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New On DVD - August 17, 2010

Dexter: The Fourth Season (Blu-ray) CityNews.ca Pick of the Week – The fourth season of the hit Showtime show Dexter is considered by many fans to be the best since the show premiered back in 2006. The season finds beloved serial killer Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) with his hands full at home after marrying his girlfriend Rita (Julie Benz) and becoming a new father. His private life is also turned upside-down when he begins to hunt fellow serial killer “Trinity” (played by a very creepy John Lithgow) and finds they have more in common than he wants to believe. If you’ve missed the show on television go back and start from the beginning and work your way up (all seasons are available). If you do follow the show do yourself a favour and watch this season again on Blu-ray (not only for its crystal clear picture and sound but for the fact that this season is better than most movies you’ll see all year). Look for Toronto-native Cristina Cox in the episode Dex Takes a Holiday (pictured). Special features on the Blu-ray release include cast and crew interviews and previews of other Showtime shows. Blu-ray **** (out of 5 stars).

Piranha (1978) – To celebrate the new Piranha 3-D (in theatres this Friday), the original 1978 film is being released in a special edition DVD and on Blu-ray for the first time. Launching the careers of both writer John Sayles (Eight Men Out, Casa de los babys) and director Joe Dante (Gremlins, the ‘burbs), Piranha is a mesmerizing mess of a B-grade film that was produced by the king of low-budget films, Roger Corman, with the sole purpose to cash in on the success of Jaws. Piranha has more blood, nudity, and cheesiness to it than Jaws, and it probably has an even larger number of fans as the camp factor to it makes it a lot more fun to watch (especially at midnight screenings). I say have fun with it and invite a bunch of your friends over to watch and mock it with you. Special features on the DVD release include commentary with Joe Dante, a making-of featurette, behind-the-scenes footage, plus more. Film *** DVD *** (out of 5 stars).

Me and Orson Welles – Directed by Richard Linklater and based on Robert Kaplow’s novel, Me and Orson Welles is a look into a week of Welles’s 1937 production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at the Mercury Theater in New York City. While theatre actor Christian McKay gave a brilliant performance portraying Welles (he earned himself an Oscar nomination for it) it was Zac Efron in the lead role that surprised me the most. The kid can act when he’s not in a High School Musical production. Claire Danes also stars. Special features on the DVD include deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and more. Film *** DVD *** (out of 5 stars).

Read a CityNews.ca interview with Me and Orson Welles director Richard Linklater.

Festival Collection (selected sets): Alliance Films is releasing eleven new box sets this week each featuring three similarly themed movies that have played in film festivals around the world. I took a look at four of the sets. The first was a music-themed set and featured the Ian Curtis biopic Control, Todd Haynes’s experimental Bob Dylan piece I’m Not There, and the comedy about fictional DJ Frankie Wilde — It’s All Gone Pete Tong. The second set included French films Amelie, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and the animated-musical The Triplets of Belleville. The third set featured darker films and included Peter Jackson’s deeply disturbing Heavenly Creatures, Stephen Frears’s gritty thriller Dirty Pretty Things, and Don McKellar’s Last Night. The last set included Spanish films City of God, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Y tu mamá también. The great thing about these sets is that the full DVDs of each film is included (with all their features) and I found all the films in the sets were worth revisiting.

More New DVD releases this week: Hamlet (1996/Blu-ray), Gunless, Cemetery Junction, Furry Vengeance, Nanny McPhee (Blu-ray), Suck, The Last Song, Temple Grandin


Top image: A scene from Dexter. Courtesy Paramount Home Entertainment.