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Agent DVD

John Latchem

Agent DVD Insider

, Managing Editor

A graduate of UCLA, John Latchem worked as a newspaper editor and did freelance work for such publications as The Hollywood Reporter before joining Home Media Magazine in 2005. He serves as editor of the reviews and TV DVD sections, as well as the annual Agent DVD consumer issue that coincides with San Diego Comic-Con International.

January 18, 2011
Justifying a Blu-ray Purchase

With the debut of the direct-to-video prequel Death Race 2 Jan. 18, only Best Buy was allowed to sell a boxed set containing the Blu-ray versions of both “Death Race” movies, offered at $29.99.

Target, on the other hand, didn’t bother to put Death Race 2 in its weekly ad circular. Instead, it made a big deal about the new movie version of Freakonomics, which it offered at $17.99 bundled with a paperback version of the book upon which it is based.

In what might not be a good sign for TV on Blu-ray at retail, only Best Buy stocked the Blu-ray version of Justified: The Complete First Season, while other retailers had the DVD set on shelves (at about $19.99). But Best Buy still didn’t bother listing the $24.99 price in its weekly ad.

Best Buy also included a copy of the first episode of the second season through its CinemaNow service with purchase of the season one boxed set.

Other Best Buy deals included double Reward Zone points with a purchase of Despicable Me and a selection of recent hits from $12.99 to $14.99 on DVD and from $16.99 to $19.99 on Blu-ray Disc.

By: John Latchem

January 14, 2011
Read Any Good DVDs Lately?

Chasing Zebras

When I fall in love with a movie or TV show, I generally want to learn as much about it as possible. It’s always fun to pop in a DVD and keep an eye out for hidden details or bits of trivia about which you might not have known.

The Internet has proved to be a great resource for that (thank you Wikipedia), but one shouldn’t overlook the volumes of published tie-ins that inevitably find their way to the market in the wake of a pop-culture phenomenon, some of which are officially sanctioned, and some of which are not.

I’m not just talking about episode guides that were once a staple of the tie-in market. For any popular movie or TV show, you may find dozens upon dozens of books seeking to analyze the stories and characters, or the science or philosophy behind the show.

Take the show “House,” for example. Over the holidays I was given a copy of the book Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. by Barbara Barnett, published by ECW Press. It’s an exhaustive resource to the show filled with essays that explore the various themes and ethical issues portrayed week to week on the medical drama, as well as an episode guide for the first six seasons that keeps track of the medical mysteries, the complications that ensue, to whom House is mean in a given week, and other trivia and observations. (The book’s title refers to how House thinks outside the box to diagnose his patients, alluding to a med-school axiom that suggests when one hears hoofbeats, one should think horses, not zebras.)

Any “House” fan (as I am) would find a book like this immensely entertaining.

So next time you’re heading home from the video store, be sure to stop by the bookstore too. You might learn something new.

By: John Latchem

January 11, 2011
Plenty of Early Year Bargains

Not much fanfare greeted the few new releases that hit shelves Jan. 11. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s The Social Network was the biggest new release, but most retailers shied away from any major promotional deals.

Best Buy and Amazon.com, however, did offer Social Network at an incredibly low price typically reserved for a holiday sale: $12.99 for the DVD and $16.99 for the Blu-ray.

Best Buy also offered a deal on a couple of other recently released Sony Pictures titles: a $10 discount with the purchase of the Blu-ray versions of both Resident Evil: Afterlife and Salt.

Another sale at Best Buy offered Blu-ray two-packs at anywhere from $12.99 to $16.99 each, and recent TV DVD releases at $19.99 each.

Target offered the new Chuggington: Ride the Rails kidvid DVD at $12.99 with exclusive soundbook packaging: a case that plays sounds associated with whatever button is pressed.

Other deals at Target included Disney Blu-ray/DVD combo packs offered at $19.99, an assortment of catalog titles at $4.75 and $10 each, and a selection of TV DVD seasons from $8.99 to $14.99.

By: John Latchem

January 04, 2011
Quiet Start to the New Year

Some retailers are still shaking off the lingering effects of the new year. Checking in at a Walmart in Long Beach, Calif., most of the DVD shelves had yet to be restocked after the post-Christmas sales, leaving the new releases with much more prominent visibility.

Walmart had been offering a selection of catalog titles for about $10 apiece.

Target also continued to offer steep discounts on catalog titles, with selections at $7 and $10 each.

The only major promotions tied into the Jan. 4 new releases could be found at Best Buy, which offered the Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Blu-ray at $9.99 (a $10 savings) with purchase of the new Dinner for Schmucks Blu-ray (offered at $25.99). Best Buy also offered a $5 store gift card with purchase of Dinner on either DVD or Blu-ray.

Post-holiday sales at Best Buy included a 50% discount on select TV DVD titles, a selection of Blu-ray Discs at $9.99 or $14.99 each, and a “Slim Down and Shape Up” fitness-DVD promotion offering an assortment of titles at $9.99 each.

Best Buy also has a section for award nominees on disc at BestBuy.com/awards.

By: John Latchem

December 28, 2010
Finding a Retail ‘Afterlife’

Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth live-action film in the franchise, garnered the most attention the new-release week of Dec. 28, which was otherwise light in the wake of the Christmas holiday.

Best Buy offered an exclusive boxed set of the four “Resident Evil” films on Blu-ray for $69.99 in collector’s glock packaging.

Walmart offered the Afterlife Blu-ray in special steelbook packaging. A few months ago, Walmart offered the earlier films in special steelbook Blu-ray Disc cases as well.

A week earlier, it was Best Buy playing the steelbook game with its Blu-ray packaging for Sony Pictures’ Salt. Best Buy also offered an exclusive Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo pack for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

In terms of big post-holiday sales, Target offered more than 100 DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles at a 50% discount, with movies such as The Blind Side going for $5.99 on DVD, and a selection of TV DVD favorites at $14.99 each.

Best Buy has some recent titles for less than $15, such as The Expendables Blu-ray combo pack for $12.99.

By: John Latchem

Geared towards comic book and genre fans, Agent DVD Insider scoops DVD and Blu-Ray release announcements and news, along with commentary from industry experts and fellow comic fans.


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