This week, pick up Steve Carell’s sweetly bumbling spy antics (Get Smart), the promising new Futurama movie (Bender’s Game), a few early holiday treats (Shrek the Halls, A Christmas Story Collector’s Edition) and more, plus learn about the future of digital movie rentals and another controversial election-timed DVD coming in the mail.
Bumbling spy Maxwell Smart got a 2008 update, courtesy of Office darling Steve Carell, when Warner Bros.’ big budget action-comedy Get Smart smashed its way through theaters to a $221 million global box office take. This week, take home the gadgets-and-gags adventure as Get Smart makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray!
In Get Smart, CONTROL analyst Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) yearns to become a field agent, like his idol, Agent 23 (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). When the agency is attacked, it’s up to Smart to save the world and all of CONTROL from the evil forces of KAOS.
Special DVD features include five featurettes, a bonus digital copy, and the “Comedy Optimization Mode,” in which you can view over 20 minutes of alternate jokes — what Warner Bros. calls “62% more laughs.” Watch Steve Carell unleash a barrage of alternate jokes with a sample of Get Smart‘s “Smart Takes” DVD feature below!
Next: Futurama: Bender’s Game
Futurama fans still hopeful for a franchise turnaround after the last mildly disappointing direct-to-DVD film, The Beast with a Billion Backs, should be pleasantly satisfied by the third feature-length adventure starring the Planet Express crew. Deviating from the tone set by the popular cancelled series and the first two of four subsequent DVD films, Bender’s Game takes 21st century pizza boy Fry, one-eyed gladiatrix Leela, misanthropic robot Bender and their pals away from science fiction and into the realm of the true nerd: fantasy.
As the gang embarks on a dangerous quest for dark matter to fuel their spaceship, they become fantastical characters straight out of Dungeons & Dragons, as imagined by Bender. A rich feature-length commentary by cast and crew, deleted scenes, bloopers, and more accompany the disc, along with cool featurettes including one that teaches you to draw Zoidberg, Leela and Bender.
Next: TIVO and Netflix partnership
What would happen if the future of DVD rentals and the future of digital video recording joined forces? We’ll find out soon enough, as rent-by-mail trailblazer Netflix and DVR pioneer TiVo have officially cemented a long-discussed partnership that could significantly change the world of home video entertainment.
Thanks to the partnership announced Thursday, mutual subscribers to Netflix and TiVo will soon be able to download their Netflix queue through their TiVo feed, eliminating the need to receive and return physical DVDs through the mail. And you thought it couldn’t get any easier!
Next: Anti-Obama DVD in newspapers
In a move similar to the controversial anti-Islam DVD mailed to households across America back in September, a conservative group is funding the distribution of anti-Barack Obama DVDs in the swing states of Ohio, Florida and Nevada only days away from next Tuesday’s Presidential election.
Hype: The Obama Effect will arrive in the mail along with five major newspapers in the aforementioned states this week; David Bossie, president of Citizens United, who will be spending $1 million on the effort, calls the DVD and its message “a truthful attack.” Look for your copy in The Columbus Dispatch, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Palm Beach Post, and the Las Vegas Journal-Review. Read more here.
Director Brad Anderson (Next Stop Wonderland, The Machinist, Session 9) sets strangers on a train rumbling across the icy Russian tundra in this taut thriller, new to DVD. Emily Mortimer and Woody Harrelson star as a married couple traveling on the famous Trans-Siberian railroad when they befriend another couple (Eduardo Noriega, Kate Mara) who draw them into dangerous plot of infidelity, drugs, and murder. What’s more criminal is the lack of special features on this sparse, yet intriguing, release.
Next: The Bourne Trilogy
Amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne made a game-changing Hollywood debut with 2002’s The Bourne Identity, followed by two impressive sequels that held up the hype (2004’s The Bourne Supremacy) and then surpassed it (2007’s Oscar-winning The Bourne Ultimatum). This week you can get your hands on the super-charged series as the complete trilogy comes to DVD and Blu-ray — a perfect way to start getting excited about the just-announced fourth Bourne flick, set to reunite star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass.
Next: Shrek the Halls
Shrek, Donkey, Princess Fiona and their friends gather to celebrate the Shrek family’s first Christmas in this holiday special that first aired last November. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas reprise their roles from the Shrek feature films in this 30 minute program. But considering its brief runtime and too-light smattering of special features, Shrek the Halls may be a worthwhile investment for strictly die-hard fans of the franchise.
Next: What We Do is Secret
Revisit one of the more tragic stories in punk rock history with this biopic of Germs frontman Darby Crash, who lit up LA’s 1970 punk scene before realizing a five-year plan for fame that ended with his planned suicide. Shot guerilla-style over the course of two years, director Rodger Grossman’s meticulously-detailed film drew mixed results from critics but should be an intriguing watch for Germs faithful. Founding Germs member Pat Smear (who would go on to join Nirvana and Foo Fighters) produced all of the film’s music, which was performed largely by the cast; after providing his own vocals as lead singer Darby Crash, actor Shane West (yes, the dude from A Walk to Remember) went on to tour with the remaining Germs under the moniker The New Germs.
Next: Waterworld: Extended Edition
Can the movie once known as “Fishtar” improve with an additional 40 minutes of footage? Find out this week, as Waterworld: 2-Disc Extended Edition hits shelves. A lucky thirteen years after it debuted as one of the most expensive flops in movie history (global sales eventually evened out the $175M budget), Kevin Costner’s pricey aquatic odyssey returns to DVD, but what has been added?
If you recall the original cut, you’ll be pleased to notice new scenes that flesh out the daily experiences of Costner’s Mariner, who gets a new name, and those of the Smokers. The downside: this extended cut, though closer to director Kevin Reynold’s vision, is the same one televised in 1997 and hasn’t been cleaned up much, so expect the TV-ready absence of profanity, nudity, and some scenes of violence.
Next: A Christmas Story Ultimate Collector’s
If you don’t already own one of the previously-released special editions of this holiday classic, consider throwing down for this bonus-packed Ultimate Collector’s Edition; we triple-dog dare you. The tale of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) holding out for the ultimate present — a Red Ryder BB gun — one Christmas in 1940 remains one of the best-loved family flicks of the holiday season, and Warner Bros. has gift-wrapped it in an amazing set for DVD and Blu-ray.
Pick up the DVD set for a plethora of extras, including an audio commentary with director Bob Clark and actors Billingsley and Melinda Dillon, featurettes, a documentary and more; you’ll also get a 48-page recipe book, chef’s apron, and a set of cookie cutters with designs based on iconic moments in the film (leg lamp cookies!). Blu-ray buyers will get even more special features, including script pages, and a string of leg lamp holiday lights.