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DVD Releases for November 9, 2004

November 8th, 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 nominees for the DVD Pick of the Week, which we'll get to in a second. This was a strange week, there was only one first run release, a few limited releases, several nearly re-releases complete with ads for upcoming movies and more than a couple really old movies mostly sold in sets. Even the best of the bunch is going to have a really narrow appeal, so instead of naming a Pick of the Week, I'll name the best of each group. Best Limited Release: Ju-On: The Grudge - Buy from Amazon. Best Ad for A Sequel: Bridget Jones's Diary - Collector's Series - Buy from Amazon. Best Box Set Containing Movies Made Before I was Born: Fritz Lang Epic Collection - Buy from Amazon.

Barbershop - DVD Collector's Set - Buy from Amazon
This set not only contains both movies in the Barbershop series, but a preview for the Spin-Off Beauty Shop. Like most 2-Packs, this one is only really worth it if you don't already own either of the two movies on DVD, however, if you don't own either of the two movies on DVD you probably don't like the movies enough to buy them anyway.

Before Sunset - Buy from Amazon
Sequel to Before Sunrise, which came out nearly a decade before. This film suffers from the same strengths and weaknesses as the first film, as they are both, essentially, an hour and a half long conversation. The dialogue is intelligent and helps create characters that ring true. Like most limited releases, the DVD is almost devoid of special features with just a behind the scenes featurette on the disc.

Blade / Blade 2 - 2 Pack - Buy from Amazon
With Blade: Trinity just around the corner, what better time could there be to release the first two movies as a pack. As a bonus, you also get a DVD full of ads … I mean previews for the final chapter in the trilogy.

Bridget Jones's Diary - Collector's Series - Buy from Amazon
With the release of the sequel, Edge of Reason, just over a week away, what better time could there be to release a special edition of the first film complete with ads for the new film. Fortunately, there are enough new special features to not write this DVD off as a nothing more than a crass cash grab.

Britney Spears - Greatest Hits - My Prerogative - Buy from Amazon
I thought her 15 minutes were up already.

Bubblegum Crisis - Special Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
A name like that demands attention. I've seen many of the shows in this Anime series, which is reminiscent of Blade Runner in many respects. It focuses on four woman who held the local police battle Boomers, robots that can disguise themselves as humans. Excellent animation, combined with action heavy plots helped this series become a favorite among Anime fans.

The Clearing - Buy from Amazon
Despite an awesome cast, the film could only manage mixed reviews, partly due to the pacing and partly due to the emotional detachment of the characters. The DVD has more special features than most limited releases with an audio commentary track and deleted scenes, (with optional audio commentary.) But that is still less than most first run movies.

Crossroads Guitar Festival - Buy from Amazon
This 2-Disc set chronicles the 3 day concert that took place in Dallas from June 4-6 2004. The list of guitar legends who performed is amazing, Eric Clapton, BB King, Buddy Guy, Eric Johnson and more Extras are also impressive focusing on interviews with the musicians.

A Day Without a Mexican - Buy from Amazon
A one joke movie that should have been compelling social satire. The DVD has better than average special features for a limited release, but not enough to widen its appeal.

Eddie Izzard - Collection - Buy from Amazon: Definite Article, Glorious and Unrepeatable
Eddie Izzard is an award winning stand-up comedian, including two Emmys for his special, Dressed to Kill. Tomorrow three more of his routines are being releases separately, as well as part of a Package Deal, which is definitely the way to go. Extras on the discs include audio commentaries, a couple of documentaries and bleeped audio tracks, for those who want to listen to the jokes without the swear words. An interesting features, but not one I'd require.

Friends - The Complete Eighth Season - Buy from Amazon
I stopped watching this series long before the eighth season, but most people would agree that that show jumped the shark by this point. Fans of the series know what to expect in terms of special features and can even purchase the first eight seasons as a package deal.

Fritz Lang Epic Collection - Buy from Amazon
Fritz Lang is one of the greatest directors of all time, and this set contains some of his greatest work, (although it doesn't contain my personal favorite, M.) This set is the DVD debut for two of his films, Spies and Woman in the Moon as well as well as two previously released DVDs, Metropolis and Die Nibelungen. Watching Metropolis for the first time is an amazing experience because you can still see its effects on movies today.

Gone With the Wind - 4-Disc Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon
One of the greatest movies and the all time box office champ in terms of admissions. This 4-Disc set contains the movie, spread over 2 discs, and loads of special features on the other 2 discs. Special features like the full length behind the scenes documentary, several featurettes on several subjects, newsreel footage of the 1939 premiere and more. Compared to the previous release, this set is a better presentation of the movie, but the Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set may be the better collector's item.

Hillside Strangler - Buy from Amazon: R-Rated or Unrated
There have been plenty of movies based on real life serial killers. And most of them are better than this film.

