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by Mark Burger

BY MARK BURGER | marksburger@yahoo.com

DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: ESSENTIAL GAMES OF THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

(Major League Baseball Productions/A&E Networks Home Entertainment)

This just hasn’t been the Philadelphia Phillies’ season, much to this fan’s chagrin, but this DVD boxed set revives some electrifying memories from better days.The 2012 Phillies may be mired at the bottom of their division, but I am a proud son of Philadelphia and although it took the Phillies 97 years(!) to win their first World Series in 1980, I’d never consider rooting for another team. I’ll watch these discs raw before that ever happens.The collection boasts the full broadcasts of Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS against the Houston Astros (a game I’ve referred to as “the greatest ever played” — and surely one of the most nail-biting League Championship series’ ever), Game 6 of the 1993 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, Game 5 of the 2008 World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, and Roy Halliday’s masterful no-hitter in his post-season debut in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. It’s especially comforting to know that the Phillies win each game.Also available are “Essential Games of the Chicago Cubs” and “Essential Games of the Texas Rangers.” Each “Essential Games” collection retails for $39.95.

“AAAHHH!!! REAL MONSTERS”:SEASON 2 (Shout! Factory): A two-DVD collection ($19.93 retail) of all 13 episodes from the 1995 season of the award-winning, animated Nickelodeon series about three young monsters still learning the proper techniques of scaring.

“AMERICAN PICKERS”: VOLUME 4 (A&E Networks Home Entertainment): A two-DVD collection ($19.95 retail) of eight episodes from the popular History Channel reality series following Antique Archaeology founder Mike Wolfe and friends as they seek rare and valuable items.

“THE ANGRY BEAVERS”: SEASON 3, PART 2 (Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory): A DVD collection ($19.93 retail) of the final 13 episodes from the 1999-2000 season of the award-winning animated Nickeolodeon series about trouble-making beaver brothers.

A BAG OF HAMMERS (MPI Home Video): Jason Ritter and Jake Sandvig play LA slackers who end up caring for an abandoned infant in this comedy written by Sandvig and Brian Crano, the latter making his feature directorial debut. Rebecca Hall, Carrie Preston, Sally Kirkland and Amanda Seyfried fulfill the female contingent. The DVD retails for $24.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.

BRAKE (IFC Films/MPI Media Group): Secret Service agent Stephen Dorff finds himself locked in the trunk of a car, and that’s just the beginning of this claustrophobic thriller, now available on DVD ($24.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.98 retail).

BUFFALO BILL JR. DOUBLE FEATURE (Alpha Home Entertainment): He wasn’t related to William F. Cody, but rodeo star Jay Wilsey adopted the name for a series of lowbudget Western quickies, including Westward Bound (1930) and Riding Speed (1936), both included on this DVD ($7.98 retail).

THE CASE OF THE BLACK PEARL (Alpha Home Entertainment): Average 1931 programmer with Jack Mulhall as an impoverished duke conned into a gem rip-off. Originally titled Sally of the Subway, referring to the character played by Dorothy Reviere, and given a slight boost by such familiar faces as Huntly Gordon, Blanche Mahaffey, Harry Semels, Crawford Kent and Bill Burke.

“DANCE MOMS”: SEASON ONE (A&E Networks Home Entertainment): The popular Lifetime reality series about the world of competitive dance as undertaken by the students at the Abby Lee Dance Company in Pittsburgh, comes to homevideo in a four-DVD boxed set ($29.95 retail) featuring all 13 episodes from the debut 2011 season. This show’s success inspired the premiere of “Dance Moms: Miami” this year.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA (Music Box Films Home Entertainment): Terence Davies’ well-acted adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s play, with Rachel Weisz as a woman whose life comes undone when she leaves her wealthy husband (Simon Russell Beale) for a younger but irresponsible World War II veteran (Tom Hiddleston). Not to be confused — at all! — with Renny Harlin’s 1999 shark opus. Rated R.

IN THE MONEY (Alpha Home Entertainment): Odd combination of slight comedy and soap opera in this low-budget 1931 Depression-era programmer about a family that unexpectedly finds itself in financial straits. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. The cast includes Richard “Skeets” Gallagher, Frank Coghlan Jr., Lois Wilson and Louise Beavers, appearing briefly as a stereotypical black housekeeper.

JOHN MELLENCAMP: IT’S ABOUT YOU (MPI Home Video): Photographer Kurt Marcus and his son Ian co-directed this rock documentary following the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer on his 2009 concert tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson as well as the recording of his subsequent album, No Better Than This. The DVD retails for $24.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.

“PAWN STARS”: VOLUME 5 (A&E Networks Home Entertainment): A DVD collection ($19.95 retail) of 16 episodes from the popular History Channel reality series about the buyings, sellings, comings and goings at the Harrison clan’s Gold and Silver Pawn Shop on the Las Vegas Strip.

REACHING FOR THE MOON (Alpha Home Entertainment): Douglas Fairbanks plays a Wall Street wizard who woos aviatrix Bebe Daniels in this breezy, bubbly 1930 comedy with Edward Everett Horton (cast to type as Fairbanks’ faithful valet), Jack Mulhall and Bing Crosby in his solo film debut. No less than Irving Berlin penned the story, but walked when most of his songs were eliminated from the film. Nice production design by William Cameron Menzies.

SECOND HONEYMOON (Alpha Home Entertainment): Bored wife Josephine Dunn decides to spite husband Edward Earle by having a fling with his best friend (Ernest Hilliard) — unaware that hubby’s in on the scheme, in this dated 1930 comedy based on a novel by Ruby M. Ayres.

SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL (A&E Networks Home Entertainment): A DVD collection ($19.95 retail) of four TV films that explore the teenage experience, originally broadcast on Lifetime: Alexa Vega stars in the 2005 adaptation of Rachel Simmons’ best-seller Odd Girl Out; Mika Boorem and Sharon Lawrence headline the 2006 adaptation of Martha Tod Dudman’s Augusta, Gone; The Perfect Teacher (2010) stars Megan Park as a high-schooler obsessed with teacher David Charvet; and Raven-Symone and Aisha Tyler star in director Ernest Dickerson’s fact-based drama For One Night (‘06).

THOSE WE LOVE (Alpha Home Entertainment): Robert Florey directed this pre-Code 1932 soap opera starring Mary Astor and Kenneth MacKenna as a couple whose marriage is threatened by rumors of infidelity. Melodramatic but acted with conviction.

TITANIC: 100 YEARS IN 3-D (A&E Networks Home Entertainment): Yet another Blu-ray documentary ($29.95 retail) commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first — and last — voyage of the most famous ship in modern history.

A WOMAN’S MAN (Alpha Home Entertainment): Drippy 1934 melodrama, based on an Adele Rogers St. John story, with Wallace Ford as a boxer smitten with Hollywood starlet Marguerite de La Mote.

MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2012, Mark Burger.

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