Warner Home Video has a new trick: making "Harry Potter" disappear from DVD and Blu-ray in 2012
That doesn't mean they will all suddenly disappear -- now that would be a magic trick worthy of special credit at Hogwarts -- but that all discs will be limited to stock on hand on store shelves and stockrooms. When those are sold, there will be no more.
But don't panic. This is clearly timed to make the most of the holiday season and encourage anyone thinking of picking up a "Harry Potter" movie for a gift or complete their DVD library to take the lunge now.
And don't expect this to last forever. Disney has for decades taken their animated classics out of circulation and then, after a break of a few years, re-released them in theaters and on home video in new editions for a new generation.
And according to the press release, the film will still be available through video on demand and digital delivery.
Here's the full text of the press release, after the jump:
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist releases of the week.
"Captain America: The First Avenger" (Paramount) is, as the title hints, something of a prologue to the upcoming superhero extravaganza "The Avenger," but it's also an old-fashioned piece of two-fisted comic-book heroism with a patina of nostalgia and World War II patriotism. And the film owes all due credit to Chris Evans, who brings a convincing mix of pluck, modesty and duty to the role, embodying an icon without turning it into parody. While not the best superhero movie in the recent cycle of big-screen comic books, it's far from the worst and at times endearing in its sense of honor, decency and responsibility. Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D. Videodrone's review is here.
"Winnie the Pooh" (Disney) is the new animated feature starring the silly old bear of A.A. Milne's children's stories, and Disney's first hand-drawn animated feature in some time.
The lead-up to Halloween also brings a few choice titles out for the season, the most choice being "Attack the Block" (Sony), a British invasion-in-the-hood thriller with both a palpable social subtext and a great B-movie energy. And from Finland comes the twisted Santa Claus tale "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" (Oscilloscope). Videodrone reviews them here.
Kevin Spacey is "Father of Invention" (Anchor Bay), an inventor and TV pitchman on hard times, Jenna Fischer needs "A Little Help" (Image) in this comedy and "The People Vs. George Lucas" (Lionsgate) explores the complicated relationship between "Star Wars" fans and the film's creator.
From China comes "City of Life and Death" (Kino Lorber), an epic recreation of the Rape of Nanking in 1937, plus the costume action thriller "Shaolin" (Well Go) with Andy Lau, both on DVD and Blu-ray. "Fire of Conscience" (Vivendi) is a contemporary Hong Kong crime thriller.
TV on DVD:
"Barney Miller: The Complete Series" (Shout! Factory) collects all eight seasons of the iconic seventies sitcom -- 168 episodes altogether -- plus complete half-season of the spin-off "Fish" in a hefty 25-disc box set. Set entirely in the precinct house, it's still considered the most realistic portrayal of cops on television by real-life law officers. The set is also packed with supplements: commentary tracks, cast interviews and the original pilot. Videodrone's review is here.
The Emmy-winning 1977 holiday drama "The Gathering" (Warner) stars Edward Asner and Maureen Stapleton.
With the new feature film set for release, the original 1980 British TV mini-series "Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy" (Acorn), starring Sir Alec Guinness is George Smiley, is back out on DVD. More from Videodrone here. Also from Britain comes "Luther 2" (BBC), the second round of the dark Idris Elba crime series, plus "Justice" (BFS) with Robert Pugh and "A Passionate Woman" (BFS), a romantic drama with Billie Piper.
"Nazi Hunters" (MVD) is an award-winning Canadian nonfiction series about the missions to hunt down some of the most wanted men in the 20th Century. Also new: "Thunder Cats: Season One, Book One" (Warner) with the first episodes of the new incarnation of the animated series, and "Robot Chicken: Season 5" (Warner) from the Cartoon Network.
Cool, Classic and Cult:
"Are we not men?" That's the question at the heart of "Island of Lost Souls" (Criterion), the first adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel starring Charles Laughton as a heartless scientist who plays God in his jungle laboratory. Though not as famous as the original "Frankenstein" and "Dracula," this early-thirties horror is one of the greats and makes its long-awaited debut on DVD and Blu-ray. Just in time for Halloween. Videodrone's review is here.
And speaking of horror, two Lucio Fulci films arrive this week in new editions for DVD and Blu-ray: "Zombie: 2-Disc Ultimate Edition" (Blue Underground) and "House By the Cemetery" (Blue Underground) both add new supplements to newly-remastered editions of the grotesque Italian horrors. More from Videodrone here.
"Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection" (Vivendi) is an impressive ten-disc set featuring newly-remastered editions of ten features and dozens of shorts from their Hal Roach period, from their first sound short to "A Chump at Oxford" and "Saps at Sea" in 1940. A whole disc of supplements plus alternate versions of some shorts and feature films. "Nine Nation Animation" (New Yorker) showcases new animated shorts from around the world.
"Jurassic Park: Ultimate Trilogy" (Universal) brings all three of Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur adventures to Blu-ray in box set filled with old and new supplements. And, of course, lots of prehistoric predators. Videodrone's review is here.
"Dazed and Confused" (Criterion), the "American Graffiti" for the other end of the baby boom generation, gets its Criterion Blu-ray release mere months after its Universal Blu-ray release. Needless to say, the supplements are impressive. Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" (Lionsgate) debuts on Blu with new supplements and "Tom and Jerry: Golden Collection, Volume One" (Warner) presents 37 classic cartoons remastered for DVD and Blu-ray.
The complete calendar of releases this week is after the jump:
|Tags:||Week in review|
CinemaScope, SuperScope and Dana Andrews in the fifties
Fritz Lang arrived in Hollywood as an artist in exile and, as the creator of some of Germany's most famous and most successful films, accorded all due respect. Unlike a lot of artist refugees from Hitler's Germany, he was offered prestige assignments, "important" subjects and major stars. At least at first. Without major hits or awards to his credit, and with a reputation for autocratic methods (there's nothing a studio hates more than a "difficult" director), he very slowly slipped down the ladder into smaller budgets and increasingly turned to independent productions.
Fritz Lang's final three American productions were released through the Warner Archive Collection this year. And while they never reach the heights of his greatest American films -- "You Only Live Once" (1937), "Man Hunt" (1941), "Scarlet Street" (1945), "The Big Heat" (1953) -- they have their pleasures and rewards.
"Moonfleet" (1955) was Lang's last film for one of the Hollywood majors. The budget-minded MGM production set in 18th century England, it's like "Great Expectations" by way of a gothic film noir, in this case a world of smugglers, knaves and decadent, corrupt gentry on the rocky, foggy British coast. Jon Whitely is the film's answer to Pip, a plucky young orphan sent to live with the dark criminal aristocrat Jeremy Fox (Stewart Granger), a brigand with money and status torn between his mercenary instincts and his growing sense of responsibility for the innocent and unfailingly loyal boy, the son of the woman he loved and in many ways the symbol of the road not taken.
Lang shot in CinemaScope entirely in the studio and still creates a claustrophobic world of craggy moors and bleak architecture. Even the stony church is a bleak sanctuary where cold statues seem to judge, if not outright threaten, the parishioners. Visually it anticipates the look of the Hammer Gothic horrors and Corman's Poe films, with its studio moors and gloomy sets of stone gray and rough wood and costumes of royal purple and soldier crimson, all shrouded in fog and mist like a perpetual purgatory. Granger delivers a perfectly sardonic and arrogant performance while George Sanders purrs pure aristocratic decadence and moral bankruptcy, relishing his easy corruption with wry looks and cheerfully greedy behavior. "You're cheating," accuses one man at a card game. He fixes a weary smirk and replies: "Even if I were, I'd consider it grossly impolite to say so in my own house." Sure, there's a redemption in the offing, but the brigands are a lot more fun.
After this low-end studio assignment, Lang ended his Hollywood career at RKO, once a major studio slowly withering under the capricious command of Howard Hughes, working with falling stars and budget-starved productions in black and white that he did his best to turn into an asset.
"While the City Sleeps" (1956) is less an all-star cast than a veteran line-up of studio pros: Dana Andrews as the ostensible lead, a TV newscaster in a multi-media news company that encompasses a metropolitan daily paper and a wire service, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Howard Duff, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price and Ida Lupino as the newspaper columnist whose nose for office politics is her greatest survival skill. Ostensibly a thriller about a serial killer (John Drew Barrymore) and the media circus around the investigation, there isn't much tension or crime movie thriller energy, but it does offer a thoroughly corrupt portrait of life: while a psychotic leatherboy kills girls and blames his mom, the staff of a new organization plays politics to maneuver themselves into a promotion when the playboy son (Vincent Price) of the deceased owner takes over and essentially pits his employees against one another to vie from promotion.
Your guide to our coverage of the new DVD/Blu-ray releases
Here's what's new on DVD and Blu-ray this week as featured on Videodrone
Arrrgh! Johnny Depp and the 'Pirates' are Back 'On Stranger Tides'!
