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DVD Releases for July 26, 2005

July 25th, 2005

Every week films get a second chance at success from the home market; or, in some cases, a first chance at success. Here is a list of wide releases, limited releases, classics and a few from the growing TV on DVD section. Another slow week in terms of first run releases as The Upside of Anger - Buy from Amazon is the only one worth picking up. For that matter, it's the only one worth renting. Also coming out this week are a couple of dubious special editions and some TV on DVD that runs the range from underappreciated classics like 3rd Rock from the Sun - Buy from Amazon to nostalgia infused duds like Gilligan's Island - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon. The former is the second DVD pick of the week, the latter is not.

3rd Rock from the Sun - Buy from Amazon
During its five year run it was consistently one of the funniest shows on TV. Unfortunately it was never consistently aired at the same time and day. It had more than a dozen different timeslots. What was the network thinking? The show centers on four aliens who have come to Earth and assumed human form to study the planet and its inhabitants. Much of the humor from the first season comes from the team's difficulties with their new world and new bodies, for instance, Tommy Solomon is the oldest of the four but is stuck in the body of a hormonally charged teenage boy while tough guy and security officer Sally Solomon is trapped in the body of a woman. Special features on the 4-disc set are good, but not great. There's an interview segment, highlights, outtakes, and behind the scenes clip, but no audio commentaries. Still, its worth picking up for fans of the show, and it's good enough to convert those who have never seen the show or didn't give it a chance when it first aired.

America's Funniest Home Videos Volume 1 - Buy from Amazon
I can't believe this show is still on the air. This 4-disc set include 14 episodes including the two-part 300th episode.

Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated - The Naughty Early Years, Set Three - Buy from Amazon
Another set of 10 episodes by one of Britain's funniest men. While the series is great, it is lacking in special features with just a bonus silent skit and a trivia game.

Bolero - Buy from Amazon
This is a movie that's so bad some consider it a classic, I'm not one of those.

The Brady Bunch - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
I don't even pretend to understand why this show is still popular; I don't even understand why it was popular when it first came out. Good news, the studio is fast-tracking the series and season 3 is already available for pre-order. Bad news, the 4-disc set is completely devoid of special features. Skip it.

Chain Camera - Buy from Amazon
At Marshall High, ten kids are given 10 cameras for a week, after which they pass them on to ten more kids who get them for a week, and so on and so on throughout the whole year. From the 700 hours of footage shot this documentary was made. On the one hand this is an insightful film, but it's way too short at just 84 minutes; each student is only on screen for about 5 minutes and that is hardly enough time for a real look at their life. The DVD does rectify some of this with the special features including an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, interviews and more.

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman - The Complete Season Six - Buy from Amazon
Sixth and final season of this series hits DVD. This season wasn't as strong as the others were and the 6-disc set has only one audio commentary track as a special feature. Even so, there's little reason not to buy this set if you own the rest.

Eating Out - Buy from Amazon
Caleb is a straight man who is in love with Gwen, who seems to only fall for gay men, so he pretends to be gay to attract her. Anyone who has watched too many sitcoms will know how this one turns out, and unfortunately predictability is only one of the film's flaws.

Errol Morris Collections - Buy from Amazon: DVD Collection and First Person
Two collections of documentarian Errol Morris' work hits the home market tomorrow. The first is a 3-movie collection, which is also available separately. The second is all ten episodes of his TV series called First Person. Errol Morris puts out consistently amazing work and it deserves and needs to be seen more.

Fighting Tommy Riley - Buy from Amazon
This boxing film was all but ignored by moviegoers. Granted, the film didn't earn great reviews but it didn't deserve it's fate.

Gilligan's Island - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The third and final season from this much beloved series finally comes out tomorrow. The show still has a lot of fans, which can only be described as acute nostalgia, but even these fans will admit the show's quality suffered a seriously drop-off during the final season. Even so, nothing I say is going to stop the people who bought the first two seasons from buying this one.

Hotel - Buy from Amazon
An experimental film in the same vein as Timecode, just not as successful. The DVD release isn't bad, especially for a limited release, but the film has such limited appeal that even if you are interested in the movie it's better to rent it first.

The Jerk - 26th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
Steve Martin's first starring role and the film that made him a household name. At the time it was released the film was savaged by the critics, but since then it is regarded as one of Steve Martin's funniest films. The DVD, on the other hand, is mixed at best. Sure, there are more special features than the previous release, but with just two featurettes, there's not enough to justify the label.

King's Ransom - Buy from Amazon
The worst reviewed wide release of the year, so far. Even Alone in the Dark eventually got one positive review. There's really nothing to recommend this movie so skip it.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
It's been nearly 3 years since the first season was released on DVD and fans of the series were probably worried that season 2 would never be released. But at least this 3-disc set is worth the wait. Not only did the show maintain its high quality from season 1 (it was nominated for eight Emmys, winning 2 of them), but the DVD release is pack with extras including audio commentary on 3 episodes, interviews, excepts from the Emmy Awards and more.

