Follow us on

DVD Releases for November 14, 2006

November 14th, 2006

With Thanksgivings just around the corner, there are a lot of releases coming out this week. You see, every time this year there's a media report that the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. However, this is not true. Christmas Eve is actually the biggest shopping day of the year (talk about last minute gifts). Even so, Thanksgiving is still a massively important time of the year and there's no surprise that studios are trying to get out as many gift ideas as possible just in time for the holiday rush. With that in mind, there are several full series sets coming out this week, including DVD Pick of the Week contender Get Smart - The Complete Series - Buy Direct. However, when it comes to the winner, there's really only one choice and that is Looney Tunes - Golden Collection - Volume Four - Buy from Amazon.

3rd Rock from the Sun - Season 6 - Buy from Amazon
A great show that was treated like trash by the studio for its entire six year run. This 4-disc set includes the final season, plus the alternate ending for the series finale, two alternate beginnings for the series finale, and a full series retrospective.

49 Up - Buy from Amazon
The seventh in a series of British documentary where they interview the same individuals every seven years. An amazing filma that has gone beyond documentary and into psychological study. Extras are light with an interview with director and Roger Ebert, but it does add to the overall value of the DVD.

Accepted - Buy from Amazon
Justin Long leads a group of chronically rejected social outcasts who after being rejected from every college out there decide to form their own. That's a pretty good premise, but the film itself it filled with too many cliches. Also ... Spoiler Alert! ... I hated who Justin Long ended up with. It was like the film was saying popularity doesn't matter, unless you have a chance to go out with someone on the A-list, then you should jump at the chance. Personally, I think he should have ended up with Rory instead. And thus ends the spoilers. The DVD is great with audio commentary track, several featurettes, deleted scenes, and a couple of music videos. For fans of the movie, it is certainly worth picking up, but if you are going in sight unseen, I'd go with a rental first.

Adventures of Superman - The Complete Fifth and Sixth Seasons - Buy from Amazon
The final two seasons of this series from the 1950s. This show has quite a following, but I think this has a lot to do with nostalgia. It's selling well, partially for the show itself, but I can't help feel the recent movie and the biopic on the investigation of the death of George Reeves as a lot to do with this. Ahhh... synergy.

Adventures of the Gummi Bears - Volume 1 - Seasons 1-3 - Buy from Amazon
The first three seasons of this Disney cartoon on one 3-disc set. Like most such releases, the series is fun for its target demographic, but without real extras, its value to collectors is limited.

The Best Of The Electric Company - Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
The second volume from this educational program hits the home market. While I vastly prefer full season sets, but this is not a show that's likely to have such releases. Extras are in line with volume 1 (featurette, intros, interview, etc.), and make this set worth picking up.

Bing Crosby - Screen Legend Collection - Buy from Amazon
Five movies on three discs from the career of Bing Crosby. They are not bad movies, but definitely not among his best known. Waikiki Wedding is probably the biggest draw for this set, but even at a low price, it still feels like a lot of filler.

Black Books - The Complete Second Series - Buy from Amazon
A British TV series about Bernard Black, who runs a book store, hence the name. Fans of darkly comedic films and TV series that the British do so well will certainly be interested in picking this one up, especially with the amount of special features. (Audio commentary on all six episodes, outtakes, and more). You can also purchase it with the first season as part of a package deal.

Blu-Ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: ALT, Behind Enemy Lines, Black Hawk Down, Fantastic Four, Kingdom of Heaven, Kiss of the Dragon, The Last Samurai, Million Dollar Baby, The Omen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Speed, and The Transporter
With the latest Playstation coming out, the number of Blu-Ray players in the United States is expected to leap from 10,000 to several hundred thousand. This explains the huge number of Blu-Ray releases coming out this week. However, it's a case of quantity over quality with only a couple worth picking up and none worth the upgrade to High Definition.

Boffo! Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the movie industry and how there's a very fine line between the hits and the misses. This is an interesting topic and for the most part the film is well done but it feels like it should be more in-depth. In comes across as more of a fluff promotional piece than a real documentary.

