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DVD Releases for December 14, 2004

December 13th, 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 winners of the DVD Pick of the Week, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King - Platinum Series Special Extended Edition and Star Trek: The Original Series - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon.

3 - The Dale Earnhardt Story - Buy from Amazon
Barry Pepper stars in this made for TV movie about the life of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. The 2-disc set also contains plenty of special features include a making of featurette, interviews, some footage of NASCAR races and more.

Clementine - Special Edition - Buy from Amazon
First of all, I don't think there's a Steven Seagal film out there that deserves a special edition release. And secondly, with just a making of featurette and some interviews, this DVD doesn't deserve to be called a special edition.

Collateral - Buy from Amazon
Watching this film you'd never think that Max, played by Jamie Foxx was just a supporting character, but that's what the studio is calling it. This has more to do with getting a certain other actor an Oscar than it does with anything else, which is a shame since Jamie Foxx had the better performance. The film earned very strong reviews and the 2-disc set contains plenty of special features. But for me the politics of Award Season overshadow those pluses.

The Door in the Floor - Buy from Amazon
More than a few novels by John Irving have been adapted into movies, but this is not one of the better ones. It may redeem itself with Oscar glory, specifically for Jeff Bridges, but that seems like a long shot right now. The DVD release is well done for a limited release with an audio commentary track, making of featurette, featurette on John Irving and an episode of Anatomy of a Scene that featured the film.

Everybody Loves Raymond - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
The First Season came out just three months ago, but with the series most likely coming to an end this season, it is smart to get these season sets out as fast as possible before the show fades from people's minds. Like that release, this one is light on special features with just 2 audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes and outtakes. Can also be purchased with the first season as part of a Package Deal.

Faith Rewarded: The Historic Season of the 2004 Boston Red Sox - Buy from Amazon
With all the attempts to cash in one their World Series success, it's almost like the Red Sox know it will be another 86 years before they can celebrate again.

Family Guy - The Freakin' Sweet Collection - Buy from Amazon
At first glance this seems like a cash grab and it's hard to argue with that opinion since every episode has already been released on DVD. However, there are some new features like audio commentary tracks on each of the 5 episodes, interviews with creator Seth MacFarlane and a look at his upcoming new show, American Dad. But most importantly, for the first time on DVD you can get the complete and uncensored version of Road to Rhode Island. Even so, this is mostly for hardcore fans of the show only. And there are plenty of those as the first two volumes are still high on the Amazon Sales Chart.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids - Buy from Amazon: Best Of or The Ultimate Collection
With the Live Action Film adaptation just around the corner, there's no better time to release the cartoons on DVD. The Best Of release features the five highest rated episodes while The Ultimate Collection is a 4-disc set with two dozen of the greatest episodes. I assume that if the movie does well then full season sets won't be far behind, and they will mostly likely be worth waiting for.

Godzilla - Various Releases - Buy from Amazon: Tokyo S.O.S., Son of Godzilla or Giftset
Three more releases from this long lasting movie franchise are being released tomorrow.

I, Robot - Buy from Amazon - Widescreen or Pan & Scan
The film was a mid-summer hit, and while its reviews were not poor, the film was a disappointment for those looking for a more faithful adaptation of the book. Also disappointing are the special features; for a first run release having just the audio commentary track and making of featurette is not acceptable.

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King - Platinum Series Special Extended Edition - Buy from Amazon: 4-Disc Set, 12-Disc Movie Trilogy or Gift Set
The final chapter of arguably the greatest movie trilogy of all time. I can't image anyone buying this DVD without already owning the first two films, so there's little reason to go in-depth on the special features, which are just as awesome as the previous releases. I will say that the 4-Disc Set is the best deal here as it contains almost all of the features at half the price. I, on the other hand, will be picking up the gloriously overpriced Gift Set as part of my ongoing quest to prove I have more money than brain cells.

Mary Poppins - 40th Anniversary Edition - Buy from Amazon
An absolute classic celebrates its 40th anniversary in style. This 2-disc set contains audio commentary track, trivia track, a nearly hour long making of documentary, two featurettes on the music, animated short, a look at the movie's premiere and more. This is the role that won Julie Andrews her Oscar, but also being released tomorrow is an even earlier performance, the 1957 version of Cinderella.

Meet the Parents - Bonus Edition - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
With the sequel set to be released in just over one week, there's no better time to release a not-so-special edition of the first film. The special features on the disc are merely on par with most first run releases, which makes this look like a simple cash grab. Can also be purchased with Along Came Polly, Mystery Men and Reality Bites as part of a package deal and it is really a better deal.

Newlyweds - Nick & Jessica - The First Season - Buy from Amazon
Reality TV meets Dumb and Dumber. Next!

The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
This sequel suffered from a big drop-off in terms of reviews when compared to the original, but earned nearly the same at the box office. Special features are pretty standard, audio commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes and more, but nothing special enough to widen the appeal past its target audience.

Quantum Leap - The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
The second season of this popular series is release with 22 episodes crammed on 3 featureless discs. And with a new Quantum Leap series in the works, you would think the studios would help push this one a little more.

Reba - The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
The highest rated sitcom on the WB network. The show is only in its fourth season, so the studio is releasing the DVD before its syndicated, which is a risk. However, the with popularity of TV on DVD market it may be the right decision to make. The DVD release is a cut above most with two audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes, and three featurettes.

The Rocky Anthology - Buy from Amazon
Like the last time a Sylvester Stallone box set released, this one starts off very well with Rocky being one of the best boxing movies of all time. Unfortunately, the franchise lasted through at least two more films than it should have and became the poster-boy for the unwanted sequel.

Silver Streak - Buy from Amazon
Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor made several movies together, none better than this one. Unfortunately, Richard Pryor is only in the last half of the movie, which is rather mediocre till he shows up, but when he does it is golden.

Star Trek: The Original Series - The Complete Third Season - Buy from Amazon
The third, and arguably the weakest of the classic series. The first season had the best writing with plenty of hard science fiction story lines, the second seasonbest acting as the actors really grew into their roles. But the third season saw the continuing decline of the writing and this affected the acting as well. At this rate, had the series made it all the way through its five year mission, the final two seasons would have been so bad that I doubt the show would be as fondly remembered as it is now. Like the previous releases, this one has plenty of special features including spotlights on Walter Koenig, George Takei and James Doohan. All three seasons can be purchased as part of a package deal.

Top Gun - Collector's Edition - Buy from Amazon: Widescreen or Pan & Scan
This film is one of the highest grossing films of its day and is looked upon fondly by people who haven't seen it in a while. And while the dogfights are well done, practically everything else about this film is a miss and has not stood the test of time. Maybe I've seen Hot Shots! too many times, but I can't take this film seriously anymore. Special features on the 2-disc set center around a six-part making of documentary. Can also be purchased with Days of Thunder and Mission Impossible as part of the Tom Cruise Action Pack.

We Don't Live Here Anymore - Buy from Amazon
A film seemingly made to impress critics, it started out well in limited releases but couldn't maintain it's momentum through its expansion. Like many limited releases, the DVD is devoid of any real special features.

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Filed under: Video Releases, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, I, Robot, Collateral, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, The Door in the Floor, We Don't Live Here Anymore