We’ve all seen how studios decide to release some underperforming theatrical features to DVD earlier than planned in order to maximize their marketing efforts. Well, that practice has finally begun to have negative repercussions. Theater chains in the United Kingdom and Germany have pulled Fox films like Eragon and Night in the Museum out of theaters after Fox announced plans to move up some DVD release dates by several weeks. The chains are concerned that the DVDs will cut into the profits of films that are still performing well at the box office. Most films released to theaters were designed to be seen best that way, and though I love DVD, I enjoy seeing most films first in theaters, so I sympathize with any effort to keep them there as long as possible. Further development of satellite distribution for digital HD video projection would make possible simultaneous worldwide release dates, which would help give all theaters a chance to make the most of every feature before they become available on home video. Factors standing in the way of progress are the expenses involved in refitting theaters and studio fears that high quality copies will be easier to leak into the bootleg market.
While new features are rolling onto DVD faster, a lot of older titles are sitting on the shelf. At this point, more features – and especially TV shows – are available on DVD than were ever available on VHS tape. But that doesn’t mean that everything is on disc yet. Far from it. And so, this week I’ve decided to add a new regular feature to the DVD Shopping List (and sometimes in Anime Avalanche). Look below for the first entry in my “NOT ON DVD CORNER”. Hopefully, this will serve to remind us what films we want to let the DVD labels know that we want to see released, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see these titles on the regular list too long afterward. We welcome reader input on this, too – just send your suggestions to DVD Shopping List in an email identified with “NOT ON DVD” in the subject line.
SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK
Yes, this probably only got made as a possible Superman Returns cash-in. But there’s enough intrigue and drama in the story to stand on its own, even if it didn’t involve the Last Son of Krypton.
(O) HOLLYWOODLAND (Universal) Ben Affleck stars as George Reeves in this story about the mysterious death of TV’s Superman. Widescreen & fullscreen editions include commentrak, featurettes, deleted footage and more.
(O) ALFRED HITCHCOCK: 3-disc Collector’s Edition (Lionsgate) Well, if you’re a Hitchcock collector, you probably already have The Manxman, Rich and Strange, The Skin Game, Murder and The Ring in other editions. But do you have them in a box set with a picture of Hitchcock’s death mask on it?
(O) ALIEN / SPECIES (Fox) As good a deal as Fox’s Terminator / RoboCop disc.
(O) ANYTHING BUT LOVE Volume 1 (Fox) Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis starred in this 1989 romantic workplace sitcom. 28 episodes on three discs, plus commentrak, featurettes and more.
(O) ARABIAN NIGHTS (Universal) 1941 fantasy adventure with Jon Hall, Maria Montez and Sabu.
(O) BAYWATCH Season 3 (First Look) Another five discs of jiggle, drama and adventure. Fans are complaining that these sets feature poor transfers and lack the original music.
(O) BEST OF THE BEST 2 (Fox) Best pals Eric Roberts and Phillip Rhee infiltrate an underground fighting ring to avenge a friend’s murder.
(O) BEST PICTURE COLLECTION (Paramount) Includes Braveheart, American Beauty, Forrest Gump, Gladiator, The Godfather, Titanic and Terms of Endearment.
(O) BLOOD LEGEND (Brain Damage) A woman tries to resurrect an ancestor executed for witchcraft hundreds of years ago. It works, but she needs blood to stay alive. Includes featurettes, bloopers and interviews.
(O) BLOODY MARY (Echo Bridge) Nurses unleash the legendary evil spirit Bloody Mary in an asylum. With commentrak, Making-Of, outtakes and music video.
(O) BROTHER (Kino) Smash hit Russian gangster thriller.
(O) CHAMBER OF THE OLD SCHOOL KILLAZ Chamber One (Crash) Kung fu box set includes Yao’s Young Warriors, Jackie Chen in Cooks of Kung Fu and Menf Fei in Guy With Secret Kung Fu.
(O) THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW / VOLCANO (Fox) Disaster double bill.
(O) DEATH ROW (Image) Convicts on work release at an abandoned prison are stalked by a killer.
(O) DR. DOLITTLE / FAT ALBERT (Fox)
(O) DRAWING BLOOD (Brain Damage) Serial killer chiller. Includes bloopers and deleted footage.
(O) ENEMY MINE (Fox) Sci-fi remake of Hell in the Pacific starring Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr.
(O) FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (Paramount) First half of Clint Eastwood’s Battle of Iwo Jima epic.
(O) 49 DAYS (Tai Seng) Hong Kong suspense thriller with Stephen Fung. Includes Making-Of, outtakes, music video and more.
(O) FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (MGM) Roger Moore as 007. With two commentraks and more.
(O) THE FRENCH CONNECTION / RONIN (Fox) These two thrillers are separated by 27 years, but somehow they work as a twin bill.
(O) FULL MOON CLASSICS Volume 1 (Full Moon) The “classics” include Arcade, Bad Channels, Shadowzone, Netherworld and Seedpeople.
