View from the Rental Counter: 2/1/05

Mainstream
Mr. 3000
MPAA: PG-13 (sexual content and language)
Budget: N/A
Gross: $21.8M
DVD: Widescreen, Fullscreen (Commentary by director Charles Stone III, deleted scenes with optional director commentary, extended scenes, and 3 featurettes: The Making of Mr. 3000, Everybody Love Stan (about Bernie Mac’s character), and Spring Training: The Extras Journey.)
Market: Those who enjoy the Bernie Mac show and humor-filled sports movies. The filmmakers seemed to be vying for the Major League of this generation but instead wound up with the Major League 3 of this generation.

Ray
MPAA: PG-13 (drug addiction, sexual materials)
Budget: $40M
Gross: $73
DVD: Widescreen, Widescreen Blind and Low Vision Enhanced, Fullscreen (Commentary by director Taylor Hackford, the documentary featurette Walking in His Shoes (which charts Foxx’s transformation into Charles) and the interview featurette Ray Remembered, 14 deleted scenes, and uncut versions of 2 musical performances from the film.)
Market: I’m surprised they didn’t delay this one a week or so in order to make sure all the DVD boxes were marked with a list of the movie’s various Academy Award nominations. This is a movie that is being marketed to the broadest possible audience the Oscar acceptance of the material would have been a great tool to use in selling the DVD.

The Grudge
MPAA: PG-13 (mature material, horror/terror and some sexuality)
Budget: $10M
Gross: $110M
DVD: Widescreen (Commentary by producer Sam Raimi, actors Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ted Raimi, and other members of the cast and crew, the 5-part making-of documentary A Powerful Rage and the featurette Under the Skin (a medical explanation of the fear response in film), and bonus trailers.)
Market: This remake of the Japanese original is designed to go after the same audience that made The Ring such a huge success. Can’t say Sarah Michelle Gellar is really stretching by playing a pretty young thing surrounded by the supernatural, but hey, she has to ease into the post-Buffy groove right? Fans of the original will be interested since it was made by the same crew, including director Takashi Shimizu.

Shall We Dance?
MPAA: PG-13 (sexual references and language)
Budget: $40M
Gross: $57M
DVD: Widescreen, Fullscreen (Commentary by director Peter Chelsom, deleted scenes with optional director commentary, 3 featurettes (The Making of Shall We Dance?, The Music of Shall We Dance?, and Beginner’s Ballroom, on ballroom dancing), and a music video.)
Market: Another remake of a Japanese original (also available today), this one was less successful than The Grudge. I’m almost tempted to rent this to check out Stanley Tucci’s performance alone.

Off the Beaten Path
Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
Market: I’ve never seen this turn by Bill Murray as Hunter S. Thompson but the cast, including Peter Boyle and Bruno Kirby and with music by Neil Young, is intriguing enough that I should probably check it out. Maybe as a double feature with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, another Thompson adaptation I’ve yet to see.

Television and Box Sets
Wonderfalls – The Complete Series
Market: Fans of quirky television, this one’s for you. Tim Minear (from Buffy and Angel) came over and wrote an episode or two. Unfortunately this one was gone before it popped up on most people’s radar, airing only four episodes. All 13 created are presented here.

Oz – The Complete Fourth Season
Market: Learn to make a shiv and other useful and fun facts can be gleaned from this show, the fourth season of which makes its DVD debut now.

Karate Kid Collection
Market: When someone says, “Sweep the leg!” do you know what exactly what they mean? Have you been unable to paint a fence or wax a car without, at least for a minute or two, going through the whole scene from the first movie? If this sounds like you, you need this set of all four movies, the first of which sports a whole new batch of features.