DVD releases: Sept. 2
“The Office: Fourth Season”
More than any season so far, this one best illustrated why Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant hung up the British original so quickly. Sure, it included two of the most brilliantly uncomfortable half-hours the show has had (“Dinner Party” and “Did I Stutter?”). But hourlong episodes strained mightily, and Steve Carell was stranded even more in inconsistent characterization as bumbling boss Michael Scott.
Commentary is offered on “Stutter?,” as well as episodes “Money,” “Local Ad” and “The Deposition” (another of the season’s better episodes). Also offered are deleted scenes, outtakes, a read-through, a music video for Michael’s “Goodbye, Toby” song and more.
“Bright Lights, Big City”
Speaking of “The Office,” another strong fourth-season episode was “Night Out,” in which the brash Ryan had his own “Bright Lights, Big City” moment.
Two decades ago, this was the movie to shatter the run of golden-boy roles for star Michael J. Fox, who played the lead in novelist Jay McInerney’s adapted tale of coke-fueled and binge-drinking excess among hard-partying professionals. Kiefer Sutherland and Phoebe Cates co-star in a film on which the late director James Bridges (“The China Syndrome”) was brought in late in the game.
Extras include two commentaries (one with McInerney and another with cinematographer Gordon Willis) and featurettes.
Also next week
It’s not really a romantic comedy if Colin Firth isn’t involved, and he’s the crusty-attitude savior to Helen Hunt’s character in “Then She Found Me” (which Hunt also directed). Dumped by her husband (Matthew Broderick) and meeting her birth mother (Bette Midler) for the first time, Hunt’s character must cope with her new life status. DVD and Blu-ray extras include commentary, interviews and more.
Love, marriage and murder collide in “Married Life,” a black-comedy film noir starring Chris Cooper as Harry, a man who’s taken a mistress (Rachel McAdams). Rather than put his wife, Pat (Patricia Clarkson), through the pain of divorce, he believes he should kill her. Complicating things is Harry’s pal, Richard (Pierce Brosnan), who feels he should have the mistress for himself. DVD and Blu-ray extras include director commentary and three alternate endings.
Last mention of “The Office,” pinkie swear. Jenna Fischer (who plays Pam on the series) stars in “The Promotion.” She plays the wife to Seann William Scott’s Doug, an assistant supermarket manager who competes with a rival (John C. Reilly) to become manager. Director Ulli Lommel follows up “Curse of the Zodiac” with another serial-killer chiller, “Son of Sam,” which includes commentary. In “Flood,” a colossal tidal surge submerges London, and a top marine engineer (Robert Carlyle) has just two hours to drain the city and save it from destruction.
“Transformers” comes to Blu-ray, while special-edition packages include an Optimus Prime mask (single-disc) and a two-disc transforming Megatron package. The “Cirque du Soleil: Corteo” presentation comes to Blu-ray, as do the following Warner Bros. action thrillers: “Under Siege 2: Dark Territory,” “Outbreak” and “Eraser.”
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” gets a remastered release and an awfully early jump on Halloween. Other children’s titles include: “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Storybook Surprise” and “My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Hundred Acre Wood Haunt.”
Three hits from last season — NBC’s “Life,” CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” and ABC’s “Eli Stone” — see their first seasons come to DVD.
Other TV titles include: the third seasons of “The Ghost Whisperer,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Supernatural”; the “sizzling secrets edition” of the fourth season of “Desperate Housewives”; the 10th season of “Cheers”; the HBO special “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq”; and the BBC documentary “Around the World in 80 Treasures.”
All DVDs are scheduled for release Tuesday, but release dates are subject to change.