoof of the Road to... movies that Bing Crosby and Bob Hope used to star in in the 1940s and 1950s.
  • Exile in Guyville - A huge fight between Duckman and Bernice causes the whole country to split into two: one half for the women, and one half for the men.
  • The Amazing Colossal Duckman - After eating a strange mixture of chemicals, Duckman develops a condition where he grows every time he gets angry. ... You can see where this would be a problem.
Okay, I got to stop. I barely into disc four, and I've already hit 15 episodes, and those are only the ones I remember by name. After watching season three, I can add Color of Naught, which is about a King Chicken plot to rob the world of color; The One With Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role, which has Ajax kidnapped by aliens, who then use Duckman as their prophet; Aged Heat, which has the family held hostage by an escaped convict, who looks just like Grandma-ma; and The Longest Weekend, where the neighborhood committee starts a war against the street next door, only to turn on each other. That's 18 hits, out of 20 third season episodes. The two episodes I didn't mention yet, The Girls of Route Canal (how Duckman met his wife) and Cock Tales for Four (Ajax is dating King Chicken's daughter) are not bad, they are certainly worth watching, they just don't have as much replay value as the others. A 90% hit rating; that's unbelievable. Even if there wasn't a single hit during season four, this seven-disc set would still be worth picking up.

As for season four, it's not as good as we will get to that next week.

Eagle Eye - Buy from Amazon: Single-Disc Edition, 2-Disc Special Edition, or Blu-ray
First a quick note... Not entirely sure when this movie is coming out. Could be the 26th, the 27th or the 28th, as reports vary. It should already be in stores by the time this column is published, and that's all that really matters.

Shia LaBeouf stars as Jerry Shaw, a man who is framed as a terrorist but is contacted anonymously by a woman over the phone who claims to be able to get him out of trouble, if he does exactly what she says. Meanwhile, Rachel Holloman is contacted by the same woman and told to do exactly what she says, or her son will be killed in a train wreck. For the next 90-minutes they have to avoid the authorities, while trying to figure out who this woman is and what she has planned. Meanwhile, the audience gets to play a game called "Suspension of Disbelief." Personally, I couldn't last 10 minutes past where the action starts. Just too many thinks don't make sense. I would go into great detail why most of the movie makes zero sense, but that discussion would be so riddled with spoilers as to render the review unreadable to anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet. I will say that the big reveal was so obvious a mile away as to be laughable. Also, the design of Aria was pathetic. 'She uses infrared sensors to receive the data.' No, no she wouldn't, because that's a stupid design. It's something that a screenwriter would think up because it would mean a really cool set piece, but it is totally impractical in real life, as it requires too many moving parts, and moving parts are just another thing that could breakdown.

The movie fails because almost none of the major plot points are dealt with in a realistic manner. This is too bad, as its pro-privacy political message is laudable and I wish the film lived up to the message it was trying to deliver.

Moving onto the home market releases, there are three of them, starting with the Single-Disc Edition. This is completely skippable, as it only has three-deleted scenes and a short marking of featurette.

The 2-Disc Special Edition has those extras (and an alternate ending included in the deleted scenes) as well as several additional extras. This starts with a meatier 25-minute making of featurette and a 6-minute featurette on the Washington, D.C. shooting location. Is My Cell Phone Spying On Me? runs just over 9 minutes and talks about the basic message of the movie. Shall We Play a Game? has the director, D.J. Caruso, talking with his mentor, John Badham, who directed War Games. War Games obviously influenced this movie, and it is a far, far, far superior movie and mentioning it on the DVD is a mistake, because it will remind people of a better film. Finally, there are seven minutes of outtakes and an image gallery.

Moving onto the Blu-ray, it has no additional extras, but the extras are presented in High Definition. Also, the Blu-ray looks and sounds good, and it only costs $4 more than the 2-Disc Special Edition.

Eagle Eye is a movie that made me scream at the TV more than once as I was watching it. Just too much of the plot was completely unbelievable for me to get any enjoyment out of the movie. That said, it made $100 million at the box office, which is a huge total for a September release, so obviously there are many others who disagree with me. I would recommend renting to see which camp you are in, but if you are set on buying the movie, skip the Single-Disc Edition, and go with the Blu-ray if you have the option, or the 2-Disc Special Edition if not.

Event Horizon - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
This film is set in 2047, about 30 years after the first permanent base on the moon, and seven years after the space ship Event Horizon was lost after they first tried her experimental gravity drive and simply disappeared. Now the crew of the Lewis & Clark, along with the astrophysicist who helped design it, are on their way to Neptune, because it seems the Event Horizon has returned. But where did it go, and did it bring anything back with it?

