In spite of a very weak slate of theatrical releases, there are some home entertainment items worth your attention this week including a complete set of the groundbreaking 1980s ensemble cop drama Hill Street Blues, the BD debut of the fourth season of Star Trek: Enterprise, the DVD debut of half the episodes of the 1978 Hanna-Barbera/Toho Godzilla animated series, and a remarkably faithful live-action adaptation of the Space Battleship Yamato anime.
TV on DVD
Most of this week’s most interesting releases are of the vintage variety—the only live-action contemporary release in Mr. Selfridge (PBS, 500 min., $39.99, BD $44.98), a rare PBS misfire, a bland drama about the American department store magnate behind one of the UK’s greatest 20th Century shopping emporiums.
Far more interesting is Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 7200 min., $199.99), which contains all 146 episode of the Emmy Award-winning 1980s ensemble cop series that remains one of the most beloved TV dramas of the 20th Century. “Let’s be careful out there” was the motto of this humane cop series that attempted to humanize both its cops and crooks.
The final season of the underrated Star Trek: Enterprise is now out on Blu-ray. Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4 (Paramount, 1009 min., $129.99) includes all 22 tear-stained episodes from the last season of Star Trek prequel series. As usual Paramount is charging too much, but at least the series is now available in hi-def.
Other vintage series of note include Maverick: The Complete 5th Season (Warner Bros., 650 min., $34.95), though I should caution folks that this set is for Maverick fetishists only, since all 13 episodes it contains feature the relatively talentless Jack Kelly as Bret Maverick’s (James Garner) dull brother Bart; the prime time soap opera Dynasty: The 8th Season (Paramount, $69.98); and Without a Trace: The Complete 7th Season (Warner Bros. 1024 min., $39.95), the final season of the police procedural that aired in 2009.
While there are no other new releases this week there are lots of interesting reissues including a quartet of cool offerings from Eastern Star including Osamu Tezuka’s Unico Double Feature (Eastern Star, 180 min., $19.95) which includes two Unico anime features, The Fantastic Adventures of Unico from 1981 and Unico in the Island of Magic from 1983; the superb dystopian science fiction anime film Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (Eastern Star, 105 min., $19.95), a 1999 film based on Mamoru Oshii’s Kerberos Saga; the striking 2006 anthology of short anime films from Studio 4C, Amazing Nuts (Eastern Star, 60 min., $19.95); and the classic 1972-74 TV super robot anime Mazinger Z TV Series Set 1 (Eastern Star, 1150 min., $69.95), which includes the first 46 episodes of the 92-episode series based on the manga by Go Nagai.
Other re-priced reissues include Cat Planet Cuties Complete Series (Funimation, “17+,” 288 min. BD/DVD Combo, $24.98), and the Shangri-la Complete Series (Funimation, “17+,” 600 min., $19.98).
It would be hard to imagine a lower rated bunch of releases than this week’s theatrical offerings, but ironically the film with the worst critical notices, The Legend of Hercules (Summit, “PG-13,” 98 min., $29.98, BD $39.99), which stars Kellen Lutz as Herc, but which could only manage a 3% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This is a sword-and-sandal sausage fest that only collectors of Hercules films, if any people answering to that description actually exist, would want. Those who enjoy the genre should wait until the Brett Ratner film starring the Rock and based on the Hercules: The Thracian Wars comic book debuts on July 25,2014.
The found footage horror film Devil’s Due (Fox, “R,” 90 min., $29.98, BD $39.99) wastes an interesting premise and turns into a micro-budget dog’s breakfast version of Rosemary’s Baby that could muster only an 18% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Not much better according to the critics (only 22% positive) is Gimme Shelter (Lionsgate, “PG-13,” 101 min., $19.98, BD $24.99), which stars Vanessa Hudgens as a pregnant teen runaway and plays like a typical “movie of the week.”
Escape From Tomorrow (Gaiam, “Not Rated,” 90 min., $19.97) is definitely not for everyone. Director Randy Moore shot the film undercover in Disney theme parks. A typical American family man loses his job and then packs the wife and kids off to the Magic Kingdom where the juxtaposition of the white bread fantasy environment and his dire situation leads to a surrealistic breakdown of epic proportions. In spite of its critic-friendly anti-establishment theme, Escape From Tomorrow could manage only a 56% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes—which has to be seen as something of a warning sign that this Sundance darling might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Week of April 29th, 2014
Posted by ICv2 on April 27, 2014 @ 8:54 pm CT
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