Follow us on

DVD Releases for November 27, 2007

November 26th, 2007

Last Friday was Black Friday, one of the most important shopping days of the year. And Monday was Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year. So it goes without saying that releasing a DVD the day after the most important weekend of shopping ends is not a good idea. There are still several DVDs worth checking out, and a few contenders for the DVD Pick of the Week. However, there are a lot more sub-par releases and several that are contenders for worse movie of the year (half of which I had the task of reviewing). But let's concentrate on the positive end. The three best bets are Futurama - Bender's Big Score - Buy from Amazon, Namesake - Buy from Amazon, Waitress - Buy from Amazon. If I was forced to choose just one DVD, it would be Bender's Big Score, but all three earn the title of DVD Pick of the Week. Also of note, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - The Complete Series is also being released this week.

2007 World Series Highlights - Colorado Rockies vs. Boston Red Sox - Buy from Amazon
Two points. Firstly, Colorado looked unstoppable before the series began while the Red Sox were lucky just to get to the World Series, so this year's World Series is interesting due to its outcome. Secondly, I've been spoiled by the NHL releases and if the championship DVDs don't include full games, I'm not interested.

All or Nothing at All - Buy from Amazon
A British mini-series starring Hugh Laurie as a conman. Probably most people who are reading this have never even heard of this show, but it is worth checking out.

Blu-Ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: I Know Who Killed Me, The Omega Man, Paprika
Just three Blu-Ray releases this week, only one of them, Paprika, is even worth considering.

Bratz - Buy from Amazon
Right from the beginning I had trouble identifying the target audience for this movie. On the one hand, the toy collection the movie is based on is aimed at very young girls. On the other hand, the movie seemed like a bit of fluff aimed at 'tweens, or a knock-off of Mean Girls, which is aimed at an even older audience. Because of this discrepancy, I couldn't figure out who would see the movie. Turns out almost no one did.

I don't like writing negative reviews; I would much rather write something positive. This is true for a few reasons; for instance, critics have a reputation for taking pleasure in ridiculing the works of others, so much so that this is usually the image of critics presented in movies. (This was even mentioned in Ratatouille, and even the critic's name, Anton Ego, made this point.) However, this is an unfair caricature, as nearly all critics would rather watch a good movie than write a bad review.

That said, I find myself in a position of having to write a review for a movie that I am having trouble coming up with just one positive aspect to dwell on. Granted, I'm not part of the target audience, but I've reviewed enough films to know when one is just not working. The film is a mish-mash of borrowed ideas that worked better in the originals while pushing a warped message. (For instance, Cloe can't afford to go to college, but she has a $10,000 wardrobe. Maybe if she spent less on clothes, money wouldn't be such an issue.)

As for the extras, they are surprisingly strong for a film that earned just $10 million theatrically. The DVD has an audio commentary track, seven deleted scenes, two music videos, and 12 making-of featurettes on various subjects (casting, fashion, music, etc.). However, while there is a lot here, the quality is rather low, as many of these are only a few minutes long. Combined they are nearly one hour long and for fans of the movie, this is a great collection of extras, but for the rest of us, it will be hard just to get through.

One of the worst reviewed movies of the year, Bratz bombed at the box office. And while the DVD is better than expected, it is still not enough to warrant even a rental. Skip it.

Dame Chocolate - Buy from Amazon
Dame Chocolate is what you call female chocolate that's been knighted. ... And on that bad joke, we move on.

Drunken Angel - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
The first of Akira Kurosawa's great films. The film he described as the one where he found his true voice and that alone should be enough for fans of the Japanese director to want to pick up this DVD. However, cementing its status as a must-own are the extras, which include an audio commentary track, making of featurette, and another featurette on the battles Akira Kurosawa had with censors, and a booklet with images and essays on the movie.

The End of Suburbia - Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream - Buy from Amazon
A movie on how our out of control consumption is killing our standard of living. Movies like this are important to watch, because it's clear to all but the most ideologically driven that something needs to change. (There's a reason why recent polling showed more than 70% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track.) This movie is uneven at times, but it is effective enough to be worth checking out, although the replay value is limited enough that a rental will suffice.

