1/12/10 Edition
 January Chill Edition
Plus: Criterion Brings CHE to DVD
I sincerely hope that everyone had a healthy and terrific holiday season. Kicking off 2010 here at the Aisle Seat, we have a group of sci-fi and horror films that attempt to show us that the “Year We Make Contact” is a lot more horrifying than Arthur C. Clarke once envisioned!

New on Blu-Ray & DVD

MOON Blu-Ray (***, 97 mins., 2009, R; Sony). LOWDOWN: Duncan Jones directed this low-key and compelling sci-fi thriller with Sam Rockwell isolated on a moon outpost, working for a corporation that’s mining energy for the Earth. Outside of infrequent messages from his wife, conversations with his base’s omnipresent robot entity (voiced by Kevin Spacey), and watching re-runs of “Bewitched,” Rockwell has grown batty and alone, even with just two weeks remaining in his three-year contract. A near-fatal accident, however, quickly throws Rockwell’s tedium into a tailspin, and without giving it all away, the film subsequently becomes much more literal than its somewhat “Solaris”-like opening half hour. Well acted, leisurely paced and filled with stark, impressive shots of Rockwell motoring along on the moon’s surface, “Moon” is a perfect antidote to last year’s special effects-dominated spectacles, with a fascinating story that culminates in a highly satisfying conclusion. Unlike other filmmakers, Jones also plays fair with the audience as well, revealing its central twist about midway through and letting the characters take it from there. TECH SPECS: Sony’s Blu-Ray edition of “Moon” is gorgeous, boasting vivid black levels and contrasts. The DTS Master Audio sound is also impressive, offering an effective, if a bit repetitive, score by Clint Mansell. Extras include a pair of commentaries and several Making Of featurettes. AISLE SEAT BOTTOM LINE: Not as depressing as you might expect, with a superb pay-off, “Moon” is highly recommended for sci-fi fans, particularly on Blu-Ray where its HD imagery is simply dazzling.

HALLOWEEN II Blu-Ray (**, 119 mins., Unrated, 2009; Sony). LOWDOWN: Rob Zombie’s sequel to his “reboot” of John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher classic is a tough one to review, since unlike most genre filmmakers these days, Zombie seems to be aiming for something a little bit different with his “Halloween II.” This time out poor Scout Taylor-Compton is back as Laurie Strode, but a punked-out, tattooed Laurie suffering from some of the same hallucinations that plagued her big brother Michael (Tyler Mane, again donning what’s left of the original mask). Is Mike really back on the rampage or is it all in her head? This intriguing story line is unfortunately compromised by another patented Zombie assortment of images sporting gratuitous, grizzly violence and sex, a lot of which is off-putting and only serves to take away from some of the filmmaker’s more interesting ideas. This Unrated version also offers a different ending from the theatrical version, managing to be both depressing and more definitive at the same time. Too bad the theatrical version isn’t on-hand here, nor is its ending even offered in its supplements. TECH SPECS: Sony’s Blu-Ray edition of “Halloween II” is solid, though the film’s grainy, rather grimy cinematography doesn’t provide the viewer with any sort of HD eye candy. The 1080p AVC encoded transfer is nevertheless acceptable, as is the DTS Master Audio sound. Extras include a few deleted/extended scenes, Zombie’s commentary, audition footage, a blooper reel and music videos. AISLE SEAT BOTTOM LINE: One of these days Zombie is going to tame his excesses and produce a solid, character-driven horror film. In spite of a few intriguing concepts, though, “Halloween II” isn’t it -- something that’s been confirmed by Dimension recruiting genre vet Patrick Lussier to helm the upcoming “Halloween 3-D,” which is going to likely forget that Zombie’s films ever happened.

