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DVD Releases for May 25, 2004

May 25th, 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 including a surprise selection for my DVD pick of the week, Bubba Ho-Tep - Buy from Amazon.

Boy Meets Boys - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Have I mentioned how much I hate reality TV? Good.

The Brady Bunch in the White House - Buy from Amazon
Why? Oh dear god, why? And if you're really masochistic you can get this DVD and Growing Up Brady as part of a 2-Pack.

Broken Lizard's Club Dread - Buy from Amazon
Critically panned, largely ignored at the box office and now dumped on the home market with almost no special features. The film probably plays a lot better on DVD than in the theatre, so it should take in more money in the first few weeks of rentals and sales than it could during its entire box office run.

Bubba Ho-Tep - Buy from Amazon
The real Elvis is alive and living in a retirement home with JFK, who was dyed black by aliens. Together they battle an Egyptian cowboy zombie who's killing off their fellow retirees. Movie plots don't get much weirder than that. The critically praised film also has a very impressive DVD release with a couple commentary tracks, (including one with Bruce Campbell as Elvis, which in my mind is worth the price of the DVD alone), four featurettes, deleted scenes, scrapbook and more. This movie definitely has cult status potential, but hopefully the DVD sales will be too strong for it to be considered a cult movie.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Sixth Season - Buy from Amazon
The sixth season of Buffy was the first since it moved from the WB to UPN, and in many ways it was the weakest, (and not just because they killed off Amber Benson's character, although I'm still mad about that.) However, even though season wasn't as strong as others, there were still several classic episodes like the musical, "Once More, with Feeling" and the back to reality-like "Normal Again." This season also featured my favorite supporting character Jonathan, played by Danny Strong. The DVD set also has the usual strong set of special features fans of Buffy have come to expect. If you own the previous Buffy DVDs then you should pick this one up as well.

Busta Rhymes' - Everything Remains Raw - Buy from Amazon
This DVD was actually released a few weeks ago, but we just received some additional information and assets from the studio including the trailer: T3 (Windows Media), T1/DSL (Real) or 56K (Real).

Cruel Intentions 3 - Buy from Amazon
The direct-to-video follow up of the direct-to-video sequel of a movie that wasn't impressive the first time around.

Dark Angel - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
They're re-releasing the first season of this great series, which was canceled before it's time and replaced with Firefly. And then Firefly was then canceled too soon and replace by yet another show than was canceled, and so on. The Fox network just can seen to keep a show alive on Friday nights.

Duel in the Sun - Buy from Amazon
Also known as the far more entertaining title, Lust in the Dust. Made in 1946, it cost $5 million to make and $2 million to advertise, which were both records at that time. It is now known more for its camp qualities than anything else.

Frasier Crane Double Shot - Buy from Amazon: Cheers - The Complete Third Season or Frasier - The Complete Third Season
Frasier Crane, played by Kelsey Grammer is one of the longest lasting characters in TV history spanning 20 seasons on two different shows, (with rumors of a possible third show coming soon.) If you own any of the previous DVD releases from these series you know what to expect; high quality episodes with plenty of extras to back them up. Cheers Season 3 is also available as part of a 12 disk 3 Season Pack.

The Leopard - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
The story of an aging Prince Salina, played by Burt Lancaster, during the Risorgimento movement. Seeing is wealth and influence weakening as a new democratic Italy is formed. The 3 DVD set contains both the American 2 hour 41 minute version and the original 3 hour 7 minute Italian version. There are also plenty of special features including an audio commentary and hour-long documentary and others.

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Buy from Amazon: Wide Screen or Pan & Scan
I know most people would just assume than this would be my DVD pick of the week, or if not this release the Lord of the Rings: Theatrical Trilogy - Buy from Amazon. However, I'm not planning on picking up this DVD, and I can't recommend it either because very shortly the extended version will be coming out. And I won't even be picking that one up, I'll be buying the gloriously overpriced edition with the figurine and all the extras in my ongoing attempt to prove I have more money than brain cells. As for this DVD, it's worth a rental for sure.

Northern Exposure - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
A quirky, character driven show about the live in a remote Alaskan town of Cicely. The first season the show was a mid-season replacement so there are only 8 episodes. But there are more than two hours worth of extras including deleted and extended scenes, outtakes and more. Even so, the DVD's a little expensive for so few episodes.

Sabrina the Animated Series - Witch in Training - Buy from Amazon
Why are they releasing this series but not season sets from the live action series?

Saving Private Ryan - D-Day 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition - Buy from Amazon
With the 60th anniversary of D-Day just around the corner this DVD release could be looked at as a crass attempt to cash in on the events. And while that's probably an unfair assessment of the situation, there is some merit in complaints over the number of versions of some movies being released on DVD. What the studio should have done was release the DVD next month and include footage of the 60th anniversary ceremonies, then these complaints would have lessened. Still, this is a very impressive movie that should be seen by anyone, but any version will do. Also worth noting, the film can be purchased as part of a World War II Collection that includes an exclusive DTS sound track.

Slaughterhouse Five - Buy from Amazon
This is a classic film adaptation of what many would call an unfilmable novel. However, the lack of special features is almost unforgivable. Hopefully a special edition will be produced before too long.

Underworld - Unrated Extended Cut - Buy from Amazon
With a sequel currently being filmed in British Columbia, now is almost the perfect time to release an extended version of the original movie. Personally I would have waited until the release date for the second film was closer to maximize the synergy. The Extended edition is also a step above the previous release with more than 20 minutes of new and revamped scenes, a new commentary track, several new featurettes and more. If you already own the previous release, there might be not enough new features to justify buy the new version, but it's close. And if you thought the first version was only worth a rental, the extras might make you change your mind.

War Movies - Miscellaneous
With the 60th Anniversary of D-Day just around the corner studios are cashing in with more than a dozen was movies being release, or in some cases re-released. (Note: New special editions have a full write-up elsewhere in this column.)

Weather Underground - Buy from Amazon
This Oscar nominated documentary talks to former members of the Weathermen who staged violent, but bloodless, attacks against the American government in the 70s. Not only did the film earn an Oscar nomination, it earned incredible reviews. The DVD has plenty of extras, especially for an independent documentary.

Welcome to Mooseport - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
A misstep in the career of Ray Romano, both at the box office and with the critics. The extras on the DVD are actually not bad, but not enough to make this movie worth a rental. Stick with Everyone Loves Raymond reruns or wait till September when the Complete First Season is released.

Wizards - Buy from Amazon
Love him or hate him, you have to admit Ralph Bakshi wasn't afraid to take chances. This film is experimental and revolutionary, although not as successful as his version of Lord of the Rings - Buy from Amazon, which was released the following year. I'm disappointed with the small number of special features, but at least the film's finally available on DVD.

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Filed under: Video Releases, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Underworld, Tears of the Sun, Welcome to Mooseport, Club Dread, Bubba Ho-Tep, Weather Underground