DVDs With Dean: January 2009

January is traditionally a dumping ground for both late summer hits and bombs. This month is no different, with each week being jam packed with releases, many of which are not worth your time. Choose wisely.

January 6th

PICK OF THE WEEK: Battlestar Galactica – Season 4.0

Battlestar will always be my pick of the week, whether the release release is a season box set, movie or a set of Pez dispensers. By the time I rewatch this season, I will be foaming at the mouth waiting for the last episodes to drop starting on the 16th. The only strike against this release is that includes the movie Razor, which I bought on DVD when it was first released as any wild fan would have. Now I feel dumb and will have two copies.

 

– NEW RELEASES –

Pineapple Express (Two-Disc Unrated Edition + Digital Copy): I regret not getting to this in the theater, so I will make amends by grabbing the two-disc edition this week. Even if I don’t like the movie, I am interested in the features that the Apatow clan have been dreaming up. Features on this release highlight their many improvised scenes of dialogue and table reads. The behind-the-scenes views are getting better and better, and I love seeing a comedic troupe hammer out the funny.

Righteous Kill: Watch Heat instead. If you get tired of Heat 40 years from now, then you can sample this to refresh your love of the Michael Mann classic.

Bangkok Dangerous (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy): I don’t know if I can get past Nicolas Cage’s hair in this. However, no matter how bad it looks I find myself enjoying most of Cage’s movies. I even own Next.

Babylon A.D. (Two-Disc Special Edition): I keep rooting for Vin Diesel’s return to glory and now I have to start thinking about whether or not I still want him back. I thought he might be the heir apparent to Action Deity Sylvester Stallone, but the last few Diesel’s films have beaten me about the face.

The Alphabet Killer: Straight to DVD and straight to my Netflix queue for this cheapish looking thriller starring Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes and Timothy Hutton. I don’t expect to be amazed, but I look forward to zipping through this on a late night. I can’t tell if I am a sucker for thrillers, Eliza Dushku or Cary Elwes. No… it’s Cary Elwes hands down.

Disaster Movie: I am filled with sadness each time one of these things is made.

The Wackness: An Olsen twin makes out with Sir Ben Kingsley? Ok, I’m intrigued, but not enough to buy it. Although, the film did make enough money to allow the inclusion of a few featurettes for all you indie fans. I just wish Sir Kingsley showed up on the commentary.

 

January 13th

width=PICK OF THE WEEK: Appaloosa

Ed Harris is a good director (Pollock) who may someday draw comparisons to Clint Eastwood. As he walks down a similar path, I must see his foray into the dramatic western. It also helps to have him joined on screen by Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger. This also gets the pick of the week because Ed Harris provides us with a commentary that will surely be enlightening and entertaining, not to mention four featurettes of typical ‘behind the scenes’ material.

 

– NEW RELEASES –

Mirrors: My first guess at viewing the trailer for this film was that it was cashing in on the latest craze of Asian-style horror flicks. Lo and behold, it is indeed a remake of a South Korean horror film. While Hollywood’s mining of genre of horror has been hit or miss, I think I’ll give Kiefer Sutherland a chance. I just hope they don’t screw up the ending, a trait that has been really aggravating in recent American adaptations of Asian horror films.

My Best Friend’s Girl: I enjoy Dane Cook’s comedy but he seems to struggle onscreen. My advice is that he sticks to well-crafted side characters instead of lead roles. If I got around to seeing this film, it would probably only be to see Alec Baldwin’s performance.

Swing Vote: This smells like a silly political commentary to feed on our rabid hunger for punditry around election time. I hope its lack of sales keep this from happening again. Kevin Costner should know better.

Family That Preys: Tyler Perry (Diary of a Mad Black Woman) releases another touching family drama, although this time he treads into bi-racial waters. The cast is pretty stacked with character actors (Kathy Bates, Alfre Woodward, Cole Hauser, Sanaa Lathan) and he definitely has proven that he knows how to create entertaining and impacting drama. I would recommend this film as at least a rental based on its pedigree.

– TV & RE ISSUES –

Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business Of America: This PBS miniseries will air on TV around the same time, but you can grab the DVD series with additional footage today. It traces American comedy back to its roots and features all the names you would expect, from Dick Van Dyke to George Carlin. It is also hosted by Billy Crystal and narrated by Amy Sedaris. I will probably watch it on TV but if I like the series it will likely wind up on my shelf.

Little Britain USA (HBO series): I haven’t seen any of it, but it has a cult following and those of you in the cult can buy it on the 13th.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Funny Face Centennial Collection: Audrey Hepburn gets some love as Paramount releases two of her classics yet again on DVD. The features are rather extensive and I would file this away in your mind under good gift ideas for Mother’s Day.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (Deluxe Edition): Valentines Day alert. Hugh Grant strikes again with a re-issue of his 1994 classic. It looks like they skimped on special features but you get a new cover and a bargain price.