Brothers of the Head - Buy from Amazon
Conjoined twins become stars in the Punk Rock scene. This is certainly one of the weirdest films to come out this year. Perhaps this is why it never found an audience. The film deserves to find an audience on the home market, but the lack of special features will leave it at just a rental.

Cary Grant - Screen Legend Collection - Buy from Amazon
The second actor-specific box set on this week's list. Like the previous one, this one has lesser known films and feels like it is mostly filler.

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers - Volume 2 - Buy from Amazon
The next set of episodes from this after school Disney cartoon. It's a fun show for kids, but the lack of real extras limits its appeal for collectors.

Columbo - The Complete Sixth and Seventh Seasons - Buy from Amazon
8 more made-for-TV movies that comprised the sixth and seventh seasons. This is a good show, but there are zero special features are rather limited replay value.

CSI. Crime Scene Investigation - The Complete Sixth Season - Buy from Amazon
Great show coming out on a great 7-disc set. There's only one problem, and I've mentioned it before. It's C.S.I. overload. The three shows in this franchise are practically photocopies of each other and they are in syndication almost 24 hours a day so picking up the DVDs seems unnecessary to me. That said, the original is the best and the extras are very impressive with audio commentary tracks on seven episodes and featurettes on the various subjects (gadgets, make-up effects, etc.). Easily worth picking up for fans of the show.

The Da Vinci Code - Buy from Amazon: Special Edition or Giftset or Blu-Ray
One of the biggest hits in Ron Howard's career. It is also one of his worst reviewed films as well. However, in a year where good reviews have mostly been punished at the box office, this is not a surprise. On the Special Edition there's only one extra, but it's a feature-length making of documentary (it is broken up into several smaller sections, but it is clear it was meant to be watched as one). With the Giftset you also get a working cryptex and a replica of the journal. I don't think that's worth the extra $50 MRSP, but some will obviously disagree.

DuckTales - Volume Two - Buy from Amazon
The next set of episodes from this after school Disney cartoon. It's a fun show for kids, but the lack of real extras limits its appeal for collectors.

Family Guy - Volume 4 (Season 4: Part 2) - Buy from Amazon
With this show made it back from cancellation, there was much rejoicing amongst its fans. However, season 4 wasn't as strong as those in the past. There are still some great episodes and funny gags, but there's something missing. That said, the 3-disc set is still worth picking up with 14 episodes (including five that are uncensored), audio commentary tracks on all 14 episodes, deleted scenes, behind the scenes with the director, an office tour with Adam West, and more. Easily worth picking up. On a side note, Drop Dead Gorgeous, which features Alex Borstein, a.k.a., the voice of Lois, is also coming out tomorrow.

Forbidden Planet - Buy from Amazon: DVD Two-Disc 50th Anniversary Special Edition or Ultimate Collector's Edition - HD-DVD Two-Disc 50th Anniversary Special Edition or Ultimate Collector's Edition
A classic science fiction film from the 1950s finally gets the massive special edition release that it truly deserves. Extras on the two-disc set include deleted scenes / lost footage, documentaries on the movie, Robby the Robot, 1950s science fiction in general, an episode of The Thin Man and The Invisible Boy, both featuring Robby the Robot, and more. In addition, the Ultimate Collector's Edition also contains a replica of Robby the Robot, mini posters and others. There are only two complaints that I have. Firstly, there's no audio commentary track(s) with either cast & crew or with film historians. Secondly, there's little doubt that a new High Definition release is just around the corner, and it might be worth waiting for that one.

Friends - The Complete Series Collection - Buy from Amazon
I know what you are thinking, "Didn't this come out already?" Sort of. The One with All Ten Seasons came out about this time last year, but it only had all ten seasons. This one has all ten seasons, plus extras like more behind-the-scenes footage, 60-page commemorative booklet, and more. Is it worth the upgrade? I would say no, but then again, I wasn't a huge fan of the show and stopped watching partway through its run. On the other hand, if you liked the show but never bothered to collect it on DVD, now is the perfect time to do so. And if they come out with a third complete series DVD box set next year, feel free to storm the Bastille, metaphorically speaking.

