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DVD Releases for June 27, 2006

June 26th, 2006

It's an absolutely horrid week for DVD releases with six or seven contenders for DVD Pick of the Week, I have no idea how I'm going to afford to buy them all. But I will buy them all. Oh yes, I will buy them all. While the latest Masters of Horror collection was high on my list, as was Why We Fight - Buy from Amazon and Imagine Me & You - Buy from Amazon, (but for widely different reasons), I went with the criminally underrated Yellowbeard - Buy from Amazon as my DVD Pick of the Week. Maybe one day it will get the Special Edition treatment it so richly deserves.

Acapulco H.E.A.T. - Buy from Amazon
A TV series starring Fabio. Skip it.

Annapolis - Buy from Amazon
There's a good story here, but it is drowned out by the cliches. Add in special features that are below par and you have a DVD that's worth a rental, at the very most.

Blu-Ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Crash, Lord of War, The Punisher, Saw, Terminator 2: Judgement Day
There's a mixed bag this week with a film that is great, one that is not, one that is underrated, and one that is overrated. But if I was to pick just one that worthy of getting on Blu-Ray DVD, it would be Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Blue Collar Comedy Tour - One for the Road - Buy from Amazon
The hugely popular cast of comedians returns, again led by Jeff Foxworthy. Arguably, this is better than the first film and is certainly better than Rides Again. Add in enough special features to not feel empty, and the DVD is worth picking up for fans of the act.

Cache (Hidden) - Buy from Amazon
The film started its run in an impressive manner, and while it never escaped the art house circuit, it still showed amazing legs earning more than $3.5 million before exiting theatres. And while $3.5 million in a very strong figure for a foreign language film, it should do even better on the home market especially once word of mouth grows. Unfortunately, the special features are sparse, but that is to be expected for a limited release, especially one that is a foreign language film as well. I really wish more studios would simply port over the massive releases these films get in their home market. Just subtitle the extras, people who watch these films are not scared off by subtitles.

Chuck Berry - Hail! Hail! Rock N' Roll - Buy from Amazon
This 4-disc collection contains the documentary / concert celebrating the life and career of Chuck Berry and was made to coincide with his 60th birthday. The documentary itself is 2 hours long and almost worth the price of the 4-disc set all buy itself. However, there are more than three times that in extras spread over the three additional discs including rehearsals for the concert and interviews with many legends of the early days of rock 'n' roll. Anyone interested in the history of genre, this is a must have and a serious contender for DVD Pick of the Week. One last note, there is also a 2-Disc version coming out tomorrow, but the 4-disc edition is the better deal.

The Color Honeymooners - Collection 1 - Buy from Amazon
Remakes of the old Honeymooners skits performed in color during The Jackie Gleason Show. While the show does feature Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, the roles of their wives were recast and it isn't quite the same. Add in only one, short featurette as bonus material and the set will likely disappoint fans of the show, especially the original series from 1955.

Columbo - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
Great show being released on a nearly featureless 6-disc set. The only thing extra on the DVD is a bonus episode of Mrs. Columbo. Bonus episodes are only truly special features when they are part of a crossover, and strangely, these are very rarely included on TV on DVD releases. Bonus episodes from related shows, or worse yet, from a later season of the same show, are not extras since the people buying the show in the first case will likely buy the full season set when it comes out on DVD. One last note, bonus episodes from completely unrelated show are ads, not extras.

Commander In Chief - The Inaugural Edition - Part 1 - Buy from Amazon
The show was recently cancelled, but not before it was announced the first season was coming out on DVD. However, the studio decided to split the first season into two parts for reasons that completely escape me. Even worse, the 2-disc set is completely devoid of special features.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection - Buy from Amazon
14 movies featuring Basil Rathbone as the world's most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. Special features are good, especially considering the age of the source material, (most were made in the 1940s), and easily worth picking up for fans of Sherlock Holmes.

Cow Belles - Buy from Amazon
Alyson and Amanda Michalka star in this made for TV movie that first aired on the Disney channel. In the film they play rich, socialite sisters who are forced to work on the farm by their father to learn some responsibility and the value of hard work. It isn't nearly as bad as it sounds and should entertain its target audience well enough. On the other hand, it doesn't demand repeat viewing and the special features are light so a rental will suffice for most people.