(O) GENE AUTREY COLLECTION: Gold Mine in the Sky (Image)
(O) GENE AUTREY COLLECTION: Public Cowboy No. 1 (Image)
(O) GOLDENEYE (MGM) Pierce Brosnan as 007. With two commentraks and more.
(O) THE GRUDGE 2 (Sony) Sequel to the US remake takes the horror to international levels. PG-13 edition includes deleted footage and featurettes. Unrated edition adds extra footage and more featurettes.
(O) HAVE SWORD WILL TRAVEL (Image) 1969 Hong Kong martial arts action with Ti Lung and David Chiang.
(O) HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (Sony) 1941 supernatural comedy in which boxer Robert Montgomery dies off the heavenly schedule and brought back to Earth by guardian angel Claude Rains in the available body of a millionaire to win a title bout.
(O) INCUBUS (Sony) Tara Reid and pals are stranded in the wilderness and take refuge in a supposedly abandoned factory haunted by a psycho killer.
(O) INEXCHANGE (Brain Damage) A nerd gets supernatural revenge on his tormentors.
(O) INSPECTOR MORSE Book & DVD Pack (BFS) Making-Of the John Thaw series plus a copy of The Oxford of Inspector Morse.
(O) KISS OF THE DRAGON . THE TRANSPORTER (Fox) Two solid Euro-action features.
(O) LICENSE TO KILL (MGM) Timothy Dalton as 007. With two commentraks and more.
(O) MAN ON FIRE / OUT OF TIME (Fox) Denzel Washington finds out he’s out of time because he’s on fire.
(O) MYSTERY WOMAN: Sing Me A Murder (Echo Bridge) Bookstore owner Kellie Martin solves the murder of a folk singer’s manager.
(O) NATIONAL LAMPOON’S GOING THE DISTANCE (MGM) Three guys on a road trip.
(O) NINJA SIX (Tai Seng) Box set collects a half dozen Asian action films made for – or retitled to cash in on – the ‘80s ninja craze: Ninja Hunter, Ninja vs. Shaolin Guards, Ninja in the USA, Ninja in the Deadly Trap, Ninja vs. Bruce Lee and Ninja vs. Ninja.
(O) POSSESSED (Tai Seng) Hong Kong horror.
(O) RAISING ARIZONA / FARGO (Fox) Cohen Brothers double feature.
(O) RETURN IN RED (Image) An experiment in electromagnetism turns a town into maniacs.
(O) ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS / SPACEBALLS (Fox) Mel Brooks double feature.
(O) SHINOBI: HEART UNDER BLADE (Funimation) Special 2-disc edition of the ninja drama includes featurettes, storyboards and more.
(O) SICKNESS HOUSE (Brain Damage) Those trapped within a house under quarantine begin to suspect something supernatural is troubling them. Includes auditions, interviews and deleted footage.
(O) THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (MGM) Roger Moore as 007. With two commentraks and more.
(O) THUNDERBALL (MGM) Sean Connery as 007. With two commentraks and more.
(O) TRAIN MAN: DENSHA OTOKO (Viz) Based on the Japanese bestselling novel, the truth-based story of an average otaku who falls for a girl and foolishly turns to the internet for advise.
(O) HOLLYWOODLAND (Universal) DVD combo. Includes commentrak, featurettes, deleted footage and more.
BLU-RAY DISC CORNER
(O) AMERICAN PSYCHO (Lionsgate) With commentrak, deleted footage and featurette.
(O) RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD (Lionsgate) With two commentraks, deleted footage and featurette.
(O) RESERVOIR DOGS (Lionsgate) With Making-Of and featurette.
(O) YOUNG GUNS (Lionsgate) With annotation track and featurette.
NOT ON DVD CORNER
(O) PENN & TELLER GET KILLED (Warner Bros.) Unlike most stage magicians, partners Penn Jillette and Rudy Teller had a uniquely unconventional act that adapted well to home video, with projects like Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends and their many TV programs geared directly to home viewing. But for some reason this 1989 theatrical feature remains in limbo. Directed by Arthur Penn (one suspects for name confusion value as much as his reputation as a Hollywood legend), it was not a big hit, but has potential for cult greatness beyond the duo’s already large following. The plot? After Penn remarks on TV that he wishes someone would try to kill them to add spice to their lives, both pranksters decide to fake assassination attempts on each other, while unbeknownst to them, a real psycho is stalking them. Funny stuff, with appearances by James Randi, Tom Sizemore, Christopher Durang and Jon Cryer.
And be sure to check back next week—and every week—for Mania’s DVD Shopping List! And don’t forget Anime Avalanche every Monday!
DVD Shopping List (© 2007 Brian Thomas) is our weekly DVD column. Brian Thomas is the author of the massive book VideoHound’s Dragon: Asian Action & Cult Flicks, available now!
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