Jesus of Montreal - Buy from Amazon
From the same director of the Oscar Winning The Barbarian Invasions, Jesus of Montreal is one of three of Denys Arcand's film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. This one deals with a man who tried to re-energize his town's local production of the Passion Play and turns it into something that is equally successful as it is controversial. The movie is very strong, but the DVD is devoid of any real special features.

Ju-On: The Grudge - Buy from Amazon
Fans of the remake will enjoy the Japanese original. This film got mediocre reviews, but has many fans among the horror elite in Hollywood. Included in that number is Same Raimi, who not only produced the remake, but does an audio commentary on this film. In addition to the audio commentary there are extended and deleted scenes, (including an alternate ending / epilogue with commentary from the director), behind the scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. An impressive list for a limited release. For a more in-depth look at the film, check out the full review.

The L Word - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
The show focuses on a group of lesbian friends living in Los Angeles and has been compared to Sex and the City. On the other hand, it has also been compared to 90210. A show like this has a lot of pitfalls it must avoid, it has to deal with lesbian issues without alienating straight viewers, avoid sounding preachy and at the opposite extreme, offensive. And for the most part the show it successful. Extras on the disck include extended and deleted scenes, outtakes and a puppet show done by the cast members.

Legally Blonde - Platinum Collection - Buy from Amazon
This set contains both movies and the DVDs are not different from previous releases, but there are physical extras like the notepad and pen and magnets. But it's actually cheaper to buy the first and second movies separately, so you would have to really want those magnets to make picking this set up worth it.

The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection - Buy from Amazon
All five films, (The Cocoanuts / Animal Crackers / Monkey Business / Horse Feathers / Duck Soup) with the original Marx Brothers line-up, (Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo.) This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Marx Brother's film career and considering the newest film in the set is more than 70 years old, there's plenty of special features on the bonus disc. This is a must have for fans of the comedy troupe, and an excellent introduction for those who have never seen their work.

Micky's Twice Upon a Christmas - Buy from Amazon
It's still too early for Christmas.

Monty Python's Flying Circus - Megaset - Bur from Amazon: With Life of Python or Monty Python Live
It's a bit of a slow week on the DVD releases front, so much so that I was tempted to name this re-release as the DVD pick of the week. Incidentally, the Life of Python Bundle is probably the better deal since there will be less repeats on that set.

Popular Mechanics for Kids - Buy from Amazon: Rip Roarin and Super Sea
Two more DVDs from the edutainment series come to DVD. Hopefully they will sell well enough for the studio to put out season sets.

Rick - Buy from Amazon
An adaptation of the opera Rigoletto that has some interesting elements but doesn't work as a whole. The DVD offers more special features than expected for a movie with practically no theatrical release but those that are not familiar with Rigoletto will probably not find the film entertaining.

Shania Twain - Up Close And Personal - Buy from Amazon
Shania Twain is the top selling female country artist of all time and is the only artist to have three consecutive 10x platinum certified albums. This DVD is from the NBC special that was aired last season and is very entertaining for fans of her music.

Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete Fifth Season - Buy from Amazon
Yet another entry in the Star Trek saga. The law of declining returns really hit this series hard and these DVDs, while well done, are for Star Trek completists only. Can also be purchased with the first four seasons as part of a package deal.

The Stepford Wives - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
A remake that differs a lot from the original, most notably in tone but also in terms of quality. The 1975 original is regarded as a B-Movie camp classic, white the update was attacked by critics for being a "Stepford-ized" version of the original. The special features are good, but not enough to push the film past the rental, if that far.

VeggieTales - The Complete Silly Song Collection - Buy from Amazon
The best part of the VeggieTales have always been the Silly Songs with Larry. "Oh, everybody's got a Water Buffalo, yours is fast and mine is slow." Unfortunately, I do believe there is some overlap on the DVDs as some of the songs are repeated.

W.C. Fields Comedy Collection - Buy from Amazon
W.C. Fields was a master of the one-liner, the snappy insult. This set brings together 5 of his classic films, (although not his five best films) in one set. The special features are almost non-existent with just a Biography, but that is to be expected since the films in this set are up to 70 years old. Hopefully the set will sell well enough that the studio will put out additional volumes of his work.

Zatoichi / Sonatine Double Bill - Buy from Amazon
The film earned amazing reviews when it was released, but couldn't find an audience outside fans of the genre. Too much blood and CGI will turn off most viewers, but fans of Kill Bill will probably get a kick out of the film. As a bonus, the Japanese Gangster flick, Sonatine, is also included in the set.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, The Stepford Wives, Blade: Trinity, Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason, Beauty Shop, Before Sunset, The Clearing, A Day Without a Mexican, Zatoichi, Ju-On: The Grudge, The Hillside Strangler