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DVD Releases for June 1, 2004

May 31st, 2004

Every week films get a second chance at success from the home market; or, in some cases, a first chance at success. This was a hugely busy week for DVD releases. Taking a look at the list of releases we find almost 700 DVDs, unfortunately, it's mostly a case of quantity not quality. There are a LOT of re-releases coming out this week, many related to upcoming films. However, there is not one release that shouts Pick of the Week, so I didn't choose one. But there are so many DVD being released that there should be at least one to fit everyone's tastes.

Ali - Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon
This isn't a bad movie, but it certainly didn't have what it takes to be an Oscar contender, which is most likely what the makers were aiming for. There is also not a whole lot new from the previous release, certainly not enough to make it worth buying if you already own that one. If you are really interested in the life of Ali, this film may be a better choice for you.

Bloodsport - Buy from Amazon
There's no way I'd call this film a great movie, or even a good film. But it does well at what it sets out to do, that is show some really cool fights between several different fighting styles. It's filled with two-dimensional characters, and those are the well written ones. Most of the supporting cast members are simply excuses to show off different martial arts moves. Still, it is fun.

The Cary Grant Signature Collection - Buy from Amazon
Cary Grant is arguably one of the greatest actors of all time and he has been in so many great movies, but the movies in this collection are not the best of his work. Not to say they are bad, just not the best of an incredible career. You can also buy the films individually, but you do save a bundle buying them together: The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, Destination Tokyo, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, My Favorite Wife and Night and Day.

Catch That Kid - Buy from Amazon
Really bad reviews and a poor performance at the box office may have been the last nail in the Kid Spies coffin. On the other hand, the DVD release does have better than average special features.

Cocoon - Buy from Amazon: Cocoon or Cocoon 2 - The Return
The first movie proved you didn't need nubile, young actors and actresses to have a hit. The sequel proved that no matter how good the first movie is, if the sequel is bad people won't got to see it. The DVD for the first movie also has an impressive amount of special features for such an old movie.

The Company - Buy from Amazon
This is one of those films that has a narrow audience. Because it's about the ballet, you probably won't be interested in the film if you are not somewhat interested in ballet. Of course, if you are intimately knowledgeably with ballet you might focus too much on the inconsistencies. Its reviews are strong, but not fantastically so and most critics agree that it’s the dancing that is by far the best feature. There are ample special features on this disc, for a limited release film, with a commentary track with Robert Altman and Neve Campbell and two featurettes.

Coupling - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
This is the hilarious British sitcom and not the awful American imitation. It is also arguably the best season so far, but the fourth season is still in progress, so it may be unfair to judge. If you own other seasons of Coupling you know what to expect from this one. And if you don't, you probably don't care.

Das Boot - The Original Uncut Version - Buy from Amazon
I can't believe I missed this DVD the first time around. I guess when there are 685 DVDs released in one day one or two will slip between the cracks. For the first time in the U.S. the complete, uncut, nearly 5 hour long version of arguably the greatest submarine movie of all time is available. There are not a whole lot of extras on the two discs, but the movie's nearly 5 hours long, so there's not a whole lot of extra room. There have been a few previous released of the film, last year's Superbit version being the most recent, but they are only 3 and a half hours long.

Déjà vu - Buy from Amazon
I swear this movie was already released.

The Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Just two good ole boys, never meaning no harm. I used to love this show when I was a kid. The key phrase being, "when I was a kid." Been too long since I've seen the show to know if it has stood up to the test of time or whether my fondness for the show is simple nostalgia. The show was a mid-season replacement the first year, so the disc only has 13 episodes, but there are a few special features as well: commentary on the first episode, anniversary special, featurette on the car stunts and a preview for the video game. Also worth noting, there is a movie adaptation of this series in the works.

Ellen DeGeneres - Here and Now - Buy from Amazon
I saw this HBO special on TV not too long ago, and it was absolute hilarious. The way Ellen DeGeneres absent-mindedly jumped from topic to topic in the first 10 minutes was great. She must have covered a dozen topics in that span alone. Just a quick note, despite what says, this is an unrated DVD, (not R-Rated as they indicate) and it is a clean act.

Eurotrip - Buy from Amazon: Unrated Widescreen, Unrated Pan & Scan or R-Rated Pan & Scan
A bad taste comedy that was just plain bad. The only draw for this DVD is the unrated footage, and even that's just a couple of minutes in the movie. There are a few other features, but nothing that makes the DVD worth recommending.

The Faculty - Buy from Amazon
One of many featureless re-releases coming out tomorrow. The only reason I mention this one is to give shout outs to Jon Stewart, Famke Janssen and director Robert Rodriguez. Not one of Rodriguez's best efforts, but it's still an above average flick on a way below average budget.

Flight of the Navigator - Buy from Amazon
You know, sometimes I think DVDs are dumped on the market without any features just to determine the level of interest for a future special edition. And I think this is one of those times. That's a shame, because this is a good sci-fi / family film from the mid-80s that should get more respect than that.

Flirting With Disaster - Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
This film earned superb reviews when it first came out. And while this edition does have much more special features than the previous release, it's still not enough to be called a Collector's Edition.

The Fugitive - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Yet another re-release on this week's list. At least this one is a really, really good movie.

House Party 4 - Down to the Last - Buy from Amazon
To quote Chris Rock from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, "This movie is gonna make House Party look like House Party 2." House Party not your style? How about House Arrest or perhaps House of Yes.