Get Smart - The Complete Series - Buy Direct
A complete series set I can get behind. This is being billed as the first time ever that a non-short-running show has been released as a full series set without first being released as full-season sets. (Although I know for a fact this is not true. I happen to own Edgemont, which was only released on a full series set.) That minor marketing issue aside, this is a fantastic 25-disc set. Included are all 136 episodes, audio commentary tracks on 9 of them, interviews with key cast and crew, featurettes of the history of the show, the spy equipment, Don Adams' 75th birthday bash, behind the scenes footage, outtakes, commercial and TV shows featuring the characters, acceptance speeches from all seven Emmy wins, and lots more. An incredible amount of extras and a very reasonable price. On side note, this box set is an exclusive release for TimeLife for the next year and the law of supply and demand suggests that the price will drop when other retailers can sell it next year, but I doubt the price will come down substantially, so picking it up now would make sense for most people.

The Golden Girls - The Complete Sixth Season - Buy from Amazon
Good show, but like the previous releases, this one is rather weak. The extras are limited to a Q&A session with the cast, which is a nice feature, but fans will want more.

The Green Mile - Two-Disc Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
One of the best Stephen King adaptations ever, and his biggest box office hit. This 2-disc special edition is a strong upgrade from the previous releases with a ton of extras including an audio commentary track, feature-length documentary, deleted scenes, screen test, and more. Excellent release and one that is well worth the upgrade.

The Groomsmen - Buy from Amazon
Edward Burns latest effort continues to fail to live up to the potential everyone said he had when he made The Brothers McMullen. The film barely made a peep at the box office and the DVD looks like it is designed to make sure the same thing happens on the home market. That has got to be one of the worst pieces of cover art I've ever seen. The extras are okay with an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, and two short featurettes, but it doesn't add up to much past a rental.

Gunsmoke - The Directors Collection - Buy from Amazon
Great show, good DVD, but still waiting for full-season sets to come out. Of the 15 episodes on this, seven have audio commentary tracks, there are several audio only extras (the show started out as a radio drama), and interviews. I'm still waiting for full-season sets, but this is a great collection nonetheless.

HD-DVD Releases - Buy from Amazon: Casablanca, Mutiny on the Bounty, or Waterworld
Only three releases this week, not counting the concurrent releases, but while the average quality is high, the two films worth owning don't need the High Definition treatment to be enjoyed.

Home Improvement - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
This show was too repetitive for me and I stopped watching long before the fifth season. As for the 3-disc set, there is only a gag reel for extras, which severely limits its replay value.

Homicide Life on the Street - Complete Series Megaset - Buy from Amazon
One of several full series sets coming out this week. This one is super cheap compared to the previous full series set and includes the made for TV movie. It's not worth the upgrade, but it's a good deal for those who didn't pick it up sooner.

John Tucker Must Die - Buy from Amazon
Typical teen movie, including its poor performance with critics. The DVD is average for a first-run release and includes and audio commentary track, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes, and a making of featurette. The target demographic will probably be entertained by the movie, but even then a rental will do.

Joyeux Noel - Buy from Amazon
The French contender for best Foreign Language film at the Oscars. Although it wasn't the best film in that category, many felt it was better than the eventual winner. As for the DVD, it is well done with an audio commentary track and an interview. Much better than the average limited release of foreign language film, and it is worth picking up.

King Kong - Buy from Amazon: Extended Edition or Gift Set or HD-DVD
Extended edition?!? The theatrical version was over three hours long -- how much more extended can you get? At least the Gift Set comes with a Limited Edition Weta sculpture, which would make a great gift, but it is not worth the upgrade otherwise.

Lassie - Buy from Amazon
Unbelievable reviews couldn't overcome the film's select city release as it failed to make much of an impact at the box office. The DVD should perform better, even with the lack of special features.

Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about Canadian singer / songwriter, Leonard Cohen, who is much better at the latter than he is the former. The film did very well at the box office, for its genre, and the DVD with its audio commentary track, additional musical performances and more, should beat that market on the home market. Easily worth picking up for fans of Leonard Cohen, and others might want to give it a rental.

