TV on DVD Round Up, June 4, 2009: ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘The Cleaner’

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CHICAGO – Just so there’s absolutely no confusion out there:’s beloved Round-Up column is merely for informative purposes only. Rather than just let you know about the titles we have time to watch front to back and award a grade as we do in our great full-length reviews, we thought we’d also do our readers a service and provide the synopsis, cast, and technical details for a few other notable titles. Welcome to the TV on DVD edition of the Round-Up.

“Taking Chance” was released on May 12th, 2009.

“Friday Night Lights” and “Russell Brand In New York City” were released on May 19th, 2009.

“Wallander” was released on June 2nd, 2009.

“The Cleaner” will be released on June 9th, 2009.

“The Cleaner: The First Season”

The Cleaner
Photo credit: Paramount

Synopsis: “Each week The Cleaner follows Benjamin Bratt as William Banks, a recovering addict who helps others get clean by any means necessary as he struggles to maintain his own rocky personal life. William works with an eclectic team. Swenton is a wily smart aleck who is great undercover and always jealous of Akani, the beautiful, manipulative, and mysterious woman who always seems to get the best assignments and might just have a romantic past with William. Darnell is the newest member of William’s crew. Darnell is deeply indebted to William for helping his younger brother get clean, but he must balance his deep religious convictions with the kind of work required as part of William’s team. Together with this eclectic group, William works week-in and week-out to bring addicts of all kinds to the point where they are ready and willing to get help and begin the difficult process of getting clean. With every success and every failure, William wrestles with his own demons through an unusual relationship with God. He’s a man caught between an unwavering commitment to his work, deep love for his family, and the ghosts of his own addictions. Bad for his personal life, perhaps, but these are the tensions that make William the one you want helping a troubled loved one, the one you trust to do whatever is necessary, the man you want by your side in your darkest hour. In the face of tragedy and addiction, William Banks will risk everything to be The Cleaner.”

“The Cleaner: The First Season” stars Benjamin Bratt, Grace Park, Esteban Powell, Kevin Michael Richardson, Amy Price-Francis, Brett DelBuono, and Liliana Mumy. It is not rated. The show is presented in 16:9 widescreen and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

Special features on “The Cleaner: The First Season” include “The Mystery of William Banks,” Cast & Crew Commentary on Selected Episodes, Cast & Crew Interviews, International Promo, Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, Music Excerpts, and On Set With Esteban Powell.

“Friday Night Lights: The Third Season”

Friday Night Lights: The Third Season
Photo credit: Universal

Synopsis: “One of the most compelling, heartfelt and intense TV series of all time – Friday Night Lights – returns to more acclaim with 13 groundbreaking Season Three episodes. Return to Dillon, Texas, where the close-knit residents face new challenges and uncertainties as they deal with the day-to-day pressures of life transitions, heartbreak and hardships. Featuring a powerful all-star cast led by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights is the realistic series that has received unrivaled recognition from Time, Entertainment Weekly, the Primetime Emmy® Awards, Writers Guild and the American Film Institute. Discover why this gripping series from executive producers Brian Grazer, Peter Berg, Jason Katims and Jeffrey Reiner is being praised as “one of the best series on TV.” (Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel)”

“Friday Night Lights: The Third Season” stars Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Minka Kelly, Zach Gilford, and Taylor Kitsch. It was created by Peter Berg. It is not rated. The show is presented in widescreen with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English 5.1 track.

Special features include deleted scenes, including 13 minutes of a lost storyline from the emotionally charged climactic finale, and an audio commentary.

“Russell Brand In New York City - Extended and Uncensored”

Russell Brand in New York City
Photo credit: Paramount

Synopsis: “BRITISH POP ICON. ROCK STAR. LADIES MAN. The unexpected star and scene-stealer of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the controversial host of the 2008 VMA’s, Russell Brand makes his Comedy Central debut with Russell Brand in New York City. Detailing the difficulty of handling his newfound fame in America, recounting the time he meet the Queen and instructing women on how to approach him, Russell Brand proves he’s the hottest thing to come out of Britain since The Beatles.”

“Russell Brand in New York City” stars Russell Brand. It is not rated. The show is presented in widescreen with a Dolby Digital English stereo track.

Special features on “Russell Brand in New York City” include three featurettes - “Loose Cannon Drunk Girl,” “An Englishman in NY (Russell Brand in Times Square),” and “The Notorious 2008 VMA Monologue”.

“Taking Chance”

Taking Chance
Photo credit: HBO Home Video

Synopsis: “Based on the true experiences of Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, who wrote eloquently of them in a widely circulated 2004 article, Taking Chance is a profoundly emotional look at the military rituals taken to honor its war dead, as represented by a fallen Marine killed in Iraq, Lance Corporal Chance Phelps. Working as a strategic analyst at Marine Corps Base Quantico in VA, Lt. Col. Strobl (Kevin Bacon) learns that Phelps had once lived in his hometown, and volunteers to escort the body to its final resting place in Wyoming. As Strobl journeys across America, he discovers the great diligence and dignity in how the military, and all those involved with preparing and transporting the body, handle their duties. Equally important, he encounters hundreds of people affected by Chances death, a vast majority of whom never knew him. This collective grieving eventually causes Lt. Col. Strobl, a veteran of Desert Storm now assigned to office duty, to probe his own guilt about not re-deploying to Iraq for the current conflict. Arriving in Wyoming, Lt. Col. Strobl completes his catharsis when he encounters Chances gracious family and friends, and discovers an extraordinary outpouring of community support.”

“Taking Chance” stars Kevin Bacon, Tom Aldredge, and Blanche Baker. It was written by Lt. Col. Michael R. Strobl, USMC (Ret.) and Ross Katz and directed by Katz. It is not rated. The film is presented in widescreen with a Dolby English 5.1 audio track.

Special features on “Taking Chance” include “Bearing Witness,” “The Real Chance Phelps,” “From Script to Screen,” and a deleted scene.


Photo credit: BBC/WB

Synopsis: “Kenneth Branagh plays Swedish detective Kurt Wallander in three new crime dramas based on the best-selling books by Henning Mankell, an international publishing phenomenon with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. Sidetracked, Firewall, and One Step Behind follow Inspector Kurt Wallander - a disillusioned everyman - as he struggles against a rising tide of violence in the seemingly sleepy backwaters in and around Ystad in beautiful southern Sweden. Baffling crimes and apparently motiveless murders lead to surprising and shocking discoveries in these Swedish noir thrillers.”

“Wallander” stars Kenneth Branagh, Sarah Smart, Sadie Shimmin, Tom Beard, Tom Hiddleston, Richard McCabe, David Warner, and Jeany Spark. The films are presented in 16:9 enhanced widescreen with Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound tracks. They are not rated.

Special features on “Wallander” include “Who Is Kurt Wallander?,” “Branagh’s Wallander,” “The Wallander Look,” and Branagh and Mankell Interview. content director Brian Tallerico

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