PANDORUM Blu-Ray and DVD (**½, 108 mins., 2009, R; Anchor Bay). LOWDOWN: Paul Anderson, that loveable softie who gave us the “Resident Evil” films as well as “Event Horizon,” produced this box-office flop from last fall -- yet another sci-fi/horror outing about a desolate space ship with dim corridors, confused crew members, and monsters that look like refugees from Thunderdome running amok. With that in mind “Pandorum” is watchable enough as it follows befuddled crew men Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid around, trying to put the pieces together about where they are in the galaxy and what’s the deal with the cannibalistic mutants they occasionally come across. Director Christian Alvart does his best Ridley Scott imitation, while writer Travis Milloy tries to mix up an abundance of cliches in the hopes that the movie’s presentation can overcome its inherent tired plot. “Pandorum” doesn’t completely satisfy, but for a night’s rental it does the job, and at least the satisfying ending is a bit more evocative than you might anticipate. TECH SPECS: Anchor Bay brings “Pandorum” to Blu-Ray and DVD next week. While both presentations look superb, unsurprisingly the Blu’s 1080p transfer is superior in terms of replicating Wedigo Von Schultzendorff’s dim, but fairly well textured, cinematography. The Dolby TrueHD Blu-Ray audio is robust as well, while extra features include a few deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes and (on the Blu-Ray only) a digital copy for portable media players. AISLE SEAT BOTTOM LINE: “Pandorum” joins “Event Horizon” and “Sphere” as “haunted” ship movies in the sci-fi/horror genre, and while it doesn’t really offer anything new, it’s not at all out of place with that company either. Die-hard genre addicts should check it out.

THE FINAL DESTINATION 3-D Blu-Ray (*½, 82 mins., 2009, R; Warner). LOWDOWN: Fourth entry in the horror franchise followed the lead of last year’s “Fast and Furious” by dropping a numerical assignment to its title, thereby confusing the heck out of movie-goers everywhere. To sum it up: “Final Destination” was decent, but “THE Final Destination” is a tired retread of its predecessors, looking and sounding like a direct-to-video effort with 3-D special effects. Shorn of its theatrical 3-D dimensions on video, though, there’s little to recommend in this brief, tepid film, which offers another group of idiot teens being stalked by Death -- the plot merely an excuse for F/X set-pieces that off them one-by-one. If you’ve seen any of the prior films in this series you know what to expect while, tellingly, director David R. Ellis needs the credits to reach the 80 minute mark. TECH SPECS: Warner’s Blu-Ray edition of “The Final Destination” does offer a 3-D version of the movie in addition to a standard 2-D presentation, yet the former is naturally contained here in an analygraph 3-D version (with a pair of glasses) that fails to approximate its theatrical appearance. The DTS Master Audio sound is fine, while extras include two alternate endings (one of which is superior than the released version’s groaner of a conclusion), a couple of featurettes, and a look at the upcoming remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” A digital copy for portable media players is also on-hand. AISLE SEAT BOTTOM LINE: Lackluster and completely forgettable, “The Final Destination” is destined to languish in bargain bins for years to come.

JENNIFER’S BODY Blu-Ray (*½, 100 mins., 2009, Unrated/R; Fox). LOWDOWN: Writer Diablo Cody followed her “Juno” success with this dreary comic-horror misfire (and box-office bomb), offering Megan Fox as a cheerleader who gets possessed after a fire claims the lives of several of her classmates and teachers. Soon squeaky-clean Jennifer is cavorting around, having sex and claiming one helpless victim after another. Amanda Seyfriend essays her best friend, who tries to stop Jennifer’s reign of terror, in an uneven movie that’s not funny enough to be classified as a comedy and not nearly scary enough to function as a horror film. Outside of some oddly placed, goofy elements (like “Juno” alum J.K. Simmons in a wig) “Jennifer’s Body” fails to sustain interest with its pointless story...or if there is a point, I missed it. TECH SPECS: Fox’s Blu-Ray edition of “Jennifer’s Body” is an AVC encoded 1080p presentation framed in its 1.85 aspect ratio, with DTS Master Audio sound and a number of extras. Both theatrical and unrated editions of the movie are on tap, plus commentaries from Cody and director Karyn Kusama, deleted scenes, featurettes, and a digital copy for portable media players. AISLE SEAT BOTTOM LINE: Being a Rhode Islander, I admit that I also found the film’s rather humorous portrayal of a roadside bar that burns down -- claiming the lives of multiple victims -- to be downright offensive, particularly considering its direct similarities to the tragic Station fire (and shame on Cody if her intention was to draw any kind of parallel to that event). That aside, “Jennifer’s Body” isn’t a very good movie by any stretch, like having “Juno” possessed by a demon that would barely cut it in a Full Moon movie. As uneven and unsatisfying as it sounds.