Film Crew - The Giant of Marathon - Buy from Amazon
The fourth in the direct-to-DVD series from the creators for MST3K. This time around, Kevin, Michael, and Bill find themselves watching The Giant of Marathon, which tells the story of the Athenian army trying to stop the invading Persian army, which has an overwhelming numerical advantage. It's the same story told in 300, only this time around as a low-budget film from the late 1950s.

Having seen, and reviewed the previous three releases, I have to say I liked this one the best. The movie, while stunningly bad, was never boring and that gave the trio plenty of opportunity for humor (a lot of it genital related). Yes, the humor here is a little more risqué than MST3K was, but nothing that couldn't been shown on network TV. In addition to the commentary, there were the standard three host bits. Again, the opening was the weakest, but both the lunch bit (a reenactment of the climatic battle), and the farewell (silly hats), were top notch. As were the two extras, an apology to anyone offended by the silly hats bit, and a commentary track from bit player, Walter S. Ferguson. Both extras are worth checking out and have some replay value.

If you enjoyed the previous DVD releases from this series, there is no reason not to pick this one up right away. On the other hand, if you haven't but enjoyed MST3K, check them out. It doesn't matter which one you start with, but I think Film Crew - The Giant of Marathon is the best.

First Snow - Buy from Amazon
I was sold on this movie by a very effective trailer, but sadly the reviews didn't live up to the trailer and it made no impact at the box office. Even worse, the DVD appears to be featureless, which further limits the value to just a rental. Shame.

Futurama - Bender's Big Score - Buy from Amazon
The first of four planned direct-to-DVD movies from Futurama, which most admit now was canceled way too soon. Obviously fans of the show are the target audience here, but even those who never saw it before should be pleased as well. Extras including an audio commentary track, a reading of the comic book, an episode of Everybody Loves Hypnotoad, a promo for An Inconvenient Truth, and even a math lecture called Bite My Shiny Metal X. Nerds rejoice! Easily worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Happy Days - Season Three - Buy from Amazon
On of the most successful TV franchises of all time. Not only did Happy Days run for more than a decade, its spin-offs ran for more than a dozen seasons combined.

The first three seasons were a little chaotic in Milwaukee. After season one the older brother, Chuck, was abducted by aliens who then mind-wiped everyone in town. (How else can you explain his disappearance?) While in season three, the show stopped being about the Cunningham family and started being a lot more about The Fonz. For some people, this is really the beginning of the series that they remember and love. For others, it was the beginning of the end. (In fact, early in this season Fonzie jumps 14 garbage cans, eerily foreshadowing when the show jumped the shark.)

Sadly, there are no extras on this 4-disc set. There are no subtitles either, but at least they have the play-all button and proper chapter placements.

A major ratings winner for many years, this is a classic TV series from the 70s that a lot of people have found memories of. It should be easy to recommend picking it up, but the lack of extras really hurts. Personally, I think holding out until a full series set comes out might be in order. The discounted price will be more in line with the single DVD releases.

HD-DVD Releases - But from Amazon: Anchorman - The Legend of Ron Burgundy - Unrated, Uncut, & Uncalled For!, Hot Rod, Mr. Bean's Holiday, Old School - Unrated, The Omega Man
There are more HD-DVD releases this week than Blu-Ray releases, which is a reversal of the recent trend. However, the top-selling High Definition release is still Blu-Ray, and the only film coming out in both formats is selling more Blu-Rays than HD-DVDs.

Help! - Buy from Amazon: 2-Disc Edition
Okay, let me get this straight. This movie was made before the Beatles got into drugs? I simply don't believe it.

