This week's major release is "Twilight," last fall's inexplicably mega-popular teen vampire flick based on the novel of the same name. Every major retailer has their own exclusive, so I'm not going to bother with trying to run all of them down. The movie streets Saturday (the 21st) on DVD and Blu-ray; the DVD is a 2-disc Special Edition with the BD simply a SE. Take note: the high def copy is only available at Target and Best Buy through the beginning of May.
Disney's "Bolt" also hits on a non-Tuesday. In this case, the BD version debuts on the 22nd (that's Sunday). The DVD is released next Tuesday, for the record. As with the high def version of "Pinocchio," "Bolt" has a digital and DVD copy all in the same package.
Another project from late last year-"Punisher: WarZone"-debuts this week on both formats courtesy of Lionsgate (BD review). The single disc DVD version holds both the widescreen and fullscreen versions of the movie while a double disc edition brings the Digital Copy. Blu-ray is also two discs with DC. A special edition of the cinema's first released cinemascope film, "The Robe," is also available. It's been "completely restored and remastered," according to the press material and comes with a feature we rarely see today: an isolated music track. And I guess that does it for our bi-format titles.
Much like "The Robe," "Quo Vadis" is a religious film debuting just in time for Easter on high def. At this point, I have to wonder why Fox didn't save "The Passion of the Christ" for the same week. Seems like perfect tie-in material to me. Otherwise, only evergreen MGM title "The Princess Bride" finds new life on Blu-ray as a two-disc set. (Yes, Virginia, this is what they call a "slow week.")
Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee "Dodes'ka-den" streets from Criterion; Akira Kurosawa's 140-minute opus is also his first color film, and his first after being fired from "Tora! Tora! Tora!" They've also got #15 in their Eclipse Line, titled "Travels with Hiroshi Shimizu." The four films included in this collection are "Japanese Girls at the Harbor," "Mr. Thank You," "The Masseurs and a Woman" and "Ornamental Hairpin."
While we're talking about old school classics, Kino drops a new F.W. Murnau box set simply titled "Murnau: A Six-DVD Box Set." There's "Nosferatu," "The Last Laugh," "Faust," "Tartuffe," "The Finances of the Grand Duke" and "The Haunted Castle." "Faust," "Finances" and "Castle" all find individual releases. Famed Hong Kong producers the Shaw Brothers find "Lost Souls" streeting from Image Entertainment as part of the Shaw Brothers Cult Collection. And Sony gets into the act with "The Three Stooges Collection: Volume 5," a set 25 of their shorts fro 1946-1948.
Finally, from the well that keeps on giving (the TV genre) are the two-disc "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" (Seasons 2-4), volumes 2 and 3 of the new "Spectacular Spider-Man" television show (with three episodes each) and season one of the "Batman Beyond" spinoff "The Zeta Project." Live action-wise, Sony dishes the third season of both "Barney Miller" and "The Nanny" and season 10 of "Married…with Children" while "Mr. Belvedere" makes his long-awaited DVD debut with a combined first and second season set. Sci Fi's "Ghost Hunters Season Four Part 2," "JAG: The Eighth Season" and "Degrassi: The Next Generation-Season 7" round out our anemic release week.
Blu-ray recap: "Bolt," "The Princes Bride," "Punisher: WarZone," "Quo Vadis," "The Robe," "Twilight."
DVD recap: "Barney Miller: The Complete Third Season," "Degrassi: The Next Geneation-Season 7," "Dodes'ka-den," "Faust," "The Finances of the Grand Duke," "Ghost Hunters: Season Four Part 2," "The Haunted Castle," "JAG: The Eighth Season, "Lost Souls," "Married…with Children: The Complete Tenth Season," "Mr. Belvedere: Seasons 1 and 2," "Murnau: A Six-DVD Box Set," "The Nanny: The Complete Third Season," "Punisher: WarZone," "A Pup Named Scooby Doo: Seasons 2, 3 and 4," "The Robe," "The Spectacular Spider-Man: Volume Two," "The Spectacular Spider-Man: Volume Three," "Travels with Hiroshi Shimizu," "Twilight," "The Zeta Project: Season 1."
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For Titles Released March 17:
• ELEGY » An Isabel Coixet film. (Sony Pictures)
• THE PRINCESS BRIDE » Two-disc 20th Anniversary edition includes bonus DVD of the film. (MGM)
• PUNISHER: War Zone » Frank Castle (The Punisher) is back, in the return of one of the most popular superhero action franchises from Marvel Comics! (Lionsgate)
• QUO VADIS » One of the most lavish and spectacular films ever to be released. (Warner Bros.)
• THE ROBE » Extensively restored, the first ever CinemaScope feature film will now fully restored by Twentieth Century Fox, the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. (20th Century Fox)
• TWILIGHT » When you can live forever what do you live for? The film is based on the first of the widely popular novel series. "New Moon", based on the second novel, is the sequel current in production. Note: The Blu-ray edition of Twilight is exclusively available only at Best Buy and Target until May 5 - View Story (Summit Entertainment)