Man, this film earned some ugly reviews when it first came out, but I like it. To me it almost feels like Lovecraft in space. Granted, it's far from perfect, there are some rather dodgy special effects, but the film is more than a decade old and CG effects were still in their infancy so that's forgivable. There are also a few too many cheap scares early on, and some over-the-top gore in the end, but for the most part it is an effect ghost house set in space and sets up the mood extremely well. At least that's my opinion, but I am in the minority here, so keep that in mind.

Moving onto the Blu-ray, like most catalogue releases this week, it is shovelware, but at least the source is great, as this takes all of the extras from the Special Edition, which I rated as the DVD Pick of the Week when it was first released more than two years ago. Extras start with an audio commentary track with the director and producer. Next up is a multi-part, 103-minute making of featurette, which details every part of the film's production. There are 8 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage with narration by Paul Anderson. There are three deleted scenes with a total running time of 10 minutes, which also includes audio commentary. Finally, there's a storyboard of an unfilmed scene (with audio commentary) and an image gallery of conceptual art.

On the downside, there are no additional extras on the Blu-ray, nor are any of the extras presented in High Definition. It does look and sound great, and the movie is visual enough that the High Definition transfer will be reason enough to upgrade for most fans.

Not a lot of critics were fans of Event Horizon when it first came out, but I'm one of them. I think it is an effective ghost story set in a space ship a billion miles in deep space. I rated the 2-Disc Special Edition as a DVD Pick of the Week when it came out, and the Blu-ray is one of the better ones on this week's list. Throw in the $10 mail-in rebate, and it only cost $10 to buy. Even if you don't have the DVD, $20 is a great price and it's an easy recommendation.

Ghost - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
I've previously reviewed this movie when the Special Edition came out last year and there's little need to rehash the details of the movie. This is a romantic drama that provides a great mix of romance, drama, and comedy. It is starting to show its age, and at times feels like a product of the late 80s / early 90s.

As for the Blu-ray, it is shovelware with all of the extras found on the Special Edition, and nothing more. Additionally, , none of the extras are presented in High Definition. Finally, the High Definition of the movie is weak, or merely average. Compared to the remastered Special Edition, it's not that much better.

There's not a whole lot here to sell the Blu-ray version of Ghost if you already have the A HREF= target="_NewWindow" rel="nofollow">Special Edition DVD. However, it does come with a $10 mail-in rebate if you own it on DVD, which cuts the price form $20 to just $10. That makes it worth upgrading to. On the other hand, if you weren't interested in the movie enough to pick it up on DVD thus far, this presentation won't change your mind.

Ghost Town - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
First a quick note... This movie hits the home market on the 28th, or the 27th, or perhaps the 26th. There seems to be some confusion on the matter. Regardless, it should be in stores now.

Ricky Gervais stars as Bertram Pincus, a misanthropic dentist who one day goes into a hospital for a routine colonoscopy, but something decidedly non-routine happens. He dies. He dies for just a little bit, but when he comes back to like, he can see dead people. He can see dead people and he hates them as much as he hates the living. However, one of these ghosts, Frank, convinces Bertram to help break up the upcoming marriage of his widow, Gwen. And if Bertram does that, Frank will get the rest of the ghosts to leave him along. He figures the best way to do that is to make her fall in love with him. What follows is a fantastic comedy that really should have been seen by more. I'm at a loss to figure out why did wasn't at least a midlevel hit. One theory is that Ricky Gervais isn't a big enough star to draw people into theaters, but as long as people watch this movie on the home market, that will change.

On a side note, I loved the joke with the woman playing the chase music in the park. It's such a simple joke, but I laughed very hard. Probably harder than the joke deserved.

One last note, a lot of people compared this movie to The Sixth Sense, but I think it is closer to the TV series, Dead Last. The tagline, "He sees dead people... and they annoy him." is nearly a direct quote from that TV series. However, despite being a great show, it only lasted a few episodes so I don't anyone involved in making this movie was influenced by it. And if they were, they managed to create something great, so I'm not complaining about where they got their ideas from.

Looking at the extras, they are not overwhelming, but solid, especially considering how poorly it did at the box office. Ricky Gervais joins the director for the audio commentary track that tilts heavily towards the entertainment end of the spectrum. You do learn a bit about the movie, but more about these two men as people. Making Ghost Town is a 23-minute long making of featurette that is the typical mix of talking head, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the movie. Ghostly Effects is just 2 minutes long and shows a few scenes that had special effects in them and the various stages there in. Without commentary, it loses some of its context, but it is still worth checking out. Some People Can Do It spends six minutes showing that perhaps Ricky Gervais is perhaps not the most professional actor around.

