Media | DVD Releases | November 20, 2007: Welcome to this week's angelic home video releases, focused entirely on the American market. Sorry, rest of the world.

Roundup by VsRobot | Posted November 19, 2007

Pick of the week

Rescue Dawn
The true story of an escape by a Vietnam-war era POW from hellish conditions. Christian Bale is pitch-perfect as the can-do optimist who doesn't let little things like imprisonment and torture get him down. Remarkable and uplifting, it's an even better take on the subject than the excellent The Great Escape.

Also out this week

Angel A
Another one of my favorite directors sees a film hit DVD this week. Luc Besson is often criticized for being all style and no substance, but the way he paints his imagination across the screen appeals to me greatly. His undoubted masterpiece is Leon, a film that cemented Jean Reno's status as one of the all-time great cinema presences and introduced the world to Natalie Portman. I don't have much to say about Angel-A, because as of press time I haven't seen it, but my anticipation is through the roof to see Besson's take on It's a Wonderful Life -- except now the angel is a beautiful French woman who needs saving as much as the protagonist of the story does.

Live Free or Die Hard
I was looking forward to covering this movie so I could point out how much it misses the point of the Die Hard franchise. John McClane is not a super-hero, he's a regular cop for whom things like broken glass and exhaustion are factors! He shouldn't be drop-kicking cars into helicopters or whatever. However, my great insight was already presented by the character of Michael Scott on the US version of The Office on a recent episode, so now all I have to say is the film is enjoyable but in no way does it live up to the first film in the series.

Hair Spray
Exterminate all man-animals at will! Oh, wait, that's a different John Travolta movie. I've never seen the original, and I probably should do that before I see the remake. I will say that John Waters is a very appealing weirdo, so I won't dismiss this out of hand.

The Santa Clause 3
Welcome to what your family is going to have on in the background when you go visit them on Thanksgiving. HAHA, SUCKERS.

High-Def Alert: The World of Blu-Ray and HD DVD

Seeing the HD release of the original Star Trek series just reminds me of how much I'm looking forward to rebuying Star Wars for the eighth or ninth time. Maybe this time we can get the theatrical versions remastered, instead of the non-anamorphic garbage they crapped out on DVD a little while back. Le sigh.

We also get every Die Hard movie on Blu-Ray this week. I'm a big, big fan of the first two movies and will definitely be adding those to my collection.

Pain Doesn't Lie: Horror on DVD

Rob Lowe takes over for Kevin Bacon in the Stir of Echoes sequel. I thought the first film was overlooked and unfairly written off as just another Sixth Sense clone at a time when the market was glutted with them, but even so I didn't think the film warranted a sequel. At least casting Rob Lowe means I'll never have to watch it.

Classic horror fans can enjoy Nosferatu. Again.

Feedback is the mayo which keeps the sandwich of Add To Queue delicious. Let me know what you think on the official thread in the forum. If you're shy, PM me!

Prepared with the assistance of The Digital Bits, a wonderfully comprehensive home media site, and cover art courtesy of Amazon, where you can purchase any of these titles. Rent all of the movies covered in the column online at Netflix. We recommend waiting until the format war is over before investing in an HD player, but if you have to do it right away our money is on Blu-ray. Be sure to PM the author via the forums if you have any suggestions for the column. I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It's like when you put your head to the grass and you can hear the growin' and you can hear the insects. Do you like Beethoven? Thanks for reading!