GAMER Blu-Ray and DVD (Zero Stars, 95 mins., 2009, R; Lionsgate). LOWDOWN: Ugly, repellent, over-the-top sci-fi thriller from the “Crank” duo of Neveldine/Taylor is a virtual re-do of “The Running Man,” with prison-inmate contestants playing a televised game where the winner gets to be released, back home to their wife and kids. The twist here is that the contestants are being controlled by gamers and the contest resembles a futuristic, bloody "shooter" video game a la "Halo" -- just with more gore. “Gamer” has a few fleeting moments of amusement, but much like "Halloween II," they're perpetually undercut by a seedy aspect that leaves you with a bad taste in the mouth; the actors, from Gerard Butler’s gruff “in-game” hero to Kyra Sedgwick and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, mostly give perfunctory performances, which is understandable given the movie's gratutious sex and gore. Unquestionably one of the worst films of 2009. TECH SPECS: Lionsgate’s Blu-Ray edition of “Gamer” sports the requisite top-notch video (AVC 1080p encode) and audio (DTS Master Audio) you’d expect from a tech-heavy film like this, plus a decent selection of extras including commentary, trailers, featurettes and a making of documentary. There’s also a digital copy for portable media players. AISLE SEAT BOTTOM LINE: “Gamer” flopped at the box-office last fall, and with good reason -- this is the cinematic equivalent of diving into the gutter for 95 minutes. Game over!

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW DVD (**½, 92 mins., 1983, R; Liberation Entertainment). LOWDOWN: Early ‘80s cult favorite returns to DVD in a remastered 25th Anniversary DVD, having been derived from a recently discovered 35mm print. This slickly-made and effective B-movie from writer-director Mark Rosman includes sexy heroines, a dark secret, murders and a bit of gore for good measure. Recommended for all ‘80s horror fans. TECH SPECS: Liberation Entertainment’s DVD includes a satisfying new 16:9 transfer, which is reportedly the finest “The House on Sorority Row” has ever looked on video. That said the print does show some wear and tear at times, while both a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack and a 2.0 stereo mix comprise the audio offerings. Extras include commentary from Mark Rosman and stars Eileen Davidson and Kathryn McNeil, the trailer, a photo gallery, and storyboard comparisons. AISLE SEAT BOTTOM LINE: A nostalgic, if silly, horror entry, “The House on Sorority Row” is a product of time – which can either be a good or bad thing if you’re a genre aficionado.

BLOOD CREEK DVD (*½, 90 mins., 2009, R; Lionsgate): I don’t think we would see the day when Joel Schumacher directed a direct-to-video shlocker about an immortal Nazi still running around in rural West Virginia, but incredibly enough, “Blood Creek” is that very movie. Dominic Purcell from “Prison Break” stars in this utterly ridiculous genre effort that sports slaughtered pigs, possessed horses, an immigrant farming family (that never ages), an over-the-top villain, and a plot -- credited to David Kajganich -- that makes no sense whatsoever. Lionsgate’s DVD of “Blood Creek” (which was shot as “Town Creek”) includes an okay 16:9 (2.35) transfer plus 5.1 sound and a commentary by Schumacher.

Also on Blu-Ray

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS Blu-Ray (***, 90 mins., 2009, PG; Sony): Terrific animated movie from Sony Pictures Animation fleshes out the beloved Judi Barrett children’s book and turns it into an appealing comedy for both kids and adults alike. Writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s story follows a crazy scientist (voiced by Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader) whose latest creation causes delicious food to rain down from the sky on his small Atlantic island. The premise is fun, the characters likeable, and the laughs surprisingly strong -- “Cloudy...” manages to be fast-moving and amusing throughout, with splendid CGI animation and a nice score by Mark Mothersbaugh complimenting the fun. Sony’s Blu-Ray edition of the picture boasts an unsurprisingly pristine AVC encoded transfer (2.35) along with DTS Master Audio sound, extended scenes, commentary, music videos, early progression reels, a digital copy for the PSP, and also a standard DVD edition bundled in the package.

CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2 Blu-Ray (**½, 94 mins., 2005, PG; Fox): Surprisingly watchable (considering its predecessor) sequel to the Steve Martin modernization of the Gilbreth family tale puts Martin, Bonnie Hunt, and the gang out on vacation, where Steve’s Tom Baker runs into a rival clan led by Eugene Levy (who snagged second billing here, leading me to believe Levy’s pay day has completely rolled in after a lifetime of hard work!). Predictable laughs and shenanigans ensue, though the cast seems to be having a good time and kids ought to enjoy it; it’s forgettable but fun for what it is. Fox’s Blu-Ray disc offers a pleasant AVC encoded transfer, DTS Master Audio sound, and extras reprieved from its DVD edition, including commentary from director Adam Shankman, a Fox Movie Channel segment and supporting featurettes.