Damon Wayans - Still Standing - Buy from Amazon
Arguably the best set in Damon Wayans' career and proof that if he just knew how to choose projects better he'd be one of the most in demand comedians out there. (Marci X, what was he thinking?) On the other hand, outside the routine, which runs at just under 1 hour, there's nothing else on the disc, and that really limits its value.

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman - The Movies - Buy from Amazon
After this series was cancelled in 1998 they made two made for TV movies, one in 1999 and the other 2001. Neither of which are as good as the series, but fans should be happy that they are finally being released on DVD. Add in extras that are simply not acceptable and you have a DVD that is worth a rental at most.

Evil - Buy from Amazon
This film earned mixed reviews with critics praising some of the performances and the emotional reaction the movie induces. On the other hand, it was also called heavy-handed and blunt. Essentially, it is worth checking out, but not worth picking up.

Failure to Launch - Buy from Amazon
A romantic comedy that is utterly predictable, fails to generate laughs, and where the two leads have no chemistry at all. On the other hand, it does have Zooey Deschanel in it, so it's not all bad and with some exciting special features it might be worth picking up. But despite the words, "Special Collector's Edition" appearing on the box, there are only a handful of short featurettes with a total running time of just 40 minutes. It's not even worth a rental.

Family Affair - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
This is another one of those shows that I feel benefits from nostalgia. It's really not that good; the stories are too simplistic, too predictable, too sweet. Still, I'm sure there are plenty of fans just waiting for the chance to pick up the first season on DVD, and will do so even though there's not much here in terms of special features.

Fear Factor - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV at its worst. Skip it.

Find Me Guilty - Buy from Amazon
A movie that expects you to root for a mob thug while he makes a mockery of the justice system. Add in special features that are sub-par even for a limited release, and this DVD is worth skipping.

Gwendoline - Unrated Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon
The film stars Tawny Kitaen, who you might remember from... hmmm... wait, wasn't she the woman in those Whitesnake videos? Even fans of this movie will admit it is terribly trashy and the appeal of the movie can easily be summed up in one word, "Breasts." Also available in the heavily edited version called The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak, but let's fact it, those who are interested in this movie are looking for the full experience. Like with Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare below, the DVD release is far superior than the movie dictates with an audio commentary track, interviews and more. It's worth a rental for fans of trashy cinema, but I can't recommend it any more than that.

HD-DVD Collection - Buy from Amazon: Lethal Weapon
Just the one HD-DVD release this week, and while Lethal Weapon is a good movie it doesn't need the HD-DVD experience to be enjoyable.

Imagine Me & You - Buy from Amazon
A romantic comedy with a lesbian twist. Not the best example of the genre, but certainly not the worst either. Comparing it to the other such film on this week's list, this one is more realistic, more charming, the leads have better chemistry together, and the special features are superior, (the disc includes audio commentary, deleted scenes, Q&A session, and more). It's easily worth picking up, and since I'm such a sucker for romantic comedies, especially British ones, I consider it a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Leroy & Stitch - Buy from Amazon
The second direct-to-DVD sequel to the hit film, Lilo & Stitch. It's about as good as the TV series it spawned and it worth a rental for fans of both.

Madea's Family Reunion - Buy from Amazon
The easiest way to describe this movie is, "Preaching to the choir." To his fans, Tyler Perry's work is amazing. To everyone else, it's terrible. Odds are, either you already have the DVD pre-ordered, or you should skip it. Also coming out tomorrow are two of his plays, Madea Goes to Jail and Why Did I Get Married? Both are better than his movies, but have almost no crossover appeal.

Masters of Horror - Buy from Amazon: Deer Woman and Sick Girl
Two more episodes from the Masters of Horror TV series, although I prefer to think of them as TV movies. This time around the two movies are Deer Woman, by John Landis and Sick Girl by Lucky McKee, neither of which is really a master of horror. John Landis is primarily known for his comedies like Animal House while Lucky Mckee has only made two movies before this, including May. Neither film is a true horrors either with both playing up the comedy angle, or at least the black comedy angle. Like the rest of the series, these two discs are packed with extras like audio commentary tracks, making of featurettes, interviews, and more. Although the quality is uneven, they are both worth picking up and the box set is the better deal.

Monk - Season Four - Buy from Amazon
Most fans of this series will admit season 3 was a disappointment, especially with the departure of Bitty Schram. However, this season got off to a great start and even though there were some weaker episodes in the later half, it was still a return to form, including the season premiere, Mr. Monk and the other Detective. Even with special features that are less than special, (just two featurettes), it is still a contender for DVD Pick of the Week. Also available with the previous seasons as part of a package deal.