Help! is a movie without a plot. Sure, you could write a brief description of what happens... The film starts off at the lair of a cult who are about to sacrifice someone to their god, Kaili. However, the sacrificial ring, which must be worn by the blessed victim, is missing. Who has it? Ringo of course. At first, the cult merely tries to get the ring back, but when that fails, they decide to paint Ringo red and sacrifice him instead. Oh yeah, there are also some mad scientists trying to get the ring as well. And a woman from the cult trying to help them. ... But this is less of a plot and more of an excuse for a series on non sequitur bits with mostly lame jokes and several songs that are decidedly better than the jokes.

In all honesty, this movie would be nothing without the Beatles. It survives on the charm of the four members, and of course the music. Fortunately they have plenty of both. Fans should enjoy themselves, but others should stay far, far away.

As for the extras, the first disc has none, and I really wanted an audio commentary track. The second disc starts off with a six-part making-of documentary that can be watched as one 30-minute block. With a good mix of new and archival footage (and archival audio as well), it is a fascinating look with excellent replay value. The Restoration of Help! is more in-depth than most similar featurettes and runs just over 11 minutes. Missing Scene is a featurette about a scene cut from the movie (which appears to be lost), while Memoirs of Help! has more reminiscing from the cast & crew. Finally, there are three trailers, two from the U.S. and one from Spain.

Help! gave fans what they wanted to see, The Beatles, both their music and the band members who were clearly having a good time. The 2-disc set is easily worth picking up for fans, and, although I would have liked to see more from Ringo and Paul as part of the extras, or an audio commentary track, what we do get is great. However, there's not enough here to satisfy anyone who is not already a fan of The Beatles.

Hot Fuzz - 3-Disc Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
Amazing movie and terrific DVD. However, it hasn't been long enough from the original release to justify a Collector's Edition DVD. Strangely, while the original release came in HD-DVD, this one is only coming out in standard definition. Very strange indeed, and perhaps a sign the format war is coming closer to an outcome.

Hot Rod - Buy from Amazon
Adam Samberg and the rest of the Lonely Island comedy troupe became an internet sensation when their music video Lazy Sunday was downloaded more than a million times. This led to them becoming the latest Saturday Night Live alumni to get their own movie, but like so many others before this them, it turned out to be a mistake.

Adam Samberg stars as Rod Kimble, a wannabe, no-talent stuntman who wants nothing more than to earn the respect of his stepfather, Frank. When Frank needs a heart transplant, Rod decides to do the biggest stunt the town has ever seen to raise the money, but to do that, he's got to train. You could sum it up as, "Stupid people hurting themselves on film." But that would be generous.

Like so many Saturday Night Live films, this movie feels like a 5-minute skit stretched out to a dangerously thin 83 minute feature-length movie. This was true of A Night at the Roxbury or Superstar, but in this case the results were worse than that, far worse. I aggressively, actively hated this movie. I hated nearly every character in the movie. You don't need to like the lead character for a movie to be funny, but you have to at least tolerate their on-screen presence and here I didn't. In fact, I had a lot more sympathy for Frank than I did for Rod or his three friends and in the end I wanted him to win the fight. Isla Fisher was the only other actor to not embarrass herself in the movie, but her character seeming completely underwritten with motivations I didn't understand. Like why did Denise want to hang out with these people? In the movie she says it was because Rod never grew up, but that doesn't make any sense. And one last note, Will Arnett needs to watch out or he will kill his career by typecasting himself.

Considering the movie bombed at the box office, the DVD has a nice selection of extras, but it is a case of quantity over quality. Things start off with an audio commentary track, but if watching the movie was aggravating, listening to these three talk about it was worse. Next up was Ancestors Protect Me: Behind the Scenes of Hot Rod, an 8-minute making-of featurette that explains a lot of the problems with the movie. You can see the alleged comedians from Lonely Island straining to say something funny, and then utterly failing. Isla Fisher was the only actor featured that seemed to understand comedy. In fact, Akiva Schaffer, the director, has better comedic timing than any of these guys do. Even at just 8 minutes long, they still manage to perform overkill on a running gag saying, "Lose the shirt" more than a dozen times.