THE MARINE 2 Blu-Ray (95 mins., 2009, R; Fox): WWE star Ted DiBiase follows on the heels of fellow wrestler John Cena in this direct-to-video sequel to the original “Marine,” with DiaBiase as a sergeant whose tropical-island getaway is ruined by party-crashing terrorists. Standard-issue action ensues in this small-screen affair co-starring Temeura Morrison, Lara Cox and Michael Rooker. Fox’s Blu-Ray includes deleted scenes, outtakes, and several behind the scenes featurettes, plus an AVC encoded transfer (1.85) and DTS Master Audio sound.

Criterion Releases for January

Criterion has a pair of new box-sets lined up for release this month.

ROBERTO ROSSELLINI’S WAR TRILOGY includes Rossellini’s acclaimed 1945 “Rome Open City,” chronicling the efforts of Italian Resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Rome, and starring Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi; the director’s 1946 “Paisan,” which profiles the arrival of American troops in Italy as the Allied invasion moved northward through the country; and the 1948 film “Germany Year Zero,” a searing and even more disturbing tale of a 12-year-old German boy wandering through post-war Berlin.

Rossellini’s “neo-realist” filmmaking technique goes hand in hand with the stark, war-ravaged backdrops of these films, which have been newly remastered by Criterion for this brand-new anthology. In addition to crisp new black-and-white transfers, the set is rich with extras, including Rossellini introductions to the movies (from 1963); new video interviews with Rossellini scholars, critics and filmmakers; commentary on “Rome Open City” by scholar Peter Bondanella; a 2006 documentary on the making of “Rome Open City”; a visual essay by Mark Shiel, “Rossellini and the City,” focusing on the director’s “use of the urban landscape” in the three films; excerpts from videotaped discussions Rossellini had with Rice University students and faculty, circa 1970; a 2001 documentary on Rossellini from “Germany Year Zero” assistant director Carlo Lizzani; plus new English subtitle translations, full booklet notes and more.

Also new from Criterion this month is CHE (135/136 mins., 2008), Steven Soderbergh’s sprawling, albeit little-seen, 2008 portrait of Che Guevara with a terrific performance by Benicio Del Toro in a story that encompasses two separate parts and over four hours of somewhat revisionist history; the first half focusing on the Cuban revolution, the second on Che’s failed campaign in Bolivia -- all of it a bit slow-moving and controversial in its overly-favorable portrayal of its controversial lead figure.

Criterion’s DVD box-set is packed with extras, including a commentary from Che historian Jon Lee Anderson; the trailer; a new documentary on the making of the film; interviews with Cuban revolution participants and historians; a short documentary made in Bolivia in 1967; deleted scenes; and an “original video piece looking at the RED camera and its effect on modern film production.”

Later this month Criterion brings Wim Wenders fans another gem with a double-disc edition of the filmmaker's 1984 viewer favorite PARIS TEXAS (145 mins.), with Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell and Nastassja Kinski. Criterion's release is jam packed with extras, including a commentary featuring Wenders; a German interview with the director; excerpts from a 1990 documentary on the film, offering a plethora of interviews with cast/crew members including composer Ry Cooder; a French TV program segment on the score; deleted scenes; the trailer; a remastered 16:9 (1.78) transfer and 5.1 Dolby Digital sound.

Also New on DVD

LORNA’S SILENCE DVD (***, 105 mins., 2009, R; Sony): Engrossing account of a young Albanian woman (Arta Dobroshi) who wants to opens a snackbar in Belgium with her boyfriend (Alban Sokol). In order to carry it off, she gets wrapped up in a plan hatched by a mobster (Fabrizio Rongione) that involves her need to obtain fraudulent European citizenship papers. The team of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (“L’Enfant”) helmed this taut, compelling thriller, which Sony has brought to DVD in a superb presentation, offering a crisp 16:9 (1.85) widescreen transfer with 5.1 French dialogue and English subtitles.

INALIENABLE DVD (106 mins., 2009; Anchor Bay): Walter Koenig wrote and co-stars in this direct-to-video tale with “Battlestar Galactica” alum Richard Hatch as a man who gives birth (yes!) to a half-alien, half-human creature after a parasite fuses with his DNA. Marina Sirtis co-stars in this weird effort that Koenig also co-produced, the picture injecting some topical discussion about government intrusion, abortion and other issues along the way. It’s odd, no question about it. Anchor Bay’s DVD offers a 16:9 (1.78) transfer with 2.0 stereo sound.
NewTV on DVD

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU 10th Anniversary Edition DVD (***, 97 mins., 1997, PG-13; Buena Vista)
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU: Season 1 DVD (230 mins., 2009; Buena Vista): As energetic and entertaining as any teen movie released in the late ‘90s, the sometimes raunchy “10 Things I Hate About You” presents a good-natured and often very funny variation on Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew."