Private Resort - Buy from Amazon
Your typical 80s sex comedy starring Johnny Depp, of all people. I suspect the only reason it is coming out tomorrow is to coincide with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Hopefully nobody will be fooled into buying the movie for that reason, because it really should be skipped.

Project Runway - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV, but less of the soul-crusher, make-you-hate-humanity type and more of the documentary type. Granted, it is still a competition, but unlike the other Reality TV show on this week's list, no one is being asked to eat the reproductive organs of an animal for a chance to win a fraction of what the network makes for each 30-second commercial. Here a collection of designers are asked to create entire outfits with very limited time and releases forcing them to attack each problem in a very creative way. Adding to the value are the special features, which include extended episodes, deleted scenes, auditions, and more. Worth picking up for fans of the show.

Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare - Buy from Amazon
This is one of those releases that make you ask, "Did it really deserve a Special Edition?" The answer depends on how much you like bad movies. And wow, this is a bad one. Nothing can prepare you for how bad this movie is, but I must warn you, it was written and produced by the leader of a heavy metal band that almost nobody has heard of, and it goes without saying, he was the star. On the other hand, this is a great DVD with audio commentary, look at the make-up, behind-the-scenes, and more. Easily worth picking up for fans of bad movies.

Roseanne - The Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
Some would consider this the best season of the long-running series, but was isn't in doubt is this is the best DVD release so far. Extras include the usual interviews, but there are also audio commentary tracks as well. Even so, it is still just average, but at least it's worth picking up.

Slings & Arrows - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian show coming out on DVD, that's a far too rare an occurrence. The show deals with the behind-the-scenes antics at a William Shakespeare festival and is simple fantastic. Even without much in the way of extras, (extended and deleted scenes, outtakes, etc.), it is still worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Strangers with Candy - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
This is a show you either love or hate, and if you love it, you already have the individual seasons, which is too bad since this box set is a lot cheaper. (Essentially, it is like buying two seasons and getting the third for free.)

TV Favorites - Buy from Amazon: Alice and Step by Step
Two best of compilations hitting the home market tomorrow. I hate Best of TV on DVD releases, but chances are if these sets don't sell, full seasons sets will not be forthcoming. At least the price is right, so if you are a fan of the shows, pick them up and hope the studio releases full season sets at a later date. And if the studio is smart, they give people who bought these compilation discs a discount on the first season DVDs.

Ultraviolet - Buy from Amazon: Theatrical Version or Unrated, Extended Cut or Blu-Ray
When I first heard on the plans for the DVD release, I was interested in seeing the unrated edition of this movie, more than the reviews would otherwise dictate, and not for the obvious reason. After writer / director Kurt Wimmer finished the film, the studio hated the cut he presented and removed him from the film. The version they produced was, and I'm trying to be polite here, crap. Did the studio do the best with what they had to work with, or did they ruin a fine film? Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be an actual director's cut, just a cheap marketing ploy. Add in special features that are less than special, and you have a DVD worth skipping. One last note, the Blu-Ray edition appears to be the theatrical cut, which is a very strange decision by the studio.

Why We Fight - Buy from Amazon
On the other hand, Why We Fight is one of the best movies on this week's list, and also one of the most disturbing. What scares people is the thought that their nation could go to war because of pressure from the Military Industrial Complex. However, this is not a farfetched concept; after all, government policy is influenced all the time by corporations, even to the detriment of the people. (Look into Enron's dealings for proof of that.) Add in extras that are far superior to most limited releases, (audio commentary, additional interviews, and more), and the end result is a must have and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Yellowbeard - Buy from Amazon
Simply put, this is one of the greatest comedies ever made, I don't care what other crtics have to say. A spoof of old pirate movies, the film stars, well, just about everyone but Graham Chapman is the titular Yellowbeard. The film was panned by critics when it first came out, flopped at the box office, and seemed likely to never be seen again. So it is a minor miracle that the film is coming out at all, and the fact that there are absolutely no special features won't stop me from picking it up tomorrow, or naming it as the DVD Pick of the Week.


Filed under: Video Releases, Failure to Launch, Saw, Crash, The Punisher, Lord of War, Annapolis, Caché, Why We Fight, Find Me Guilty, Imagine Me & You, Ondskan