There are not a lot of DVD releases this week, but there are some choice offerings including a rare Martin Scorsese foray into the horror genre, another balls-to-the-walls action pic from director Pierre Morel (Taken), a 25-disc release of the entire A-Team TV series and a 6-disc set of a nearly forgotten, but equally interesting 1980s series that fans of the Indiana Jones movies will want to see, a new box set from the popular Bleach anime, and a collection of films from the top comedian of the 1940s.


Theatrical Films


Shutter Island (Paramount, “R,” $29.99, BD $39.99) is a full bore gothic adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel that features a twist ending (no spoilers here) the critics hated, but audiences appeared to like since it earned nearly 128 million at the domestic box office and 166.5 million overseas.  Leonardo DiCaprio is solid as always and Robert Richardson’s photography is outstanding (especially in the Blu-ray version).  It is interesting to compare Scorsese’s adaptation of Lehane’s novel with the Euro-comic version published here by Tokyopop.  Ultimately both horror movie fans, who will get the director’s clever allusions to all those classic horror flicks, and cinephiles who have followed Scorsese’s career will have to see this one.


Even though like Taken it was also directed by Pierre Morel and produced by Luc Besson, From Paris With Love, which stars the leather-clad, bullet-headed John Travolta is no match for Taken, which was one of 2009’s surprise hits.  Still, even if Travolta can’t help camping it up, action movie fans will appreciate the film’s kinetic drive, which never flags.




With the A-Team movie debuting this week, it only makes sense to check out the original 1980s TV series, which is now available in a 25-disc collection packaged in a miniature replica of the team’s black GMC van.  The A-Team: The Complete Series (Universal, 4200 min, $149.98) includes all 98 episodes of the series that was broadcast between 1983 and 1987.  Notable for its huge expenditure of bullets (very few of which resulted in injuries), copious stunt work with cars hurtling through the air, and various homemade weapons and quasi-military vehicles cobbled together by the team from whatever was at hand, the series was a reassuring, kid-friendly blend of action movie tropes and has become a true “cult” TV series and remains heavily available in syndication.  The new A-Team movie has already spawned a fair amount of merchandise including a comic book series from IDW.


Far less well known, but no less interesting is another 1980s series that is due out this week, Tales of the Gold Monkey: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 1008 min., $49.97).  This series, which was greenlit in the wake of the hugely successful period adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark, is set in the South Pacific in 1938 and was broadcast for 22 episodes by ABC starting in 1982.  Jake Cutter, the protagonist of Tales of the Gold Monkey operates a seaplane air cargo service and the show’s antecedents are not just Raiders, but also classic aviation films such as Only Angels Have Wings, and wartime espionage/adventure yarns like Casablanca and To Have and Have Not.  Tales of the Gold Monkey has developed its own rabid cult following and is definitely worth a second look.


Also out this week are: Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete 7th Season (HBO, 320 min., $39.98), Larry David’s post-Seinfeld, post-modern sitcom, Dog City: The Movie (Lionsgate, 40 min., $14.98), Jim Henson’s canine film noir parody, Family Matters: The Complete First Season (Warner Bros., 450 min., $29.98), a must for Urkel fans, iCarly: I Saved Your Life (Nickelodeon, 149.min., $16.99), the tween-targeted Nickelodeon series, Nip/Tuck: The Complete 6th and Final Season (Warner Bros., 800 min., $59.98), more chronicles of sex, seduction, and liposuction, Oceans (BBC, 489 min., $39.98), the BBC documentary series, and Z-Rock: Season 2 (Starz, $19.97), the semi-scripted comedy series.




It’s very light week in this category.  The key anime release this week is Bleach Set 5: Part 1 (Viz Media, “13+” 450 min., $49.95).  The Bleach anime still gets prime exposure on Adult Swim and remains a top 5 anime property here in North America. 


A new release that might be of interest to Sailor Moon fans is the Papillon Rose Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, “PG-13,” 175 min., $34.98), a series that originated as a doujinshi Internet anime (Lingerie Soldier Papillon Rose) parody of the “magical girl” genre.  In 2003 the animation studio Pink created an OVA based on the doujinshi site followed by a 6-episode series in 2006.  In spite of the hentai overtones of the subject matter, there is no sex or overt nudity in the series, which nevertheless contains plenty of the milder forms of fan service.


The other major release of the week is Samurai Deeper Kyo Litebox Collection (Media Blasters, “PG-13,” 650 min., $59.99), which comes with a Samurai Deeper Kyo T-Shirt.  Crafted by Studio Deen, the 26-episode Samurai Deeper Kyo anime series is a very loose adaptation of a portion of the long-running 38-volume Samurai Deeper Kyo manga by Akimine Kamijyo.  The first 34 volumes of the SDK manga were published here by Tokyopop, but Del Rey will be completing the series.


Classics on DVD


The Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Collection (Universal, Not Rated, $39.98) includes six films on 3 DVDs that provide an excellent look at the top comedian of the 1940s who brought a self-deprecating, wisecracking style to the screen that is still with us (see Woody Allen).  Three of the movies including Thanks for the Memory (1938), Hope’s feature-length motion picture debut, the amusing Nothing But the Truth (1941), and the highly desirable remake of Paul Leni’s silent horror classic, The Cat and the Canary have never been released before.  The other 3 films, The Ghost Breakers (1940), The Road to Morocco (1942), and The Paleface (1945, the only film in the set in color), have been issued on DVD before, but if you don’t have them, they are well worth watching, and Universal has included, what is, for a vintage film release, a copious amount of extra features.