TV on DVD:
'V' Leaves the Skies. Or at Least the Network Schedule
TV on DVD Channel Guide: Margaret Thatcher and J.K. Rowling via TV Movies
The Cool and the Collectible:
Cult Watch: 'Batman: Year One'
'Willy Wonka' and the Ultimate Collector's Edition – with an exclusive clip
Coming up next week:
"Captain America: The First Avenger" (Paramount)
"Winnie the Pooh" (Disney)
"Attack the Block" (Sony)
"Father of Invention" (Anchor Bay)
"The People Vs. George Lucas" (Lionsgate)
"City of Life and Death" (Kino Lorber)
"Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" (Oscilloscope)
"Identification of a Woman" (Criterion)
"Island of Lost Souls" (Criterion)
"Laurel and Hardy: The Essential Collection" (Vivendi)
"Zombie: 2-Disc Ultimate Edition" (Blue Underground)
"Barney Miller: The Complete Series" (Shout! Factory)
"Jurassic Park: Ultimate Trilogy" (Blu-ray) (Universal)
"Dazed and Confused" (Blu-ray) (Criterion)
"The Conversation" (Blu-ray) (Lionsgate)
|Tags:||Week in review|
Plus Felini's 'I Clowns' and Martin Scorsese's 'Cape Fear' remake
"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray+DVD Ultimate Collector's Edition" (Warner) is quite the deluxe edition of the fantasy classic. Videodrone's review is here.
"The Crow" (Lionsgate), a perennial cult favorite among the dark comic-book movies, finally arrives on Blu-ray after (and only months after the inferior sequel was released). Brandon Lee (who died in a production accident while making the film) makes a simmering hellion of a hero, a lean, ruthless dark angel with furious moves and an intensity that strikes terror in his victims before he kills them in often grotesque ways, his form of poetic justice. It's essentially a sadistic revenge fantasy, a humorless Dr. Phibes with a demonic twist set in some vague Goth-noir city of perpetual night, buy style monkey Alex Proyas sets a striking look and tone: unreal nightmare fantasy with a flamboyant style, exaggerated art direction, and a thundering pace. A real live action comic book, right down to its pulp characters. The disc features a new commentary track by director Alex Proyas plus supplements from previous editions: a behind-the-scenes featurette, a profile of “The Crow” comic strip creator James O’Barr, extended scenes and deleted footage among the supplements, plus a bonus digital copy.
"The Guns of Navarone" (Sony) helped kick off the fashion for muscular World War II mission thrillers. Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and David Niven are part of the covert Allied saboteurs charged with infiltrating a Nazi stronghold on a rocky Greek island and destroying the heavily-protected guns hidden in the craggy caves. J. Lee Thompson’s WWII high tension adventure, adapted from the Alistair MacLean novel by blacklisted writer Carl Foreman, is a cracking good cliffhanger of grit and grease, loyalty and suspicion, and heroism under fire. Features separate commentary tracks by director J. Lee Thompson and film historian Stephen J. Rubin and 11 featurettes (the disc says three documentaries and eight featurettes, but as the longest is under 30 minutes I don't think they qualify as features, only featurettes), including "Ironic Epic of Heroism" hosted by Sir Christopher Frayling and the 1999 "Memories of Navarone" with J. Lee Thompson and stars Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and James Darren. Notes on the restoration from archivist Robert Harris here.
Raro Video released Federico Fellini's "I Clowns" on DVD earlier this year. It now makes the Blu-ray debut for both the film and the company. Originally made for Italian television, the production is a first-person exploration/appreciation of the art and culture of clowns made with the usual indulgence of its director. Reviewing the film in 1971, Roger Ebert wrote of this mix of fact and fancy: "This is artful and sometimes very amusing, but it doesn't work as fiction because Fellini is tied to facts, and it doesn't work as documentary because Fellini will not (cannot?) abandon his gift of giving the raw material an artistic shape." Like the DVD, the Blu-ray features Fellini's 1953 short "La Agenzia Matrimoniale" (made for the anthology film "Love in the City"/"L'amore in citta") and Adriano Arpa’s 45-minute visual essay "Fellini’s Circus." The disc is in a paperboard holder in a slipsleeve and accompanied by a handsome 50-page booklet. Gary Tooze reports that it is a marked improvement over the flawed DVD release, with none of the edge-enhancement issues that plagued the earlier release, at his essential site DVD Beaver.
