Media | DVD Releases | January 15, 2008: Welcome to this week's highlighted home video releases, focused entirely on the American market. Sorry, rest of the world.


Roundup by VsRobot | Anime by Mightyblue | Posted January 14, 2008


Pick of the week


Extras: The Complete Series
Ricky Gervaises' excellent follow-up to the (original) The Office, Extras is a show about the little people trying to make their way in the film industry. Ricky's character as the show begins is an extra who dreams of being a star, and it is full of the same uncomfortable situational humor that The Office is known for. One of the many reasons to watch this series is all of the cameos. Every episode always includes at least one celebrity playing a parody version of themselves. For example, Patrick Stewart in the series is an aspiring screenwriter who is obsessed with stocking his movie with as many nude women as possible, and Orlando Bloom is a self-obsessed, vain, jealous prat whose only concern is that women find him more attractive than they do Johnny Depp. Hilarious cameos are only the icing on the cake of this fantastic British comedy, at it's Ricky's rise from being an extra to sitcom stardom and the attendant disappointments that set this show apart. Highly recommended for fans of The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm.


Also out this week


DragonLance
Some people in the Gamespite extended family are really into this franchise. I'm not one of them, and I don't know anything about dragons, lances, or how the two intersect. What happens when you lance a dragon? Are they like boils or something? But if you're a subscriber of the DragonLance Podcast, you've probably already preordered this one. Stick this in your player, grab a 20-sided die, and let this epic dragon tail escort you into the world of DragonLance! For everyone else: hey, it's got to be better than last week's D-War.


Mr. Woodcock
The theatrical poster art for this film had the titular Mr. Woodcock holding two basketballs at belt-level, mimicking a man cupping his own gigantic testicles. If you laughed seeing that (or reading my description here) then this is the film for you!! Personally, I'd rather put bleach in a syringe and inject it straight into my eyehole. Hopefully, bleach will kill the brain cells responsible for remembering what this movie is.


Good Luck Chuck
Speaking of tasteful movie posters, one famous poster for this film alluded to Dane Cook receiving oral sex. I don't think there is enough bleach in the world to rid my brain of that hateful memory. You might be tempted to rent this since Jessica Alba is in it, but trust me, your time is too valuable to waste with this dreck, no matter how much you might like looking at Alba's assets.


Pain Doesn't Lie: Horror on DVD


My appetite for horror films has waned considerably in my advanced years, but there was a time when the "Tartan Asia Extreme" brand made any movie an instant rental. Not all of them were good, but the good ones were really good. I originally saw Oldboy because of this habit, and going into it free of any preconceived notions made one of the best film experiences of my life even that much sweeter.


Tokyo Connection: Best and Worst of Anime:


The Good Stuff: Mushi-shi Ė Volume 5
This is the latest volume in the supremely good adventures of one Ginkgo, the titular Mushi-shi who travels around Japanís countryside investigating strange lifeforms that take a myriad of shapes and sizes, the Mushi. The show's strength lies in its art and storytelling and is something not to be missed, regardless of your opinion on Japanese animation in general.


The Bad Stuff: Xenosaga Volume 3: Free Will
Of the many video games Iíve played, the Xenosaga series stands one of the few that seemed likely to benefit from a transition to television or animation, given that itís less video game than jabbery sci-fi movie flick with occasional nods to role-playing gameplay. Even then youíd have to work your way past the Matrix-esque levels of religious and philosophical ramblings and references -- and Xenosaga has a notable lack of the gunkata and wire-fu that kept audiences awake through the worst of the Matrix films.

Thatís all rendered irrelevant by the cheap and schlocky treatment the anime adaptation received, which manages to fail even where it was practically a guaranteed success. It is either the straw or the sledgehammer that broke the camelís back, depending on how much you liked the games.


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


I'm already thinking of what to retitle this section once I'm only covering Blu-ray releases. "I Blu Myself" is an early favorite. (I prefer "Blu Buy You," personally. -- ed.)


Cover art courtesy of Amazon, where you can purchase any of these titles. Rent all of the movies covered in the column online at Netflix. The author of this column has no reservations with recommending Blu-ray to anyone interested in upgrading their home theater. Please. Don't tell Mido. What has she done wrong? You know it was all my fault... I have committed an unforgivable sin. And I also... Did you wrong. But, please leave Mido alone... If by any chance Mido finds out the truth, you son of a bitch, I'll tear you limb from limb. And your remains will never be found. Why? Because I'm going to swallow every last bit. Visit the Talking Time Forum to discuss video games, movies, books, and more. Thanks for reading!