Next up are 15 deleted scenes that run just under 15 minutes and they are no better than or worse than most scenes that made it into the movie. In fact, they sum up a lot of the problems I had with the movie. The first one has Rod not letting his brother in the front door. This is not a funny premise, it doesn't make you like the lead character, and it goes on way too long. In other words, a perfect summation of the movie. Other clips show a lot of improv that goes nowhere, proving the troupe just doesn't have what it takes. There's optional audio commentary, but it doesn't help.

There are also 3:30 minutes of unfunny outtakes, 4:20 minutes of home movie footage taken by one of the characters, a comparison between the Punch-Dance scene and the one it spoofs from Footloose, and finally, just over a minute look at the orchestra's recording session for the climatic jump. None of which are worth sitting through the first time, so the replay value is zero.

Simply put, I hated this movie. I didn't sympathize with any of main characters, I didn't care about they plight, and I didn't laugh at the material once. Almost all of the humor was killed by the unlikable cast and what little survived that was beaten to death by repetition. There are almost no redeeming qualities here. It feels redundant to say it, but the final recommendation is, "Skip it."

I Know Who Killed Me - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-Ray
Sadly, the best part of this movie are the jokes you can make with the name. (Variations on, "I Know Who Killed My Career", are the most common, but there are plenty of others.) The movie is a mess, to be polite; the story is a mess, Lindsay Lohan's acting is a mess, the surprise twist is a mess, in the end almost nothing works. Because of this, no amount of extras would make the DVD worth even a rental, but the studio doesn't even try. There are an alternate opening, ending, extended stripper sequence (which is so poorly done that it is it not even close to a selling point), and a small group of outtakes. Skip it.

The Land Before Time: The Wisdom of Friends - Buy from Amazon
I have a funny feeling that fans of the series are buying these DVDs purely on inertia at this point. It's been nearly 20 years and more than a dozen installments (including a TV series), since the original. At this rate, they will keep making them until the kids who grew up on the series have kids of their own. Also coming out tomorrow is the first DVD release for the new TV series. The 4-episode DVD is weak compared to most TV on DVD releases and I would wait to see if there will be full season sets coming out.

Laverne & Shirley - The Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The most popular Happy Days spin-off, this show ran for 8 years, almost as long as the original and longer than most successful shows today will last.

Laverne & Shirley stars Penny Marshall as Laverne and Cindy Williams as Shirley. The two certainly had a lot of chemistry and comedic timing and were willing to throw themselves into whatever outrageous situation the show demanded. And the situations were usually very outrageous and a lot of the humor is basically slapstick. This is not highbrow art by any stretch of the imagination, but it is funny. On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure the show needs to be on DVD to be enjoyed.

Like the other releases from the Happy Days family being released this week, this 4-disc set has no special feature and only two of the Big Three (play all button and proper chapter placements).

As it is with Happy Days - Season Three, it is probably best to wait on picking up this DVD until there's a Laverne & Shirley full series set. The DVD set is just too bare bones to pay the price for the full season sets.

Look Alive - Buy from Amazon
Filmed during this year's Light Grenades Tour, this DVD features 2 hours of concert performances and behind-the-scenes footage. Easily worth picking up for fans of the band.

Mork & Mindy - Season Three - Buy from Amazon
The second Happy Days spin-off coming out this week. This show didn't last as long. In fact, by season three of four, it was clear the show had run its course.

I mentioned last week that Billy Bob Thorton overuse of the Willie T. Soke schtick in subsequent movies has soured me somewhat on Bad Santa. Well, the same is true with Robin Williams and Mork & Mindy. What was fresh when the show originally aired now seems stale. It's still funny, but it doesn't have the same zip to it.

As with the Happy Days and the Laverne & Shirley DVD releases, this 4-disc set has no extras and no subtitles, but it does have a play all button and proper chapter placements.

Out of the three similar TV on DVD releases this week, I was most disappointed with Mork & Mindy - Season Three. I grew up watching this show and loved it at the time, but watching it now I failed to connect in the same way. I still laughed, but not as much as I remembered. There's only one more season to be released, so if you have the other two, buying this one makes sense. On the other hand, if you haven't started your collection and were thinking about it, wait until next year when the full series Megaset should be released.

