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DVD Releases for August 24, 2004

August 23rd, 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 co-winners of the DVD Pick of the Week, Futurama - Volume 4 - Buy from Amazon and The Girl Next Door - Buy from Amazon: Unrated Version.

10.5 - Buy from Amazon
A 10.5 magnitude earthquake hits the West Coast causing it to separate from the rest of North America. Fear that it would have sunk beneath the waves are unwarranted as a group of quick thinking scientists discover that breast implants can be used as floatation devices allowing the land mass to sail to warmer climates in the South Pacific where it forms a new nation built around a Hollywood theme park. Ok, that's not exactly what happens in the mini-series, but my version would have been better.

2LDK - Buy from Amazon
Lana and Nozomi are roommates who couldn't be more different, at least when it comes to their personalities. However, they are both actresses who are competing for the same coveted role. The night before the decision is made over who gets to role minor disagreements grows into a bitter argument, which in turn balloons into a fight to the death involving anything and everything they can get their hands on. Set in the one apartment and running a tight 70 minutes long, this is a movie with definite cult appeal. There are a couple of bonus features like a documentary and some footage from a press conference. On a side note, 2LDK is shorthand to 2 bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen.

The Apple - Buy from Amazon
This movie is a sci-fi / disco musical. And yes, it's as bad as it sounds. In fact, it is quite possibly the worst movie musical ever made. But it does have a certain camp appeal that some people find enjoyable.

The Apprentice - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV = The Tool of the Devil.

Benny Hill Complete and Unadulterated - The Naughty Early Years, Set One - 1969-1971 - Buy from Amazon
To call Benny Hill's comedy lowbrow is a bit of an understatement. But its vaudeville like nature and slapstick humor were amazingly popular at the time and are still popular today. This set contains 11 50-minute episodes, including 3 rare black and white ones. There also a documentary and a trivia quiz as special features.

Boy Meets World - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This is one of those shows that lasted a long time. Longer than most people would have expected. The set contains a bonus episode from season four as well as commentary on four episodes, including the bonus episodes. The commentary is done by Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, etc. and Matthew Lawrence, who wasn’t on the show till season five. No, I don't understand it either.

Dallas - The Complete First and Second Seasons - Buy from Amazon
The first season was just five episodes long, but the show quickly became an absolute juggernaut in the ratings. The studio wisely decided to package both seasons in one set. There are commentary tracks on a few early episodes plus the reunion special.

Democracy University Vol 2 - Buy from Amazon
The biggest effect the upcoming federal election could be on the popularity of political oriented documentaries with the mainstream audiences. This is just another example in a long list of non-fiction works that are benefiting from the political climate.

Dogville - Buy from Amazon
Dogville is an experimental film from director Lars von Trier, too experimental to find a mainstream audience. This was a film made for critics, but even then the reviews were somewhat mixed. A commentary track is the only special feature on the disc, which is doubly unfortunate given the nature of the film. It could have really benefited from a behind the scenes / making of featurette.

Ella Enchanted - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
Mixed reviews and a poor box office performance can lead to a movie being dumped on the home market with a featureless disc. Fortunately that is not the case here as there are plenty of special features including audio commentary, deleted and extended scenes and a couple of featurettes. On a side note, right now the Pan & Scan version is outselling the Widescreen version, which is a very rare occurrence.

Farscape - The Complete Season 3 - Buy from Amazon
About time, I don't know why the studio even bothers to put out multi-volume season sets. Arguably the best season in this series.

Futurama - Volume 4 - Buy from Amazon
During the its run, it seemed like this show was preempted more than it was on the air. That, and its rather tight focus on the sci-fi nerd demographic lead to its early demise. If you own other sets in the series you know what to expect in terms of quality and extras, and it will be no surprise to you that this set is my DVD pick of the week. (Or to be more exact, one of my picks.)

The Girl Next Door - Buy from Amazon: Unrated or R-Rated
Although the film earned better than average reviews, it was all but ignored at the box office. But those who did see it, seemed to really enjoy it because it's doing very well on the Amazon Sales Chart, (it is currently sitting at #14.) For a more detailed description of the movie check out my review.

