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DVD Releases for February 7, 2006 - Part 1

February 6th, 2006

It's a massively busy week in the world of DVD releases, so much so that I'm dividing the column up into two parts with the second part being published tomorrow. I'm trying to organize it alphabetically, (although I'll probably miss a few today and add them tomorrow), but this presents a small problem as none of today's list are really DVD Pick of the Week material. As for tomorrow's list, both Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - Buy from Amazon and Waiting... - Unrated Edition are contenders for DVD Pick of the Week. You'll have to stay tuned to see which one wins. (Hint: probably both.)

13 Going On 30 - Fun & Flirty Edition - Buy from Amazon
The Special Edition was a pretty good package when it first came out, this edition as one extra featurette and is not worth the upgrade. On the other hand, if you don't already have the movie on DVD, it's a good movie and is worth picking up.

Bambi II - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD sequel to a beloved Disney classic. Like most such releases, this one is inferior to the original, but still good enough that it will keep its target audience entertained. On the other hand, the special features are light and that reduces its value to a rental.

The Batman - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
The first 13 episodes of the recent animated series. Special features are better than most releases for cartoons as the studio, Warner Home Video, understand their target audience for the DVDs are adult collectors and not little kids who don't have the money to buy tons of DVDs.

The Best of The Electric Company - Buy from Amazon
On the one hand, this is a great education show from the 70s. On the other hand, it is a non-season set TV on DVD release. Perhaps the studio didn't think full season sets would sell well, and I could see why given the nature of the show. And with plenty of special features on this 4-disc set, including plenty of interviews, outtakes and more, it is still worth picking up for fans of the show. On a side note, next month they are releasing The Best of The Best of The Electric Company, but this set is the better deal.

The Best of Youth - Buy from Amazon
A six hour mini-series released theatrically as a two-part movie with both parts being shown at the same time. The film earned amazing acclaim but that 6-hour running time really limited its box office potential. It works better on the home market anyway and even though there are no special features, it is still worth checking out.

Blood and Wine - Buy from Amazon
A mostly ignored Jack Nicholson flick from 1997 that is not terrible, but certainly doesn't live up to expectations. On the other hand, the DVD is packed for such a small film with two audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, and a handful of short featurettes. Call it a rental.

Blue Collar TV - Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
The final 18 episodes of this short-lived series are coming out on a 3-disc set. The extras are a bit light with just some bonus skits and outtakes, but those that bought and enjoyed Volume 1 should have no reason not to pick this one up. Speaking of Volume 1, this set can also be pick up with the earlier release as part of a package deal.

Breakfast At Tiffany's - Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
I think it is fair to call this film Audrey Hepburn's signature role and it is a well-deserve d classic. I'm of two minds when it comes to this release, however. On the one hand, the special features, (audio commentary, couple of featurettes, retrospective, etc.) are great for a film from 1961. On the other hand, I'm not sure they are up to the level needed to celebrate this film. Sure, there's the ever-present audio commentary, a 15-minute making of, featurette, and shorter featurettes on Audrey Hepburn's style and another on Tiffany's. Still, it is easily worth picking up.

Cary Grant Box Set - Buy from Amazon
When it comes to box sets, there are two perils one must look out for, double-dips and filler. Double-dip is when a studio re-releases a DVD and filler is just that, sub-standard DVDs meant to increase the size of the box set without adding much in the way of quality. Four of the five films have been previously released on DVD, but this time they have all-new special features, and none could be remotely considered filler. The best of the bunch is His Girl Friday, but the film most collectors will be the most excited about is Holiday since this is the first time it has been released on DVD. Definitely worth picking up and might have even been a contender for DVD Pick of the Week if it wasn't so busy this time out.

Cote d'Azur - Buy from Amazon
A musical about marital infidelity. It goes without saying that it's French. The reviews were merely mixed and the DVD has no real special features limited its appeal to a rental, and that's only for fans of the genre.

The Crazysitter - Buy from Amazon
There are not many comedies about the selling of children, and there's a very good reason for that. On a side note, this is one of those really bad movies that you can watch and see how many actors you can name that used to be famous.

The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold - Buy from Amazon
The original film wasn't that good and did poorly at the box office, so I'm not sure why anyone would think is would be a good idea to make a direct-to-DVD sequel 14 years after the fact. It would have been better just to make an original movie and not have any association with the original. As for special features, there are more than one would expect from this type of release with an audio commentary track, behind the scenes featurette, music video by star Christy Carlson Romano, and more. But I would have a hard time even calling it a rental.

Daltry Calhoun - Buy from Amazon
When this film was first announced it looked like it would be an indie pleaser with a good cast, a first-time direct, and many thought it would be the first Johnny Knoxville film to earn positive reviews. But it didn't turn out that way. In fact, it's one of those rare films that earned 0% positive, even Alone in the Dark earned one positive review. Is the film really that bad? No, but it is certainly not good. It's too slow, too earnest and tries too hard to be an Indie movie. On the other hand, there are some good performances, especially from newcomer Sophie Traub, but not even the handful of special features can lift this to the rental level.

Doom - Buy from Amazon: Unrated Widescreen, Unrated Pan & Scan, or R-Rated Pan & Scan
Wow. This film bombed at the box office. It did so poorly that the studio didn't even try and spin the numbers. This result surprised nearly everyone. Granted, its reviews were terrible, but plenty of other films of earned worst reviews and gone on to do much better at the box office. I think the fact that is was based on a video game really hurt it at the box office, or perhaps people still don't accept The Rock as a movie star. Regardless the reason, the film should do brisk business on the home market especially since the DVD is packed special features in the form of half-a-dozen featurettes. But I still can't give it a rating above the rental level.