Little Britain - The Complete Third Series - Buy from Amazon
The term, 'Too British' certainly applies to this series. I'm a fan of all things England... (Well, most things. I have some issues with some of their food choices.) Anyhoo, I'm a big fan of British humor, but this is too absurdist for me. Fans of the show will love this set as it has audio commentary tracks on all 6 episodes, their South Bank special, interviews, and more.

Lois & Clark - The New Adventures of Superman - The Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
Yes, Superman Returns is coming out on DVD soon, but not this week. You can tell its soon by the number or related releases making their way to the home market. I never could get into this show because it felt too much like a soap opera to me and not enough of a Super Hero show. Even so, there's a very loyal following and they should be happy with the 6-disc set even if the only special feature is an interactive Superman history.

Looney Tunes - Golden Collection - Volume Four - Buy from Amazon
DVD Pick of the Week. ... What? You want me to say more? Okay. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The prime audience for cartoons is not kids, but the adult collector. It seems the only studio that recognizes that is Warner Bros. This time we get treated to some classic cartoons including 8 Ball Bunny, Rabbit Hood, Hurdy-Gurdy Hare, Knight-Mare Hare, Knighty Knight Bugs, and that's just one the first disc. The other three discs feature Speedy Gonzales, Frank Tashlin, and the various cats that made appearances throughout the years. There are also a ton of special features (audio commentary tracks on more than two dozen cartoons, documentaries, bonus shorts, and lots more). For adult collectors of cartoons, there are no better collections that these and Volume Four lives up to its predecessors. Also coming out tomorrow is Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas, which is better than expected and worth picking up for fans of the classic cartoons. WARNING! There's also the Spotlight Collection coming out tomorrow, but you don't want it. It only has half the cartoons and almost no special features.

Maniac Cop - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
This is one of those movies that I think I've seen but can't remember for sure. I've seen a lot of Bruce Campbell movies and the plot certainly sounds familiar. Like many of his films, this one is considered a guilty pleasure by many and the level of violence and gore is certainly enough to satisfy fans of those films as well. As for the special features, there's not a whole lot here considering it is a special edition. On the other hand, it does have an audio commentary track featuring Bruce Campbell (and others), and that's enough to make it worth checking out.

Masters of Horror - John McNaughton - Haeckel's Tale - Buy from Amazon
One of the better episodes from the first season of this show, but a little stranger than most, and that's saying a lot. As with the rest of the series, the extras are excellent with an audio commentary track, interviews, behind the scenes, and more. Easily worth picking up and a contender for DVD Pick of the Week. On a side note, the series has performed well enough to get a second season and a Spin-off, Masters of Science Fiction.

Mickey's Clubhouse - Mickey Saves Santa - Buy from Amazon
There's a certain horror one feels when classic cartoon characters are used to make new movies. Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas, which I mention above, managed to not spoil the originals while bringing something fresh to the story. This film does not. It feels derivative and lacks any freshness. Perhaps kids will like it, but anyone who grew up on Mickey Mouse will be disappointed.

NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
There are far too many of these shows on the air at the moment, and while most of them are worth checking out, at least the odd episode, not many of them are able to stand out from the crowd. As for the 6-disc set, it contains audio commentary tracks on two-episodes, two featurettes on season 2, a look at the reacl NCIS, and a lab tour with Pauley Perrette, a.k.a. forensic specialist Abby. It is certainly a good set and well worth picking up for fans of the show, there's just too many similar shows to get a stronger recommendation.

Northern Exposure - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
The last full season with Rob Morrow, who left the show partway through season six, which was also the last season. I think it is fair to say the show was starting to stumble before then and the best days were behind it by the time this season came along. Also, the 5-disc set is weak with just some deleted scenes as extras.

Oldboy - Three-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
Rarely do foreign language imports get special editions, but this film certainly deserves a special edition. Extras are extensive and start with three audio commentary tracks. There are also a nearly feature-length audio commentary track, a behind the scenes documentary (which runs nearly 3 and a half hours), deleted scenes, interviews and more. For those who loved the movie and have the previous release, this is easily worth the upgrade. For those who never seen it, check it out.

