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DISCussion: New on DVD and Blu-ray (6.11.13)

Our Recommendation of the Week comes courtesy of The Criterion Collection, the re-release of Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries. This re-release features a digital re-mastered version of the movie, commentary from a film scholar, a documentary about Bergman and a booklet by film writer Mark Le Fanu.

First Release
Oz: The Great and Powerful (DVD and Blu-ray)
Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters (DVD and Blu-ray)
Snitch (DVD and Blu-ray)

Re-Release
Wild Strawberries (1957) (Blu-ray)
Enter the Dragon (1973) (Blu-ray)
Lilo and Stitch Double Pack (Blu-ray)
The Emperor’s New Groove Double Pack (Blu-ray)
Atlantis Double Pack (Blu-ray)
How to Survive a Plague (2012) (Blu-ray)
Sense and Sensibility (1995) (Blu-ray)
Rendition (2007) (Blu-ray)
Running Scarred (2006) (Blu-ray)

Wild Strawberries (1957) (Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand

Ingmar Bergman is known as one of the great art-house directors and a key figure in film history. One of his best known movies is Wild Strawberries, a drama about Isak Borg (Victor Sjöström), a former medical doctor and professor who has driven people away because of his cold demeanor. On his way to claiming an honorary degree Borg has to confront his past and the emptiness of his existence.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 94% (excellent)
Entertainment Fuse Score:
8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; Audio commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie; Introduction by director Ingmar Bergman; Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work, a ninety-minute documentary by filmmaker and author Jörn Donner; Behind-the-scenes footage shot by Bergman; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film writer Mark Le Fanu

Amazon Price: $27.97 (Blu-ray)

The new releases of the week are two very different fantasy movies and a crime drama starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. There is a wide selection of movies being re-released, including the martial arts classic Enter the Dragon, three Disney Double Packs and an Oscar nominated Documentary.

Oz: The Great and Powerful (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Sam Raimi
Written by Mitchell Kapner, David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay), L. Frank Baum (novels)
Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff, Joey King

L. Frank Baum’s ‘Oz’ novels and characters have been adapted a name of times in films, television shows, novels and musicals: Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful is the latest adaptation. Helmed by Sam Raimi of The Evil Dead and Spider-man fame and starring James Franco Oz: The Great and Powerful is a prequel to the original Wizard of Oz.

Oscar Diggs (Franco), or Oz for short is a magician and con artist in traveling circus in Kansas where he ends up in the Land of Oz after a tornado. After landing in the strange land Oscar is prophesized to save the people from the Wicked Witch and he is promised full access to the royal treasury. But on his journey Oscar meets a number of strange companions and finds out who the real enemy is.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 60% (good)
Metacritic Rating:
44/100 (poor)
Entertainment Fuse Score:
7.5/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Bloopers; Walt Disney and the Road to Oz ; – Walt’s personal fascination with Oz

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Disney second screen – the magic of Oz the Great and Powerful: Make magic with Finley and Oz’s bag of tricks – plus, journey into this fantastical land; Bloopers; My journey in Oz by James Franco – view this personal, intimate portrait produced and directed by James Franco; Mr. Elfman’s musical concoctions – composer Danny Elfman brings his unique talent to the movie’s score; China Grl and the suspension of disbelief – discover the movie magic that brings China Girl to life; Before your very eyes: from Kansas to Oz; – explore Robert Stromberg’s extraordinary production design; Mila’s metamorphosis – witness an amazing transformation through the power of special makeup effects

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray), $27.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo), $31.45 (3D Blu-ray)

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (DVD and Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare

In recent years we have seen new interpretations of famous fairy tales, such as Snow White and the Huntsman, Red Riding Hood and Once Upon A Time. Norwegian director of Dead Snow Tommy Wirkola made a black horror action comedy about the Brothers Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel.

Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are brother and sister who after killing a witch when they are children dedicate their lives to killing witches. But they end having to come face to face with a witch from their own past.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 14% (awful)
Metacritic Rating:
21/100 (very bad)
Entertainment Fuse Score:
3.5/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Unrated cut; Reinventing Hansel & gretel; The witching hours; Meet Edward the troll; ; Disc 2 – DVD: theatrical version

Amazon Price: $13.00 (DVD), $14.99 (Blu-ray), $22.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 2.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 2 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

Snitch (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh
Written by Justin Haythe, Ric Roman Waugh
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon, Benjamin Bratt, Jon Bernthal, Michael Kenneth Williams

Dwayne Johnson is known as a muscular action star: but with Snitch he sets out to show off his acting muscles as John Matthews, the owner of construction company we agrees to become an informant for the DEA to save his son who faces a long sentence for drug trafficking despite being a first time offender.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 58% (average)
Metacritic Rating:
52/100 (average)
Entertainment Fuse Score:
7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Privileged Information: The Making of Snitch; Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Ric Roman Waugh and Editor Jonathan Chibnall; Deleted Scenes; Theatrical Trailer; ; Closed Caption

Amazon Price: $14.96 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 3 stars, Video 5 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 2.5 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

Enter the Dragon (1973) (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Robert Clouse
Written by Michael Allin, Bruce Lee
Starring: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Ahna Capri, Shih Kien, Robert Wall

During the height of the martial arts craze in the 70s Bruce Lee was king of the genre, despite only starring in four movies. Enter the Dragon is his only American movie and his last starring role before his untimely death.

Lee (Bruce Lee) is a martial artist who is recruited by British intelligence to infiltrate a secret island run by a drug bacon (Shih Kien) who is hosting a martial arts tournament. But who cares about the plot, we watch this movie for the excellent fighting; though it does provide Bond esque quality to it.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (excellent)
Entertainment Fuse Score:
9.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio commentary by producer Paul M. Heller and writer Michael Allin; 1973 behind-the-scenes documentary “Location: Hong Kong with Enter the Dragon”; New documentary “Bruce Lee in His Own Words”; An all-new introduction and interview with Linda Lee Cadwell
 
Amazon Price: $34.96 (Blu-ray)

Lilo and Stitch Double Park (Blu-ray)

Lilo and Stitch (2002)
Written and directed by Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Starring: Chris Sanders, Daveigh Chase, Tia Carre, David Ogden Stiers, Kevin McDonald, Ving Rhames, Jason Scott Lee

Lilo and Stitch Has a Glitch (2005)
Directed by Michael LaBash, Tony Leondis
Written by Tony Leondis, Eddie Guzelian, Alexa Judge, Michael LaBash
Starring: Chris Sanders, Dakota Fanning, Tia Carrere, Kevin McDonald, David Ogden Stiers, Jason Scott Lee

Lilo and Stitch is considered one of the last great traditionally drawn animated movies that Disney made and it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Movie. Directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois who went on the make How to Train Your Dragon, Lilo and Stitch blends comedy, sci-fi and family drama. And the straight-to-DVD sequel is a rarity, it can be considered passable.

Lilo and Stitch (2002)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
86% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating:
73/10 (good)

Lilo and Stitch Has a Glitch (2005)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
40% (poor)

DISC DETAILS

Amazon Price: $19.96 (Blu-ray)

The Emperor’s New Groove Double Pack (Blu-ray)

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Directed by Mark Dindal
Written by David Reynolds (screenplay), Mark Dindal, Chris Williams (story)
Starring: David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Wendie Malick, John Fielder

Kronk’s New Groove (2005)
Directed by Elliot M. Bour, Saul Andrew Blinkoff
Written by Tom Rogers (screenplay), Anthony Leondis, Michael LaBash (story)
Starring: Patrick Warburton, Tracey Ullman, Eartha Kitt, John Goodman, Wendie Malick, John Mahoney, John Fiedler, David Spade

Considering the cast involved in The Emperor’s New Groove this Disney movie turned out to surprisingly good comedy. Emperor Kuzco (David Spade) is turned into a llama after an assassination goes wrong and ends up seeing what his policies are doing to his subjects. The less we say about the sequel the better.