Dungeons and Dragons 2 - Wrath of the Dragon God - Buy from Amazon
I thought this DVD was release already. I guess it was pushed back. In any case, not much new needs to be said and the DVD still rates as a rental at best.

Elizabethtown - Special Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
Another film on this week's list that missed expectations at the box office and with critics. The fact that the movie bombed, for lack of a better term, could explain why the DVD is so poorly done, there's not even an audio commentary track. There are a couple of extended scenes and a couple of montages, but nothing on the disc adds anything to the viewing enjoyment. Skip it.

Emergency - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
Like season 1, this season tells the story of the Los Angeles County Fire Dept. Station 51 and the Rampart Hospital as they deal with emergencies in a very, "Just the facts" kind of way. Also like the first season, there are absolutely no special features.

Eros - Buy from Amazon
Three short stories about sex and desire from three very different directors. Unfortunately, only one of the three films are really worth watching, and the only special feature is the short film, Michelangelo Eye to Eye. Add in a some video and audio problems and this is a DVD that is worth skipping. On the other hand, if you can find the 2-disc Hong Kong version and have a DVD player than can play it, it is worth checking out.

Family Plot - Buy from Amazon
Vastly underrated film by Alfred Hitchcock, but if you are interested in adding it to your DVD collection, and I suggest you do, buy the Masterpeice Collection instead.

The French Connection - Buy from Amazon
Simply put, this is one of the greatest films to come out of the 1970s. Unfortunately, there's not enough difference between this version and the Five Star Edition. In fact, the only difference is the case. Obviously, it's not worth the upgrade, but if you don't have the movie on DVD yet, it is worth adding to your collection.

Grounded for Life - Season One - Buy from Amazon
This TV series told the story of Sean Finnerty and his wife Claudia who got married at 18 but never really grew up. If I recall correctly the choice was either beer or condoms, but they didn't have money for both. One wrong decision later and they had to get married. This 4-disc set contains 20 episodes, even though only 15 of them were shown during the first season. (Think that's confusing, during season 3 it started on Fox before switching to the WB.) Extras include audio commentary tracks on half the episodes, interviews with select members of the cast and the creators, outtakes, and more. Definitely worth picking up.

Growing Pains - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This is a show that has not aged well, for that matter, it wasn't that good when it first started. It's your typical safe family sitcom from the 1980s and is still firmly stuck there. Special features on the 4-disc set include the original episode, reunion special, and outtakes.

Hearts Afire - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
This is the final season of a TV show that had one of the stranger runs out there. It was really two series in one as after the First Season the whole show changed. This was primarily due to disappointing reviews, which never really picked up, and the show was cancelled after just three season. That also explains the lack of any real special features, which reduces the value of this 3-disc set.

In Country - Buy from Amazon
One of Bruce Willis' lesser known film, it is also one of his better movies. Unfortunately, this is just a re-release of the original featureless DVD with a new cover.

Jim Gaffigan - Beyond the Pale - Buy from Amazon
Jim Gaffigan is very much a clean comedian, but that doesn't mean his act is boring. In fact, he is much funnier than a lot of comics that rely on profanity to get laughs. This DVD features just over an hour's worth of his stand-up routine including some of his funniest bits, and there are plenty of special features, but they don't really add much to the viewing experience. However, it's a great deal for fans of Jim Gaffigan and worth picking up. Others might want to give it a rental.

Julia - Buy from Amazon
This film earned 11 Oscar nominations winning three awards. This DVD has absolutely no special features. What a waste.

Just Like Heaven - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
The film earned better reviews than most romantic comedies, but didn't connect with moviegoers like most people thought it would. It would probably do much better business on the home market, but the DVD is strangely free from special features. Maybe five, six years ago that would be acceptable, but to put out a DVD today without any special features is just wrong.

The Man Who Knew Too Much - Buy from Amazon
Another Hitchcock classic coming out tomorrow that is better purchased as part of the Masterpeice Collection instead.

Marnie - Buy from Amazon
See above.

Moonlighting - Season 3 - Buy from Amazon
This series should serve as a warning to everyone making a TV shows out there, if you base a show on the sexual tension between its two leads, you ruin the show when they finally hook up. Fortunately, that didn't happen till later in the series, so this 4-disc set is still worth picking up. Adding to its value are the special features, which include a 30-minute retrospective featuring interviews with the cast and creators as well as audio commentary on select episodes.

National Lampoon's Adam & Eve - Buy from Amazon
This is much better compared to most recent National Lampoon movies, which is to say it is worth a rental, barely. Special features include an audio commentary track, deleted scenes and outtakes, nothing too special, but more than one would expect from a film like this.

The Net 2.0 - Buy from Amazon
A direct-to-DVD sequel to the 1995 film starring Sandra Bullock. First of all, no Sandra Bullock sequel has been anywhere near as good as the original movie, so a Sandra Bullock sequel without Sandra Bullock, well, you can pretty much guess how bad it's going to be. The only real extra is an audio commentary track, but that's not enough to lift the film to even the rental level. On a side note, it can also be purchased with the original as part of a package deal.

X-Files - Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon: Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3
An important update from last week's list. The X-Files season sets released last week are not the original 7-disc sets like I was led to believe, but are in fact downgraded to 6-disc sets with most of the special features missing. What the hell is wrong with that studio?


Filed under: Video Releases, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Just Like Heaven, Doom, Elizabethtown, Waiting..., La meglio giovent├╣, Eros, Cote d'Azur, Daltry Calhoun, Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God, National Lampoon's Adam & Eve, 13 Going On 30