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Weekend Recommendations: DVDs

Here’s yer DVD goodness…

DVD of the Week: Lifeboat. This Hitchcock film is based on the story by Steinbeck and features Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Hume Cronyn and more in this claustrophic tale of the survivors of an Allied ship adrift on the title in the open sea. This hits from Fox and like all their special editions, it holds up well: a film professor provides commentary, there’s a making-of docu, and a still gallery as well. Wonderful mind games get played by Hitch, the master, in this film that you simply have to see if you haven’t. (Buy it)

TV DVD of the Week: Friends: The Complete Tenth Season. Well, the show that kept NBC sane for years finally ended with this season. All eighteen episodes are available here across four discs, and like always, these boxed sets are must-haves for any fans. The producers provide commentary on three episodes (including the series wrap-ups), a featurette talking with everybody about the end of the show, gag reels, a slightly terrifying music video, and DVD-ROM content as well. This hits from Warner Brothers. (Buy it)

Anime DVD of the Week: DearS, Vol. 2: 2nd Contact. Aliens find themselves stranded on Earth and try to assimilate themselves into Japanese society. That’s right, it’s an anime version of Alien Nation…except the chicks are cuter. How will they cope with terran schools? This Geneon release comes with four episodes, an art gallery and clean closing animation. (Buy it)

Animation DVD of the Week: Tripping the Rift: The Complete First Season. Ah, you’ve come a long way, baby. I remember the first “pilot” of this which found its way to the Net…and it’s still some very funny shit. This Anchor Bay release is, unfortunately, still censored, but all thirteen episodes are here across three discs. Bare bones, but worth a rental if you want some sci-fi (relative) raunch. (Buy it)

Family DVD of the Week: The Polar Express. Coming up on Christmas, if you can get over the Final Fantasy expressions on everybody’s faces, your kids at least will enjoy this two-disc release from Warner Brothers. Apart from this holiday tale about believing in Santa Claus that stars Tom Hanks many times over, you get a bonus song, a featurette on the Multi-Hanks, a featurette on the book’s author, Chris Van Allsburg, some game bits, and more. (Buy it)

Music DVD of the Week: Billie Holiday: Ultimate Collection. Universal Music has a really nice selection of material here. There’s a collection of performances from film and television, including “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans,” “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone,” and “What A Little Moonlight Can Do.” Then there’s some audio performances as well as audio interviews, including one with Mike Wallace from 1956. There’s lots more as well. (Buy it)

Brit DVD of the Week: Hamish Macbeth: Series One. Robert Carlyle, before Trainspotting and being wasted as a Bond villain, starred in this odd little mystery series about a small Scottish village and Hamish, its constable, who’s trying to solve crimes and basically keep a low profile. Five of the six episodes are included (not sure why one is missing), but this two-disc set is worth sampling if you want something different than your typical whodunit. (Buy it)

Docu of the Week: Slam Nation: The Sport of Spoken Word. While I’ve never entered a competition, I’ve performed spoken word in a lot of places, and so this docu from Docurama is especially interesting for yours truly. If you’ve never witnessed one of these things, you should definitely check this out, especially if you appreciate poetry and writing in general. This tale of spoken word artists on their way to the World Series (so to speak) comes with uncut versions of the poetry featured, an audio commentary, bonus poetry, deleted scenes and more. (Buy it)

Adverse Video of the Week: The Honeymooners. It’s not even the fact that this is a remake of a television classic. It’s not, either, the fact that it’s been “urbanized” for your pleasure by casting Ralph, Ed, and company with black actors. It’s just that the script is lame, so you can’t even get past that to criticize anything else. If you can make it past MST3King the film outright, this edition comes with a commentary with Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, and the director, plus a featurette and additional footage also with commentary by the director. Maybe somebody can make a drinking game out of this thing. (Buy it)

Comedy DVD of the Week: The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Daily Show alum Steve Carell does quite nicely for himself in this flick, released to the DVD wild by Universal. Here he’s…well, exactly what the title says he is, trying to cope with “giving it up” for the first time that late in life. It’s the body waxing scene that brings tears to my eyes…and not for the right reasons, I assure you. This unrated release comes with seventeen more minutes of movie, a commentary with the director and Carell, gag reel, and multiple extra scenes and bits, also with commentaries. (Buy it)

Cult DVD of the Week: Big Bad Mama. Buena Vista Home Video is releasing a line of Roger Corman new editons, and this one with the badass matriarch of the title, Angie Dickinson, is a good one to start with, coming, as it does, with robbery, nudity, violence and the whole nine. It comes with a retrospective featurette (that has interviews with Corman, Dickinson among others), the trailer and–most excellent–a commentary with Corman and Dickinson. (Buy it)

Horror DVD of the Week: The Bird With the Crystal Plumage. A witness to a serial killer’s attempt on a woman’s life might be the next one to be taking the celestial dirt nap in this thriller from Dario Argento. Blue Underground truly brings the noise with this two-disc special edition, containing never before seen footage, an audio commentary by a pair of journalists, trailers, TV spots, an interviews with Argento, actress Eva Renzi, and composer Ennio Morricone. (Buy it)

UMD of the Week: Universal Soldier. Resurrected to serve as the ultimate killing machines in a government project, Dolph Lundgren’s and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s careers…wait, I read that wrong. They’re playing soldiers who were resurrected–my mistake. Anyway, they’re supposed to be the perfect soldiers now…but can even death keep them from remembering who they are and why they want to kill each other? Find out…on a very small screen, as Artisan provides this for your entertainment on the PSP. (Buy it)