The Blu-ray debut of "Cape Fear (1991)" (Universal) arrives for the 20th anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s remake of the 1962 thriller. Nick Nolte stars as the lawyer that sadistic ex-con Robert DeNiro hunts along with the counsellor’s wife (Jessica Lange) and daughter (Juliette Lewis) in his violent campaign of revenge. It’s Scorsese’s ugliest film in human terms, with a compromised lawyer who reneges on his duty to a vicious client to put him behind bars, his splintered family living a life of lies and mistrust, and an inhuman killer preaching revenge like a righteous angel of vengeance. Illeana Douglas and Joe Don Baker co-star, and original stars Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, and Martin Balsam all make cameos. Includes all the supplements of the previous DVD special edition: the 80-minute documentary "The Making of Cape Fear," two short behind-the-scenes segments, nine minutes of deleted scenes (including one very nice moment between mother and daughter), a featurette about the Saul and Elaine Bass opening credits sequence, a montage of matte effects shots and more, plus the usual BD-Live supplements.
Also new on Blu-ray: "Darkness Falls" (Image), Jonathan Liebesman’s 2003 supernatural horror movie about a demonic spirit that returns to a sleepy seaside town (in the guise of the famous midnight spirit who trades loose teeth for hard cash) to take revenge on a lynching from 150 years ago. No supplements.
Plus the 'Trancers' Chronicles, classic Hong Kong action and more Kevin Smith
"Batman: Year One" (Warner), based on the Frank Miller-scripted graphic novel about the early years of Batman and Jim Gordon (before he was Commissioner), is to date the best of the DC Universe Original Animated features. Videodrone's review is here. "Aki Kaurismäki’s Leningrad Cowboys: Eclipse Series 29" (Criterion) chronicles the amazing collaboration between Finland's eccentric rockers and legendary minimalist absurdist director. Videodrone's review is here.
Kaneto Shindo's "Kuroneko" (Criterion) is both an eerie ghost story and a ferocious horror tale of righteous revenge. Set in feudal Japan, in a bamboo forest perpetually shrouded in fog and shadow as ethereal as the ghosts that seem to float through it, the film chronicles the spirits of two women, raped and murdered by scruffy samurai who are more like feral bandits, driven to revenge themselves on all samurai, which they lure to their ghost house, itself a spirit that moves through the forest like a supernatural creature. It's one of the greatest of Japanese ghost stories, a horror film of elemental drive, feminist rage and visual grace. Read Michael Atkinson's review, from the 2010 revival, at The Village Voice here.
Criterion releases the film, fresh from a 2010 theatrical revival, on DVD and Blu-ray, with an archival interview with director Kindo Shindo and a new video interview with film critic Tadao Sato, plus a booklet with a new essay by film critic and horror film expert Maitland McDonagh. (You can read here essay on the Criterion website here.)
Back in the early days of home video, the most reliable direct-to-video label was Full Moon, the creation of Charles Band, a Roger Corman wannabe who found his niche in oddball movies series produced mostly in Europe. By reliable I don't mean they were all good – most were pretty trashy but some were actually a lot of fun – but you knew what you were getting: low budget style, funky effects and at best some strange creatures. "Trancers: The Ultimate Deth Collection" (Flatiron) was the best of his franchises, with Tim Thomerson as time-travelling (sort of) bounty hunter who ends up in present day Los Angeles. The 1985 "Trancers," which co-starred young Helen Hunt (who also shows up in the 1991 sequel "Trancers II"), actually hit theaters but the rest went straight to VHS rental racks. All five films on five discs in a standard case with hinged trays. Also from the Band factory is the oddball vampire twist "subspecies: The Complete Chronicles" (Flatiron), also five films (including pseudo-sequel "Vampire Journals") on five discs.
Cashing in on the red, white and blue icon a week before his new incarnation hits home video, "Captain America (1979) / Captain America II: Death Too Soon" (Shout! Factory) offers a sorry double feature of dull TV movies starring Reb Brown as an uninspiring stand-in for the Marvel hero. Best wait until next week.
Timed to arrive the same week of his new film "Red State" is "Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40" (Shout! Factory), essentially a Kevin Smith stand-up comedy gig performed in his hometown on his 40th birthday. The DVD and Blu-ray both feature hours of bonus material. "Smodimations: The SModcast Cartoon Show Season One" (Shout! Factory) collects the animated "Smodcast" shorts of from Kevin Smith's website (animated by Steven Stark to conversations between Smith and Scot Mosier) and edits them into a short feature. For the Smith obsessive, you can get both in "Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40 / Smodimations Box Set" (Shout! Factory), a website exclusive that includes a bonus disc with a live video SModcast of a "Hollywood Babble-On" program with Smith and Ralph Garman, recorded on May 22, 2011. That's a little too much Kevin Smith for me.