The Lindsay Lohan Connection - Various Movie
Note, this is not a Lindsay Lohan Collection, just a bunch of movies with a connection to Lindsay Lohan. With , Mean Girls a big hit, Lindsay Lohan is a hot commodity and there are several releases to cash in on that fact. The Freaky Friday 2-Pack is one of them - buy from Amazon; this contains the Lindsay Lohan remake as well as the 1977 original, which can also be bought seperately. Next on the list is the 1998 Disney remake of The Parent Trap, which also starred Lindsay Lohan - Buy from Amazon. And finally there's the Herbie the Love Bug Collection - Buy from Amazon. What does these films have to do with Lindsay Lohan? Her next project is the Disney remake Herbie: Fully Loaded. What's next for Lindsay Lohan? Perhaps a remake of Witch Mountain, or she'd make a good Eilonwy if they decided to make a live action adaptation of The Black Cauldron. Or perhaps she won't make anymore Disney remakes.

Masked and Anonymous - (Buy from Amazon)
Masked and Anonymous was savaged by critics as a self-indulgent vanity piece when it was first released. But writer and star Bob Dylan defended his work by saying, 'What I, mumble, mumble, [pause] the film [unintelligible] so, mumble [pause] mumble.'

Yes it is actually the same gag as before. But if the studios can issue endless re-releases, I should be able to reuse the odd joke.

The Mel Gibson Collection - Buy from Amazon
3 film from Mel Gibson's career, Conspiracy Theory, Leathal Weapon, and Maverick released on one box set. My favorite of the bunch is Maverick, which can also be purchased separately.

Miss Congeniality - Buy from Amazon
Despite what some people think, this was a funny movie that helped Sandra Bullock's career. It was the first movie produced under Sandra Bullock's production company, it made over $100 million on a production budget of just $45 million, it had incredible legs and spawned a sequel, (which is in the works.) And while it may have not won any major awards, it did get nominated for two Golden Globes, (one for Sandra Bullock herself.) Any way you look at it, this movie was a success.

Monster - Buy from Amazon
If this film has a fault, it's that it paints an overly sympathetic look at Aileen Wuornos, who admitted to killing seven men while working as a prostitute in Florida. Monster does have impressive reviews and the Oscar winning performance from its star, Charlize Theron. The DVD also has good special features, for an independent film. On a side note, the documentary, Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer - Buy from Amazon is also being released on Tuesday and the two movies are available in a package deal.

My Baby's Daddy - Buy from Amazon
This film was pushed back a year, and it's not hard to see why. Reveiled by critics, largely ignored by the public and now dumped on the home market without much fanfare.

Pitch Black - Buy from Amazon: Unrated Director's Cut Widescreen or Pan & Scan or Theatrical Edition Widescreen or Pan & Scan
This is one of those releases that probably wouldn't have happened if it were not for the upcoming sequel. While the reviews are just average, the special features are quite good. Even so, the DVD wasn't able to crack the top 100 on the Amazon Top 100 Sales Chart, and that doesn't bode well for The Chronicles of Riddick's chances at the box office.

Pleasantville - New Line Platinum Series - Buy from Amazon
Normally I don't make a big deal about films being released on DVD, but this isn't a normal week and this isn't a normal movie. Pleasentville is an excellent movie with an amazing script, touching acting and shows a cinematically and technically amazing change from black and white to color. There are quite a few special features, maybe not enough to be called a Platinum Series, but enough to make the film worth picking up.

The Principal - Buy from Amazon
An under-appreciated movie that is probably the best Tough Teacher / Dangerous School movie I've seen.

Punky Brewster - Season One - Buy from Amazon
Considered a guilty pleasure / nostalgic retreat by many people. The DVD release is welcome news to them, but there are not a whole lot of extras. Just some cast / crew interviews and a few episodes of the animated Saturday morning cartoon.

Six Degrees of Separation - Various Movies
No, this is the Will Smith drama, but a little game you can play with this week's releases.

Spider-Man - Buy from Amazon: 3-Disc Deluxe Edition or Superbit Edition
I already own the Collector's Box Set and I don’t know exactly what's new in this edition, and quite frankly, I don't care. Just a quick look at the features shows too much of it is advertising for the upcoming sequel. And I'm not about to pay money just to see some ads that will, most likely, appear on the Spider-Man 2 Limited Collector's Edition DVD box set.

Starship Troopers Spin-off Double Shot - Buy from Amazon: Starship Troopers 2 - Hero of the Federation - Special Edition and Roughnecks - The Starship Troopers Chronicles - Trackers
The original was largely a disappointment, both financially and critically. The sequel is earning even less praise than original, which is not surprising given its ultra-low budget. On the other hand, the CGI TV series is very well done, but I would wait till complete seasons are available, hopefully at a more reasonable price.

Sylvester Stallone New Collection - Buy from Amazon
Sylvester Stallone's career was filled with several low points, and this set contains three of them: Assassins, Cobra and The Specialist. Fortunately, one of his highpoints is also being released this week, Cop Land - Director's Cut (Collector's Edition) - Buy from Amazon. That filmed earned top notch reviews are should have sparked a revival in Sylvester Stallone's career. Things didn't quite work out that way.

Trainspotting - Director's Cut (Collector's Edition) - Buy from Amazon
A very well done, but in some places difficult to watch, movie about a group of friends who have a heroin addiction in common. The new edition also has plenty of features, which makes up for the featureless first release.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Spider-Man 2, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Herbie: Fully Loaded, The Chronicles of Riddick, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, Monster, Eurotrip, My Baby's Daddy, Catch That Kid, The Company, Masked and Anonymous, Muhammad Ali: The Greatest, Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer