The big DVD releases of 2010 have already appeared, but there is a surprisingly strong slate of anime titles this week as well as some interesting “TV on DVD” offerings.




After several light weeks, there’s a strong anime list led by Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood Part 3 (Funimation, “13+,” 320 min., $49.98, BD $54.98).  FMA Brotherhood is retelling of the Full Metal Alchemist saga that hews much closer to the storyline from the bestselling manga.  Since the original FMA anime was one of the most popular series ever with American audiences, the narrative changes in the new Brotherhood version might not be enough by themselves to justify purchasing the new series, but the new series looks and sounds so great on Blu-ray, that it’s well worth the expense.


The other key release of new material this week is the Gintama Collection 03 (Sentai Filmworks, “13+,” 325 min. $39.98), which includes 13 more episodes of the comedy/adventure/science fiction series that pits aliens against 19th Century samurai.


Re-priced box set releases include Baccano Complete Collection (Funimation, “15+,” 400 min., $39.98), Dragonaut: The Resonance Complete Collection (Funimation, “16+, 630 min., $59.98), Kaleido Star: Season 2 OVAs & Collection (Funimation, “13+,” 650 min., $39.98), and Ragnarok Complete Collection (Funimation, “13+,” 625 min., $29.98).


Single-disc releases include Dragon Ball Movie 1: Curse of the Blood Rubies (Funimation, “13+,” 48 min., $14.98), and Queen’s Blade Vol.3 (Media Blasters, “16+,” 100 min., $29.98).




There's not much happening in this category, though genre fans might be intrigued with Battlestar Galactica Razor Extended Blu-ray Edition (Universal, 103 min. $26.98), which contains 16 minutes of extra footage that was not included in the Sci-Fi Channel broadcast in November of 2007 right in the middle of the 12-month gap between seasons 3 and 4 of BSG.  Included in the extra footage is a spectacular aerial battle that was not in the broadcast version.


Also interesting is Archer: Season 1 (Fox, 308 min., $29.98), which collects the first 10 episodes of the “TV MA”-rated animated spy series that premiered earlier this year on the FX network.  Created by Adam Reed, who developed Frisky Dingo and SeaLab 2021 for Adult Swim, Archer mixes 1960s fashions, 1980s technology, and Cold War spy adventures into a truly “adult” animated adventure that also includes plenty of sexual references and a Bond-like protagonist who is clearly a near-total incompetent who often succeeds courtesy of blind luck.


Diablo Cody (Juno) created the Showtime series, The United States of Tara, which features Toni Collette in the showy role of a suburban housewife suffering from dissociative identity disorder.  The United States of Tara: The Second Season (Showtime, $42.99) includes all 12 episodes that aired earlier this year on Showtime.


Reality series are carbuncles on television’s ample rear, but like any other genre they occasionally have their moments.  For sheer horrors of two very different types, it’s hard to top this week’s offerings.  River Monsters: Season 2 (Gaiam, 258 min., $19.98) collects the Animal Planet series featuring “extreme” angler Jeremy Wade, who tells tales that would make even the strongest swimmer think twice before diving into the local stream.  For those who prefer a scary surfeit of seaside sleaze to over-hyped dangers posed by aquatic predators, there is Jersey Shore: Season Two Uncensored (MTV, 710 min., $26.99), which collects the latest faux adventures of The Situation, Snooki, Vinnie, Pauly D. and J-Woww and the rest of the gang.


Theatrical Movies


The video game-based Resident Evil: Afterlife (Sony, “R,” $28.95, BD $34.95, 3-D BD $39.95) is available in 3-D, though extra-dimensional sales are miniscule at this point, they should grow in years to come—unless the whole 3-D phenomenon fades.  This is the fourth film based on the Capcom zombie-blasting game—and the movie franchise, which stars sexy Milla Jovovich, shows no signs of fading away.


The American (Focus, “R,” $29.98, BD $39.98) stars George Clooney as an assassin on the run, but this film, directed by Anton Corbijn, is far from a conventional action film. With its stately pace and off hand nudity, The American won’t appeal to the action movie crowd, and its subject matter is too mainstream for art house devotees.  But even though it’s far from completely successful, it remains one of 2010’s more interesting films.


Classic Movies


The Films of Rita Hayworth (Sony, 5 discs, $59.95) doesn’t include her best performance (in Orson Welles’ The Lady From Shanghai), but it does contain one of Hollywood’s most bizarre musicals (Cover Girl) and Gilda, a very kinky film noir with lots of sexual overtones (both hetero and homo) layered up with enough sadism that it fairly cries out for the analysis of Freudian critic like Leslie Fiedler.