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‘Homicide’ kills on DVD, Pixar’s ‘Cars’ crashes

Sometimes, television is just too good to pass up and bypassing movies that are coming out on DVD is the way to go. This week just happens to be one of those opportunities.

THE SOPRANOS: SEASON SIX — PART 1

While fans may disagree about the direction of the first half of season six of "The Sopranos," if the curtain call to the series ends in a violent knock-down, drag-out mob war leaving blood and bodies in the street, then the 12 episode set-up of "Part 1" makes it more than worth the wait for the second (and final) half.

Season six of the show has been divided in two in an effort to give fans more of the show they rabidly await each week. The season begins with the shooting of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) by his own uncle, who seems to have lost a marble or two. What follows is the recovery of Tony after an alternate universe episode showing Tony’s life had he not been part of the "whack pack."

Much of the initial 12 episodes centered on Tony’s recovery, Christopher’s (Michael Imperoli) descent back into drugs, Vito’s changing lifestyle and the tensions growing between mob families — including Philly’s (Frank Vincent) desire to execute Vito (Joe Gannascoli) and the swift killing of one of Philly’s henchman.

The DVD includes four alternate audio track commentaries from the cast and a making of "The Sopranos" video game. While the urge to add this to your collection is probably high, hold off and wait for a possible combined sixth season DVD or the complete series that is bound to be released. Price: $99.98. Rent or buy: Rent.

HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET — THE COMPLETE SERIES

Sit down and prepare yourself because "Homicide: Life on the Street — The Complete Series" is now out on DVD, including the whole enchilada of one of the greatest crime dramas of all time. Holy cow, this is the ultimate DVD set for all fans.

"Homicide" always garnered critical acclaim and had a fanatical following among viewers, but never seemed to gather the type of audience it deserved. Back when "Homicide" was on the air, people were more interested in "Nash Bridges" than great, heartfelt drama. Too bad, considering anyone would get far more joy out of this excellent series than many of the standard procedural dramas that pack the network schedules.

This massive DVD set includes all 122 episodes of the seven seasons of the original series on 35 (yes, 35) discs. But wait, there is so much more. Also included are all of the "Law and Order" cross-over episodes, the cross-over episode from the A&E series "American Justice," the final made-for-television movie, six episodic commentaries, interviews with the cast and crew, the 60-minute documentary on the series, cast biographies, Super Bowl commercials and so much more. Sure it’s a pricy set, but it’s worth it. Price: $299.99. Rent or buy: Buy!!!

CARS

With so many animated features coming out each year now, it has become its own cottage industry. Unfortunately, it is subjected to the same laws as the rest of the Hollywood genres — a handful will be good, a handful will be horrible and the rest will be mediocre. "Cars" is a visual delight with fun animation and gleaming automobiles of every shape and size. It is too bad the story is short on imagination and complexity, a surprise coming from Pixar, the godfather of new-age animated pictures. The DVD is also lacking on content (another oddity for Pixar) with one behind-the-scenes featurette, one new cartoon, "Mater and Ghost Light," a few animated shorts and that’s it. Price: $29.99. Rent or buy: Rent.

Also out on DVD now, "Gary Cooper: The Signature Collection," "Reds: 25th Anniversary Special Collector’s Edition (Blu-Ray and HD DVD format)", "Totally Awesome," "JAG: The Complete Second Season," "Little Man," "The Marlon Brando Collection," "Jekyll & Hyde," "Shockwave" and "Police Squad: The Complete Series."

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Staff Report

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