Mr. Bean's Holiday - Buy from Amazon: DVD or HD-DVD
This film earned close to $200 million internationally, but in comparison it barely made a peep at the domestic box office. There are certain cultural reasons for this discrepancy, but some might be mitigated by the DVD release.

(On a side note, while the movie is coming out on DVD and HD-DVD, this review is for the DVD version only.)

Mr. Bean wins a church raffle and claims the top prize, a vacation to Cannes. However, things go terribly wrong almost immediately when he unintentionally causes a father to be separated from his son. The boy, who only speaks Russia joins with Mr. Bean trying to get to Cannes, but soon after Mr. Bean loses all of his possessions as well, so the pair are stuck in France without money and without being able to speak to each other or the locals. What follows is less of a movie than it is a series of vignettes, some that work, some that don't. (Yes, there is a plot with real characters and story arcs, but one could jump to a random scene and enjoy yourself for the most part.) Unfortunately for everyone, the early ones seem to miss more than they hit and by the time the film hits its stride, a lot of people will have given up, or at least won't be in a prime mood to enjoy the movie as much.

The extras are light, but this is not surprising since it didn't perform particularly well here. Things start off with 17 deleted scenes, most with a total running time of one to two minutes. A lot are just one or two jokes that were not needed and were cut for time, but a few actually have some character development. French Beans is a making-of featurette that is your typical mix of talking head, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the movie. It's not fluff and it packs in enough in its 11-minute running time that it is worth checking out. Beans in Cannes is the second making-of featurette, this one focusing on the final section of the movie in Cannes. It's is shorter at under 6 minutes, but is also worth checking out. Finally, Human Bean is about Rowan Atkinson, who is a demanding performer. Mr. Bean is one of his signature roles and this 6-minute featurette doesn't do him or the role justice.

Overall I think the hit to miss ratio is respectable, especially on DVD where you can skip the ones that miss a lot easier. If you are a fan of the first movie, or of the character in general, you should find enough here that you will enjoy that it is worth checking out. That said, there's enough that doesn't work for the replay value to be on the low side and extras are light. Because of this I can't recommend purchasing over just renting.

The Namesake - Buy from Amazon
The movie that made a lot of critics say, "Holy crap! That Kal Penn guy can actually act!" I'm not saying he's been bad in most of his earlier films. To the contrary, I've enjoyed a lot of his films, but they haven't exactly been challenging. This is the first movie of his that blew away critics and had it been released closer to Awards Season, there could have even been some award buzz in the air. Considering the movie was a limited release and a niche market product, this movie did amazingly well at the box office, and fortunately the DVD reflects this success. Extras include an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, a film school lecture called Anatomy of The Namesake, an interview with Kal Penn, two featurettes on the photography that inspired the movie, and more. Another film that is easily worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

The O.C. - The Complete Series Collection - Buy from Amazon
A complete series Megaset for a show I couldn't recommend buying in the first place. There are additional extras that you couldn't get on the normal full-season sets, which is added aggravation for fans who bought them from the beginning.

Paprika - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-Ray
A computer-enhanced anime, this film was one of the most visually expansive movies to come out this year. However, anime is still a niche market, and while it started out well, it was never able to truly expand, and earned less than $1 million over its theatrical run. While visually impressive, those not used to anime may find the story too confusing to follow initially and will be turned off long before things start making sense. Perhaps on the home market, where you can stop and rewind, this won't be as big of an issue. Extras are strong for an import and include several featurettes on the art, dreams, adapting the novel, etc. Worth picking up for all fans of anime, worth checking out for others.

Peter Pan: Return to Neverland - Pixie-Powered Edition - Buy from Amazon
When Pixar was bought by Disney, one of the first things they did was kill the sequel department, which ended the production of several films. I don't want to say this film caused that decision to be made, but it, and several other sequels to Disney classics certainly helped.

