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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 10.25.11)

The 1970s was a great period for thrillers and gritty cinema. Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 classic The Conservation is a highly regarded movie from The Godfather director and also by us at Player Affinity, making it as our Recommendation of the Week.

First Releases
Captain America: The First Avenger (DVD and Blu-ray)
Winnie the Pooh (DVD and Blu-ray)
Father of Invention (DVD and Blu-ray)
A Serbian Film (DVD and Blu-ray)
Shaolin (DVD and Blu-ray)
A Little Help (DVD and Blu-ray)
Faces in the Crowd (DVD and Blu-ray)
The People vs. George Lucas (DVD)

Re-Releases
Identification of a Woman (DVD and Blu-ray)
Island of Lost Souls (DVD and Blu-ray)
Dazed and Confused (Blu-ray)
Jurassic Park Trilogy (Blu-ray)

The Conversation (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

What’s the Deal?
Following the success of The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola was able to make any movie he wanted. The Conversation was the first choice, a thriller he wrote, directed and produced. It was a highly praised movie, winning the Palme d’Or at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, which it lost to … The Godfather Part II.

Gene Hackman stars as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert living in San Francisco. He is highly skilled at his job but he is a private man and has poor social skills. Harry is assigned the case to record the conversation between a young woman and her partner at a busy Union Square. But it turns out that this case was a lot darker then Harry originally thought and he becomes obsessed with the conversation he recorded.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 98% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Interview with director Francis For Coppola and composer David Shire – NEVER- BEFORE-SEEN; Discussion with Francis For Coppola about his early film exercise, “No Cigar” – NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN; “Harry Caul’s San Francisco” featurette – NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN; Archival screen tests with Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams – NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN; Archival footage of Francis Ford Coppola dictating the original script – NEVER-BEFORE-HEARD; Archival on-set interview with Gene Hackman; “Close-up on THE CONVERSATION” featurette; Audio commentary with director Francis Ford Coppola; Audio commentary with editor Walter Murch; Theatrical trailer

Amazon Price: $17.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Another highlight of the week is the release of the superhero hit Captain America: The First Avenger, a movie we enjoyed here at Player Affinity and a must-have if you want to complete your Marvel collection. There is also the claim of traditional animation with Winnie the Pooh and martial arts fans have Shaolin to look forward to. The other major re-release of the week comes in the form of the Jurassic Park trilogy, because dinosaurs are always awesome.

Captain America: The First Avenger (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
This has been the year of superhero movies and Captain America: The First Avenger was the last Marvel movie released before the upcoming The Avengers. Directed by Joe Johnston (October Sky) and starring Chris Evans, Captain America: The First Avenger was praised for being both a very entertaining actioner and being deliberately old-fashioned. Johnston and Marvel were able to attach top talents such as Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and emerging actors Hayley Atwell (The Duchess) and Dominic Cooper (An Education).

Steve Rogers (Evans) is a New Yorker who despite his heath problems has a steel determination, a never-say-die attitude and the drive to join the army and serve in World War II. Scientist Abraham Erskine (Tucci) gives him the opportunity to serve his country by being his test subject for America’s first “super soldier.” In Europe the top Nazi scientist, Johann Schmidt (Weaving) has gone rogue and with his advance weapons does what all mad scientists do: plan to take over the world!

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 78% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.2/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Two Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes; Marvel One Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer — Go deeper inside the Marvel Universe and unveil secret plans to assemble the ultimate superhero team, the Avengers.

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $21.99 (Blu-ray), $26.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Winnie the Pooh (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Winnie the Pooh is a beloved children’s book around the world. The little bear and his chums have been animated into film five times, but this version was Disney’s attempt to reboot the series and more importantly try to bring traditional animation back to the mainstream. Meet the Robinsons director Stephen Anderson helms this movie with Don Hall.

