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DVD Releases for August 1, 2006

July 31st, 2006

The first full week of the month is usually quite busy, however, since the DVD coming out tomorrow had to be shipped in July, this is not the case this time around. In fact, there was only one contender for DVD Pick of the week, V for Vendetta - 2-Disc Special Edition, and since I'm 90% sure an even better Ultra Edition is coming out, it fails to win that coveted honor. Next week we should have a much better selection of DVDs.

10.5 Apocalypse - Buy from Amazon
This sequel to 10.5 and it's just as bad as that mini-series. Skip it.

Alice in Wonderland - Buy from Amazon
The second TV mini-series on this week's list, and this one is far superior, but it would almost have to be. There are a huge number of stars throughout the show, most of them are of the B-list variety, and those who remember seeing it when it first aired in 1985 will certainly get a hit of nostalgia from this DVD, but the total lack of special features limits its value to a rental.

Beavis & Butt-head - The Mike Judge Collection - Volume 3 - Buy from Amazon
On the one hand, this is a very good show with plenty of special features. On the other hand, this is a Best of TV on DVD release and we all know how I feel about those. To compound the problem, it appears there will never be full season sets as creator, Mike Judge, has decided some of the episodes are not worthy of being released on DVD... ever. So if you are a fan of the show, you might as well pick it up since you are not going to get anything better.

Black Hole - Buy from Amazon
A black hole is sucking in St. Louis, and it's not the Blues. That might be a terrible joke, but the movie is ten times worse.

Blu-Ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Good Night, and Good Luck, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Rumor Has It..., Training Day
Four Blu-Ray releases this week, and while there are some great films on this week's list none really demand the High Definition experience. Good Night and Good Luck and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang are both great movies, but like so many High Def releases, they don't need the extra resolution to be effective. The same can be said of Training Day while the less said about Rumor Has It..., the better.

Blue Collar TV - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
The last of the Blue Collar episodes hits the home market tomorrow. This 2-disc set contains 13 episodes plus about 15 minutes of bonus skits. Can also be purchased with the first two volumes as part of a package deal.

The Comeback - The Complete Only Season - Buy from Amazon
Lisa Kudrow plays Lisa Kudrow, a former sitcom star who tries to revive her career. No wait! She actually plays a character named Valerie Cherish... who is a former sitcom star who is desperately trying to reviver her career. It's a spoof of Reality TV that deserved a better fate that only one season. All 13 episodes are her with audio commentary tracks on three of them as well as two featurettes. Certainly worth picking up for fans of the show.

Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
The improvisational, semi-autobiographical series returns to DVD with this 2-disc set. This has been a weird series so far as half the DVDs have been pack while the other half are light on special features. This is one of the light seasons with just two featurettes, but that's still better than some of the releases this week and enough to make the set worth picking up. Can also be purchased with the previous seasons as part of a package deal. One last note, it appears as if the end is near for the show and if it is picked up for a sixth season, that will likely be the last.

Dallas - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
I can't tell you much about the fifth season of this series except to say that after the whole, "Who Shot J.R." debacle, it was clear it had jumped the shark. It is also clear that the DVD releases have jumped the shark as the only special feature is a featurette on the Southfork Ranch. I suspect most fans interested in these DVDs are planning on picking up all 14 seasons, and there's nothing here to stop them. Can also be purchased with the previous seasons as part of a package deal.

Girls Next Door - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV about three girls who live at the Playboy Mansion. Ugh.

Good Times - The Complete Sixth Season - Buy from Amazon
The final season of this groundbreaking show hits DVD on this unfortunately featureless 3-disc set. However, if you already have the previous seasons, there's no reason not to pick this one up as well.

Hazel - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Shirley Booth stars as the titular character in this 60s sitcom about a live in maid and the family she takes care of. During the show's five year run, Shirley Booth earned two Emmys and was nominated at third time. And while the 4-disc set is featureless, fans of the show will still want to pick it up.