That is not to say Return to Neverland is a terrible movie, but it is so unnecessary. At best you will get a warm glow of nostalgia for the original, but there are very few out there who will consider it anything more than a pale imitation of the 1953 classic. On a side note, I personally preferred the prelude set in World War II England than in Neverland. Then again, I always thought Peter Pan needed to grow up, even as a kid.

As for the extras, they are no better than the original release and not nearly enough to be considered a special edition. Things start with two deleted scenes, with intros and post-clip commentary, but that's really all that will interest adults. There's also a game for kids with a series of challenges, as well as three previews for the upcoming direct-to-DVD release, Tinker Bell, which comes out next year.

If you own the previous release, there's no reason to buy Peter Pan: Return to Neverland - Pixie-Powered Edition. Even if you don't own it, there's little reason to buy it now over just renting.

Power Rangers - Operation Overdrive - Blue Sapphire - Volume 3 - Buy from Amazon
I can't believe this series has lasted this long. It's been 15 years since the show first came to TV and introduced a whole generation to the concept of men in rubber outfits fighting each other. Also men in rubber outfits pretending to be giant robots fighting each other.

Not a lot has changed since the show first started, sure, but budget seems to have increased a lot and there are a lot of special effects to go with the wire work. Speaking of special effects, it's amazing how many of the powers used in the show are just big explosions. It would be nice for more variety; in fact, that's the biggest weakness in the show, the repetitiveness. Just once, I would like to see them transform into the big robots right away and step on the bad guys.

The are two extras on the DVD, firstly a featurette on the vehicles that runs just under 5 minutes and it should be of interest to fans of the show. Secondly, there's a game, the third level of the of the Power Rangers Training Course. The trivia is easy, but piloting the SHARC is frustrating. Choosing the right direction doesn't seem very intuitive and you have to start from nearly the beginning over and over again. At lease the DVD has the big three (play all, subtitles, and proper chapter placement).

There's a lot of action in the show, but the repetition blunts its effectiveness. The extras are rather weak, and I would prefer full season sets. That said, it's pretty good bang for the buck and worth picking up for most fans.

Skinwalkers - Buy from Amazon
A terrible movie that failed to make any impact at the box office. Now it is being released on DVD with just an audio commentary track and two making-of featurettes. This is not enough to rent. Just skip it.

Vitus - Buy from Amazon
This film earned good reviews, but not good enough to survive the demanding art house crowds. At the box office, it started out poorly and never recovered. On the other hand, the DVD is better than expected with an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, making-of featurette, screen test, and more. Worth checking out and many who give the DVD a chance as a rental will end up buying it.

Waitress - Buy from Amazon
Nathan Fillion starred in a movie that didn't bomb at the box office? That can't be true. Fillion is a great actor and his choice of roles as so far been nearly impeccable, at least with critics. At the box office or in terms of ratings, he's a bit cursed, have starred in two previous movies that missed expectations by varying degrees and two TV series that were cut short. This time around, he stars with Keri Russell in an indie charmer that earned nearly $20 million at the box office. This isn't a whole lot compared to most summer releases, but it is one of the biggest hits out of all the limited releases that have come out this year. Extras are very strong for a limited releases with an audio commentary track, making-of featurette, a couple of featurettes on writer / director / star Adrienne Shelly, who was tragically murdered before the film was completed, and several other short featurettes on Russell, Fillion, Cheryl Hines, and of course pie. Easily worth picking up and a clear contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Who's Your Caddy? - Buy from Amazon
The Street vs. the Elite take it to the golf course in the latest incarnation of the age old story. But did the filmmakers make it to the green, or did they shank it onto the rough? Since I'm not sure what those terms mean, it's a pointless question.

The Snobs vs. Slobs film has a long tradition in cinema as there's something inherently funny in a little bit of class warfare. Animal House is arguably the best known of the genre, and for good reason. However, this film has more in common with fellow golf film, Caddyshack. Regardless, Who's Your Caddy? just seems off. The comedic timing isn't as sharp. The script isn't as funny. The movie as a whole is way too tame, and it even becomes sappy at times. Even second rate entries in the genre like Up the Creek or P.C.U., both of which I like, give way more of what the target audiences want.

