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DISCussion: New on DVD and Blu-ray (2.18.2014)

Entertainment Fuse’s Recommendation of the Week comes curiosity of the Criterion Collection with them re-releasing Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Like many Criterion Collection releases this re-release has a number of documentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes, a commentary from the director and a comic-book.

First Release
Battle of the Damned (DVD and Blu-ray)
Cal (DVD)

Re-Release
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Foreign Correspondent (1940) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Darkman (1990) (Blu-ray)

fantastic mr fox blu-ray

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach (screenplay), Roald Dahl (novel)
Starring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon

Based on Roald Dahl’s children’s novel Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion animated movie from indie-darling Wes Anderson. Featuring an all-star voice cast George Clooney leads this movie as Mr. Fox, a skilled raider who after nearly getting caught and just escaping with life he promises to his wife, Felicity (Meryl Streep) he will settle down and lead a quite life. But the pull of raiding is too strong and Mr. Fox plans to raid the three meanest farmers in the area and the lead farmer, Bean (Michael Gambon) wants revenge.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 93% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 83/100 (very good)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 6.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Digital master, approved by director Wes Anderson, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Audio commentary featuring Anderson; Storyboard animatic for the entire film; Footage of the actors recording their characters, puppet construction, stop-motion setups, and the recording of the score; Interviews with the cast and crew; Puppet animation tests; Photo gallery of puppets, props, and sets; Animated awards acceptance speeches; Audio recording of author Roald Dahl reading the book on which the film is based; “Fantastic Mr. Dahl,” an hour-long 2005 documentary about the author; Gallery of Dahl’s original manuscripts; Discussion and analysis of the film; Stop-motion Sony robot commercial by Anderson; One Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both formats; PLUS: a booklet featuring an essay by critic Erica Wagner; a 2002 article on Dahl’s Gipsy House by Anderson; “White Cape,” a comic book used as a prop in the film; and drawings, original paintings, and other ephemera

Amazon Price: $24.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 4.5 stars, Replay 4 stars (out of 5). DVD Talk Collector Series.

In a light week of DVD and Blu-ray releases the new releases of the week are the B-movie Battle of the Damned and British drama Cal whilst Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent and Sam Raimi’s Darkman are being re-released.

battle of the damned blu-ray

Battle of the Damned (DVD and Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Christopher Hatton
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Melanie Zanetti, Matt Doran, David Field, Jen Sung

Zombies, robots and Dolph Lundgren, that is what the action B-movie Battle of the Damned has to offer. Lundgren stars as Max Gatling, a mercenary who is hired by an industrialist to get his daughter out of quarantined city after an outbreak of a virus. Gatling ends up having to lead a ragtag team of survivors and robots in a battle against the zombies that roam the city.

DISC DETAILS

Amazon Price: $9.96 (DVD), $14.96 (Blu-ray)

cal dvd
Cal (DVD)

Written and directed by Christian Martin
Starring: Wayne Virgo, Tom Payne, Emily Corcoran, Lucy Russell

Cal is a drama from the UK about Cal (Wayne Virgo), a young gay man who returns home from France to his impoverished estate in Bristol when he finds out his mum is ill. Rejected by his family Cal ends up helping Jason (Tom Payne), but has to face a drug dealing pimp because of his actions.

DISC DETAILS

Amazon Price: $24.95 (DVD)

foreign correspondent blu-ray

Foreign Correspondent (1940) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Charles Bennett, Joan Harrison (screenplay), Robert Benchley, James Hilton (dialogue), Vincent Sheean (novel ‘Personal History’)
Starring: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders, Albert Basserman, Robert Benchley

The other re-release from the Criterion Collection is Alfred Hitchcock’s second Hollywood movie, Foreign Correspondent. This spy thriller was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor.

Johnny Jones (Joel McCrea) is a New York journalist who is sent to London by his editor to report on a secret treaty but ends up in conflict with an enemy spy-ring.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
93% (excellent)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; New piece on the film’s special effects by visual effects expert Craig Barron; Hollywood Propaganda and World War II, a new interview with writer Mark Harris; Interview with director Alfred Hitchcock from a 1972 episode of the Dick Cavett Show; Radio adaptation of the film from 1946, starring Joseph Cotten; “Have You Heard? The Story of Wartime Rumors,” a 1942 Life magazine “photo-drama” by Hitchcock; Trailer; One Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both formats; PLUS: a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar James Naremore

Amazon Price: $24.99 (Blu-ray)

darkman blu-ray

Darkman (1990) (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Sam Raimi
Written by Sam Raimi, Chuck Pfarreer, Ivan Raimi, Daniel Goldin, Joshua Goldin (screenplay), Sam Raimi (story)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels, Larry Drake

Before Sam Raimi made the Spider-man trilogy his first foray into the superhero genre was his own creation Darkman. Dr. Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is a scientist who is developing synthetic skin and his girlfriend Julie Hastings (Frances McDormand) is a lawyer investigating corruption at city hall. When gangsters end up blowing up Westlake’s lab, Westlake is presumed dead and his face burnt off. Westlake is forced to go underground and use his synthetic skin technology to take other people’s identity and get revenge on the people who destroyed his life.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 80% (very good)
Metacritic Rating: 63/100 (good)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Interviews with Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand; MY NAME IS DURANT – interview with Larry Drake; THE FACE OF REVENGE – interview with Makeup Designer Tony Gardner; HENCHMAN TALES – Interviews with actors Danny Hicks and Dan Bell; DARK DESIGN – interview with Production Designer Randy Ser and Art Director Philip Dagort; Audio Commentary with director of photography Bill Pope; Vintage “Making of” and interview Featurettes featuring interviews with Sam Raimi, Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand and more…; Vintage full-length interviews, not used in the featurettes, with Sam Raimi, Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand; Theatrical Trailer; TV Spots; Still Galleries – Posters & production stills, Behind the Scenes, Make-up Effects and Storyboards

Amazon Price: $19.96 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 2.5 stars, Audio 3 stars, Extras 4 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

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