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
85% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating:
70/100 (good)
Entertainment Fuse Score:
7.5/10

Kronk’s New Groove (2005)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 0% (awful)

DISC DETAILS

Amazon Price: $19.96 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 0 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

Atlantis Double Pack (Blu-ray)

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Directed by Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Written by Tab Murphy (screenplay), Tab Murphy, Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, Bryce Zabel, Jackie Zabel (story), Joss Whedon (treatmen)
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Cree Summer, James Garner, John Mahoney

Atlantis: Milo’s Return
Directed by Victor Cook, Toby Shelton, Tad Stones
Written by Thomas Hart, Henry Gilroy
Starring: James Arnold Taylor, Cree Summer, John Mahoney

Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a highly praised for being a beautifully animated movie, but a critical disappointment for Disney as Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox) ends up going on an expedition to find the legendary city of Atlantis and finds an ancient culture under the sea. The sequel sees a massive drop in animation quality as it was really just an attempt to bridge three episodes of an unproduced TV show into a movie.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
49% (average)
Metacritic Rating:
52/100 (average)

Atlantis: Milo’s Return
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 0% (awful)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted scenes; The making of Atlantis; How to speak Atlantean; Atlantis – fact or fiction?

Amazon Price: $19.96 (Blu-ray)

How to Survive a Plague (2012) (Blu-ray)

Directed by David France
Written by David France, Todd Woody Richman, Tyler H. Walk

How to Survive a Plague is an Oscar nominated documentary about two groups, ACT UP and TAG, during the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and how their actions were able to turn AIDS from a death sentence to a manageable condition.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating:
87/100 (excellent)

DISC DETAILS

Amazon Price: $24.99 (Blu-ray)

Sense and Sensibility (1995) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Ang Lee
Written by Emma Thompson (screenplay), Jane Austen (novel)
Starring: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant

Directed by Ang Lee, Sense and Sensibility was a critically praised adaptation of the Jane Austen’s novel and earned seven Academy Awards nominations, including a Best Adapted Screenplay win for Emma Thompson.

After Mr. Dashwood dies he ends up leaving his wife and daughters poor due to the rules of inheritance. Because of this his daughters’ marriage prospects are hampered, including the practical Elinor (Thompson) and the romantic Marianne (Kate Winslet) as they search for love.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 98% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 84/100 (very good)
Entertainment Fuse Score:
6.0/10

DISC DETAILS

Amazon Price: $30.58 (Blu-ray)

Rendition (2007) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Gavin Hood
Written by Kelley Sane
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard, Omar Metwally, Meryl Streep

The process of extraordinary rendition was one of the biggest scandals of the war on terror and for the Bush administration. It serves as the basis for this spy thriller and anti-war drama. Rendition tells three stories, one about Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is working with officials of North African country as they torture a man wrongfully accused of being a terrorist, the wife of the suspect, Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) who tries to prove the American government has taken her husband and the daughter of an intelligence chief, Fatima (Zineb Oukach) who unwittingly ends up in a relationship with a terrorist.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 47% (average)
Metacritic Rating:
55/100 (average)
Entertainment Fuse Score:
8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary by director Gavin Hood; “Outlawed” documentary; “Intersections: The Making of Rendition” documentary; Five deleted scenes including an alternate ending

Amazon Price: $17.99 (Blu-ray)

Running Scared (2006) (Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Wayne Kramer
Starring: Paul Walker, Cameron Bright, Vera Farmiga, Chazz Palminteri

Like The Boondock Saints and Equilibrium, Running Scared is a movie that was met with a negative critical reaction but has developed a strong fan following. Also like those movies Running Scared is a movie which people either love or hate.

Paul Walker stars as a Joey Gazelle, a low ranking gangster in the Mafia who is given a mission by a mob boss to depose of a gun that was used to kill a cop. But this seemingly simple task turns out to be a lot more complicated.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 40% (poor)
Metacritic Rating:
41/100 (poor)
Entertainment Fuse Score:
4.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with writer/director Wayne Kramer; Behind-the-scenes documentary; Storyboards drawn by Wayne Kramer; Theatrical trailer

Amazon Price: $17.99 (Blu-ray)

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