‘Ring’ tones 

The last week of August is a huge week for DVD releases with a ton of good stuff now out for either rental or purchase. Usually, the last week of the month is the best week for releases anyway with HBO, A&E and other studios using it as their one week to release everything. But the quality this week ends an already strong summer season of releases.


If you couldn’t bring yourself to shell out about $40-$50 for each of the four-disc "Lord of the Rings Special Editions" or didn’t see yourself ever watching the enormous amount of special features included in each of the three film’s editions, pick up these two-disc "limited edition" DVDs. These "limited editions" include not only the extended versions of the film on one DVD (which is awesome considering the special editions are on two), but the original cut as well on the second DVD.

All three films ("The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King") are sold separately at a decent price. Now this will probably make many people who bought the four-disc versions extremely angry given they probably only wanted the extended cut of the film and were stuck with a bunch of special features they never watch. But, hey, there’s always eBay!

What will make fans even angrier is that the limited editions include new documentaries on each film clocking in at 85, 106 and 111 minutes, respectively. These are new behind-the-scenes documentaries with director Peter Jackson, Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen and the rest of the cast. So much for definitive editions. Price: $28.98, each. Rent or buy: Buy!


Talk about perfect comedic timing. Season eight of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s hilarious "South Park" includes the Mel Gibson-centered "The Passion of the Jew," where the kids go on a quest to find the über-religious Gibson after watching his "The Passion of the Christ."

The DVD includes 13 other episodes from the show as well as 14 audio commentaries from Parker and Stone as they take pot shots at nearly everyone and everything, from Hollywood to politics to religion. If you enjoy the show enough to want each of the episodes, this is a must-have. Price: $49.99. Rent or buy: Rent.


Obviously, CBS thinks there is enough of a market to put "Survivor: Palau" out on DVD. This installment saw Tom dominate the entire season and end with one of the stupidest decisions in the history of the game. The cool thing about these DVDs is that they pack on the special features with pregame footage with the players’ thoughts going into the season, right up until they are forced to give up all of their possessions. Price: $54.99. Rent or buy: Rent.


"Romancing the Stone" was a huge hit and a lot of fun and established Michael Douglas as a force in Hollywood. The sequel, "Jewel of the Nile," isn’t nearly as fun, but still pretty entertaining. Both films have been out of print for a number of years and these special-edition DVDs include special features for the first time, such as deleted scenes and six featurettes between them, including recent interviews, which is always a fun retrospective. Price: $19.98. Rent or buy: Buy, buy

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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