The last thing a film like this should be is sentimental and this section of the movie killed what little momentum they had going for it. Instead of trying to make a PG-13 film for a wide audience, they should have given it more edge and gone for an R-rating. Maybe a sharper tongue would have made the joke work, maybe not, but at the very least, it couldn't have made the movie that much worse than it already was.

As for the extras, there are barely enough not to seem bare and just the basics are presented. Things start with an audio commentary track featuring the director, Don Michael Paul, and one of the actors, Faizon Love. The tone is a little overly congratulatory, but they do mix information and entertainment well. Next up are four deleted scenes with a total running time of just over four minutes. For a film that wasn't particularly good, the cut scenes were not as bad as they should have been, but that's hardly high praise. Finally, there is a three-part making of documentary, which can be viewed as a whole. Combined, it runs just under 15 minutes and has limited replay value.

There was little chance this film would hit a hole in one. However, in this case they sliced the ball into the gallery and knocked out a spectator. I doubt any amount of extras would lift the film to the rental level, but what you get on the DVD is extremely average. Skip it.

One final note, Up the Creek should get a DVD release. Sure, it's clearly a case of low expectations theater, but there are more than enough laughs to justify renting it, at the very least. MGM owns the rights, but if they are willing to release it, they should sell them to a company that will.

Wish Gone Amiss - Buy from Amazon
A three-part, semi-crossover story featuring episodes from Cory in the House, Hannah Montana, and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. These three episodes represents some of the best, and some of the worst that Disney television has to offer. Sadly it leans to the latter end of the scale.

The three episodes are...

  • Cory in the House - Gone Wishin'
    Yet another get rich quick scheme goes awry for Cory and he ends up grounded. While contemplating his fate, he wishes that he were the president of the United States, which comes true. However, when he neglects his duties, the world is invaded by magnetic robots. (No, I don't know why either.)
    This is just an average episode for Cory in the House that starts off with an all too common theme for the show. It takes a turn for the weird a little too early and for me that hurt its effectiveness.
  • Hannah Montana - When You Wish You Were the Star
    Miley's school work gets in the way of Hannah Montana's rock star lifestyle and she wishes she was Hannah Montana all of the time. While she starts out loving the glamor and not having to hide who see is, she quickly starts having regrets when she misses her old life with her family and friends.
    Hannah Montana is easily the best of the three shows featured here, and this episode stands out as one of the better episodes from that series. It helps that I'm a fan of It's a Wonderful Life and was able to enjoy their take of the classic story. This is the only episode I would want to sit through again.
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody - Super Twins
    After getting in trouble, again, the twins wish they had super powers. Hilarity ensues, at least according to the near-constant laugh track.
    The weakest series and the weakest episode. Personally, I don't think either of the twins have any real acting ability while they try to compensate for the weak writing with a laugh track that plays after practically every line. Painful to watch.
As for the extras, there are introductions before each episode, which are mostly pointless, and a 5-minute featurette called I Wish I May, I Wish I Might: A Guide to Making Wishes. The featurette is hosted by Jason Earles of Hannah Montana gives you advice when you want to make a wish feature clips from plenty Disney movies. It isn't a comprehensive list by any means; for instance, if you catch a leprechaun you only get three wishes, not four like they claim. If you make the fourth wish, all of your wishes are undone. Don't make the same mistake I did.

Admittedly, I am not in the target audience for this DVD release, but I can safely say there is only one episode here that has any replay value. Add in soft extras and I can't recommend picking it up. On the other hand, if you are a really big fan of these shows, you might come to a different conclusion.


Filed under: Video Releases, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Hot Fuzz, Waitress, Hot Rod, The Namesake, Bratz, I Know Who Killed Me, Who's Your Caddy?, Skinwalkers, Paprika, First Snow, Vitus