Based on five of A.A. Milne’s stories, this family adventure tells how Winnie the Pooh and his friend has to help Eeyore find his tail and save Christopher Robin from the mysterious Backson.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 91% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

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

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

Father of Invention (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Kevin Spacey has a great résumé: The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns, Se7en and L.A. Confidential. But even Spacey is able to pick a loser and Father of Invention certainly fits that category. Trent Cooper (Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector) directs and co-wrote this movie. Camilla Belle (Push), Heather Graham and Johnny Knoxville also star in this comedy-drama.

Robert Axle (Spacey) is an ex-infomercial mogul released from prison after an eight-year sentence. He has to win over his estranged family and rebuild his empire.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 0% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.49 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

A Serbian Film (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
If you are a sadomasochist or simply filled with self-loathing, then A Serbian Film is a movie for you. A Serbian Film is a highly controversial, something th movie marketed itself on. Director Sedan Spasojevic claims his movie is a metaphor for the Serbian government, a movie that includes porn, sexual violence, child rape, incest and ‘newborn porn.’

Milos (Srdan Todorovic) is a retired porn star who is called back into business because of his dire financial situation. But his new employer, Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic), has a real dark and evil intentions toward Milos and his family.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 36% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 3.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 0 stars, Replay 2.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

Shaolin (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Martial arts movies are a staple of Hong Kong cinema, the third largest film industry in the world. There is a lot of quality behind this action-drama: Benny Chan (Fist of Fury, New Police Story) directs and Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs), Nicholas Tse (New Police Story) and Jackie Chan star.

The Qing dynasty has fallen and China’s early days as a Republic force the nation into a civil war. Hou Jie (Lau) is a brutal general who made a fortune through his cruelty but is forced to turn to the Shaolin monks he insulted after he is betrayed. The monks are forced into the conflict when a new warlords bring suffering to the people.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 71% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: 357 Minutes of Bonus Features; English Dub; Deleted Scenes; Behind the Scenes; Making Of; US Trailers; International Trailers

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $20.49 (Collector Edition Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

A Little Help (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Jenna Fischer is a fine comic actress on both film and television. With A Little Help she stars in a independent comedy directed by King of Queens writer Michael J. Weithorn that premiered at the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival.

The story of A Little Help is simple, Laura (Fischer) is a woman whose husband, Bob (Chris O’Donnell) suddenly dies, leaving her to care for their 12-year-old son on her own. But things are complicated when her son said Bob died in 9/11.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 45% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Cast interviews; Jakob Dylan music video; Trailer; TV spot

Amazon Price: $11.49 (DVD), $22.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Faces in the Crowd (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Written and directed by Julien Magnat, Faces in the Crowd is a horror thriller starring Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich. Jovovich plays Anna, a woman who survives an attack by a serial killer, Tearjack Jack, but as a result she suffers “face-blindness.” With Anna unable to recognize faces she is unable to trust anyone except police detective Kerrest (Julian McMahon).
 
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): N/A
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The People vs. George Lucas (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
Star Wars fans the world over have put up a fatwa against George Lucas for what he did to the series they love (Jar-Jar Binks anyone?). The love-hate relationship between movie fans and Lucas serves as the influence for this comedy-documentary which examines his cultural impact on cinema.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 72% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Poetry Slam Selections; Gary Kurtz Interview; Music Video; Filmmaker Commentary; The People vs STAR WARS 3D

Amazon Price: $20.99 (DVD)

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

Identification of a Woman (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
From Italy this week is the 1982 romance drama Identification of a Woman by Michelangelo Antonioni (Blowup). Winning the Anniversary Prize at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, Tomas Milian stars as Niccolo, a director whose wife leaves him and that experience serves as the influence for his next movie. But as Niccolo conducts his research he falls for his lead actress, Ida (Christine Boisson).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 58% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration; Theatrical trailer; New and improved English subtitle translation; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic John Powers and more!

