New DVD Releases: 'Failure To Launch,' 'Ultraviolet,' 'Strangers With Candy' And More

A selection of cult favorites from Asia round out this week's picks.

Every week takes a look at the most promising DVD releases, from recent big-screen hits to Hollywood classics to television shows finally getting their due.

"Failure to Launch" (2006)

Sure, Matthew McConaughey made his name in a stoner comedy (1993's "Dazed and Confused"), but the dude can also do courtroom drama (1996's "A Time to Kill"), action (2005's "Sahara") and held his own against Pacino (2005's "Two for the Money"). But he really strikes gold in romantic comedies. Here McConaughey is out to win over the chick-flick crowd once again, playing a 30-something still living under his parents' roof. Sarah Jessica Parker portrays the girl trying to woo him into independent living, and Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw are the loving parents desperate for their son to finally leave the nest.

Paramount Home Entertainment has included the following extras:

  • "Casting Off: The Making of 'Failure to Launch' "
  • "The 'Failure to Launch' Phenomenon" featurette
  • "Dating in the New Millennium" featurette
  • " Unscripted" with Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw

"Ultraviolet" Unrated Edition (2006)

Milla Jovovich pretty much has the sci-fi/action genre nailed down. She got her big break donning orange dreads and kicking major alien butt as a genetically engineered "perfect being" in Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element" (1997), and she fought hordes of undead zombies in 2002's "Resident Evil" and 2004's "Resident Evil: Apocalypse." Now Jovovich has returned with "Ultraviolet," set in the late 21st century, in which a disease called Hemophagia has granted an entire race of people enhanced speed, strength and intelligence and turned them, for all intents and purposes, into vampires. Jovovich plays Violet, an infected woman dead set on revenge.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has included the following extras:

  • "UV Protection: Making 'Ultraviolet' " featurette
  • Feature commentary by Jovovich

"Why We Fight" (2005)

In 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned that the nation "must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence ... by the military-industrial complex." Eugene Jarecki, director of 2002's "The Trials of Henry Kissinger" and brother of "Capturing the Friedmans" director Andrew Jarecki, takes a long, hard look at America's defense policies, asking whether they have been designed to prevent war, or encourage it — and ponders whether Eisenhower's cautionary words have been heeded. Named after legendary director Frank Capra's World War II-era propaganda films, "Why We Fight" won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has included the following extras:

  • Extra scenes
  • Extended character featurettes
  • Filmmaker TV appearances on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "Charlie Rose"
  • Audience Q&A with the filmmaker
  • Commentary with Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson

"Burst City" (1982) / "Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts" (2001)

Japanese director Sogo Ishii has remained unknown to most American cineastes, but the DVD release of his most seminal work, along with one of his most popular, should change all that. The DIY sensibilities Ishii applied to "Burst City" perfectly capture the aesthetics

of the Japanese punk movement circa 1982, and inspired future generations of Japanese filmmakers including Shinya Tsukamoto and Takashi Miike. After several "proper" films, Ishii returned to his classic experimental style for "Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts," pitting Dragon Eye Morrison (Tadanobu Asano) against Thunderbolt Buddha (Masatoshi Nagase) in a 55-minute fight to the death.

Discotek Media have included the following extras:

"Burst City"

  • Background on "Burst City"
  • Still gallery
  • Trailer
  • Liner notes by Japanese film expert Tom Mes

"Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts"

  • Title designs
  • Filming snapshots
  • About the tattoo illustrations
  • Synthesized images with commentary
  • Forman press conference
  • Press conference with Sogo Ishii
  • Tadanobu Asano day
  • Masatoshi Nagase day
  • Final showdown
  • Trailer
  • Liner notes by Japanese film expert Tom Mes
  • Limited edition features original CD soundtrack

"The Devil's Sword" (1984)

Over the last three years, Mondo Macabro has gone to great lengths to find and lovingly restore, remaster and repackage the lost gems of world cinema, treating each one as if it were the next "Citizen Kane." While no one would argue that this Indonesian import rivals Welles' 1941 masterpiece, it certainly entertains, as Mandala (Barry Prima) must face-off against the evil Crocodile Queen and her henchman to secure the mystical sword of the title.

Mondo Macabro has included the following extras:

  • "An Encounter with Barry Prima" featurette
  • "Heavenly Swords": A history of the sword
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Mondo Macabro previews

"Strangers with Candy" The Complete Collection (1999-2001)

While "South Park" is always cited as Comedy Central's boundary-pushing, taboo-busting standard bearer, Amy Sedaris' dark, comic take on the after-school special, "Strangers with Candy," aired under-the-radar for three seasons. Jerri Blank (Sedaris), a 46-year-old ex-junkie prostitute, is released from prison and, to turn her life around, decides to return to Flatpoint High, the school she dropped out of in order to pursue a life of booze, pills and sex. Co-stars Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello and Greg Holliman are all wickedly funny, too.

In addition to all 30 episodes, Paramount Home Video has included the following extras in this six-disc set:

  • Commentary by Sedaris, Colbert and Dinello
  • Original unaired pilot
  • Never-before-seen director's cuts of "Trail of Tears" and "Is My Daddy Crazy?"
  • Original film strip presentation from Chuck Noblet and Geoffrey Jellineck
  • Deleted scenes
  • On-set interviews with Jerri Blank, Geoffrey Jellineck, Chuck Noblet and Principal Blackman
  • Interview with the cast at the Museum of Television & Radio
  • Interview with artist Ward Sutton
  • Dance sequence compilation
  • Blooper reel

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