HD-DVD Releases - Buy from Amazon: Four Brothers, The Manchurian Candidate, We Were Soldiers
This week's list of HD-DVD releases again shows little promise for the format. The Manchurian Candidate is the best reviewed, Four Brothers is not as good but earned more at the box office, while We Were Soldiers is in my mind, overrated.

How Art Made the World - Buy from Amazon
Mini-series made for the BBC about the history of art from the earliest examples nearly 100,000 years ago till today. This fascinating five-hour program fills two discs and includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. Easily worth picking up for those interested in art, history or the history of art.

Mr. Moto Collection - Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
First of all, having a white man play an Asian character simply because hiring an actual Asian would turn off audiences is completely racist. However, the films were made in the 1930s and the attitude was a sign of the times. If you can get past that, you'll find these movies are quite entertaining, especially with the performance by Peter Lorre, who really should have won an Oscar at least once in his career. This collection contains four of the eight films made, (Mr. Moto Takes A Chance, Mysterious Mr. Moto, Thank You Mr. Moto, and Think Fast Mr. Moto), as well as featurettes on Peter Lorre, director Norman Foster, the restoration process and more. Worth picking up for fans of the series.

Mrs. Harris - Buy from Amazon
Great cast, terrible movie. There are a couple of extras on the disc including an audio commentary track, but it is still not worth picking up.

My Summer Story - Buy from Amazon
A sequel of sorts to A Christmas Story but without the same cast or the same charm. Add in zero special features and this DVD is best skipped.

Olivier's Shakespeare - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Three Shakespeare films directed by Sir Lawrence Olivier including Hamlet, Henry V, and Richard III. The price is high, which is common for Criterion Collection releases, but the special features are not at the same level.

Richard Pryor - Live in Concert - Buy from Amazon
| Richard Pryor's first stand-up concert film, and arguably his best. The routine itself is over an hour, but there are no special features on the disc, which is a terrible shame and a wasted opportunity. However, fans of Richard Pryor should still snap it up as soon as it hits shelves tomorrow.

Roving Mars - Buy from Amazon
Another IMAX film coming out on the home market. I'm not sure how smart this plan is because it is likely to shrink the long legs these films usually have, but with more money coming in from DMR releases, perhaps they can afford the switch. As for this movie, it's better than most but with a running time of just 40 minutes, it's not worth the price.

The Shaggy Dog - Buy from Amazon
One of the weaker movies to come out this year, it was nonetheless one of the bigger hits. This isn't the worst movie to come out this year, it's not even in the bottom ten because there have been so many bad movies to come out. But it is certainly not worth picking up and even with a good selection of special features it barely rates a rental.

Star Trek Fan Collective - Klingon - Buy from Amazon
Talk about bleeding your fanbase dry. This isn't even a double-dip, it's a triple or possibly even quadruple dip. Skip it.

V for Vendetta - Buy from Amazon: Regular Edition and 2-Disc Special Edition
The only release on this week's list that I would rank and a must have, and the only one in contention for DVD Pick of the Week but even then I'm tempting to wait because neither the Regular Edition nor the 2-Disc Special Edition are blessed with an abundance of special features. The single-disc version contains a 15-minute making of featurette and the 2-disc set contains an additional 45-minutes of features including information on the real Guy Fawkes, comic book art, and a music video. I say rent it and wait for the deluxe edition, which is probably already in the works.

What the "Bleep" Do We Know?! - Down the Rabbit Hole Quantum Edition - Buy from Amazon
This is essentially a reworking of What the #$'! Do We Know, which was a surprise hit in 2004. This version flopped, probably because people finally realized that taking scientific advise from a woman who claims to be channeling a 35,000 Atlantean warrior is a dumb idea. Stick with The Elegant Universe, Cosmos or any number of similar products instead.


Filed under: Video Releases, Four Brothers, V for Vendetta, The Manchurian Candidate, The Shaggy Dog, Rumor Has It, Good Night, and Good Luck, What the #$'! Do We Know, Roving Mars, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, What the Bleep?: Down the Rabbit Hole