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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 11.1.11)

We at Player Affinity are fans of the Toy Story trilogy, a series of movies we all grew up with (minus the third one, obviously). Now the 3D versions of the movies are coming onto Blu-ray, including a box set, which is our Recommendation of the Week. 

First Releases
Crazy Stupid Love (DVD and Blu-ray)
Water for Elephants (DVD and Blu-ray)
Trespass (DVD and Blu-ray)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (DVD and Blu-ray)

Re-Releases
Toy Story in 3D (Blu-ray)
Toy Story 2 in 3D (Blu-ray)
Toy Story 3 in 3D (Blu-ray)
Toy Story 3D Trilogy (Blu-ray)
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Blu-ray)
Hook (Blu-ray)
Phantom of the Opera (1925) (Blu-ray)
Scrooged (Blu-ray)
Cop Land (Blu-ray)

Toy Story 3D Trilogy (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

What’s the Deal?
Making almost $2 billion worldwide, the “Toy Story” series has expanded into TV, computers games, toys and many other forms of merchandise. It is a series that has become a cultural icon and a important series for Pixar. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were retro-converted into 3D and Toy Story 3 was filmed using the technology. Now that 3D televisions and 3D Blu-ray players are more readily available, you can now own the classic movies in an entirely 3D format.

Toy Story in 3D
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.3/10

Toy Story 2 in 3D
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.3/10

Toy Story 3 in 3D
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 99% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off; 3 Animated Studio Stories; Buzz Takes Manhattan; Deleted Scenes; And Over 90 Minutes More Bonus!

Amazon Price: $67.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

The two big first releases of the week are Crazy Stupid Love and Water for Elephants, love being the theme of both films. The other re-releases of the week include Confession of a Dangerous Mind and Scrooged.

Crazy Stupid Love (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The comedy-drama Crazy Stupid Love has a lot of quality behind it. It stars Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone and was directed by the Bad Santa and I Love You, Phillip Morris writers, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. It was a movie that was met with a lot of praise, including here at Player Affinity.

Cal Weaver (Carell) is a man who seems to have a comfortable lifestyle; he has a good job, great kids and a wife. But he finds out his wife, Emily (Moore,) is having an affair and wants a divorce. Forced into the single life, playboy Jacob (Gosling) takes Cal under his wing to get him back in the game. But Jacob wants to get with a woman who shows no interest in him, Hannah (Stone).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 77% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes

Additional Blu-ray/DVD Combo Special Features: Includes Instant Streaming with UltraViolet Digital Copy; Steve and Ryan Walk Into a Bar; The Player Meets His Match

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $24.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

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

Water for Elephants (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Since finding fame with Twilight, the stars of that series have been trying to expand their star power beyond it. Robert Pattinson is certainly trying to prove he is a serious actor, taking on the lead in dramas such as this adaptation of Sara Gruen’s popular novel. Adapted by Richard LaGravanese (A Little Princess), Francis Lawrence of I Am Legend fame directs this romantic drama that also stars Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz.

During the height of the Great Depression, Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson) loses everything. After his parents die, Jacob becomes penniless and homeless, unable to graduate from Cornell University. After hopping on a train, Jacob joins the Benzini Brothers Circus and becomes their veterinarian. He is assigned to train their elephant, but slowly Jacob falls for Marlena (Witherspoon), the wife of his harsh boss, August (Waltz).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 61% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 5.5/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Robert Pattinson Spotlight; Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon; The Traveling Show – Page to Screen; Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Writer Richard LaGravenese

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Raising the Tent; The Star Attraction; Working Without a Net: The Visual Effects of Water for Elephants; Secrets of the Big Top

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $21.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

Trespass (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Trespass comes quickly onto DVD and Blu-ray after a short limited release. Directed by the infamous Joel Schumacher, Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman star in this thriller as a husband and wife who are held hostage in a home of invaders who threaten to kill them and their daughter if Cage does not open his safe.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $20.49 (DVD), $18.99 (Blu-ray), $19.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on a novel by Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a historical drama and a Chinese-American co-production. Directed by Wayne Wang (Maid in Manhattan), the film boasts actors Li Bingbing (The Forbidden Kingdom) and even Hugh Jackman.

In 19th Century China, two young girls, Snow Flower and Lily, are matched as laotong, two souls bound together for eternity. Separated by their families, the girls communicate through a secret language. In modern day Shanghai, their descendants continue the bond, but struggle to do so with the pace and trials of modern life.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 19% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: The Sworn Sisterhood of the Secret Fan; Theatrical Trailer

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

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

Toy Story in 3D (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Back in 199,5 Pixar burst onto the feature-film scene with the release of Toy Story, a movie that was a revolution in animation, showing the potential of CGI and introducing big-name actors into the world of voice work. Directed by John Lasseter, Toy Story’s writers include Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton (WALL*E) and Joel Cohen. 