As for the Blu-ray, it has no additional extras, but at least all of the extras here are presented in high definition. As for its technical specs, I can't complain about how it looks or sounds, but the very nature of the film means it is not one that you will grab when you want to show off your home theater system. Given its price, which is 40% more than the DVD on, I can't really recommend one over the other. It's a toss-up.

Ghost Town will undoubtedly do better on the home market than it did theatrically for two main reasons. One, it is an incredibly funny movie. Two, it bombed in theaters. It is absolutely worth picking up, and the total package has enough replay value that the DVD or the Blu-ray is worth picking up over just renting.

Greek - Chapter Two - Buy from Amazon
When it comes to reviewing TV on DVD, it's a lot easier to have reviewed the previous season, and that is the case here. I don't have to deal with the basic plot, the characters, etc., and I can simply point you to the review for Chapter One.

Chapter two starts off dealing with the aftermath of chapter one, the major, major scandal involving the Zeta Beta Zeta, which causes the university to crack down on the fraternities and sororities. This also causes more direct changes for Zeta Beta Zeta, with Frannie out as president and Casey in. Meanwhile, their national committee decides to send someone to make sure they are on the straight and narrow, and Lizzi immediately clashes with the sorority. Also as a result of this, there are more than a few breakups, hookups, and other personal changes.

There are a few new recurring characters that really help the show this chapter, including Senta Moses, who is great as Lizzi. Alan Ruck as Dean Bowman, who first made an appearance in Chapter One, returns for a couple episodes and is great. Finally, there's Lisa Wilhoit, who plays Tina in a few episodes. I swear I had seen her before, but I couldn't remember where, till I looked her up on IMDb. She played the younger sister on My So-Called Life. I love seeing her on TV again, and I hope she gets more work.

Extras on the 3-disc set are on par with the first release including 3 audio commentary tracks, outtakes, a featurette on the Flashback episode (which was a highlight of the season), and a music video by the Plain White T's.

Is Greek a good show? Let me put it this way... I had just finished reviewing Kyle XY and I meant to watch one episode of Greek before going to bed. As I am writing this, it is 5 am and I have just finished watching the entire DVD in one marathon session. Yeah, it's good. If you are a fan of the show, grab Chapter Two. If you haven't seen it, check it out, but start with Chapter One.

Harlequin - Buy from Amazon: Another Woman, Broken Lullaby, A Change of Place, and Treacherous Beatuies
A quartet of TV movies based on Harlequin romance novels that were made in the 1990s. This had a reputation for being quite bad, and for good reason.

Warning: This Blu-ray does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 16th. However, the Blu-ray screener arrived late, hence the delay in the review.

The Heartbreak Kid - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
I've previously review the DVD and the HD DVD versions last year and I don't think there's any point cutting and pasting my previous review for the movie. I think it is safe to call this movie a massive disappointment, especially given the talent involved.

Another slice of shovelware for the week. This one is identical to the HD DVD release including the extras, the Easter Egg, the video transfer, everything. Right now on Amazon, it only costs $17.00 to buy, and with the $10 mail-in rebate for those with the DVD, that drops the price to just $7.00. For that price, it is worth upgrading. However, if you just rented The Heartbreak Kid, or took my advice and skipped it, then you should do the same with the Blu-ray.

Hellraiser 2 - Hellbound - 20th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
This franchise is based on the works of Clive Barker, who actually made is directorial debut with the first film. The first film earned respectable reviews, especially given the genre. This film actually earned better reviews than its predecessor did, and was a respectable hit at the box office, especially given its production budget. However, it was the end of the franchise as far as quality films were concerned, while was eventually relegated to direct-to-DVD releases. Fortunately the studio recognizes where the franchise started from and this DVD has plenty of extras starting with an audio commentary track, interview with Clive Barker, interviews with the cast & crew, interview with Doug Bradley (a.k.a. Pinhead), and more, all of which has been included on previous releases. New to the 20th anniversary edition is an interview with the actors who played the Cenobites, an interview with the director, and finally another interview, this time with the actor who played Dr. Philip Channard. Easily worth the upgrade.

Warning: This Blu-ray does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 16th. However, the Blu-ray screener arrived late, hence the delay in the review.

Hot Rod - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
There are more than a dozen Blu-ray releases that have spotlight reviews this week, and of those, this one is by far the worst. I think it is much weaker than its Tomatometer score.

