It used to be you could keep up with the latest home video releases. During the VHS era, new titles were released either as “rental” (titles were sold to rental stores only for an exuberantly high $80+ a cassette!) or “sell-through” (wherein the public could buy the title in stores for under $30 a pop). The only alternative to purchasing costly analog video cassettes was the whole LaserDisc movement of the time.
LaserDiscs were definitely the DVD of their day, as they offered better quality (even if you did have to flip them over mid-movie) and even a few special features here and there — all that for just a few dollars more than a video tape. But, as some of you may recall, LaserDiscs seemed to remain the "niche" thing to do: they weren't picked up by most of the general public (who probably just didn't "get" it), and you usually had to go to specialty stores to find the latest releases.
And then came DVD (and later Blu-ray). Suddenly, we had anamorphic widescreen pictures, dynamic DTS surround sound, and, once again, bonus materials. The difference between DVD and LD, though? People actually "got" it this time (and it may be due to the whole "compact size" thing). Finally, videophiles were able to buy the latest release for a decent price... without having to wait for a "sell-through" re-release.
DVDs also offered us more — and, by more, I primarily mean more to choose from. Obscure titles began to crawl out of the woodwork (or was it plastic?), making the weekly odyssey to keep up at the video store that much more of a chore. Nowadays, it’s practically impossible for even a full-time couch potato to keep up with all of the new releases (from both major and independent distributors alike) that seem to pile up on rental and retail shelves every week. And so, it is with bloodshot eyes and a thorough lack of sleep that I bring to you a list of titles you may have missed (and may possibly want to add to your rental queues)…