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DVD Round-Up: 'Metalocalypse,' 'Chuck,' & 'The Campaign'

Week of October 30th

Published: 10/28/2012 08:03pm
The fifth week of home entertainment releases in October is not one of the strongest though there are some interesting TV-based offerings including the complete Chuck and Metalocalypse: Season 4 as well as a full slate of anime releases, and three very different movie comedies, at least one of which should probably make you laugh.
 
TV on DVD
 
It’s a slim week for TV releases, but there are some that should definitely appeal to the geek audience including Metalocalypse: Season 4 (Warner Bros., 144 min., $19.98, BD $28.99), which includes twelve 12-minute episodes featuring the Cartoon Network’s most popular heavy metal band (that also stars in a Dark Horse comic).  Season 4 includes guest appearances from Corpsegrinder, Cam Pipes, Dweezil Zappa, as well as actor John Hamm and director Werner Herzog—plus the Blu-ray version comes with 2 hours of behind-the-scenes extras.
 
Equally interesting to much of the geek audience is Chuck: The Complete Series (Warner Bros., 3850 min., $149.98, BD $179.98), which includes all 91 episodes of the “Walter Mitty-like” fantasy series about a clerk in a big box electronic store, who becomes entangled in a huge web of espionage and covert activities.
 
Also out this week is the first release from the first drama series developed by BBC America, Copper: Season 1 (BBC, 450 min., $49.98, BD $59.98), which includes all 10 inaugural episodes of the compelling series about an Irish immigrant cop in New York city in the 1860s.
 
For those who enjoy medical thrillers, there is Coma (Sony, 160 min., $39.98),  a Ridley Scott-produced 2012 A&E network miniseries based on Robin Cook’s 1977 thriller about a hospital where an unusually high percentage of surgeries result in patients going into comas.
 
There are also some excellent vintage "TV on DVD" releases due this week including All in the Family: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 6300 min., $199.99), which collects all of the classic Norman Lear-produced series on 28 DVDs. Other key vintage releases include The Streets of San Francisco: The Complete 5th Season (Paramount, 69.98), the popular sitcom My Favorite Martian: Season 3 (MPI, 900 min., $39.98), and The Dean Martin Show: Dean’s Ultimate Collection (Time Life, 1020 min., $195.95).
 
The top U.K. offering this week is Land Girls: Complete Collection (BFS, 720 min., $109.99), which includes all three seasons of the series about women who volunteered to work on farms in the U.K. during World War II in order to produce enough food to sustain the population. All three series of Land Girls have gotten lots of exposure on American public TV stations.
 
Equally interesting is the Minder: Complete Collection (BFS, 3000 min., $148.99), which collects all 5 series the comedy-drama series that co-starred Dennis Waterman (New Tricks) and George Cole.
 
Anime
 
There are lots of top drawer anime releases this week including A Certain Magical Index: Season 1 Part 1 (Funimation, “14+,” 300 min., $64.98), which includes the first 12 episodes of the 2009 anime series from J.C. Staff based on the hugely popular science fantasy novels of Kazuma Kamachi. This first anime series covers the first six novels in the series, which has also spawned a popular manga sidestory A Certain Scientific Railgun (published here by Seven Seas) and an animated film that is due out in Japan in February of 2013. Funimation is also releasing the second half of the series, A Certain Magical Index: Season 1, Part 2 (Funimation, “14+,” 300 min. $59.98).
 
Equally interesting is the science fiction series, {C}: The Money of Soul and Possibility of Control (Funimation, “14+,” 275 min., BD/DVD Combo $69.98). Produced by Tatsunoko Productions in 2011, this series, which is set in the future with the world economy struggling in the wake of a financial meltdown, focuses on an impoverished student who sells “his future” for a large sum of money.
 
For those many anime fans who enjoy the “mecha” genre this week’s prime release could be the 2010 anime feature film, Fafner: Dead Agressor: Heaven and Earth (Funimation, “14+,” 95 min., BD/DVD Combo $34.98), which was produced by Xebec and debuted in Japan in December of 2010. This follow-up to the popular 2004 Fafner mecha series definitely does not stint on the action.
 
The rollicking anime pirate saga One Piece remains one of the most popular anime and manga properties in Japan, and it has developed a loyal (if far smaller) following here. With 570 episodes already produced in Japan, this is obviously one of the longest-running series of all time. One Piece: Season 4, Part 2 (Funimation, “14+,” 300 min., $39.98) will provide the American DVD debut of episodes 218-229.
 
Also of more than passing interest is the Ungo: Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, “14+,” 325 min., $59.98, BD $69.98), a very interesting 2011 anime TV series from Bones that is loosely based on the work of literary novelist Ango Sakaguchi. Set in a future post-apocalyptic world, Un-Go follows the adventures of Shinjuro Yuki, a detective, who is known as “the last great detective” and alternately as “the defeated detective.” Though the odds are most often stacked against him, he does manage to solve cases thanks in part to the aid of his shape-shifting boss/companion Inga.
 
Theatrical Movies
 
All three major releases this week are R-Rated comedies, but one is far different from the other two. One represents the current state of the standard Hollywood “R-rated” studio comedy with lots of broad sexually-based humor, while the other two are indie comedies (one a romcom) that come by their “R” ratings more naturally in their slice-of-like portrayals. Jay Roach’s The Campaign (Warner Bros., “R,” $28.98, BD/Combo $35.99) is a contemporary Hollywood’s idea of a “political comedy.” It is definitely not a biting political satire. The targets of the satire in this film (like vacuous political commercials) have been in general disrepute for so long that in terms of satire, The Campaign is mostly just shooting fish in a barrel. In spite of the many inviting targets on both the right and the left in today’s American politics, this film (and Hollywood in general) isn’t about to take on the absurdities of contemporary politics and risk alienating a substantial portion of the viewing audience. Still, if you like the broad “R-rated” humor of Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis, this is a movie that delivers plenty of raunchy, over-the-top laughs—just don’t expect anything that resembles and razzes political reality, even in the most rural and backward districts in the country.
 
It is hard to classify Safety Not Guaranteed (Sony, “R,” $30.99, BD $35.99), a warm fuzzy indie science fiction comedy that mixes a little pathos in with its slice-of-life humor. Three Seattle journalists team up to do a story about a man who is seeking a companion for an excursion in time. Folks who are looking for something a little different and like quirky indie comedies like Little Miss Sunshine will not be disappointed with Safety Not Guaranteed (the title refers to the lack of travel insurance for temporal excursions).
 
Equally intriguing is Ruby Sparks (Fox, “R,” $29.98, BD $29.98), another indie comedy with definite fantasy elements. Indie stalwart Paul Dano plays a novelist who finally manages to overcome a writer’s block when he creates the character of his ideal woman, Ruby Sparks. A few days later he wakes up and finds that his creation (played by Zoe Kazan) is cooking breakfast for him. 
 
--Tom Flinn

The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
 
 
Official Photo of Ben Affleck as Batman
Gritty Close-Up on Display at SDCC
Moody shot of stubbly Dark Knight.