Harsh Realm - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
I'm interested in this set not because I liked the series, but because it was created by the same man behind the X-Files, and if it sells well enough there's a better chance the X-Files spin-off, The Lone Gunman will finally be released on DVD.

Highwaymen - Buy from Amazon
This film traveled a rough road to get to the theatres. And when it finally made it there it hit a dead end just past the intersection of horrible reviews and poor marketing. And now the featureless disc is just another piece of road kill on the home market freeway.

I Vitelloni - Criterion Collection - Buy from Amazon
Nearly every film made about a group of men who refuse to give up their adolescent ways owns this film a debt of gratitude. Federico Fellini's second solo directorial feature is probably also his most universally loved. As for the special features, it's a Criterion Collection DVD, so you know they'll be first rate.

Jane Austen Collection - Buy from Amazon
Half a dozen adaptations of Jane Austen novels. There BBC produced mini-series are from the early 70s to the mid 80s. They can also be purchases separately, but getting the box set is a better deal.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo - On Tip Toe - Buy from Amazon
Most people only know Ladysmith Black Mambazo from their work on the Paul Simon album Graceland. As this Oscar nominated documentary shows, their origins are a lot older than that. An amazing look at an amazing band.

Laws of Attraction - Buy from Amazon
A flop both financially and critically, and now it is being released on a nearly special feature free disc.

The Munsters - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
This set contains all 38 episodes from the first season plus the 14 minutes pilot. But that's all there is concerning special features. That's too bad for fans of the show, but understandable for a show that nearly 40 years old.

The Night Stalker / The Night Strangler - Buy from Amazon
Two made for TV movies that spawned a short lived TV series. Fans of the series should pick this up even if you haven't seen the films for two reasons. Firstly, it would be great to see where the character came from. And secondly, if this set doesn't sell well enough, the series won't come out on DVD either.

The Paper - Buy from Amazon
This is a re-release of the featureless disc from 1997 and normally I wouldn't even bother mentioning it. However, I love this movie and I'm not alone in feeling that way.

Purple Rain - 20th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
I'm not sure how to feel about this release. On the one hand, this was an amazing piece of 80s pop culture with an incredible soundtrack. On the other hand, Prince's later antics taint his earlier work, at least for me. The anniversary edition has some great special features, but it's the music that really sells this set. Also coming out tomorrow is Under the Cherry Moon - Buy from Amazon and Graffiti Bridge - Buy from Amazon.

Raising Victor Vargas - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
A simple coming of age story that could have been easily forgotten had it fallen prey to the countless cliches that usually mar such movies. However, it instead earned nearly unanimous acclaim for its realistic feel. The DVD has plenty of special features, for a limited release, but the moniker "Special Edition" may be a bit misleading.

Rod Serling's Night Gallery - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Right now on Amazon, there seems to be quite a battle over the quality of the release. Have they or have they not been remastered? The answer appears to be no. However, the quality is better than expected given the age of the show. There are also no special features outside a few bonus episodes from later seasons, (which are of better quality.)

Shaolin Soccer - Buy from Amazon
The North American release of the film was not as badly butchered as originally feared, but close. This DVD, however, contains both versions and that's the only reason why it is worth a rental.

Tom Dowd and the Language of Music - Buy from Amazon
I know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "Wasn't this released in the theatres just over a week ago?" Yes it was, but now it's being released on DVD. Now you are probably thinking, "Why?" but I can't answer that. The film earned amazing reviews and the disc has some great special features.

The Worst Witch - Buy from Amazon
This is the movie from 1986 and not the TV series that came later, which can also be purchased on DVD - Set 1 and Set 2.

Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman - Buy from Amazon: Vol. 17 - Zatoichi Challenged, Vol. 18 - Zatoichi and the Fugitives and Vol. 19 - Samaritan Zatoichi
Three more movies from the long lasting Zatoichi Franchise are being released tomorrow.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Ella Enchanted, Laws of Attraction, The Girl Next Door, Raising Victor Vargas, Dogville, Zatoichi, Shaolin Soccer, Highwaymen