RT on DVD: Sex and the City, High School Musical 2 and Coppola's Godfather Restoration!

There's something for everyone this week on DVD.

by | September 22, 2008 | Comments

This week, get fabulous with Carrie and Co. (Sex and the City: The Movie), dance along with Zac Efron (High School Musical 2: Deluxe Dance Edition), and savor the cinematic cannoli with Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration)…but also mark your calendars with news of a Kung Fu Panda double shot, a Stephen Colbert Christmas, and more!

1. New to DVD: Sex and the City: The Movie — 51%

By some strange coincidence, the long-awaited big screen adaptation of HBO’s insanely popular series Sex and the City landed at exactly 51 percent on the Tomatometer. That seems appropriate enough, seeing as it played to the 51 percent of Americans who can spot a Manolo or a Louboutin or a Birkin a mile away. So fellas, brace yourselves for the second coming of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, as Sex and the City: The Movie hits DVD this week!

Episodes of Sex and the City came in hip, palatable, 30-minute episodes; the film version, from SATC vet Michael Patrick King, ran an agonizing two and a half hours. (But at least those two and a half hours were filled with fabulous clothes and shoes, right?) At least on DVD, you’ll be able to pause between scenes of Sarah Jessica Parker preening in couture and moping in Mexico, Kim Cattrall covering herself in sushi, Cynthia Nixon acting neurotic, and Kristin Davis trying her best to not fade into the background.

Also note that those forward-thinkers at Warner Home Video have made Sex and the City: The Movie available for your immediate gratification via iTunes.

Next: High School Musical 2 Dances into Your Hearts

2. New to DVD: High School Musical 2 (2-Disc Deluxe Dance Edition)!

The East High Wildcats of High School Musical 2 are dancing their way into your living room again in an all-new special “Deluxe Dance Edition,” which means one important thing for fans: more Zac Efron! (Because 17 million tweens can’t be wrong, right?)

The occasion for this DVD double dip, besides raking in more money for Disney, is that in just one short month High School Musical 3 will be debuting in theaters nationwide, the first installment in the highly successful TV movie series to be shown in theaters. Our guess is that it will make approximately one hundred billion dollars on opening weekend — and yes, $10 of that box office take will be from us. (What’s got two thumbs and loves Zac Efron? This girl!)

In true double dip fashion, the High School Musical 2 Deluxe Dance Edition boasts new exclusive material, like four deleted scenes, a “Cast Favorites” extra, and a video gallery of HSM2 songs covered by twenty artists from around the world. Two dance-along songs, with the cast as your instructors, are the highlight of the release. And that’s only the tip of the cheery teen-dream iceberg. Also find more behind-the-scenes looks at the cast and select scenes, plus special guest Miley Cyrus, who has by now achieved a sort of omnipresence to which only Disney teen stars of the highest caliber may aspire. Did I mention the release includes all of the bonus features from the previously released DVD?

And though most HSM2 fans likely care little about optimum aspect ratios, we’ll mention that the Blu-ray release offers a wide-screen version of the film.

Watch two clips and an exclusive bonus feature from High School Musical 2: Deluxe Dance Edition below!

Next: Take the Gun, and Also Take the Godfather: Coppola Restoration

3. New to DVD/Blu-Ray: The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration

It’s an offer you can’t refuse: take home The Godfather trilogy on DVD and Blu-ray, newly scrubbed clean and remastered under the careful scrutiny of Francis Ford Coppola himself! Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis have supervised a painstaking, frame-by-frame restoration of their classic films The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II using state of the art digital technology, which along with a remastered Godfather, Part III are available this week individually, in a five-disc collection, and in a four-disc Blu-ray release. Your only question: which version should I buy?