Four more martial arts classics of Hong Kong cinema, including two early films from the great Chang Cheh. Cheng Pei Pei and Jimmy Wang Yu star in "Golden Swallow" (Arc Entertainment), the 1968 film that (in the words of historian Ric Meyers) "cemented Chang Cheh's stardom), and David Chiang and Ti Lung headline the 1973 "Blood Brothers" (Arc Entertainment), where friendship is tested by betrayal and, of course, bloody battle. Also new this week: "Killer Clans" (Arc Entertainment) and "The Avenging Eagle" (Arc Entertainment)
"You Got to Move: Stories of Change in the South" (Milestone), the 1985 documentary of grass roots activism in the south, arrives with two new pop culture documentaries: "The Captains" (eOne), directed by William Shatner, and "More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead" (CAV). Details at the True Stories documentary roundup.
A collaboration like no other between Finland's eccentric rockers and minimalist absurdist director
When Aki Kaurismaki, Finland's deadpan farceur of minimalist slapstick, absurdist comedy and bruised romanticism, teamed up with the aggressively eccentric rock and roll cover band Leningrad Cowboys, a mix of bar band performance, punk attitude and polka flourishes, to make the surreal rock and roll road movie "Leningrad Cowboys Go America," who knew it would be the beginning of a surreal collaborative friendship?
Actually it wasn't the beginning -- he had already directed a couple of music videos for the band -- and "Aki Kaurismäki’s Leningrad Cowboys: Eclipse Series 29" (Criterion) includes all five of their music video collaborations along with their three feature films. In "Leningrad Cowboys Go America" (1989) they push their own image as a bizarre bar band from the wilds of Northern Europe to extremes tht have to be seen to be believed. Clad in matching black boots and gravity-defying hairdos that both jut out into a spindly point, they navigate the backroads of America one bar at a time, recognizing long-lost relations through the DNA of their fashion statements and love of blues-based American rock songs. Who else but Jim Jarmusch would make a cameo: the blond reverse image of these mock-Soviet rock soldiers?
The follow-up "Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses" (1994), which reverses the road trip to take them back through Europe to their promised land (Siberia) didn't really connect with audiences, but they had one more collaboration in store. "Total Balalaika Show" (1994) is a concert film as conceptual art piece satire: Finland’s idiosyncratic rock icons Leningrad Cowboys performing with the Red Army Ensemble (a men’s choir formed to preserve Russian folk music). It is a record of not merely the largest concert to that time in Finland (the event drew 70,000 people), but the strangest. “Let’s Get Together,” sing the pointy-haired rockers with the choir taking back-up with hundreds of voices, switching off between Russian folk classics like “The Volga Boatman” and American standards like “Stairway to Heaven” (with the Red Army musicians accompanying on their traditional 3 stringed balalaikas).
While the Criterion's budget-minded Eclipse line doesn't include supplements, the bonus inclusion of the five music videos / musical short films makes it almost like a special edition. "Rocky VI" (1994) is somewhere between movie parody and music video while "Through the Wire" treats us to a Leningrad Cowboy prison break mini-movie, but the glories are "Those Were the Days," which offers a pretty bleak existence to long for, and "These Boots," which spans an entire life; the first verse is sung by a newborn with the already perfected hairdo and five o'clock shadow of lead singer Mato Valtonen. Though only five minutes long, it's both an epic and the most outlandishly cartoonish film of Kaurismaki's career. Also includes notes on each film by Michael Koresky.
Plus new collections and gift sets and lots of reality TV.
"V: The Complete Second Season" (Warner) brings the 21st century reboot of the eighties invasion series to with an abbreviated ten-episode season and conspiracy just beginning, but the spectacle is sure impressive. Videodrone's review is here.
"The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher" (BBC) offers a portrait of the Prime Minister through three BBC productions made between 2002 and 2009, with Thatcher played by three different actresses. Andrea Riseborough is the young Margaret Roberts, a research chemist with a passion for party politics in "Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Findley" (2008). "Andrea Riseborough's captivating central performance saved the whole project from the obvious pitfalls of parody and impersonation," writes Hermione Eyre in The Independent. Patricia Hodge takes on the roll in the BBC telefilm version of "The Falklands Play" (2002), which imagines the backroom story of Thatcher and her cabinet facing the Falklands crisis. Lindsay Duncan is the Iron Lady in her final days in "Margaret" (2009) as she slips from power.
