DVD, Blu-Ray Round Up, Dec. 9, 2008: ‘Jet Li’s Fearless,’ ‘Man on Wire,’ ‘Swingtown’

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CHICAGO – Every week there are a few titles that fall through the cracks. They’re movies or TV shows that don’t really merit the kind of comprehensive coverage of something like “Lost: Season Four” or “Deadwood: The Complete Series”.

Welcome to the DVD Round Up: a weekly column that devotes time to the DVDs that might not get full-page spreads in the Best Buy circular but will certainly have fans out there anticipating their release.

TV seasons of mid-level shows, re-releases on Blu-Ray, arthouse films - you can expect to see it all in the DVD Round-Up. In just the first week, you’ll find a martial arts movie, one of the year’s most acclaimed documentaries, and a show about horny suburbanites. If you want variety, come to the Round-Up every week.

“Jet Li’s Fearless: Director’s Cut (Blu-Ray)”

Fearless: Director's Cut is available on Blu-Ray from Universal on December 9, 2008.
Fearless: Director’s Cut is available on Blu-Ray from Universal on December 9, 2008.

Timed to coincide with the release of “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” next week, Universal releases the 2006 martial arts film that was supposed to represent Jet Li’s departure from the genre on Blu-Ray. What’s most notable about “Fearless” is that it’s not your typical “Director’s Cut”. Most DVDs or Blu-Rays with that label are merely extended by a few minutes here and there, but “Fearless” is over 35 minutes longer than the theatrical version. If you haven’t seen the film since its theatrical exhibition, you haven’t seen this version of the film.

Jet Li stars in “Fearless” as a renowned martial arts champion forced to battle the world’s most ferocious fighting champions. The Blu-ray release of “Fearless” features three versions of the film - theatrical (101 minutes), unrated (104 minutes), and director’s cut (141) - and the Universal standard feature of “My Scenes”, which allows the viewer to collect their favorite clips from the show and share them with friends. “Fearless” is displayed in 1080P High-Definition Widescreen 2.40:1 with Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with English and French 5.1 tracks on the theatrical and unrated versions. If you want to watch the director’s cut, you don’t get to do so dubbed. Makes sense to us.

“Man on Wire”

Man On Wire is available on DVD from Magnolia on December 9, 2008.
Man On Wire is available on DVD from Magnolia on December 9, 2008.

One of the most highly acclaimed documentaries of the year, “Man on Wire” comes to DVD in a relatively bare-bones package that places the emphasis on the film itself. “Man on Wire” could easily become a word-of-mouth hit on the home market as the buzz that first greeted the film at Sundance (where it won the Jury Prize and Audience Award for World Documentary) has continued throughout the year. With over a dozen outlets, including The Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, listed on the back and a striking cover shot, video store browsers are likely to pick up “Man on Wire” when they’re looking for an alternative to all the Summer 2008 movies hitting the market this week.

“Man on Wire” tells the story of Philippe Petit, a young Frenchman who walked a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center on August 7th, 1974. He was arrested, taken for a psychological evaluation, and brought to jail. 34 years later, “Man on Wire” documents the build-up to the event and a little bit of the reaction to the artistic crime of the century. Special features include “Philippe Petit’s Sydney Harbor Bridge Crossing (1973)”, “Philippe Petit Interview”, and an animated short film called “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers”.

Read Patrick MacDonald’s Theatrical Review of the Film Here.

“Swingtown: Season One”

Swingtown: Season One is available on DVD from Paramount on December 9, 2008.
Swingtown: Season One is available on DVD from Paramount on December 9, 2008.

CBS can turn anything into a hit. While critically acclaimed shows like “Pushing Daisies” and “Chuck” fail to get viewers, 2008 rookies like “The Eleventh Hour”, “Flashpoint” and “Swingtown” have been surprisingly successful without critical support. “Swingtown” is the first to hit DVD with thirteen episodes that aired this past summer released on a 4-disc DVD set from CBS/Paramount. “Swingtown” stars Molly Parker and Jack Davenport as the polite, innocent couple who move to the horny suburbs of the ’70s, where apparently every neighbor was having sex with the couple next door. Grant Show, Lana Parilla, Josh Hopkins, and Miriam Shor co-star in this music-infused, swinging drama that comes much closer to “Melrose Place” than “The Ice Storm” but provides the occasional guilty thrill.

“Swingtown: Season One” includes a commentary by creator Mike Kelley and director Alan Poul on “Pilot”, deleted scenes on the same episode, deleted scenes on “Love Will Find a Way”, deleted scene on “Cabin Fever”, and a commentary by Kelley and Poul on the season finale, “Take It To the Limit”. The final disc includes “The Spirit of ‘76: The Making of Swingtown”, “Have a Nice Revolution: Sex & Morality in 1970’s America” and a gag reel.

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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Swingtown is one of the best

Swingtown is one of the best CBS shows ever. I already have the season one DVD and I recommend it for every fan of this show :)

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