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Weekend Recommendations: DVDs

Time for Part 2. Here’s yer DVD goodness…

DVD cover art for Coupling: The Complete Series 1-4 DVD cover art for The Specials DVD cover art for All About Lily Chou-Chou

TV DVD of the Week:Coupling: The Complete Series 1-4. Did the American version scare you off? Aw, don’t be like that. The original is freaking hysterical. This BBC release comes with the four seasons they’ve created to date–all twenty-eight episodes. It also comes with a decent amount of extras: a slew of audio commentaries with both cast and crew, interviews, outtakes and deleted scenes, a making-of featurette and more. If you’re unfamiliar with the Giggle Loop and the Sock Gap, you need to get educated. In a hurry.

DVD of the Week:The Specials. The funniest superhero flick in existence until we got The Incredibles, this crazed ensemble piece is from the scribe behind the Dawn of the Dead redo. The Specials are the seventh best supergroup in existence and as a result, they don’t get a lot of respect. They’re out to change all that…good luck. This Anchor Bay release comes with two audio commentaries, deleted scenes and classic lines like “You’re twelve-steppin’ me to death here, bitch!” Ah, what bliss.

Foreign Film of the Week: All About Lily Chou-Chou. Home Vision brings you this odd Japanese film about teenage alienation and tragedy. Odd? Because it started life as an Internet novel written as posts to a BBS…a BBS that everybody could get in on. You also have to be patient, lest the film end up alienating you as well. Still, if you can relate to the young cruelty it might be a compelling watch. This comes with a well-done making-of docu, a bio and filmography of writer/director Shunji Iwai, and a music video.

DVD cover art for Nausicaa DVD cover art for The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries: Season 1 DVD cover art for Fat Albert

Anime DVD of the Week: Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind. Disney replaces the sad releases we’ve seen of this in the States with this nicely done two-disc edition. Because all the Buena Vista re-releases are getting spiffy new English voice tracks, you get Mark Hamill, Shia LaBeouf, Alison Lohman, Chris Sarandon, Patrick Stewart and Uma Thurman. You get a featurette focusing on their recording sessions here, a history of Studio Ghibli, trailers, and the second disc gives you the entire film in storyboard form. Nice.

Adverse Video of the Week:The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries: Season 1. If there’s anything that should give you pause, it’s the overwhelming 70s vibe of this show. The custom paint job on the Hardy Boys’ van. The whacked out opening credits. The idea that Shaun Cassidy could or should have a musical career. And the hair, oh Gods, the hair. Fourteen episodes, half with the boys and half with Nancy, are here. There’s also a fold-out poster of the Hardy Boys. Rocking. And terrifying.

Family DVD of the Week: Fat Albert. Well, its heart was in the right place. This was not seen as a critical success by any means (nor necessarily in the box office), but hey, if your kids have already eaten up the original animation they might want to go for this. It’s meta at times (Fat Albert meets his maker–literally) but little kids might find it amusing. This Fox release comes with a director’s and producer’s commentary, extended scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and the trailer.

DVD cover art for Enola Gay DVD covert art for California Dreamin'

Docu DVD of the Week: Enola Gay. We’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: The History Channel is awesome when it comes to creating DVDs, because they have access to so much stuff. Want to put out a DVD on a particular subject? Just check the archives–bang–done. Here there’s two programs that make up this release, one that takes you back to 1945 to put you in the plane (“Enola Gay: Rain of Ruin”), and another that brings you the background on why the bomb had to be dropped (“Hiroshima: The Decision to Drop the Bomb”).

Music DVD of the Week: California Dreamin’. This release from Hip-O Records contains the majority of the PBS special that fans might be familiar with, so you get the one-hour docu with a slew of performances, not to mention hearing from all four members including the sadly deceased Papa John and Mama Cass. There’s songs like “I Call Your Name,” “Monday, Monday,” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” Comes with a bonus interview with producer Lou Adler.