Set in Padua High, “10 Thngs” finds the lovely though obnoxious Julia Stiles being courted by Heath Ledger in one of his first lead roles -- he being a social outcast better known for his brawn, not his brains. The catch is that Ledger is being paid to date Stiles by frustrated Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who wants to date Stiles's trendier younger sister (who can't date unless Stiles does), and obnoxious teen model Andrew Keegan, who wants to do the same. Naturally, shenanigans ensue once Ledger finds out that he really likes Stiles, while her sister (Larisa Oleynik) has to choose between the good hearted Gordon-Levitt and the shallow though more popular Keegan.

With a smart script by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, “10 Things” is often hilarious and sports charming performances by its young ensemble cast. I liked the relationship between the two sisters and particularly enjoyed Larry Miller's performance as the girls' single father, while David Krumholtz deserves special mention for his comic support as Gordon-Levitt's pal. Ledger and Stiles are both good, generating solid chemistry, while Oleynik's performance as a more amiable Bianca is also cute and appealing. Credit veteran TV director Gil Junger for infusing in his film a real energy and sense of comic timing.

It is somewhat disappointing, however, that some of the jokes in “10 Things” veer into the tasteless category, spoiling what ought to be an ideal film for kids. Otherwise, this is a superior film for its genre, and one that has weathered the years incredibly well, thanks to its cast.

Buena Vista’s 10th Anniversary Edition DVD of “10 Things” sports a fine 16:9 (1.85) transfer, which is the first time the movie has been issued in anamorphic widescreen here in the U.S. In addition to 5.1 Dolby Digital sound there are also deleted scenes, commentary from the filmmakers, casting footage, vintage interviews, and a retrospective documentary.

Also due out on DVD is the first season of ABC Family’s small-screen transplant of “10 Things,” which brings back Larry Miller as the girls’ father and likewise adheres fairly closely to the blueprint established by its theatrical predecessor. Disappointingly it’s almost too faithful, since the story takes a long while to get going, with few twists on the material being played out. For young viewers who may not have seen the movie this may not be a problem, but it’s just a little too pat and predictable for everyone else.

Buena Vista’s Volume 1 edition of “10 Things” includes 16:9 (1.78) transfers, 5.1 soundtracks, bloopers, commentaries, behind the scenes footage and a pilot for MAKE IT OR BREAK IT (430 mins., 2009; Buena Vista), which has also been released in its own DVD edition.

This popular ABC Family series about four aspiring teen gymnasts hits DVD in time for its latest season of episodes, sporting 16:9 (1.78) transfers, 5.1 soundtracks, deleted scenes and an “inside look” at the cast.       

KENDRA: Season 1 DVD (250 mins., 2009; Fox): Kendra Wilkinson has left the Playboy Mansion and “Heff” for fiancée Hank Baskett of the Philadelphia Eagles, as chronicled in this latest E! Entertainment “reality” series. In this first-season set, Kendra plans for her storybook wedding, engages in photo shoots and heads to Vegas for a bachelorette party, among other exciting activities. Those who enjoyed “The Girls Next Door” might have fun with “Kendra,” though anyone who thought a little of Kendra went a long way on the prior series will have a hard time making it through one episode here! Fox’s DVD includes 16:9 (1.78) transfers, 2.0 stereo soundtracks, and a bonus episode.

THE SIMPSONS Season 20 Blu-Ray (456 mins., 2008-09; Fox): Bart and the gang celebrate their 20th anniversary with their first Blu-Ray full-season release. Season 20 of the Fox animated comedy offers the episodes "Sex Pies and Idiot Scrapes," "Lost Verizon," "Double Double Boy in Trouble," "Treehouse of Terror XIX," "Dangerous Curves," "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words," "Mypods and Boomsticks," "The Burns and the Bees," "Lisa the Drama Queen," "Take My Life Please," "How the Text Was Won," "No Loan Again, Naturally," "The Good, The Sad and the Drugly," "Father Knows Worst," and "Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D'Oh." Transfers are a mix of 1.33 full-screen and 1.78 widescreen, all in AVC encoded 1080p transfers with DTS Master Audio soundtracks and a bonus look at the recently-aired 20th Anniversary special.

