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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 10.11.11)

Adapted from a six-part BBC TV series, the movie version of The Trip is Player Affinity’s Recommendation of the Week. Starring funnymen Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, this Michael Winterbottom comedy is only coming out on DVD, but offers a making of documentary, deleted scenes and of course, laughs.

First Releases
The Tree of Life (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Beautiful Boy (DVD and Blu-ray)
Terri (DVD and Blu-ray)
Zookeeper (DVD and Blu-ray)
Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer (DVD and Blu-ray)
Mr. Nice (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Trip (DVD)
Green Lantern (DVD and Blu-ray) (Release Date Oct. 14)

Re-Releases
– The Four Feathers (1939) (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Last Exit to Brooklyn (DVD and Blu-ray)
– The Bad Seed (Blu-ray)
– The Family Man (Blu-ray)
– Scrooge (1970) (Blu-ray)

The Trip (DVD) *Recommendation of the Week*

What’s the Deal?
Michael Winterbottom has an eclectic career as a director, making movies like Welcome to Sarajevo, The Killer Inside Me and 9 Songs. He has now turned to comedy, reuniting with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon from A Cock and Bull Story. The Trip started live as a six part BBC series, but was edited down to a feature length movie which premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival.

Steve accepts a commission from the Observer newspaper to go on a restaurant tour of the North of England to impress his American girlfriend Misha (Margo Stilley, 9 Songs). But when she backs out at the last minute, Steve has to turn to his best friend and eternal aggravator Rob for company.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 89% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Trailer; Making Of; Behind the Scenes; Deleted Scenes

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

There are seven other new releases, but they are mostly disappointments, including the divisive The Tree of Life, the Kevin James comedy Zookeeper and superhero adventure Green Lantern. The other major theme of the week is British cinema in the form of Mr. Nice, Scrooge and The Four Feathers.

The Tree of Life (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Tree of Life received a lot praise when it came out, winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, positive critical reviews and many suspected that it could be nominated for Oscars. Directed by the reclusive Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line), he attracted an excellent cast, Brad Pitt, the up-and-coming Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn and Hunter McCracken. Despite all its praise, I personally think it is an overrated, pretentious movie that only got the critical praise because of the reputation of its director.

The Tree of Life focuses on the O’Brien family, with a couple who have two very different styles of parenting. The father (Pitt) is a very harsh disciplinarian who rules his sons with an iron fist. His wife (Chastain) is a gentle soul, believing in showing her sons love and compassion. When the father attempts to block access to her, their oldest son Jack (McCracken) starts to rebel. In the midst of all this are scenes showing the birth of the universe and dinosaurs.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 5.3/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: An exclusive 30-minute documentary on the making of the film

Amazon Price: $24.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

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

Beautiful Boy (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The movie We Need to Talk About Kevin is going to be released in theaters soon and won a lot of praise at Cannes. Beautiful Boy shares a similar storyline and was made at the same time. Cinema is filled with coincidences like this. Beautiful Boy is the feature debut of Shawn Ku and boasts an impressive cast, including Michael Sheen, Maria Bello (A History of Violence) and Kyle Gallner (Red State).

Bill and Kate (Sheen and Bello) are an emotionally distanced married couple who send their only son, Sammy (Gallner), to college. They knew he was unhappy, but they did not foresee him committing a mass shooting. Suffering from grief, the two have to battle the media and everyone else around them to accept they only have each other.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 69% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary featuring Director Shawn Ku, Director of Photography Michael Fimognari, and Editor Chad Galston; Deleted Scenes

Amazon Price: $18.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Terri (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The other independent movie of the week is Terri, a comedy-drama that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. John C. Reilly and Jacob Wysocki star in a movie about Terri (Wysocki), an overweight 15-year-old who, because of his difficult life, starts to slack off and wear pajamas at school. Terri is taken under the wing of the school’s vice principal, Mr. Fitzgerald (Reilly), who starts counseling sessions for the social outcasts at the school.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 87% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: A Look Inside Terri; Deleted Scenes

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $20.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Zookeeper (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The world really did not need another Kevin James comedy, but some sadistic people want to force him on us. Adam Sander has backed James in his movie career and Zookeeper is another critical abomination. Leslie Bibb (Iron Man) plays James’ love interest and the rest of the cast includes Rosario Dawson and Donnie Wahlberg. The voice cast includes Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone, Judd Apatow and Cher.

Griffin Keyes (James) is a caring zookeeper who is unlucky in love. He has a failed romance with Stephanie (Bibb), but when Stephanie returns the animals break their code of silence so they can help Griffin as a way to say thank you.
 
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 13% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $20.00 (Blu-ray), $24.99 (2-Disc Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Despite only having a $20 million budget, Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer still failed at the box office. Based on Megan McDonald’s children books, she co-wrote the script with children’s TV writer Kathy Waugh (Arthur). John Schultz (Aliens in the Attic) directs and Jordana Beatty plays the title character. Child actor Parris Mosteller is also involved and Heather Graham is the biggest name adult actor in the movie.

