Media | DVD Releases | September 4, 2007: Welcome to this week's home video releases -- focused entirely upon American audiences, sorry everyone else -- prepared with the assistance of The Digital Bits and cover art courtesy of Amazon.

Roundup by VsRobot | Posted September 2nd, 2007

Pick of the week

We're slogging toward autumn, which means a deluge of TV-on-DVD sets for the next month as every studio scrambles to cross-promote the DVD releases and season premieres while dumping any other TV-on-DVD they have in the pipeline to take advantage of the extra retail presence. To kick off September, I've decided to highlight TV-on-DVD (all of it!) as my pick of the week

Of course, I wouldn't recommend all of these sets. But pick and mix as you see fit, as DVD is the ideal format for consuming television. It eliminates everything annoying about the network experience -- you lose the ads, you lose the interminable rerun weeks, and aside from each season's finale, you can see the resolution of any cliffhanger by simply selecting the next episode on the menu. (At least in those draconian DVDs that don't offer the "Play All" feature, which honestly is a must for TV on DVD in this columnists opinion).

Also out this week

A triumvirate of this generation's most noted humorists, in a plot that could easily be the basis of the next Tom Clancy game. The Marx Brothers in their heyday could only dream of squeezing more laughs from the premise of three incompetent new recruits getting lost on their way to the Middle East and accidentally invading Mexico.

Seeing this DVD artwork caused the old Sesame Street song to play in my head: "One of these things is not like the other! One of these things just doesn't belong!" It is perhaps tragic that Lindsay Lohan is easily the most talented of America's starlets currently engaged in panty-free cocaine-and-alcohol-fueled benders, but now her peers are Paris Hilton and Britney Spears rather than Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman. I have no idea if the movie is any good, but it probably doesn't matter. I doubt the audience for this column and the audience for "chick flicks" intersects in any meaningful way.

Two brothers join the Irish Republican Army in this period piece by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence. It won the Palme D'or in 2006, and is clearly the most interesting new narrative film to be released this week -- definitely one for the rental queue, if not for immediate purchase.

This may belong in the reissue section, as I'm not sure if it's a recent film or not. In fact, I don't have the slightest clue as to what the film is about. But hey, look at that cover! The art direction on most DVD covers is completely generic and devoid of inspiration, so it's rare to see someone get it right. Were I walking through a video store and saw this on the shelf, I'd pick it up without hesitation. Compare a cover like this with Georgia Rule - there is no comparison. Yeah, yeah, you can't judge a book by its cover, but these are DVDs, right?

Reissue Highlights

Admittedly, this stretches the definition of the word "highlight" almost beyond recognition. A two-pack of disappointing video-game adaptations isn't really much to write home about. In fact, the only reason these are being graced with a new cover and a new promotional push is entirely down to the imminent theatrical release of Resident Evil 3. And even though this is the third or fourth release of Resident Evil on DVD, it'll still sell well.

One of the less obvious factors that makes sequels so appealing to Hollywood -- which is to say, so profitable -- is that sales for prior installments in the series jump up significantly when a sequel arrives. For example, earlier this summer both of the previous Bourne DVDs jumped back into the top ten sales charts, and a new SKU combining both movies packed with a bonus DVD of promotional fluff for the third film joined them there. This, despite the that the Bourne films have already sold-through a ton of copies in their initial run.

High-Def Alert: The World of Blu-Ray and HD DVD

Wow! Delta Farce! My Blu-ray player purchase is justified at long last.

Seriously, though, this is a painfully weak selection. Where are the special-effects heavy action films that would actually benefit from the improved resolution and uncompressed audio that the high-definition formats offer?

Me, I'll be watching 30 Rock and the Office as soon as I finish last week's Heroes release -- what about you guys? Any of this TV strike your fancy? If it doesn't, just wait a week... there's plenty more on the way. Discuss all the week's new releases on the forum!