Poppy Montgomery is the former schoolteacher turned pop-culture wizard in the new TV movie "Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story" (Lifetime). This "unauthorized biography," based on the book by Sean Smith, premiered on the Lifetime Network earlier this year.
Jimmy McGovern creates a kind of short story anthology with "The Street: Complete Collection" (BFS), a British TV drama series centered on the different households on a single street Manchester. The characters drift through one another's stories, but it's proximity and community that connect the otherwise self-contained stories. The intimate dramas tend to revolve around emotionally trying crises in the lives of the everyday folk, all of them made into vivid characters through sharp writing and a brilliant cast that includes Jane Horrocks, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Matt Smith, Gina McKee, Vincent Regan and Jodhi May. Originally made for the BBC, it showed in the US on BBC America. 12 episodes on six discs in a double-wide case with hinged trays.
"Robotech: The Complete Series" (A&E) is a new box set edition of the entire 85-episode animated TV space opera, an American-dubbed (and rewritten) incarnation of three Japanese anime series ("Super Dimension Fortress Macross," "Super Dimensional Cavalry: Southern Cross" and "Genesis Climber Mospeada") which were combined into a single sprawling epic. It opens in 1999 when a massive alien battlecruiser crash-lands on Earth in the midst of a bloody global war, suddenly unifying the nations in a common cause to rebuild the ship, study its secrets, and prepare for an invasion, and spans three generations in the epic battle between Earth and alien invaders (and the ensuing romantic complications of pilots and officers of the new interstellar fighting force). It became one of the most influential anime series ever in the US. 17 discs in a box set of four standard cases with hinged trays, including four discs of supplements. Along with the archival clips, alternate versions and original pilot episodes are the animated features "Robotech: The Movie" and "Robotech II: The Sentinels" and the new documentary "Carl Macek's Robotech Universe," about the producer who created the American incarnation of the show.
"Little House on the Prairie: The Complete 9 Season Set" (Lionsgate) – Inspired by the autobiographical novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and produced by Michael Landon, this landmark family series follows the travails of a poor but loving salt-of-the-Earth family who leave Minnesota and settle in the prairie town of Walnut Grove, all as seen through the eyes of little sister Laura (Melissa Gilbert). The 55-disc box set features all 203 episodes of the nine-season run plus the original TV movie pilot, along with commentary on various episodes, featurettes and other supplements, all in a fairly modest package -- a plastic binder with envelope sleeves -- with a price to match. Even at full suggested retail price, it's under $3 a disc.
"America: The Story of Us – Collector's Edition" (History) repackages the 12-episode series -- a history of America, from the pilgrims to new millennium, compressed into less than ten hour without commercials -- into a new gift edition with a bonus disc (featuring a documentary on the Statue of Liberty) and a 400+ page companion book.
Nickelodeon's "CatDog: Season One, Part One" (Shout! Factory) is the DVD debut of the 1998 series about the oddest conjoined creature you've seen: cat head on one end, dog on the other, and what appears to be a giant sausage with legs as a body. 10 episodes on two discs. Also new this week: "Star Wars – The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three" (Warner) on DVD and Blu-ray.
Another season of reality TV:
"Gigolos: The First Season" (CBS), the Showtime original series that follows the exploits of five male escorts in Las Vegas, is just one of the many cable reality shows this week. Eight episodes on one disc. "Top Shot: Reloaded" (History) features 13 episodes on four discs, plus over an hour of supplements. "Ghost Hunters: Season Six, Part 2" (Image) presents 13 episodes from the SyFy series on both DVD and Blu-ray.
Also new this week is "The Real L Word: Season Two" (CBS) (nine episodes on three discs, plus two bonus episodes of "The Borgias"), "Pawn Stars: Volume Three" (History) (16 episodes on two discs) and "American Pickers: Volume Two" (History) (8 episodes on two discs).
And the rest:
Marla Sokoloff and Mark Webber star in "Gift of the Magi (2010)" (Vivendi), originally made for the Hallmark Channel. "The Big Game" (VCI) as a 1995 British telefilm about big stakes gambling over a board game (and it's based on a true story!). "Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to be Said?" (Paramount) is the extended, uncensored version of his Comedy Central stand-up special.