Paul McCartney - The Space Within US - Buy from Amazon
Paul McCartney's record-breaking 2005 concert. The concert itself runs about 110 minutes, but the special features include extra songs, interviews and more, which certainly helps the overall value of the DVD.

The Paul Newman Collection - Buy from Amazon
Six films from Paul Newman's career collected in one set. The quality here is average with Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Young Philadelphians, and Harper being worth it while the rest feel like filler. Those three films also have the bulk of the special features and overall the box set is worth picking up for fans of Paul Newman. Harper can also be purchased separately, but while the P.I. flick is an excellent film, it is better as part of the box set.

Quantum Leap - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
A show that went out on a high note. I don't think if the show would have lasted too much longer it could have kept up its high quality level. In fact, I think the Evil Leaper episodes were a troubling sign. They work out here, but it was a warning sign that the writers were running out of ideas. There's also a troubling lack of special features, but fans who have picked up the first four seasons are unlikely to stop now.

Reba - Season 4 - Buy from Amazon
With the sixth, and likely final season of the show about to start, season four is coming out on DVD tomorrow. One of the best rated comedies on the WB, is was picked up by the newly formed CW network as a midseason replacement of sorts and only has 13 episodes planned for this season. As for this season, it maintains the level of quality fans have come to expect, but there are no special features on the 3-disc set.

Red Doors - Buy from Amazon
The film earned better than average reviews and started its limited release very, very well, but couldn't maintain the momentum, finishing with roughly $100,000 at the box office. The DVD should perform much better especially with the extras (audio commentary track, interviews, featurette, and a short film from writer / director Georgia Lee). Worth checking out for most, and many who give it a try will want to pick it up.

Rock Hudson Screen Legend Collection - Buy from Amazon
Five films from the career of Rock Hudson crammed onto 3 3 featureless discs. There has to be a better way to celebrate this man's career.

Six Feet Under - The Complete Series Gift Set - Buy from Amazon
Full series box set that is not worth the upgrade but would make a terrific gift for a fan of the show that didn't bother collecting the series when it first came out.

Sophie Scholl - The Final Days - Buy from Amazon
World War II biopic about Sophie Scholl, a Germen resistance fighter. The film earned excellent reviews and did well at the box office, for a foreign language film, but it should do better on the home market. Extras are good for a limited release with deleted / alternate scenes, making of documentary, an historical look at the real Sophie Scholl, and more. Easily worth picking up.

Strangers With Candy - Buy from Amazon
When a TV series is adapted for the big screen, sometimes it feels stretched; like it is a two-part episode with enough filler to pad out its running time. This is the case here. That is not to say it is a bad movie, but if it was an episode of the show, it wouldn't be considered one of the best. As for extras, there's an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, and a music video. The more hardcore fans will want to pick it up to complete their collection, but the more casual fans should give it a rental first.

That Girl - Season 2 - Buy from Amazon
Season two of the groundbreaking series hits the home market this week and the show continued to improve at this point. Extras on the 4-disc set are good (very good given the age of the show), with audio commentary tracks on four episodes, Marlo Thomas' busted pilot for Two's Company, and a featurette on the cultural impact of the show. Easily worth picking up for fans of the show.

Who Killed the Electric Car? - Buy from Amazon
A great documentary that failed to live up to its potential at the box office. While the film definitely has a point of view that it is arguing, that is not the problem. The problem in my mind was it was a little condescending at times. But to be fair, that's not enough of a problem to stop me from recommending the movie or the DVD, which includes deleted scenes and a look at today's alternative fuel grass-roots movement.


Filed under: Video Releases, King Kong, The Da Vinci Code, Fantastic Four, The Last Samurai, Million Dollar Baby, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Omen, Kingdom of Heaven, John Tucker Must Die, Accepted, The Transporter, ATL, Who Killed the Electric Car?, Joyeux Noël, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage, Lassie, The Groomsmen, Red Doors, Brothers of the Head