WEEDS Season 5 Blu-Ray and DVD (360 mins., 2009; Lionsgate): Mary-Louise Parker’s pot-peddling “soccer mom” Nancy Botwin is back in the fifth season of the critically acclaimed Showtime series. Lionsgate brings “Weeds” Season 5 to both DVD and Blu-Ray next week, both packages sporting cast/crew commentaries, bloopers, numerous behind-the-scenes featurettes, 1.85 transfers and 5.1 soundtracks on DVD, and AVC-encoded 1080p transfers and DTS Master Audio soundtracks (Blu).

SPACEBALLS: THE ANIMATED SERIES DVD (88 mins., 2009; MGM/Fox): Weak Mel Brooks animated continuation of his 1987 comedy spoof boasts the vocal participation of several “Spaceballs” alumni (Brooks, Joan Rivers and Daphne Zuniga) but is done in by poor animation and even worse writing, which tries to lampoon current movies and TV series but fails to mine a consistent stream of laughs. MGM’s DVD offers all four episodes from the G4 series in 1.33 full-screen transfers and 2.0 stereo soundtracks.

BIG LOVE Season 3 DVD (600 mins., 2009; HBO): HBO has never been afraid to tackle any subject matter, and this original, offbeat, and compelling portrait of a polygamist (Bill Paxton), his three wives (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin) and his eight kids is something that, if nothing else, you haven’t seen addressed on TV before. Season three of “Big Love” finds Paxton’s character possibly luring in a fourth wife, trying to steer clear of the fuzz, and attempting to start up a Mormon-friendly casino with the help of a local Native American tribe. Equal parts soap opera and comedy “Big Love” is certainly unusual, and HBO’s Season 3 DVD box-set does a fine job with its 16:9 (1.78) transfers and 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtracks. Extras, though, are on the slim side, with “four intimate direct-to-camera” videos from the characters and three additional “mini-dramas” on-hand.

CHUCK: Season 2 DVD (1034 mins., 2009; Warner): Offbeat and colorful NBC series looked like it was doomed after another season of mediocre ratings, but a rabid fan base propelled “Chuck” to a third season. Fans of the show can relive the excitement of its second season, wherein Chuck (Zachary Levi) is brought back into the espionage fold even though “Intersect I” has closed down shop. The lovely Yvonne Strahovski also returns, and she has palpable chemistry with our everyman hero, consistently making the series a great deal of fun to watch. Warner’s DVD edition of “Chuck: Season 2" includes excellent 16:9 (1.85) transfers with 5.1 soundtracks and numerous extras, including a gag reel, deleted scenes and numerous featurettes. Recommended.

SUPER FRIENDS: Season 1, Volume 1 (360 mins., Warner): The first adventures of the “Super Friends” come to DVD in a double-disc edition from Warner, offering the episodes “The Power Pirate,” “The Baffles Puzzle,” “Professor Goodfellow’s G.E.E.C.,” “The Weather Maker,” “Dr. Pelagian’s War,” “The Shaman U,” “Too Hot to Handle,” and “The Androids.” Full-screen transfers look as good as the material allows, while a trivia game rounds out the package.

FRAGGLE ROCK: Complete Animated Series DVD (312 mins., 1987; Lionsgate): Jim Henson's beloved HBO series was turned into a short-lived NBC Saturday morning show in 1987, offering animated renditions of the Fraggles in design that's similar to another, more popular Henson '80s 'toon, "Muppet Babies." Fans of the series and kids ought to enjoy this 13 episode collection, sporting the first, and only, season of the "Fraggle Rock" cartoon. Lionsgate's two-DVD set includes a few extras, including a conversation with produicer Michael Frith, character galleries, and an original opening sequence storyboard.

AZIZ ANSARI: INTIMATE MOMENTS FOR A SENSUAL EVENING DVD (55 mins., 2010; Comedy Central): The amusing co-star of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” takes his turn behind the mike in his debut Comedy Central stand-up special. Ansari is quite funny in this hour-long program, which also sports over 30 minutes of unused material, a widescreen transfer and stereo sound.

NEXT TIME: More of the latest reviews and more! Until then, don't forget to drop in on the official Aisle Seat Message Boards and direct any emails to our email address. Cheers everyone!

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