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Recommendations: Stuff to Watch, Part 1

Action DVD of the Week: Mr. & Mrs. Smith: Unrated. Another re-release that sports “unrated” like a badge of honor (but really is only a few extra minutes of footage), this Fox release is for those of you who dug the film. And really, if you can turn your brain off enough, you can enjoy the “Goes Boom” factor. This time around it’s a two-disc set that sports a single commentary, different than any on the last release (this time the director goes solo), plus deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a large “film school” bit with director Doug Liman, a behind-the-scenes docu, a featurette and more. (Buy it)

TV DVD of the Week: Life Goes On: The Complete First Season. Warner Brothers brings the first twenty-two episodes of this series to DVD, and it’s got a significant fanbase. Even those of us who don’t watch television (like myself) remember the series and what it accomplished: bringing a “disabled” individual to prime time television in a major role and dealing with (in this case) him as a realistic character. Corky was a groundbreaking character and won over a lot of viewers, thanks also to a supporting cast and writers who would give him good stories to work with. This is a six-disc set and comes with commentary by the actor who played Corky as well as the series creator, plus screen tests and a gag reel. (Buy it)

Animation DVD of the Week: Inspector Gadget: The Original Series. Long before the feature film exploded onto screens and almost exploded Matthew Broderick‘s career (only to be abandoned by him later–poor French Stewart), it was a series that many a youngster enjoyed and many an older youngster appreciated due to the involvement of Don Adams. And too few of us understand that Dr. Claw would turn out later to be Darkseid. Anyway, Shout Factory has answered the prayers of fans and released the first twenty-two episodes, here across four discs. The main bonus bit is a featurette with the creators looking back. (Buy it)

Gritty DVD of the Week: The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. Well, if you like drama with no punches pulled, and so much grit that you wonder if there’s any gravy, then this adaptation of the stories of JT Leroy might be up your alley. Asia Argento takes the director’s chair and delivers a tale fraught with plenty to make you uneasy: child abuse and neglect, but none of it appears to be played lightly or for the hell of it. It’s telling a story that you’ll either buy into it or you won’t. This Palm Pictures release comes with a commentary by Argento and the producer, as well as a couple of featurettes. (Buy it)

Sports DVD of the Week: Glory Road. People who go watch Bruckheimer films and then complain are always a mystery to me. It’s not like it’s not a known quantity what you’re going to get: his action films are All! Action! and his popcorn movies are uber-popcorn flicks. And his sports flicks are enjoyable, if saccharine. So that’s what you’re getting here, though it’s balanced somewhat with the importance of the story about the breakthrough of integrated college basketball. This Disney release comes with a director and producer commentary, deleted scenes, more info about the coach, interviews and more. (Buy it)

Anime DVD of the Week: Ghost in the Shell, Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig, Vol. 5. Manga Video rolls out another four episodes of the series on this volume, which features a bit of globe-hopping over to Taiwan and Berlin even as the intrigue continues on the homefront in Japan. After all, what good is an altered future world if you can’t go tool around in it some? This comes with an interview with the director, as well as the voices of Batou, Borma, Motoko, and Togusa. (Buy it)

Nature (vs. Man) DVD of the Week: Arctic Passage. Long before the first interstate, mankind wanted to get places faster. Thus the Northwest Passage, the “bypass” of its day, was sought to shave off time between the Pacific Ocean and Europe. This two-hour PBS program follows two attempts to get through, one that failed spectacularly (and mysteriously–they’re still trying to figure out exactly what happened) and the other that actually worked. If you like extreme expeditions and the crazy folks that go on them, then you should definitely check this out. (Buy it)

Automotive DVD of the Week: The Fast and the Furious Franchise Collection. This is what some folks would term “auto porn,” since all the car geeks I know love these movies. When you ask about the plot they say, “There was a plot?” They probably couldn’t even name any of the actors. They’re just in it for the vehicles. And while this Universal set probably won’t crank anyone else’s tractor, Universal does get credit for throwing a bonus disc in with the existing copies of the first two movies. This disc doesn’t just promote the third movie (hitting this weekend), but it also comes with extended scenes from the first two movies and an alternate ending for the first one. (Buy it)