New extras: Both the four-disc DVD set and the five-disc Blu-ray release feature a host of new extras, including features on the legacy of The Godfather trilogy (“Godfather World”), the editing process (“…When the Shooting Stopped”), the restoration process (“Emulsional Rescue”) and the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of the original production, which almost didn’t happen (“The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn’t”). Red carpet cast interviews and four short films on Godfather-related subjects are also new additions. Both sets include commentary tracks by Coppola on all three films.

Blu-ray only extras: The Blu-ray set includes the above new bonus features in high definition, plus a host of previously-released extras from the 2001 DVD release. These include behind-the-scenes featurettes, Coppola’s notebook, storyboards from Godfather I and II, bonus scenes, trailers, photo galleries, and much more. We also advise nabbing the Blu-ray release to get the most out of Coppola’s restoration, which are presented in anamorphic widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 screens; enjoy Nino Rota’s haunting soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.

The Godfather Trilogy: The Coppola Restoration is available this week on DVD ($72.99) or Blu-ray ($119.99).

Next: A Stephen Colbert holiday special!

4. Coming Soon: A Stephen Colbert Christmas Special!

Though he failed to successfully campaign for President (you can still write him in), Comedy Central pundit Stephen Colbert is giving his fans something to be thankful for this holiday season: his own Christmas special! A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! will combine comedy and music, with performances by musical guests like Feist, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, John Legend, and controversial party-flopping country singer, Toby Keith, (self-confessed Democrat, 2004 Bush supporter, and frenemy of the Dixie Chicks).

In grand holiday special tradition, A Colbert Christmas will follow Colbert as he gets snowed in one winter night. He’s joined in his wintry cabin by his celebrity friends (Feist as an angel, John Legend as a forest ranger) who help him sing songs like “There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In” (with Costello), “Little Dealer Boy” (with Nelson), and “Hanukkah” (with Jon Stewart), all original songs written by Daily Show exec producer David Javerbaum and Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger.

A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! will air on November 23 and make its way to DVD November 25.

Next: Are Direct-to-DVD Sequels the Future?

5. Are Direct-to-DVD Sequels the Future?

It’s a term we viewers have come to dread: “direct-to-DVD.” But one studio executive believes direct-to-DVD sequels are the future of home entertainment. Can DTV sequels to Mean Girls, The Naked Gun, Bad News Bears, Grease, and Road Trip really extend one-off movies and out-of-steam franchises into successful home video properties?

Paramount’s newly launched spin-off division, Paramount Famous, is hoping for the best — they’ve got plans to produce direct-to-video sequels of all of the movies mentioned above. (Hey, after all those American Pies and a billion Lands Before Time, why not?) MTV Films reports that Paramount Famous will start things off in 2009 with Without a Paddle: Nature’s Calling, followed by an estimated six releases per year.

Next: Kung Fu Panda to Make History?

6. Kung Fu Panda Debuting Spin-off Sequel on a Sunday
Divx HD

DreamWorks/Paramount did such boffo business with this summer’s Kung Fu Panda ($619 million worldwide), they decided to rewrite the rules of feature film distribution. This week, they announced plans to release Kung Fu Panda to DVD and Blu-ray on November 9 — a Sunday!! Who do they think they are, Pixar?

Kung Fu Panda will not only be released on the unprecedented day of rest (instead of the usual Tuesday), it will also not be alone in stores. A standalone companion piece, entitled Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five, is scheduled to hit shelves the same day and will delve deeper into the back stories of characters from Kung Fu Panda. Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman will reprise their voice roles as Po and Master Shifu, respectively; the twenty-minute short film will be available for purchase separately or in a bundle pack with Kung Fu Panda on DVD and Blu-ray and will feature its own bonus menu.

Next: New on DVD: Leatherheads

7. New on DVD: Leatherheads — 52%

When good old George Clooney gets serious, he wins Oscars. When he goes for laughs…not so much. And yet there’s something about Fun Clooney that delights fans, whether he’s a suave thief (Ocean’s Eleven), a bumbling convict (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), or a pathological idiot (Burn After Reading). So tune in this week as Clooney goes for screwball laughs set in the Great Depression!

