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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 10.18.11)

War is hell, but we still love watching movies about it and this week’s recommendation is the classic The Guns of Navarone. This movie is being re-released onto a reasonably priced Blu-ray which has a healthy amount of commentaries and documentaries.

First Releases
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (DVD and Blu-ray)
Red State (DVD and Blu-ray)
Bad Teacher (DVD and Blu-ray)
Baaria (DVD and Blu-ray)
Batman: Year One (DVD and Blu-ray)
Page One: Inside the New York Times (DVD and Blu-ray)
Monte Carlo (DVD and Blu-ray)
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (DVD and Blu-ray)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Four Movie Collection (Blu-ray)

Re-Releases
Kuroneko (DVD and Blu-ray)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Crow (Blu-ray)
Cape Fear (Blu-ray)
The Guns of Navarone (Blu-ray)

The Guns of Navarone (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

What’s the Deal?
Based on the 1957 novel by Alistair MacLean, The Guns of Navarone is considered a classic war movie. This British-American co-production was directed by J. Lee Thompson (Cape Fear, 1962) and adapted by Carl Foreman (High Noon, The Bridge on the River Kwai). Gregory Peck leads a top cast that includes David Niven (A Matter of Life and Death), Anthony Quinn (Lawrence of Arabia), Stanley Baker (Zulu) and Anthony Quayle (Hamlet, 1948).

In 1943, a team of British and Greek soldiers lead by Captain Keith Mallory (Peck) are assigned the seemingly impossible: Destroy two powerful German guns on the island of Navarone. If they’re successful, the Germans would lose control of a major strategic point on the Aegaen Sea, which would save 2000 British soldiers on the nearby island of Keros.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 10/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: The Greek Resistance; The Old School Wizardry of The Guns of Navarone; World War II and the Greek Islands; The Real World of Guns of Navarone; The Navarone Effect; Military Fact or Fiction; Commentary with Film Historian Stephen J. Rubin; Commentary with Director J. Lee Thompson; Forging the Guns of Navarone: Notes from the Set; Ironic Epic of Heroism; Epic Restoration Featurette; A Heroic Score; Narration-free Prologue; Roadshow Intermission; Memories of Navarone Retrospective Documentary; Message from Carl Foreman; Great Guns Original Featurette; No Visitors Featurette; Honeymoon on Rhodes; Two Girls On The Town Original Featurette

Amazon Price: $13.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Some highly anticipated DVDs and Blu-rays hit this week, including Kevin Smith’s religious thriller Red State and the animated adaptation of Batman: Year One. The blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides will get the most attention and the whole series comes onto a Blu-ray boxset. Comic book fans will also get a kick from the re-release of The Crow and musical fans and other lovers of all things childhood will have Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to look forward to.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Seeing that the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series was a license to print money for Disney, it would have been considered insanity for the studio not to commission a fourth installment. Johnny Deep returns as the iconic Jack Sparrow after a five-year break and so does Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa. Gore Verbinski gave the directing reigns to Rob Marshall (Chicago) and Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly sailed off, making way for newcomers Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane.

In the 18th Century, the British and the Spanish are in a race to find the Fountain of Youth. Jack Sparrow is the only man known to have been there and King George II (Richard Griffiths) demands he leads the Royal Navy in an expedition. But Sparrow ends up getting captured by the most dangerous pirate in the world, Blackbeard (McShane), and he must work with his old flame Angelica (Cruz).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 33% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 5.6/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Blu-ray), $34.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  Content 4 stars, Video 5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 1.5 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

Red State (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
After the critical mulling Cop Out received, Kevin Smith took a step back from big studio movies and with a $4-million budget made his first horror movie, Red State. Smith’s passion project is his first serious movie and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Smith also self-distributed the movie to avoid studio interference. Michael Parks (Kill Bill Vol. 1, Grindhouse), Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and John Goodman are the big name stars in this movie and other major performers are Kyle Gallner (Beautiful Boy), Michael Angarano (The Forbidden Kingdom), Nicholas Braun (10 Things I Hate About You, TV Series) and Kerry Bishé (Scrubs).

In an unnamed mid-American state, the Five Points Church, led by Pastor Abin Cooper (Parks) picket funerals of dead homosexual people and arm themselves with heavy weaponry. Three local teenagers find a local woman on the Internet who wants to have sex with them. However, Sarah (Leo) turns out to be a member of this church and kidnaps them. AFT Special Agent Keenan (Goodman) is assigned to search their compound after a local cop is shot and everything escalates.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 56% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 6.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: “The Making of RED STATE” Documentary;”RED STATE of the Union” Smodcasts; The Sundance Speech with Introduction by Kevin Smith; A Conversation with Michael Parks with Introduction by Kevin Smith; Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Kevin Smith; Trailers with Introduction by Kevin Smith;  Poster Gallery with Introduction by Kevin Smith

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

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

Bad Teacher (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The red band trailer for Bad Teacher was met with great fanfare and went on from there to make $213 million worldwide. But the critical reaction was mixed, including  here at Player Affinity. Cameron Diaz leads this comedy featuring Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch (Hot Fuzz) and How I Met Your Mother star Jason Segel. Jake Kasdan (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) directed with a script from Year One writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky.

