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DVD Releases for January 17, 2006

January 16th, 2006

It is a deceptively slow week for DVD releases. There are five wide releases coming out tomorrow, if you are willing to stretch the definition of wide a little bit, but of those five films only one earned a Tomatometer reading of above 50%, while the other four combined couldn't score that high. So it comes as no surprise that the DVD Pick of the Week came from the TV on DVD category as Titus - The Complete Third Season was clearly the best of the bunch, although Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - Buy from Amazon and Junebug - Buy from Amazon are also worth checking out.

2 for the Money - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
A meandering plot about sports gambling that really goes nowhere and quickly wears out its welcome. Extras on the disc are only mediocre for a first-run release with an audio commentary track, an 11-minute making of featurette, and a slightly longer interview. Skip it.

Adventures of Superman - The Complete Second Season Buy from Amazon
This show has a lot of fans, but I think that has a lot more to do with nostalgia than the quality of the show, especially since the show took a turn for the worse during the second season. So even with more special features than one would expect for a show this old, I can't recommend the set. Can also be purchased with the first season as part of a package deal.

Asylum - Buy from Amazon
An excellent cast is mostly wasted on emotionless adaptation. It would take a pretty serious selection of special features to overcome this, but unfortunately, the disc has none.

Beeper - Buy from Amazon
A generic kidnapping thriller with almost no redeeming value. Skip it.

Benji: The Hunted - Buy from Amazon
I really think this type of movie was rendered obsolete by digital animation. You no longer need to just have a dog actor and just watch its performance or hear its thoughts, you can easily manipulate its mouth to make it actually talk. Because of this, the movie has a quaint feeling, it also feels dated. Also making the DVD feel old is the lack of special features and the Pan & Scan aspect ratio. Skip it.

Bill Murray Classic Comedies Collection - Buy from Amazon
Three film starring Bill Murray films in one package deal: Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day. There are not a whole lot of special features on these discs, but it's a good price and even if you own one of these movies it's a better deal to buy this package then get the others individually.

Doogie Howser, M.D. - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
This was the season the show started to run out of steam. The older Doogie got, the less of a child prodigy he was and the more of just a regular doctor. In fact, there were shows where him being a doctor wasn't even an issue. However, if you bought and enjoyed the previous seasons there's no real reason to give up on the show now.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - Buy from Amazon
The best reviewed release of the week, this movie is guaranteed to make even the most pro-business Libertarians mad. Add in special features like audio commentary, deleted scenes, making of featurette and much, much more and you have a contender for the DVD Pick of the Week. One of the special features, a 'Where are they Now?' look is both a blessing and a curse. Obviously people will be interested in seeing what happened to the major players. However, with the trail beginning at the end of the month, the story is not over for these guys. I have a funny feeling that another edition might come out after the verdict is handed down. Or perhaps the filmmakers will release a sequel to this documentary.

Final Destination - Scared 2 Death Pack - Buy from Amazon
With what is hopefully the final film in the franchise coming out next month, the first two movies are being releases in a package deal. The only extra here is a 20-minute ad for Final Destination 3 plus another ad for Pick of Destiny. No, I'm not sure what those films have in common either, besides sharing a studio of course.

Good Morning World - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Since the dawn of TV to very recently, short run shows usually disappeared forever once they were cancelled. Granted, recently with the popularity of TV on DVD some have survived and even thrived. But this show came out on 1967 and I don't think anyone expected it to hit the home market. But here it is, all 26 episodes worth plus more special features than many contemporary shows that have made it to DVD recently. If this 4-disc set sell well, expect more short-run shows to hit the home market.

Junebug - Buy from Amazon
One of the few recent theatrical releases on this week's like to earn stellar reviews, this film features an award worthy performance by Amy Adams. Quite often limited releases don't offer much in the way of special features, but this disc is packed with audio commentary, deleted / extended / alternate scenes, casting tapes, behind-the-scenes, and more. Well worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Lois & Clark - The New Adventures of Superman - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
Like I said when first season was released, this series was too much of a soap opera for me. However, I won't deny there is a very loyal following for this show and they should be happy with this 6-disc set, even if the special features are a little on the light side, (audio commentary on one track and two featurettes). Can also be purchased with the first season as part of a package deal.