Director Clooney stars in this football comedy of manners as Dodge Connolly, a rascally player for hire on the struggling pro football circuit who must save the league and win the heart of feisty cub reporter (Renee Zellweger) from his teammate and much younger rival (John Krasinski). (Had the Writers’ Guild not ruled against it, Clooney would have notched another credit from Leatherheads, having given an original script by sportswriters Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly a major retooling.)

Supplement your NFL Sundays with this lighter look at football’s early years, but be warned: Leatherheads is more romantic comedy than gridiron actioner. DVD highlights include deleted scenes, a feature-length commentary track with Clooney and producer Grant Heslov, and a bonus look at one of Clooney’s famous on-set pranks.

Next: Peter Petrelli in Pathology

8. New on DVD: Pathology — 47%

If cadaver carvings and sociopathic doctors are your cup of tea, then Pathology should have you delightfully revolted. Milo Ventimiglia stars as Ted Grey, a promising medical student who gets entangled in a murderous circle of S&M and death with his fellow medical interns. Believable? No. Sexy and violent? Yes!

Personally, we prefer our medical professionals to be sane and committed to the Hippocratic Oath, but as they say, to each his own. Ventimiglia leads a cast of hot young things (including a de-clothed Alyssa Milano, if you’re into that) in a fairly original, if disturbingly twisted tale written by the brains behind Crank. Just be prepared to see bodies dissected left and right, lots of kinky sex, and Peter Petrelli gone bad. Very, very bad.

Lionsgate summarily dumped this flick while in theaters, so most viewers will probably catch it on DVD. Watch for a commentary by Neveldine, Taylor and director Marc Schoelermann, behind-the-scenes featurettes, an extended autopsy scene and more.

Next: Simon Pegg and David Schwimmer < Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright

9. New on DVD: Run, Fatboy, Run — 48%

Simon Pegg has had a string of successes thanks to frequent collaboration with the cheeky Edgar Wright, but unfortunately this week’s Run, Fatboy, Run isn’t one of them. Instead of the comedy magic born without fail from the time-tested Pegg-Wright formula, we get a formulaic romantic comedy directed by former Friends star David Schwimmer that landed at a disappointing 48 percent on the Tomatometer. (Although it must be said that Run, Fatboy, Run performed quite well in the United Kingdom. Go figure!)

The Schwimmster made his directorial debut with this tale of a pot bellied loser (Pegg) who enters a marathon to win back the baby mama (Thandie Newton) he dumped years ago; critics were apathetic, thanks to a clichéd plot and telegraphed laughs, but if you’re like us, you’ll give anything Simon Pegg does a shot…at least on DVD.

Look for fun bonus features like “Thandie’s Goof” Outtakes and a commentary track with Newton, Schwimmer, Pegg, and Pegg’s mom, Gill Pegg.

Next: Election Time Fun with Schoolhouse Rock!

10. Schoolhouse Rock! The Election Collection

If you can still remember the words to “Conjunction Junction” and other Schoolhouse Rock classics, take a trip down memory lane with the all-new Schoolhouse Rock! The Election Collection. In stores just in time for November’s landmark election (remember to register to vote!), the Election Collection gathers 14 of the show’s politics-related segments.

The segments fall into three main categories: election-related issues (like Wall Street, taxes, and the national debt), U.S. history (immigration, inventions, and democracy), and the government (the constitution, the check system, women’s suffrage, and the seminal “I’m Just a Bill,” about how laws get passed). Ostensibly aimed at teaching children about the election (though plenty of adults could use a refresher, too), the DVD set comes with a fold-out electoral map of the United States, with red and blue stickers so you and your little ones can track your favorite candidate’s progress this November 4.

The limited release DVD is available for MSRP $19.99.

To revisit past RT on DVD columns, peruse our archives here!

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