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DVD Releases for August 17, 2004

August 16th, 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 the winner of the DVD Pick of the Week, Goodfellas - Two-Disc Special Edition - Buy from Amazon or better yet, as part of the Martin Scorsese Collection - Buy from Amazon.

Da Ali G Show - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Ali G is one of Sacha Baron Cohen characters he created for this show. Ali G would describe himself as a Hip Hop Journalist, but he's just a wannabe. The humor in this show comes from him asking stupid question while legitimate guests try to give serious answers.

Ayn Rand:Sense of Life - Buy from Amazon
A documentary on the life of one of the most influential and controversial philosophers of the last century. Could have used a more balanced and objective approach.

Babylon 5 - The Movie Collection - Buy from Amazon
A must have for fans of the show, many of which already own the rest of the DVDs from the franchise. Each movie has an introduction by creator J. Michael Straczynski and audio commentary by him and either the director and / or cast members.

Bon Voyage - Buy from Amazon
The film did quite well for a limited release earning more than $2 million. A light farce set in Occupied France, the film earned fair reviews, (at least for a limited releases, if it was a wide release its reviews would be considered much stronger.) And like most limited releases, there are very little in the way of extras.

Candyman - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
A cult classic from the early 90s that is based on a story by Clive Barker, one of the masters of horror. There are a few special features, but not enough to earn the special edition moniker.

Connie & Carla - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
Connie & Carla was Nia Vardalos's follow-up to the smash hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding and was doomed from the start due to the inevitable comparisons. The film wasn't particularly bad, but it wasn't particularly good either. And like the reviews, the special features are solidly average. Audio commentary, extended and deleted scenes, outtakes and a making of feature. Pretty standard special features.

Dinner for Five - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon
The concept of this film is simple, Jon Favreau and four guests sit down to a dinner and talk. This is a fascinating concept, but like any talk show, if you are not interested in the guests you won't be interested the show.

Duel - Buy from Amazon
One of Steven Spielberg earlier work. It tells the heartwarming story of a man who is being chased by a semi for reasons that are never really explained. The fact that this simple TV movie is still remembered more than 30 years later is testament to Spielberg's directing talents. While there is no director's commentary, (no shock there) there is a very extensive interview with Steven Spielberg on the disc. As well as a couple of other featurettes. Also being released tomorrow is The Sugarland Express - Buy from Amazon, Spielberg's first theatrical release.

Exorcist - 3-Pack - Buy from Amazon
What's the most important part of releasing a prequel? You know the rest. Current sales rank is not even in the top 2000, which is a really bad sign for Friday's release.

Godsend - Buy from Amazon
A critical and financial misfire. Probably best forgotten.

Goodfellas - Two-Disc Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
Looking at our genre page you'll notice that Mafia movies are popular, both in terms of the number of movies made and their total gross. And among all those Mafia movies Goodfellas stands out as my personal favorite, and I'm not alone in calling it a classic. Special features include scene specific commentary, 'Cop and Crock' commentary that has the real life Henry Hill and Edward McDonald, and nearly an hour's worth of featurettes on the second disc.

The Guyver - Extended Edition - Buy from Amazon
This is a bad movie. How bad? It has Mark Hamill in it, and let's face facts, his non-Star Wars career has been less than impressive, (at least the live-action stuff, his voice over work is amazing.) The sequel, which is also being released tomorrow, is better than the first, but not by enough to make it worth buying.

Happy Days - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
The first season of this classic TV series is released on a special feature free set. And that's a real shame. Hopefully the set will sell well enough that the rest of the seasons will be released with at least some special features. Also being released on a featureless set is the Happy Days spin-off, Laverne & Shirley - Season One - Buy from Amazon.

Here's Lucy - Best Loved Episodes - Buy from Amazon
24 selected episodes from Lucille Ball fourth TV series. Episodes appear to have been chosen based more on guest shots that overall quality. I expect this set is just to test the waters to see if full season sets would be viable or not.

H.P. Lovecraft's The Unnamable II - Buy from Amazon
H.P. Lovecraft is one of my favorite horror authors, but his success rate for movie adaptations is below that of Stephen King. This movie is not the worst, but still not good.

Kindred the Embraced - The Complete Vampire Collection - Buy from Amazon
This series had a lot of potential as it was based on arguably the best Vampire RPGs around. However, as with most Aaron Spelling productions, it was 50% campy soap opera. After Fox cancelled the show, there was talk of reviving it on a cable channel, but the death of the star ended that. Note: This is a re-release from 2000.

Lateline - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
This show did to late night news programs what Sports Night did to sports shows. The set has all 19 episodes, including the seven that were never aired. The number of celebrities appearing as themselves in guest-shots was the highlight of the series.

The Mangler - Buy from Amazon
Not the worst Stephen King adaptation ever, but it's close.

Martin Scorsese Collection - Buy from Amazon
Five movies from directed by Martin Scorsese for Warner Bros.. The set includes Goodfellas, which is so good I mentioned it separately above, as well as After Hours, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Mean Streets and Who's That Knocking At My Door? Three of these movies have never been release on DVD and the other two are special editions. Can also be purchased separately, but why bother as you save a bundle with the box set.

Mayor of Sunset Strip - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about the life Rodney Bingenheimer, one of the most influential D.J.s in the world. Very good reviews combined impressive special features for a limited release make this a must have for anyone interested in the history of rock music.

Millenium Mambo - Buy from Amazon
The film earned excellent reviews but was all but ignored by moviegoers. That's too bad, as it deserved a wider audience.

New York Minute - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
This film broke two box office records when it came out: Smallest opening for a film opening in more than 3000 theatres, (previously held by The Wild Thornberrys) and lowest total box office for a film opening in more than 3000 theatres, (previously held by Battlefield Earth.) Reviews were nearly unanimously negative and there's not enough special feature to make renting the DVD worth it. Can also be purchased with the direct-to-video movie When in Rome as part of a 2 Pack.

The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour - Buy from Amazon
You have got to be kidding me.

Saved by the Bell, The College Years - Season 1 - Buy from Amazon

Seeing Other People - Buy from Amazon
This movie has a great cast, including a personal favorite of mine, Lauren Graham. But as you can tell by the reviews, something went wrong. On the bright site, the extras are good for a limited release.

Taking Lives - Unrated Director's Cut - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
Nothing kills a suspense thriller like predictability, and that's exactly what killed this one. The special features on the disc are good, but not good enough to make up for the dubious quality of the film itself.

The Three Musketeers - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Gift Set
Direct-to-Video Disney adaptation of the classic tale from Alexandre Dumas. The movie itself is barely more than an hour long, but there are more than enough extras to make up for the short running time. Besides, if you have kids in the target age ranges, you'll be buying it anyway.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Exorcist: The Beginning, Taking Lives, Godsend, New York Minute, Connie & Carla, Bon Voyage, Mayor of Sunset Strip, Seeing Other People, Millenium Mambo