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $20.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Island of Lost Souls (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on a novel by H.G. Wells, the 1933 sci-fi horror movie Island of Lost Souls is considered a classic that has been remade and parodied a number of times. It stars Charles Laughton (Mutiny on the Bounty) as Dr. Moreau, an insane scientist who sets out to make horrific human-animal mutated hybrids and play God with nature.

Despite its strong critical reaction, Wells disliked this movie, missing the deeper philosophical messages; there is also controversy because of scenes involving vivisection.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 94% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration of the uncut theatrical version; Audio commentary by film historian Gregory Mank, author; New video conversation among filmmaker John Landis and more; New interviews with horror film historian David J. Skal; New interviews with Devo founding members Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired; PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Christine Smallwood

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Dazed and Confused (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Directed by independent filmmaker Richard Linklater (School of Rock, A Scanner Darkly), Dazed and Confused has be come a cult hit, making Quentin Tarantino’s 12 greatest films of all time list in Sight and Sound in 2002 and Entertainment Weekly ranked it 17th in its The Top 50 Cult Films list. The cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Jason London (The Man in the Moon), Rory Cochrane (Public Enemies) and Wiley Wiggans and focuses on a group of high school and junior high students on their last day of school in 1976.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 98% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: High-definition digital transfer of the director’s cut; Audio commentary by Linklater; Making Dazed, a fifty-minute documentary by Kahane Corn; Rare on-set interviews and behind-the-scenes footage; Footage from the ten-year anniversary celebration; Audition footage and deleted scenes; Original theatrical trailer; Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired; PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Kent Jones and more!

Amazon Price: $27.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Jurassic Park Trilogy (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Starting with a Michael Crichton novel, Jurassic Park has become a highly successful series that made nearly $2 billion worldwide. Now the whole trilogy is coming onto a Blu-ray boxset. Back in 1993, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was a revolution for CGI, bringing dinosaurs back to live in all their glory. With a top cast and ground-breaking special effects, Jurassic Park was phenomenal back in the day.

Spielberg was able to convince Crichton to write his first sequel so he could direct the adaptation, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. But it was met with a lukewarm and disappointing reception (it was one of my first cinematic disappointments). Joe Johnston replaced Spielberg in the director’s chair for the third movie; Johnston had been dying to direct The Lost World and his entry was met with a mixed reaction as well. Spielberg has been discussing the possibility of a fourth film.

Jurassic Park
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 89% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.0/10

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 52% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 5.8/10

Jurassic Park III
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 50% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 6.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: The Making of all 3 Jurassic Park Films; Original Featurettes on the Making of the Films; Steven Spielberg Directs Jurassic Park; Hurricane in Kauai Featurette; The Jurassic Park Phenomenon: A Discussion with Author Michael Crichton; The Compie Dance Number: Thank You Steven Spielberg From ILM; The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park III; The Special Effects of Jurassic Park III; The Industrial Light & Magic Press Reel; The Sounds of Jurassic Park III; The Art of Jurassic Park III; Montana: Finding New Dinosaurs; Behind the Scenes; Early Pre-Production Meetings; Location Scouting; Animatics; Before and After the Visual Effects; Foley Artists; Storyboards; Tour of Stan Winston Studio; A Visit to ILM; Spinosaurus Attacks The Plane; Raptors Attack Udesky; The Lake; Production Archives: Production Photographs, Design Sketches, Illustrations, Conceptual Paintings, Models, The World of Jurassic Park, The Magic of ILM, Posters and Toys; Deleted Scenes; Jurassic Park: Making the Game; Jurassic Park III Feature Commentary with Special Effects Team; Theatrical Trailers

Additional Ultimate Trilogy Special Features: BD-Live: Access the BD-Live Center through your Internet-connected player to watch the latest trailers and more; My Scenes: Bookmark your favorite scenes; Pocket BLU App: Experience an exciting new way with the app for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and now enhanced for iPad; D-Box

Amazon Price: $48.99 (Blu-ray), $79.99 (Blu-ray Ultimate Trilogy)

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

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