Metallica Collectors Box Set: Metallica again delves into the documentary realm with this mixed bag of Metallica goodness. This ‘Collectors Box Set’ features live performances including the band’s set at Woodstock, an interview with the terribly unappreciated Jason Newstead (I’ll buy their stuff again if he comes back) on why he left the band, and some booklets featuring more interviews and pictures. This is a limited edition set, so grab one for any Metallica fan in case it goes out of print quickly.

Supercop: Supercop is an underrated Jackie Chan classic which will eventually find its way into my house so I can throw away my faded VHS copy.

 

January 20th

width=PICK OF THE WEEK: Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger (Three-Disc Collector’s Edition): I’m not a huge Chris Rock fan but the choices this week make this release of his HBO special look amazing. The three-disc edition features complete shows from London and New York as well as the HBO version which spliced them together with a third act from Africa. We also get more behind the scenes access and interviews with Rock himself.

 

 

– NEW RELEASES –

City of Ember: I was interested in seeing this film, but this DVD is the definition of bare bones. This thing comes with fewer features than most first generation DVD’s. You know, the ones that touted their special features as including interactive menus.

Max Payne: This has potential as a low-expectations action flick. It’s also nice to see Mila Kunis’ comeback continue after Forgetting Sarah Marshall. There is a two-disc edition available, but it is really just for a digital copy of the film, so only buy that if you intend on adding some Payne to your iPod.

Repo! The Genetic Opera: This freaky rock opera has cult classic written all over it. Even if it is terrible it will probably be ridiculously funny enough to be worth your money. I almost made this the pick of the week, but I thought that would be odd since I know virtually nothing about it. If you are already a fan, think about picking up the Blu-Ray release which has more features like a sing-along and some previously released webisodes.

Saw IV: No thanks. They lost me at Saw II.

The Express: Dennis Quaid as a football coach? Good enough for me. The bonus of getting Jim Brown to come back as a football coach and to take part in the documentary highlighting the historical significance of Ernie Davis makes it worth the purchase. I have also heard that the football scenes in this film are unequaled in realism and intensity, and this DVD includes an intricate feature on how they were shot.

– TV & RE ISSUES –

The Notebook (Limited Edition Gift Set): Another Valentine’s Day idea, this release of The Notebook has no new DVD features but comes in a fancy new case and includes a scrapbooking set where you can import your own pictures into a book inspired by the main characters from the Nicolas Sparks novel.

 

January 27th

width=PICK OF THE WEEK: RocknRolla (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy): Guy Ritchie apparently returns to his action roots and I will celebrate this return and subsequent escape from the Bastille of Madonna’s Kabbalah prison. The single-disc version of this release is bare-bones, so grab the deluxe set to get your commentary, digital copy and other special features.

 

 

 

– NEW RELEASES –

Lakeview Terrace: I’m scared of Samuel L. Jackson when he’s the good guy, so I can’t imagine how much he’ll freak me out when he’s plays bad cop sans good cop. This also features Cole Hauser, who I am hoping will gain some fame over the coming year.

The Rocker – Born To Rock Special Edition [Digital Copy]: I like many of the actors present in this movie but I have nothing but doubt about this film’s possibilities. However, if you are a fan than you’ll enjoy this jam-packed DVD, which includes gag reels, two separate commentaries and at least six featurettes.

College: This is a bare bones release of a movie that nobody saw. You do get a gag reel, so the movie was at least a little funny to the people who made it.

– TV & RE ISSUES –

Cheers – The Final Season: Even if you haven’t been keeping up with the release of previous seasons, be sure to catch this one which cap’s off the series and includes the amazing finale.

Mary Poppins (45th Anniversary Special Edition): I smell a 50th Anniversary coming only three years after the 47th Anniversary edition! Yes, they are releasing it again. If you still haven’t procured any of the previous releases you might as well grab this one. It’s got all the same features as the last release with a new slipcase.

Pink Panther Film Collection: This classic series gets a makeover with a decked-out collection. Or you can also grab the ones you want individually. I would lean toward the collection myself, which includes A Shot in the Dark, where much of the magic of Peter Sellers’ Clouseau character is unleashed.

The Secret Policeman’s Balls: This is a collection of British comedy gods raising money for charity during the late 1970’s and through the 80’s. The talent includes everyone from Monty Python and also features Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie and Jennifer Saunders. You also get a slew of musical guests including Sting, Phil Collins, Pete Townsend, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Jeff Beck. If you enjoy British humor I would consider this a must.