The 2007 DVD season began with three mediocre weeks, but it looks as if there may be light at the end of the digital tunnel. In next week’s releases, we’ll say goodnight to John Boy one more time, witness Chuck Norris’ special powers and enjoy the third part of a horror masterpiece.
WALKER, TEXAS RANGER — COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
Yeah, it was parodied in "Talladega Nights" — yet no one can deny the power of Chuck Norris and his ability to stop time with his awesome roundhouse kick. The show was one of the longest-running action dramas (or unintentional comedies depending on whom you ask). Unfortunately, there are no extras on the DVD, but it’s still a cool pick up. Price: $49.99. Rent or buy: Buy.
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON
Fans waiting on bended knees for the next installment of "The Waltons" finally are getting their wish. The fourth season features 24 episodes on five discs. While John Boy (Richard Thomas) would exit the show in the fifth season, here in season four he’s in full force, getting into trouble and helping the family at the same time. This DVD isn’t for everyone, only for big fans. Note: There are no extras. Price: $39.98. Rent or buy: Buy — if a fan.
Frightening yet thought-provoking, this documentary about children becoming little preachers may disturb some; it shows kids speaking in tongues and flailing about as they learn to be part of "God’sarmy" at home schools and camps organized by the evangelical right. Some of the religious folks seem like smooth-talking snake oil salesmen. Price: $26.98. Rent or buy: Worth a rental.
SAW III UNRATED EDITION
Unless the films’ creators screw up future installments of "Saw," this horror franchise will go down as one of the greatest of all time. The third installment — featuring the torture, murder and craziness fans expect — picks up directly where the previous film left off. Packed with twists and turns, it doesn’t slow down at all. Amanda (Shawnee Smith) now has taken over for the ailing and cancer-ridden Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), creating maniacal machines of mayhem (or has she?).
The "Saw" films are an awesome outlet for horror, particularly because they don’t employ fancy computer-generated graphics or clichés like silly monsters in costumes or random slashers in nasty masks. They’re a nice change of pace from crummy remakes being churned out again and again.
"Saw III" is being released in an unrated edition and the theatrical R-rated edition; get the unrated edition, which offers more bang for your buck. (If you want to see the movie again on DVD, you’re definitely the kind of person who’ll want the extreme edition.) The unrated DVD includes three audio commentaries from the crew as well as featurettes covering the making of the film, the franchise itself, director’s diaries and deleted scenes. Price: $29.95. Rent or buy: Buy.
Also out on DVD Tuesday: "The Guardian," "Brokeback Mountain: 2-Disc Special Edition," "Sherrybaby," "Robert Mitchum — The Signature Collection," "This Film is Not Yet Rated," "Fiddler On the Roof — 2 Disc Special Edition," "Jacknife," "The Puffy Chair," "Night Skies" and "Apocalypse and the Beauty Queen."