Judy Moody is a third-grade girl whose parents go to California for the summer, leaving her with her younger brother Stink (Mosteller) and both are left under the care of their Aunt Opel (Graham). But Judy is determinate to have the most awesome summer ever, having a list of things she needs to do and her Aunt Opel turns out to be way cool.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 14% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Join The Toad-Pee Club; Flippin’ Out With The Cast; Camryn’s “WAIT AND SEE” Music Video; 10 Things You Need To Know About Judy Moody; Judy Moody’s Guide To Making A Movie; Deleted Scenes; Theatrical Trailer

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Mr. Nice (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on the autobiography of Howard Marks, Mr. Nice is a period crime movie starring Rhys Ifans. Written and directed by Bernard Rose (Candyman, Immortal Beloved), Ifans is joined by Chloë Sevigny (Zodiac), Crispin Glover and David Thewlis (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). Mr. Nice tells of the rise of Marks from a middle-class Welsh boy and Oxford graduate who turns into a notorious drug smuggler and ends up working for British intelligence to spy on the IRA.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 55% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Making Of; Trailer

Amazon Price: $24.99 (DVD), $31.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Green Lantern (DVD and Blu-ray) (Release Date Oct. 14)

What’s the Deal?
Superhero movies have been a staple of studios in the last eleven years. Marvel has taken the lead and DC has been lagging behind. Except for Batman and Superman, DC characters have not left an impact on the silver screen. DC attempted to rectify this by adapting the long standing series Green Lantern. Martin Campbell was picked to direct, which was an unusual choice because when he made Goldeneye and Casino Royale, he avoided CGI as much as possible and Green Lantern is a special effect-laden movie. Ryan Reynolds donned the green outfit and he was supported by Blake Lively (The Town), Peter Sarsgaard (An Education), Tim Robbins and Angela Bassett. Other top actors lend their voices to the movie, including Mark Strong, Michael Clarke Duncan, Geoffrey Rush and Temuera Morrison (We Were Warriors).

When an alien crash lands on Earth and his ring selects test pilot Hal Jordan (Reynolds) as its next user, Hal becomes the first human to join the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic peace keeping organization made up of races from across the universe. Hal has to put his self doubt aside as he accepts his destiny and protect Earth from its most dangerous threat: the creature of fear, Parallax.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 27% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 5.1/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Preview of new Justice League book #1

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Theatrical Feature & Extended Cut Films; Maximum Movie Mode with PiP; Ryan Reynolds Becomes Green Lantern; Universe According to Green Lantern; WBA Green Lantern Animated Series Promotion

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Blu-ray), $28.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Four Feathers (1939) (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on the 1902 novel of the same name by A.E.W. Mason, the 1939 film is considered the definitive adaptation of The Four Feathers. John Clements stars as Harry Faversham, a British army officer who resigns his commission on the eve of his unit embarking on a mission against Egyptian rebels. He attempts to redeem himself from being called a coward by disguising himself as an Arab and going behind enemy lines.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration; Audio commentary by film historian Charles Drazin; New video interview with David Korda, son of director Zoltan Korda; A Day at Denham, a short film from 1939 featuring footage of Zoltan Korda; Trailer; Subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow

Amazon Price: $21.99 (DVD),

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Last Exit to Brooklyn (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Last Exit to Brooklyn was a very controversial book when it was first published in 1964 and it took twenty-five years for it to be adapted into a movie. German director Uli Edel (The Baader Meinhof Complex) took on the adaptation of what is often considered an unfilmable novel, because it is really a collection of short stories.

Set against the backdrop of 1950s Brooklyn, Last Exit focuses on a group of junkies, drag queens and prostitutes, as a union leader (Stephen Lang, Avatar) discovers he is gay, a prostitute (Jennifer Jason Leigh) falls in love with one of her clients and a family struggles when a father finds out his daughter is pregnant out of wedlock.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 75% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary with Director Uli Edel; Making of Last Exit to Brooklyn

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $14.99 (Blu-ray)

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

The Bad Seed (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on a play by Maxell Anderson, The Bad Seed (1956) is an early example of a horror movie that did well at the Oscars, getting nominated for four, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Helmed by Mervyn LeRoy (Quo Vadis), this horror-thriller is about Christine Penmark (Nancy Kelly) who looks like she is having a good live, living with her seemingly perfect daughter, Rhoda (Patty McCormack). However, Christine suffers from recurring nightmares and her daughter turns out to be capable of lying, stealing and much worse.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 64% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary by Patty McCormack and Charles Busch; ; Featurette Enlant Terrible: A Conversation with Patty McCormack; Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

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

The Family Man (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
To anyone who has listened to the Player Affinity Movies podcast, “The Plot Hole”, you will know I personally hate Brett Ratner as a director. Still, I will try and say some nice things about him. After making Rush Hour, Ratner demonstrated that he was able to make an action-comedy success with a relatively low budget and he ended up getting his name linked to big projects like Superman, X-Men and Die Another Day, but his follow up movie was a comedy starring Nicolas Cage. David Diamond and David Weissman (When in Rome) wrote the script and Tea Leoni (Deep Impact) and Don Cheadle co-star with Cage.

Jack Campbell (Cage) is a Wall Street shark and successful business who lives the single live. Despite thinking he is happy, he is given the chance to see what his live would have been like if he had not left his college girlfriend.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 53% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 6.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $16.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Scrooge (1970) (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Charles Dickens’ classic novella A Christmas Carol has been adapted a number of times in different forms. It is a story even people who have not read Dickens know. The 1970’s version is a musical directed by Ronald Neame (The Poseidon Adventure) and stars Albert Finney in a movie that was meant to be a follow up to Oliver!

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 71% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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