Weekly Digital Disc Picks – May 31, 2011

The picks are a bit better this week. We’re in that weird period following the economic downturn when there isn’t a lot of strong theatrical product from the past few months, not are studios investing huge amounts in the conversion of library titles to Blu-Ray or DVD.

Title DVD Release(s) Blu-Ray Release(s)
Anime
Guin Saga – Collection 2 Amazon.com, rightstuf.com
Yu Yu Hakusho – Season 1 Amazon.com, rightstuf.com
Shonen TV series about a juvinile delinquent who ends up enlisted in fighting demons after he dies saving someone from a speeding car.
Art House
Biutiful Amazon.com Amazon.com
Biography
Never Apolgize Amazon.com
One-man show written by and starring Malcolm McDowell about his experiences with the late director Lindsay Anderson.
Comedy
Everybody Loves Raymond: Complete Series Amazon.com
Blaine: This appears to be a repackaging in a typical box, rather than the original house.
Lolita (Amazon.com exclusive) Amazon.com
Blaine: Kubrick’s black comedy, comparable in quality to Dr. Strangelove.
The Red Green Show: The Mid-Life Crisis Years Amazon.com
Upstairs, Downstairs: Season Three Amazon.com
Documentary
IMAX: Hubble Amazon.com
Phil Plait’s Bad Universe Amazon.com
Alex: The Bad Astronomer now has a TV show… why didn’t I hear about this until just now?
Secrets of the Dead: Lost in the Amazon Amazon.com
Episode of the PBS TV series, covering Percy Harrison Fawcett and the search for the lost City of Z, and some recent archeological evidence in favor of Fawcett’s theories.
Drama
American Graffiti (Special Edition) Amazon.com Amazon.com
Blaine: George Lucas directs Ron Howard and a bunch of people who were unknown at the time, including Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams and Harrison Ford, among others.
Barry Lyndon (Amazon.com Exclusive) Amazon.com
Blaine: In my opinion, this is probably the weakest Stanley Kubrick film available for the home market. The technical aspects are fantastic, as they tend to be with Kubrick, but there’s nothing in the script to draw me in.
Passion Play Amazon.com Amazon.com
Blaine: Billy Murray, Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Kelly Lynch and Rhys Ifans star, but it somehow skips theatres and goes directly to home video. That’s not a great sign given the cast and Mitch Glazer as director.
Rookie Blue: Season One Amazon.com Amazon.com
Blaine: I’ve heard this Canadian cop drama is a decent one, though I haven’t watched it yet. The second season starts on June 23, and it starts Missy Peregrym, who was also in Reaper, Heroes and the short lived but enjoyable Black Sash.
Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection (Blu-Ray) / Essential Collection (DVD) Amazon.com Amazon.com
Includes A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, Eyes Wide Shut, Spartacus, Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Full Metal Jacket, Lolita and The Shining. Blaine: I have no idea why the product has two different names for different media.
Family
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Amazon.com
Blaine: The BBC animated version
Fantasy
Drive Angry Amazon.com Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray 3D
Blaine: I’ve heard rumours that this will go down in history as the world’s first major studio film with 3D nude scenes. I’ve also heard that you’ll only be happy with it if that’s the only thing you’re looking for from the film.
Legend Amazon.com Amazon.com
Blaine: Ridley Scott directs Tom Cruise and Tim Curry
Horror
True Blood: The Complete First Season Amazon.com Amazon.com
Mystery
Moonlight: The Complete First Season Amazon.com
This is also the only season of the vampire PI series.
Psych: Season Five Amazon.com
Science Fiction
A Clockwork Orange (Anniversary Edition) Amazon.com
Blaine: The 30th Anniversary to be precise.
Cross Amazon.com
Starring Brian Austin Green and Michael Clarke Duncan
Stargate Universe: The Complete Final (Second) Season Amazon.com
Blaine: I’m way behind on my Stargate watching. I picked this up via iTunes already, and have the complete runs of SG1 and Atlantis as well, but I haven’t seen an episode past the time loop episode from SG1 season four.
Sports
WWE Extreme Rules 2011 Amazon.com Amazon.com
Superhero
DCU Fun Pack: Action Amazon.com
Blaine: Includes Green Lantern: First Flight, Superman: Doomsday and Justice League: A New Frontier.
DCU Fun Pack: Kids Amazon.com
Includes The Batman vs. Dracula, Justice League Unlimited: Season One Volume One and Superman: Braniac Attacks.
Suspense
Cat of Nine Tails Amazon.com
Western
Big Jake Amazon.com
A Man Called Horse Amazon.com
Once Upon a Time in the West Amazon.com

Finally, the picks of the week. Alex says, “There is nothing here that I’ve seen before that I’d describe as a must-get. That said, Phil Plait’s Bad Universe is going into my Netflix Queue.” Blaine says, “Restricting myself to stuff I’ve seen, I’d go with the Kubrick collection. However, as I already own most of those on Blu-Ray, my only purchase this week will be Psych based on the strength of the first four seasons.”

2 replies on “Weekly Digital Disc Picks – May 31, 2011”

  1. Jethro says:

    I think it’s been well over a year since anything was released on DVD/blu-ray that I actually wanted to buy. There have been some re-releases of stuff I already own, but nothing new (or new for me, anyway).

    It it just me? I mean, I used to buy 2, 3 discs a WEEK. Now it’s 2,3 a YEAR. The last few DVDs I bought were practically ancient and the store was practically throwing them out!

    • It’s not just you. I’ve gone from multiple weekly purchases to single purchases in multiple months. The back catalog titles I want are almost complete, and the upconverting hardware I have makes it hard to justify some of the tempting Blu-Ray upgrades. It’s also reached the point when my eyes (which aren’t 20/20) won’t be able to distinguish between great DVD, decent Blu-Ray, and whatever format comes next. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I bought product that wasn’t a first-time release. I’m also finding that the iTunes selection is excellent with prices comparable to stores. For example, I preordered “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” through iTunes for about the same price as the Blu-Ray through iTunes. However, I don’t need shelf space to store it (aside from the 3TB external hard drive for my iTunes library, which already takes up less space than the 11 full TV seasons stored on it), I don’t need to pay shipping, I don’t need to worry about the mail carrier leaving it out on my porch prone to theft, and I don’t need to make time to visit a brick and mortar store that day to get it. Instead, I click “Check for Available Downloads…” in iTunes the day it comes out and just wait for the download time. It would be nice if TV episodes were downloadable more promptly, but otherwise I’m very happy. (Most episodes are downloadable the next business day. The first four episodes of “Doctor Who: Season Six” were downloadable at 3:00am Sunday, although these last two have been showing up later.)

      Also, my local Future Shop and Best Buy stores both rearranged their layouts in the past two months, and cut their DVD/Blu-Ray/music sections in half, instead expanding the video game sections. To me, that’s a blatant sign that it’s not just us.

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