Apollo 13 Blu-ray: The stirring 1995 drama follows the true story of a near disastrous lunar voyage in which astronauts saved their lives with quick thinking. Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon and Gary Sinise lead the cast. The Blu-ray is loaded, with commentary, a Dateline special about the real-life events and a making-of doc about the film.
Defendor: A riotous parody of comic book films, Defendor stars Woody Harrelson as an average Joe who becomes a crime-fighting vigilante. The off-kilter humor is reminiscent of Army of Darkness, as well as Harrelson’s Zombieland. The DVD includes commentary with the Harrelson, co-star Kat Dennings and the filmmakers, as well as deleted scenes.
Dora the Explorer: Explore the Earth!: Nickelodeon’s bright-eyed adventurer includes four episodes that were apparently selected at random. But oh, well. At least there’s one in which Dora does her interactive, Spanglish-teaching thing with cousin Diego, which my 3-year-old dug. The DVD is nice, but if you have the show on DVR or on demand, there’s little reason to pick it up.
The Slammin’ Salmon – The Broken Lizard troupe: The guys behind Super Troopers and Beerfest are losing steam, sputtering with this glorified direct-to-video film about an ex-boxer (Michael Clarke Duncan) who runs a wacky restaurant with a wise-cracking wait staff. The movie goes for the Waiting motif but ends up settling for Still Waiting (that film’s direct-to-DVD sequel) territory. The DVD includes two commentary tracks and a look at the real-life humor of food servers.
Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series Blu-ray: The epic sci-fi series – about the last remnants of mankind cast off in a space station as they do battle with their robotic nemeses — is one of TV’s greatest achievements, and gets a re-release on Blu-ray. Each season is loaded with commentaries and other behind-the-scenes extras, and warrants multiple viewings since the story’s mysteries add an extra dimension once they’ve been revealed.
Phil Villarreal’s humorous money-saving book, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, is available on Amazon.