This week’s home entertainment releases are appropriate for the whole family: a tale about potential reincarnation and paternal affection; a love story cemented in the past and present; an animated 3D adventure; and a whole season of laugh-worthy “Bazingas.”

Dean Spanley on DVDDean Spanley (DVD)
The story is set in Edwardian England, where upper lips are always stiff and men from new colonies are not entirely to be trusted. Fisk Sr. (Peter O’Toole) has little time or affection for his son (Jeremy Northam), but when the pair visits an eccentric Indian, they start a journey that eventually allows the old man to find his heart. Meanwhile, a series of run-ins with a Dean (Sam Neill) convinces Fisk Jr. they’re more than coincidence; so he lures Dean Spanley to dinner with the promise of his favourite spirit Tokay, a rare Hungarian sweet wine. But after two glasses, Spanley begins to share genuine-sounding experiences of a fascinating past life.

This film is far less about action and conflict than it is about the gradual unfolding of an unbelievable tale. At the end of each session, slightly more is known about the inner workings of a k-9′s mind and a personal connection becomes apparent. It is this connection that becomes the heart of the story.

Special features include: interviews with producers Matthew Metcalfe and Alan Harris, director Toa Fraser, and actors O’Toole and Neill; and a making-of featurette. (Alliance Films)

Letters to Juliet on DVDLetters to Juliet (DVD)
When Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a young American, travels to Verona, Italy – the romantic city where Romeo first met Juliet – she meets a group of volunteers who respond to letters written to Juliet seeking romantic advice. Sophie finds and answers a letter that has been lost for 50 years and is stunned when its author Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) arrives in Italy with her handsome, but overprotective grandson (Christopher Egan), to find the fiancé she left decades before. Fascinated by Claire’s quest, Sophie joins them on an adventure through the beautiful hills of Tuscany searching for Claire’s long lost Lorenzo.

Special features include: commentary with director Gary Winick and Seyfried; deleted and extended scenes; a making-of featurette; and “A Courtyard in Verona.” (Entertainment One)

Monster House on Blu-rayMonster House (Blu-ray)
Monster House tells the animated story of three friends who discover their neighbour’s house is really a living, breathing scary monster. Even for a 12-year old, D.J. Walters has a particularly overactive imagination. He is convinced that his haggard and crabby neighbour Horace Nebbercracker, who terrorizes all the neighbourhood kids, is responsible for Mrs. Nebbercracker’s mysterious disappearance. Any toy that touches Nebbercracker’s property promptly disappears, swallowed up by the cavernous house in which Horace lives. D.J. has seen it with his own eyes, but no one believes him – not even his best friend, Chowder. What everyone does not know is D.J. is not imagining things. Everything he’s seen is absolutely true and it’s about to get much worse than anything D.J could have imagined.

Special features include: filmmakers’ commentary; “Inside Monster House,” which includes “Imaginary Heroes,” “Beginner’s Luck,” “The Best of Friends,” “Lots of Dots,” “Black Box Theater,” “Making it Real” and “Did You Hear That”; “Evolution of a Scene: Eliza vs. Nebbercracker” and “The Art of Monster House” photo gallery. Also, this blu-ray is compatible with the 3D HDTV. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Big Bang Theory - Season 3 on blu-rayThe Big Bang Theory – The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
A love affair with Penny (Kaley Cuoco) has opened a big, wide, wonderful world of romance for Leonard (Johnny Galecki). But Sheldon (Jim Parsons) likes the world just the way it was, thank you. All of which makes for a zany comic triangle with brainy, clueless Sheldon and practical, grounded Penny hilariously vying for the role of hypotenuse. This complete 3-Disc, 23-Episode Season 3 Set also features Raj (Kunal Nayyar), Howard (Simon Helberg), tattoos, football, awkward dates, jail time, Stan Lee, a The Lord of the Rings ring and all the fun of a series that only gets better.

The list above only touches the surface of the hilarity of this season. The series really came into its own, having already developed the characters it could now just play on their quirks and appear natural versus setting up each character to introduce an eccentricity. Sheldon continues to be the centre of attention, but everyone else is bringing their A-game too. A game of find Sheldon in a pool of plastic balls is still my highlight of this season. Bazinga!

Special features include: “Takeout with the cast of The Big Bang Theory” joins the cast for Chinese food and discussions of their favourite season three moments; a set tour with Simon and Kunal; and a gag reel.


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