Based on a simple childhood idea of what do our toys do when we are away Toy Story is about a boy name Andy’s toy collection. Woody the Cowboy (Hanks) is Andy’s favorite, but his position usurped by space toy Buzz Lightyear (Allen), a toy who really thinks he is a space ranger.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.3/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $37.49 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Toy Story 2 in 3D (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
After the success of Toy Story, Disney wanted Pixar to make a make a straight-to-video sequel. But after being impressed by early footage, Disney allowed Pixar to make a longer film and set it for a theatrical release. John Lasseter and most of the cast return to the series. Joan Cusack and Kelsey Grammer join the voice cast.

Set a few years after the first movie, Woody, Buzz and company are all happy as Andy’s toys until Woody is stolen by a collector who plans to sell him to a toy museum in Japan. Buzz, Hamm, Slinky Dog and Rex go out to the big wide world to rescue Woody. In the toy collection Woody ends up meeting Jessie (Cusack), Stinky Pete (Grammer) and Bullseye the horse and has to face the reality that one day Andy will grow up.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.3/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $37.49 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Toy Story 3 in 3D (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Pixar tends to be a studio that does not make sequels and it originally did not want to make a third Toy Story movie. But their hand was forced when Disney planned to make to a straight-to-video sequel without Pixar’s involvement. After some legal problems, Pixar had the view that if there was going to be sequel it was going to be done the right way. Pixar’s longtime editor and co-director of Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo, Lee Unkrich, directs his first solo effort, with Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) writing the screenplay based on a story by Pixar’s best and brightest. Voice regulars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack return and are joined by many actors including Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton and Timothy Dalton.
 
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 99% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.5/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: “Day & Night” Theatrical Short; Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science Of Adventure; Toy Story Trivia Dash — Interactive Game; Cine-Explore With Director Lee Unkrich & Producer Darla Anderson; Bonnie’s Playtime — A Story Roundtable With Director Lee Unkrich; Paths to Pixar: Editorial; Plus Much More!

Amazon Price: $37.49 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on the memoirs of Chuck Barris, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was adapted by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and served as the directorial debut of actor George Clooney. Sam Rockwell leads his movie with Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Rutger Hauer and Clooney himself. Rockwell won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival.

Chuck Barris (Rockwell) is a man who leads a double life. By day he is a popular game show host and by night a CIA assassin. But soon both lives start to fall apart.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $10.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Hook (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Steven Spielberg’s re-imagining of Peter Pan is consider one of his lesser movies, but it was a staple of the children it catered to (including me). Made as a sequel of sorts, Robin Williams stars with Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins and Maggie Smith as well as then-child actors Charlie Korsmo (Dick Tracey) and Amber Scott.

Peter Branning (Williams) is a corporate attorney and a typical Hollywood dad who puts his work ahead of his family. He is also an orphan and has no memory of his childhood in England. On a family trip to the land of his birth, Peter discovers some strange things happening and meets Tinker Bell (Roberts). But his children are kidnapped by the dastardly Captain Hook (Hoffman) and Peter has to return to Neverland and accept his past.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 29% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 6.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Phantom of the Opera (1925) (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Nowadays, the most famous and well-known version of Phantom of the Opera is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, but the 1925 silent movie is considered a classic horror film. Based on Gaston Leroux’s novel, Erik (Lon Chaney) is a horribly disfigured man living in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House where he falls in love with the lead singer (Mary Philbin) and kidnaps her.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Scrooged (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol is one of his most famous stories and has been adapted a number of times. Back in 1987, Superman and Lethal Weapon director Richard Donner made a modernized version with Bill Murray as TV executive Frank Cross who becomes haunted by the ghosts of Christmas.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 63% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $16.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Cop Land (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Back in the mid and late ’90s, many action stars from the ’80s were struggling to redefine themselves after their genre pretty much died. Cop Land was Sylvester Stallone’s attempt to show himself as a serious actor, getting to work with Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro and then-emerging writer-director James Mangold (Walk the Line).

Freddy Heflin (Stallone) is the sheriff of Garrison, New Jersey, a town that has a high population of New York police officers living within its borders. Freddy is a man who always who wanted to be a NYPD officer but could not join for health reasons. Now he has a chance to prove himself when he has to take on a group of corrupt cops using his town as a safe haven.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $10.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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