Monty Python - The Early Years - Buy from Amazon: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set
Ok, it's not technically Monty Python, but it's the members of the classic comedy troupe before they joined together to form Monty Python. At Last the 1948 Show is a lost show, the videotapes were erased to be used again in the 1960s, which looking back was a really, really stupid thing to do. The studio was able to recreate some of the skits, but the video is very poor. However, those interested in seeing the early work of Graham Chapman and John Cleese (and even Marty Feldman) should be thrilled. Do Not Adjust Your Set features Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and later Terry Gilliam. It's actually a kids show, but in the same vein as the rest of Monty Python's humor and is entertaining to adults as well.

Not Another Teen Movie - Unrated Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon: Regular or UMD Mini for PSP
Not a bad movie if you are a fan of the movies it spoofs. I'm not sure a Unrated Director's Cut was really necessary, but there's enough special features on this DVD that it's worth picking up if you liked the movie but didn't bother with the previous release. Is it worth the upgrade? No, there's not enough new material to justify buying the film twice.

Pink Panther - Buy from Amazon: Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther, Curse of the Pink Panther and Son of the Pink Panther
This series started off well, but ran out of steam and ended as an embarrassment, and if the buzz surrounding the upcoming movie is correct, it could be the worst of the bunch.

Remington Steele - Season One - Buy from Amazon
The role that Pierce Brosnan was born to play, and also the role that made him a natural to play Bond. Stephanie Zimbalist stars as Laura Holt, a detective who can't seem to find any clients because she's a woman, so she invents a male boss and pretends to work for him. The plan works until thief and con man Pierce Brosnan decides to take on the identity. While charming and easily able to attract clients, he appears to have learned all he knows about being a private eye from old movies. Special features are strong for a show that's more than 20 years old with audio commentary on three episodes, and 3 interview featurettes that include practically everyone from the show except Stephanie Zimbalist. A great show from the 80s that still holds up today and with all the work put into the DVD it is easily worth picking up. Also available in two volumes, but the full season set is the better deal.

Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
The last of the Star Trek series, at least for a little while. I'm a big fan of the original series, but the people in charge of this show weren't. Much of the show ignored what was previously known from the other shows and alienated long-term fans, which reduced the audience to the point where the show was unsustainable. (And don't get me started on the series finale.) Special features are good, but not as good as the Original Series releases, and quite frankly, this set isn't worth the price.

Steamboy - Buy from Amazon: Director's Cut, Giftset or UMD Mini for PSP
Simply put, this film was killed by high expectations. It's Katsuhiro Otomo's directorial follow-up to the groundbreaking Akira and while it's far from a bad movie, it still isn't as good as people were expecting. There are two DVD releases, the Director's Cut and the Giftset. Both have the original version with both the Japanese and English audio, making of featurettes, interviews, etc. The Giftset also has a book, mini comic and collectable postcards, but costs nearly twice as much. Tough to say which is the better deal.

The Upside of Anger - Buy from Amazon
One of the best reviewed movies to go wide this year with loads of praise being heaped on Joan Allen and Kevin Costner. Joan Allen plays Terry Wolfmeyer, a woman who's husband has left her for a new life in Sweden with his secretary. To say she doesn't handle this turn of events poorly is an understatement. At first her only companion is vodka, but she is soon joined by Kevin Costner, who seems to be permanently intoxicated as well. Special features on the disc are on par with most first run releases with an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, and making of featurette. There is also a DVD-Rom script-to-screen feature. On a side note, the fact that Joan Allen hasn't won an Oscar is a crime against nature... OK, maybe that's going a little overboard, but she was robbed in 2001.

Xena - The 10th Anniversary Collection - Buy from Amazon
Normally I don't like best of sets for TV on DVD releases, especially when all the episodes have already been released on full season sets, but this is a really well done set packed with extras including footage of the 10th anniversary convention, interviews with cast members, fan submissions and more. If you finished off your Xena collection in March, then this is the logical next purchase.

XXX: State of the Union - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen, Pan & Scan or UMD Mini for PSP
An unnecessary sequel and one that was punished by moviegoers at the box office. No one was expecting the movie to live up to the original, but this film made less during its entire run than the first made during its opening weekend. If you are one of the few who watched the movie and liked it, then you will be impressed by the DVD release. There are two audio commentary tracks, interviews, 3 making of featurettes, (on the set, stunt work, etc.). But that's not enough to make up for the quality of the movie. Skip it.

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Filed under: Video Releases, The Pink Panther, XXX: State of the Union, The Upside of Anger, King's Ransom, Steamboy, Eating Out, Fighting Tommy Riley