Twelve long months after it first debuted in theaters, Vince Vaughn‘s Fred Claus is finally making its way to DVD. The comedy about Santa’s (Paul Giamatti) ne’er do well brother, Fred (Vaughn) disappointed critics and performed decently last November; by holding its home video release until the 2008 holiday season, will Fred Claus get a second chance at success?
Hard up for cash, the bitter, joyless Fred (Vaughn) joins his little brother, Nicholas — that’s Saint Nick — in the North Pole to work alongside elves in the toy factory one Christmas. As his bad attitude wreaks havoc on Santa’s workshop, a slimy efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey) arrives with a plan to shut Santa down for good. Can Fred rise to the occasion to help save Christmas?
The single-disc release includes a feature-length commentary by director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) along with thirteen deleted scenes. The Blu-ray disc is much fuller, including the Race to Save Christmas DVD game, additional featurettes, Vince and Paul’s Fireside Chats, a bit with cameo players (and “other” brothers) Frank Stallone, Stephen Baldwin, and Roger Clinton, and a music video by Ludacris, whose hip hop holiday track appears on the Fred Claus soundtrack (“Fred Claus, y’all”).
Watch an exclusive clip from the Fred Claus DVD below!
In a day and age where superheroes (and their movies) are a dime a dozen, it’s refreshing to see a hero who is much more deeply flawed than the bookish Spider-Man, or the dark and depressed Batman; enter Hancock (Will Smith), a misanthropic, irresponsible, alcoholic superhero who uses his powers for good but leaves a litter of collateral damage in his wake.
Criticized for poor execution despite an intriguing premise, Hancock also stars Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron. The Two-Disc Unrated Special Edition includes both the theatrical cut and an unrated version of the film, a digital copy, and a dozen behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Next: A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All
Subtitled “The Greatest Gift of All,” Stephen Colbert’s A Colbert Christmas is indeed one of the greatest gifts of the week. In it, the Comedy Central pundit hosts his first holiday special, which aired on Sunday and is available on DVD this week; special guests Feist, John Legend, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello and Jon Stewart join him to sing songs like “Can I Interest You In Hannukah?” and “There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In” by the fireside. You can also download A Colbert Christmas on iTunes Tuesday!
Holiday bonus: a portion of the proceeds from the DVD and iTunes sales will go to the charity Feeding America, so in helping yourself to a little Colbert, you’re helping others this holiday season.
Next: 24: Redemption
While the Writer’s Strike wreaked havoc with many a television show’s schedule, one surprise side effect of 24‘s year-long hiatus comes to fruition this week: a two-hour “prequel” telefilm that covers the events between 24‘s sixth and seventh season (also known as Day 6 and Day 7)! The prequel, which aired in the U.S. on Sunday November 23 and in the U.K. on Monday Nov. 24, will be available on DVD this week in an extended Director’s Cut that should prepare you for January’s seventh season premiere.
Expect to be reintroduced to anti-terrorism agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), who finds himself looking for some peace and quiet in the wrong place — the fictional war-torn African nation of Sangala — the day that the new U.S. President Allison Taylor is to be sworn into office. A commentary track, making-of featurettes, sneak peeks at season seven’s first batch of episodes, and more fan-centric goodies comprise a great bonus menu.
Next: Space Chimps
It started with a premise both simple and to the point: chimpanzees in space. Sadly, this 20th Century Fox animated feature was not destined for Oscar’s Best Animation race; most critics deemed it a weak contender in today’s era of Pixar-dominated excellence. The CG-animated tale follows a trio of NASA monkeys launched into the galaxy who become a tiny planet’s only hope of thwarting an evil alien dictator; Andy Samberg (Hot Rod) leads a voice cast that includes Jeff Daniels, Patrick Warburton, Cheryl Hines, Jane Lynch, and Stanley Tucci. Aside from a single featurette, the DVD shockingly has no additional materials.
Next: Meet Dave
With the exception of the Shrek films and a surprising supporting role in Dreamgirls, the once-great comic Eddie Murphy has been wallowing in cinematic never-never land for years. Last summer’s Meet Dave didn’t change that. A sci-fi comedy about a crew of tiny aliens led by Eddie Murphy piloting a 6-foot-tall spaceship that looks like Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave turned off most critics with its lame gags and poor direction. And we’d expected so much more from the director of Norbit.
Next: Beverly Hills, 90210 — The Sixth Season
Whether or not you’re addicted to the CW’s new reboot of this ’90s teen soap, you have to admit that the original Beverly Hills, 90210 was a classic of its generation. The angst-filled antics of twins Brenda and Brandon Walsh (and their friends Kelly Taylor, Steve Sanders, David Silver, Donna Martin and our favorite, Dylan McKay) brought the most pressing teen issues of the day to primetime television — and gave later shows like spin-off Melrose Place and MySpace-generation clone The O.C. a reason for being.
Season Six of Beverly Hills, 90210 hits shelves this week — you remember it, don’t you? It was the gang’s junior year of college, the season that Donna got out of her abusive relationship with musician Ray, Kelly got hooked on coke, and Dylan married the Noxzema girl (who was immediately blown up by a car bomb meant for him). Sigh. Good stuff, 90210. Good stuff.
Next: Bottle Rocket – Criterion Collection
Filmmaker Wes Anderson made a splash with his indie debut, 1996’s Bottle Rocket; the buddy caper comedy also introduced the world to thespian brothers Luke and Owen Wilson (the latter of whom co-wrote the script with Anderson). This week, after a long period of anticipation, the folks at Criterion are giving Bottle Rocket their signature treatment, releasing a spiffy two-disc remastered edition chock full of goodies and overseen by Anderson himself.
Included in the Criterion package are a feature-length commentary by Anderson and Owen Wilson, a making-of documentary, storyboard and location photos, new featurettes, Anderson’s 1992 short film that inspired Bottle Rocket, and a booklet containing an “appreciation” of the film by Martin Scorsese. Next month, Criterion will release the film as one of their first-ever Blu-ray titles.
Next: Freaks and Geeks The Yearbook Edition (reprinted)
You may already own the Judd Apatow-produced, celebrated (but short-lived) 1999 television series Freaks and Geeks on DVD. But do you own it in its limited edition “yearbook” packaging, originally released in 2004 only via its official site?
If not, you’re in luck; Shout! Factory is re-releasing the special 8-disc set in this special package once more, which features an 80-page color yearbook so vivid and filled with awesome tidbits from production that it’ll have you reminiscing over the good old days at McKinley High School, class of ’81. All 18 episodes are here, with over 20 audio commentaries by everyone ranging from Apatow, creator Paul Feig, and episode directors Jake Kasdan and Ken Kwapis, to cast members Seth Rogen, Linda Cardellini, and Jason Segel; just about everyone involved in Freaks and Geeks shows up at one point or another. Also find deleted scenes, audition tapes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more.
Next: Superman: Doomsday — Blu-ray
What would happen to the world if Superman died? Last year, we found out when DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation released the direct-to-DVD film Superman: Doomsday (although comics fans already knew from the original Death of Superman storyline published in 1992) in which the Man of Steel fell victim to the genetically-engineered Krypton-born super-villain, Doomsday.
This week you can watch the saga with new eyes as Superman: Doomsday comes to Blu-ray. (A new 2-disc standard DVD also releases this week.) Special features include a filmmaker commentary, four making-of featurettes, a sneak peek at DC’s upcoming direct-to-DVD title Wonder Woman, and more.
Until next week, happy renting!