It’s definitely a week for TV on DVD. With the exception of a few exceptional dramatic feature films (Stephanie Daley, The Wind That Shakes the Barley), today’s releases offer a wealth of stellar television shows new to home video — which means it’s time to make room on the shelf for the latest seasons of The Office, Robot Chicken, 30 Rock, Nip/Tuck, and our favorite sword-wielding Princess of Power!
Standout performances lend this Sundance award winner emotional heft in a story about a 16-year-old girl (Amber Tamblyn) accused of killing her newborn child and the pregnant psychologist (Tilda Swinton) giving her a pre-trial assessment. Writer-director Hilary Brougher won screenwriting honors at Sundance for her script, and Tamblyn earned an Independent Spirit nomination for her delicate and piercing turn as the titular teenager.
Another film festival winner, Ken Loach‘s tale of brothers caught up in the Irish Civil War was a surprise pick that won the Palme d’Or award at Cannes. The fictionalized story was based on composite accounts of the turbulent, tragic events of 1920s Ireland; Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney star as the two brothers who become political enemies in the formation of the IRA. The DVD includes a featurette on director Loach’s work and a commentary track by Loach and University College Cork professor Donal O’Driscoll, who also served as historical advisor on the film.
If you’re in the mood for a documentary, check out this up close and personal look at the laborers behind Mexico City’s Periferico Beltway. Juan Carlos Rulfo won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for this often beautiful examination of a construction in progress and the colorful group of men who wax poetic on life as they work, though ironically they’ll never afford cars to drive over the bridge themselves.
Yesss! Office fans rejoice, because Season 3 is now yours for the taking. Now, Season One was awesome, and Season Two ended with Casino Night, but Season Three had a number of its own memorable moments: the rise and fall of Jan, Phyllis’ wedding, and the most promising season finale yet for Jim & Pam hopefuls. Add to that a bonus menu overflowing with deleted scenes, commentaries, and special features like an interview with guest director Joss Whedon, the entire Lazy Scranton music video, and Kevin Cooks Stuff in the Office, and this is a must-have for any Michael Scott enthusiast!
NBC’s backstage sitcom had viewers in stitches during its first season, and with good reason; created by and starring former Saturday Night Live writer Tina Fey, 30 Rock’s cast of comic talents include Judah Friedlander, Tracey Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and the inimitable Alec Baldwin as the eccentric people behind the scenes at the fictional SNL-like TGS sketch comedy show. Accordingly, the DVD set contains three discs of episodes, deleted scenes, a True Hollywood Story-style blooper reel, the in-character “An Evening with Kenneth” shorts, and more.
Other Safe Bets This Week
If you missed this short-lived NBC drama — about a foursome of Irish-American brothers in New York — then you’re in luck; the whole series is now available in its entirety on DVD.
Season Two of Adult Swim’s runaway stop-motion sketch show hit is on DVD today, filled with all 20 episodes, Season One’s “Beavis and Butt-head meet the Teen Titans,” and the Robot Chicken Christmas Special.
If you long for the days when Tom Hanks didn’t take himself too seriously (as I do), check out Season Two of the best 1980s transvestite buddy situation comedy that ABC ever aired.
If you already watch Nip/Tuck, then you know why Season Four is so memorable. If not, I’ll give you a hint: Rosie O’Donnell sex scene. Rent it.
Because just one season wasn’t enough to satisfy your retro ‘toon girl power needs, here is the second and final installment of the She-Ra saga! A must-have for, well, anyone who had to own She-Ra: Princess of Power Season One (or those lucky shoppers who nabbed the Jem and the Holograms DVD before it went out of print!), this six-disc volume boasts all 28 digitally remastered episodes, two commentary tracks, a character gallery, She-Ra trivia, trailers, two collectible cards, an episode guide, a filmmaker documentary, and a packed-to-the-gills DVD-ROM featuring 28 scripts, storyboards, and more!
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You…
A sweet coming-of-age character study set in a rural town that’s also…a meta-film? At fifty percent on the Tomatometer, it proved divisive, but count us among the viewers who’d give it a shot. Besides, they had us at Jay Baruchel (Undeclared) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls).
Emily Blunt‘s star has risen since The Devil Wears Prada, but perhaps not that high — she stars here as one of two college kids on a ride-share gone. Despite some solid creds (the flick is produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney) critics say Chill lacks bite — but at least it’s not another run-of-the-mill gore fest.
Until next week, happy renting!