Elizabeth Halsey (Diaz) is a forced back into teaching 7th Grade English in an Illinois Middle School after her rich partner dumps her. She is rude to students, only shows them movies, sleeps in class and drinks and smokes dope on the job. Her only goal is to bag a rich man and she finds one in the form of substitute teacher Scott Delacorte (Timberlake). She thinks the best way to get him is to get a boob job; she is willing to do anything to get the money to pay for it. She must also reject the advances of school gym teacher Russell Gettis (Segel).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 45% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 5.3/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Boner; The Bachelor; Extended Russell Rejection; Way Behind The Scenes with Jason and Justin; Raising More Than Funds

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Bad Teacher PS3; Wallpaper/Theme; JAMS Yearbook- Hidden Moments; A Very Odd Blacksmith Story; Swimming With The Dolphins; Good Teacher

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $20.99 (Blu-ray), $24.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

Baaria (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
From director of Cinema Parasido, Giuseppe Tornatore makes a semi-autographical movie set his in home town Bagheria, nicknamed “Baaria” by the locals. Baaria looks at Peppino, a young boy who works as a shepherd to support his family and the five decades that follow where he experiences love and a political awakening.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with Giuseppe Tornatore; Backstage Special; A Conversation with Giuseppe Tornatore by Mario Sesti; Deleted Scenes; Photo Gallery; Poster Gallery

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Batman: Year One (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One is one of my favorite graphic novels and its influence has been key to the comic book world. Darren Aronofsky attempted to make a live-action adaptation and major elements were used in Batman Begins. Sam Liu (Planet Hulk, All-Star Superman) and Lauren Montgomery (Green Lantern: First Flight, Wonder Woman) co-directed this animated adaptation and The O.C. star Benjamin McKenzie voices The Dark Knight. Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse), Bryan Cranston (Drive, The Lincoln Lawyer) and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) also offer their voices as this movie looks at Bruce Wayne becoming Batman, taking on the mob, a corrupt police force and a poverty-stricken society, a police hunt for the Batman and the origins of Catwoman.
 
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): N/A
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Disc 1 With Movie; Justice League: Doom – Preview DC Universe’s Next Animated Original Movie; Preview the recent DC Universe Animated Original Movies All-Star Superman and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights; Disc 2 – Special Features; ; Heart of Vengeance: Returning Batman to His Roots; Bruce Timm Presents 2 Bonus Cartoons; DC Showcase Presents Catwoman; When a pair henchmen goes gunnig for a neighborhood cat, Catwoman gets involved, leading her into an episode of international intrigue with a murderous smuggler named Rough Cut

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Conversations with DC Comics: Featuring the 2011 Batman creative team; Chapter one of Batman Year One – digital comic; Creative team commentary; Heart of Vengeance: Returning Batman to his roots; Justice League: Doom – preview DC Universe’s next animated original movie; Preview the recent DC Universe animated original movies All-Star Supermand and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights; Bruce Timm presents 2 bonus cartoons; DC Showcase presents: Catwoman

Amazon Price: $13.99 (DVD), $18.49 (2-Disc DVD), $16.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Page One: Inside the New York Times (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Premiering at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Page One: Inside the New York Times is a documentary that looks inside the running of one of the biggest and most respected newspapers in the world. Director Andrew Rossi has unprecedented access to the newspaper, the newsroom and some of its reporters and looks at some of the big stories the paper has covered, such as the publication of the WikiLeaks documents, the release of the iPad and Watergate.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 79% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; Carl Bernstein on the real threat to newspapers; Emily Bell on keeping journalism relevant ; Sarah Ellison on the Mind of Murdoch ; Journalists react to Page One ; Additional scenes ; Q&A highlights with the cast and filmmakers; Mini-feature: Tim Arango with João Silva in Iraq

Amazon Price: $11.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Monte Carlo (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Selena Gomez is known for being a tween icon, a singer and a former girlfriend of Taylor Lautner’s. Directed by Thomas Bezucha (The Family Stone), Monte Carlo also stars Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Katie Cassidy (A Nightmare on Elm Street, 2010) and Glee star Cory Monteith.

