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DVD Releases for February 3, 2004

February 2nd, 2004

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 and a few from the growing TV on DVD section. There is an excellent selection this week as a number of Oscar contenders were released to take advantage of last week's nominations. Both American Splendor - (Buy from Amazon) and Lost in Translation - ( Buy from Amazon) are on my must buy list. As are box sets for The Office and Red Dwarf). Don't forget Labyrinth (Collector's Edition Boxed Set) - (Buy from Amazon.) I guess I don't need to buy food this week.

Here's the highlights, (and some lowlights) of the DVDs released today, January 20, 2004.

American Splendor - (Buy from Amazon)
This movie had an excellent limited release late last summer and earned absolutely fantastic reviews, including 100% positive from the cream of the crop. And while it has earned some awards and nominations, I'm still bitter that Paul Giamatti didn't get more recognition. In fact, I'm probably more bitter than Paul Giamatti is.

The Animal: Uncut and Untamed - (Buy from Amazon)
Was there really a demand for a special edition of this movie? Since it currently at number 10,696th place on the Amazon sales chart, the answer is probably no.

The Fighting Temptations - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan and Scan)
One of three Cuba Gooding, Jr. films released last year. This one's better than Boat Trip, not as good as Radio.

Gilligan's Island - The Complete First Season - (Buy from Amazon)
The show that taught us you can do anything with coconuts and bamboo but fix a boat finally comes to DVD.

The Gods Must be Crazy I & II - (Buy from Amazon)
With the recent passing of these films' star, N!xau, it is fitting for these films to be released on DVD. But a few more extras would have been nice. The first film was amateurish at times, but earnest. The second was more polished but didn't have the heart, or as many laughs.

Labyrinth (Collector's Edition Boxed Set) - (Buy from Amazon)
One of five picks for DVD of the week, this is a masterpiece from the late Jim Henson and it deserves to be rediscovered. The film relies heavily on puppets, and it probably won't fare well in a movie industry dominated by computer graphics. This new version has quite a few more special features, but nostalgia alone was enough for me.

Lost in Translation - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan and Scan)
On the one hand, this is the perfect time to release this film on DVD. 3 Golden Globe win and 4 Oscar nominations gave the film a lot of free publicity. On the other hand, it is still doing very well at the box office pulling in about $4 million in January. That's more than most limited releases make in total. Reviews are awesome and the film deserves its number one spot on Amazon's DVD chart.

My Boss's Daughter - (Buy from Amazon: PG-13 or R Rated)
It's not unusual to find unrated versions of movies hitting the home market. But a R rated version of a PG-13 movie is quite unique. But considering its box office reception, it may be a case of more is definitely less.

My Science Project - (Buy from Amazon)
Every week it seems like dozens of older films are dumped on the market without a single special feature or any attempt to market them. My Science Project is one such release, however, I have fond memories of this movie, so I thought I'd give it some free publicity. I'll have to at least rent it to see if nostalgia has affected my judgement.

The Office - The Complete First Series - (Buy from Amazon)
Winner of the Golden Globes for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy for its lead, Ricky Gervais. It is the first British Sitcom to ever win a Golden Globe, so that tells you everything you need to know about its quality. The show itself is a mockumentary about a mid-sized office that might be closed by the head office. A good amount of extras help make this one of the picks of the week.

Planet of the Apes - 35th Anniversary Edition - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan and Scan)
I never was a big fan of this movie. I've always found Charlton Heston's performances to be a little hammy at times. But if I didn't at least mention it, or the massive amounts of special features, then this list won't be complete.

Red Dwarf - (Buy from Amazon: Series 3, Series 4 or Series 3 and 4)
I fully admit, I'm a huge fan of this show and I'm completely biased about it. But even keeping that in mind, this is a must buy. Series 3 and 4 were arguably the best of Red Dwarf with classic episodes like Backwards and White Hole. And like most BBC Videos, there is a massive number of extras: Commentaries on all episodes, several featurettes, Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg cooking show, etc. This will tide over all the fans till the movie is released.

Secondhand Lions - (Buy from Amazon)
Neither the financial, nor the critical success the studio was hoping for. This film will get a second life on the home market, where it is better suited.

The Thorn Birds - (Buy from Amazon)
The second most watched TV Mini-series of all time behind Roots. But unlike Roots, this 2 DVD set contains no extra features.

Under the Tuscan Sun - (Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan and Scan)
Despite opening in only 1226 theatres, the film opened in a surprising second place. Reviews were not great with most of the praise going to Diane Lane.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Lost in Translation, Under the Tuscan Sun, Secondhand Lions, The Fighting Temptations, My Boss's Daughter, American Splendor