The Blu-ray is mostly shovelware. It does have a new transfer, but I can't tell the difference between the two. Maybe if I studied this release and the HD DVD release side-by-side I would pick up on some minor differences, but this is not the kind of movie where that effort is needed, or rewarded. It's a low-budget comedy that wouldn't push the limited of High Definition no matter how good the transfer was, so having a mediocre one is hardly a major problem. Additionally, the extras are the same as on the previous two releases, and none have any replay value.

Hot Rod's Blu-ray debut is nothing special and even with a $10 mail-in rebate, I can't recommend upgrading. I can't recommend renting. I can't even recommend watching the movie for free on TV. Skip it.

Internet Dating - Buy from Amazon
Katt Williams stars as a man who pretends to be a seven-foot tall basketball star on his internet profile in order to find dates. But when he meets these women in real life, it turns out they also lied about who they are. Highly predictable and Katt Williams is the only main actor who has any real talent for the profession.

Warning: This Blu-ray does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 16th. However, the Blu-ray screener arrived late, hence the delay in the review.

Into the Wild - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Of all of the spotlight reviews for the Blu-ray releases on this week's list, this one earned some of the best reviews, but I hated it. It took me a while to figure out why, but I finally did. The main character, Christopher McCandless, a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp, was portrayed as some great adventurer who bravely went forth into the wilderness. But it had nothing to do with bravery, as he was just running away from his family. Granted, there were part of his family that were worth running away from, but whenever he met someone on the road that could have been family to him, he ran away from them as well. Running away from your problems is the antithesis of bravery, no matter where you run to. Add in the fact that he abandoned his sister to their horrible family life, and I had no sympathy for the character.

As for the Blu-ray, you know what's coming, it's shovelware. I know you are probably sick of reading that term, and I'm sick of typing it, but it is the best way to describe these releases. Worse yet, its shovelware from a DVD / HD DVD that was crap to begin with. With only two featurettes as extras. They are not even presented in High Definition. At least the movie itself looks good.

Into the Wild on Blu-ray is actually cheaper that it was originally was when it came out on DVD, and that's before you take into account the $10 mail-in rebate. Even with light extras, it will be worth picking up for most people, I'm just not part of that group.

Kyle XY - Second Season - Buy from Amazon
Season one of this series started with the introduction of Kyle (played by Matt Dallas). He's a young man who was found wondering around the forest, naked, and unable to communicate. After being brought in by the police, he joins the Trager family, where he starts to show some pretty amazing abilities. He learns at an accelerated pace, he's stronger, faster, more agile. Oh yeah, and he has no belly button. Obviously he also has a lot of secrets, and with no memory, he's determined to figure out what they are.

Throughout the first season, and especially the second season, we learn what some of those secrets are. However, I'm not going to tell you any of them, because that's one of the main draws of the show. However, It works no only as a Sci-Fi mystery show like The X-Files, but also as a family drama thanks to the excellent chemistry between the cast, as well as the writing. Speaking of the cast, there were some additions this year, including Jaimie Alexander as Jessi and Leah Cairns as Emily Hollander, but again, I can't go into details about their characters without entering major spoiler territory. I will say that season two is an improvement over season one by a small, but noticeable degree.

Extras are also better on this 6-disc set with audio commentary tracks and deleted scenes (with audio commentary) spread throughout the release. (There are eight of the former and 27 of the latter. Most of the commentary tracks are from the first half of the season.) On disc three there are two featurettes Livin' with the X's and Facing the Future. The first runs 12 minutes long and is about the two actors who play XX and XY on the show. While the second featurette runs seven-and-a-half minutes long and talks about the shift in the show from season one to season two. There is also an alternate ending to the mid-series finale. Finally there is a seven-minute featurette on the science of the show. There's a reason it's called Science Fiction, so don't expect too much reality here.

Season two of Kyle XY showed improvement over the first season in a number of ways, while the 6-disc set also has more special features. If you are a fan of the show, this is an easy recommendation. If you have never seen it before, check it out, but start with season one.

Last Holiday - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
The original film starred Alec Guinness as a salesman who was told he only had three weeks to live, so he decided to take all of his money and blow it all on one last vacation. Since he was dying, he didn't care what people though of him, so he told everyone exactly what he thought of them. This attitude, and the carefree way he spend his money, lead everyone to assume he was a big shot somewhere and so they sucked up to him. However, it turns out his terminal illness was the result of a mis-diagnosis, and in a surprise twist, he died anyway. However, that film was social commentary with a caustic edge, and this

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Video Releases, Wedding Crashers, Eagle Eye, Coach Carter, Last Holiday, The Heartbreak Kid, Serenity, Into the Wild, Hot Rod, The Duchess, Ghost Town, Baghead, Surfer, Dude, Beethoven's Big Break, Resident Evil: Degeneration, An American Carol