Grace (Gomez) is a Texas teenager who plans to raise money to celebrate graduating high school with a trip to Paris. With friends Emma (Cassidy) and Meg (Messter), the trio goes to the city of lights to a horrible hotel and a terrible experience. But when Grace meets her doppelganger, a British heiress named Cordelia Winthrop-Scott (also Gomez), the two swap lives and Grace and Co. gets to see how high society lives in Monte Carlo.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 41% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Monte Carlo Match Up; Ding-Dang Delicious: The Boys of Monte Carlo; Backstage Pass; Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The critically acclaimed documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest is the directorial debut of actor Michael Rapaport. Rapaport looks at one of is favorite groups, New York hip-hopper A Tribe Called Quest, and their influence on the hip-hop world, the behind-the-scenes drama and their history.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 91% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with Director Michael Rapaport; Bringing Beats to Life; On the Red Carpet at the Los Angeles Film Festival Premiere; Group Dynamics; Will A Tribe Called Quest Make More Music?; A Message From Zulu Nation Featuring Mike G of Jungle Brothers

Amazon Price: $20.99 (DVD), $23.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Pirates of the Caribbean: Four Movie Collection (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” series has been an incredible success for Disney. From its origins as a theme park ride, the four movies have made over $3.7 million worldwide and gave us the character of Jack Sparrow. Seeing that the fourth movie, “On Stranger Tides,” also comes out this week, Disney saw fit to release all for movies in a Blu-ray boxset.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 79% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.6/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 54% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 7.6/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 45% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 5.9/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 33% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 5.6/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $91.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Kuroneko (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
It’s another week and another classic movie has been re-released by The Criterion Collection. Japanese horror-drama Kuroneko was directed by Kaneto Shindo (Onibaba). Kuroneko is a ghost story about returning samurais from a Civil War who are found with their throats torn out. War hero Gintoki (Kichiemon Nakamura) is sent by the governor to disprove that it is the work of a ghost, but has to overcome his own personal demons.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 93% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration; Video interview with director Kaneto Shindo; New video interview with critic Tadao Sato; Theatrical trailer; New and improved English subtitle translation; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Maitland McDonagh and more!

Amazon Price: $20.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the first adaptation Roald Dahl’s children’s novel and is considered a childhood classic for many generations. Gene Wilder stars as Willy Wonka and Peter Ostrum plays Charlie Bucket in a movie that has been parodied many times by The Simpsons, Family Guy and Futurama.

Charlie Bucket is a poor boy who lives in a small house with his family. The reclusive owner of a chocolate factory, Willy Wonka, puts five golden tickets in his bars around the world offering a tour of the factory and Charlie finds one. Charlie and his grandfather (Jack Albertson) go into the most extraordinary place in the form of Willy Wonka’s factory in a movie with some of the most memorable songs ever written for film.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 88% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; Scrumptious documentary Pure Imagination: The Story of Wily Wonka & the Chocolate Factory; Mouthwatering commentary with the Wonka kids; 4 sing-along songs; Stills gallery ; Vintage 1971 featurette; Theatrical trailer

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Mel Stuart’s Wonkavision: New interview with the movie’s director ; A world of Pure Imagination: Recently rediscovered archival featurette including an interview with original author Roald Dahl

Amazon Price: $11.49 (DVD), $43.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Crow (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
There is great tragedy behind the filming of The Crow because of the death of star Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee’s son, after being accidentally shot by a dummy bullet. The adaptation of James O’Barr’s graphic novel ended up being a critical hit that highlighed the tragedy. Directed by Alex Proyas (Dark City, I, Robot), The Crow could not be more goth if it tried as Eric Draven (Lee) returns from the grave and avenges his girlfriend who was raped and murdered by a gang in front of him.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 83% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

Cape Fear (1991) (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Cape Fear is remake of the 1962 movie of the same name and Martin Scorsese’s first remake. Scorsese was originally meant to direct Schindler’s List but swapped projects with Steven Spielberg feeling that movie needed a Jewish director. Spielberg stayed on as a producer. Scorsese reunited with Robert De Niro and joining him were Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange and celebrity Scientologist Juliette Lewis.

Sam Bowden (Nolte) is a private practice lawyer living in a quiet town in North Carolina with his wife Leigh (Lange) and teenage daughter (Lewis). But a dark chapter from his past returns to haunt him when convicted rapist Max Candy (De Niro), a man he defended 14 years ago starts to stalk him and his family and uses the legal system against him.

This movie expertly parodied by The Simpsons in the episode “Cape Feare”.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 76% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: The making of Cape Fear ; Deleted scenes; Behind the scenes of the fourth of July parade ; On the set of the houseboat; Photo montage

Amazon Price: $13.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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