Lord of War - Buy from Amazon: 2-Disc Special Edition or Single Disc Widescreen or Pan & Scan
Out of the five wide releases coming out this week, this one earned the best reviews. But even so, they were only moderately above average and not good enough to be a selling point. Also, the film really struggled at the box office earning barely more than half its production budget at the box office. So it would be understandable if the studio decided to dump the film on the home market on a less than impressive disc. And while they did release a featureless disc, they also put out a 2-disc set that is quite impressive. The 2-Disc Special Edition has an audio commentary track, deleted scenes and three featurettes with a total running time comparable to the movie itself and is definitely worth picking up.

Making Grace - Buy from Amazon
A documentary depicting the process when a lesbian couple tries to have a child. It's well done, if a little slow at times, and the DVD has more special features than most limited release. Call it a rental.

The Man - Buy from Amazon
There were a lot of movies that opened this past September that struggled both with the critics and especially with moviegoers. This was one of them. It was also a movie that proved that Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy need to be more discerning when it comes to their choices in movie projects. (Speaking of which, Snakes on a Plane? You have go to be kidding me!) Add in special features that are below average for a first-run release and you have a DVD that should be skipped.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
This show just kept getting better and better throughout its seven-year run. But the special features have apparently run out as the 3-disc set is completely devoid of extras. But for those who bought and enjoyed the previous seasons this is still worth picking up. In fact, if there are no special features for the rest of the shows run on DVD, they will still be worth picking up, the show is simply that good.

Mr. Show: The Complete Collection - Buy from Amazon
All four seasons for about 30% less than if you bought them individually. Releases like this could really backfire and hurt the TV on DVD market.

My Dog, the Thief - Buy from Amazon
Another Dog Actor movie from Disney coming out today on a featureless DVD. If it were for Benji: The Hunted, this disc would be completely unnoteworthy.

Nobody Knows - Buy from Amazon
Based on a true story, the movie tells the story of four small children abandoned by they emotionally immature and irresponsible mother who must survive on their own. A fantastic film shot in an almost documentary-like style. The only complaint is with the DVD, which is devoid of any real special features. Even so, it is still worth a rental. (Yes, this DVD did come out a while ago, but I forgot to mention it and someone requested I remedy the situation.)

Puppetmaster vs. Demonic Toys - Buy from Amazon
I'm a fan of the Puppetmaster series, but this movie is just plain awful and should be avoids by fans and neophytes alike.

Sueno - Buy from Amazon
John Leguizamo stars as Antonio, a musician looking for his big break. The music is good, but the story is too predictable to be effective. If you really like Latin music, then it's worth a rental, otherwise it is completely skippable.

Titus - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The third and final season of this series hits the home market tomorrow and it is clearly a must have. This is one of my favorite short-lived sitcoms, mainly because it just didn't feel like a sitcom. The themes were darker, the humor was edgier, it was actually funny, etc. In addition, the 4-disc set has plenty of special features, especially for a short-run show, including audio commentary tracks, several interviews and outtakes. Hopefully this will sell well enough that someone will put out a DVD for Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding, Christopher Titus's stand-up routine / one-man show that was the basis for the TV series.

Tony Takitani - Buy from Amazon
Issei Ogata stars as the titular character, a technical illustrator who is disconnected to the outside world. One day he meets and falls in love with a beautiful younger woman named Eiko whom he marries, but with this newfound feeling comes a terrible fear that he will once again slip into a life of loneliness. One of the best movies to be released last year, it even was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best Foreign Language film, but the DVD is sadly absent of any real special features. Even so, it is definitely worth a rental and many who give it a chance will want to add it to their DVD collection. On a side note, this DVD actually came out last weekend and I meant to discuss it then, but I forgot.

Underclassman - Buy from Amazon
The word, 'cliche' doesn't even begin to describe this movie. Neither does the word, 'terrible.' Out of the five wide releases this week, this one earned the worst reviews so really no amount of special features would compensate, but the disc does have a good selection of special features, but like the movie itself, their quality is too weak to recommend.

Venom - Buy from Amazon
Another movie that really should have never been released theatrically. In fact, this movie is so poor that it shouldn't have even gone direct-to-DVD. Skip it.

Walking with Monsters - Life Before Dinosaurs - Buy from Amazon
A prequel to the Walking with Dinosaurs series. A good mix of entertainment and education including some excellent animation, but it's a little light for those looking for in-depth look at early life on our planet.

Walt Disney Fun Factory with... - Buy from Amazon: Donald and Mickey
Compilations featuring two of Disney's most famous cartoon creations. However, there are too many double-dips here to make the discs worth picking up.


Filed under: Video Releases, Lord of War, The Man, Underclassman, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Junebug, Venom, Nobody Knows, Asylum, Tony Takitani, Sueño, Making Grace, 2 For the Money