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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 11.29.11)

There are a large number of First Releases this week, some of them being very noteworthy and we at Player Affinity have picked the critically acclaimed horror-comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil as our Recommendation of the Week.

First Releases
30 Minutes or Less (DVD and Blu-ray)
Our Idiot Brother (DVD and Blu-ray)
Another Earth (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Art of Getting By (DVD and Blu-ray)
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (DVD and Blu-ray)
5 Days of War (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Wave (DVD)
Seven Days in Utopia (DVD)
Friends With Benefits (DVD and Blu-ray) (Release Date Dec. 2)
The Smurfs (DVD and Blu-ray) (Release Date Dec. 2)

Re-Releases
Horror Express (Blu-ray)

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (DVD and Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

What’s the Deal?
The Canadian horror-comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil seems to be already on the way of becoming a cult classic. It has a strong critical reaction on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and of course, here at Player Affinity. Alan Tudyk (I, Robot) and Tyler Labine (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) star in Eli Craig’s directorial feature debut.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a satire of slasher movies. As two West Virginian buddies, Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Labine), go on vacation to a dilapidated cabin in the mountains, they are attacked by a group of accident prone college students.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 86% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $12.99 (DVD), $16.99 (Blu-ray)

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

This week’s releases offer movie fans a wide range of movies and genres, from R-Rated comedies in the form of 30 Minutes or Less and Friends With Benefits, the art-house sci-fi movie Another Earth, Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams and a large number of straight-to-DVD releases.

30 Minutes or Less (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The comedy 30 Minutes or Less was a film we were looking forward to, but sadly, it underwhelmed us. Ruben Fleischer and Jesse Eisenberg reunite after Zombieland and Danny McBride (Your Highness) and Aziz Ansari (Scrubs) star in a movie scripted by first time writer Michael Dileberti.

Nick (Eisenberg) is a slacker and a pizza delivery boy who ends up getting kidnapped by a local criminal, Dwayne (McBride). Dwayne and his cohort Travis (Nick Swardson) strap a bomb to Nick and threaten to blow him up if he cannot get $100,000. His friend Chet (Ansari) helps him to rob a bank.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 44% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 6.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 3 stars, Replay 4 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.

Our Idiot Brother (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Our Idiot Brother has a great comic cast including Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. It’s a shame that they were directed by Jesse Peretz (The Ex). This comedy tells the story of Ned (Rudd), a hippie who gets sent to prison for trying to sell marijuana to a cop. When he is released, he lives with his sisters, who see Ned as a burden making their lives difficult.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 68% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Another Earth (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

What’s the Deal?
Made with a low budget of $200,000, Mike Cahill’s debut movie, Another Earth, is a very bold, intelligent and philosophical movie that is set to divide audiences into loving and hating it. Cahill co-wrote this sci-fi movie with his star Brit Marling. William Mapother (Lost) also stars, working at a very low rate of pay to help get the movie made. Another Earth premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Alfred P. Sloan Prize for its scientific focus and the Audience Award at the Maui Film Festival.

On the day another livable planet is discovered in the Solar System, a young woman, Rhoda Williams (Marling), is arrested for drunk driving, resulting in the deaths of a woman and her child and is sent to prison for four years. When she is released, she is suffering from guilt and tries to make amends to the father and husband of the people she killed, John (Mapother). As their complex relationship develops, so does their knowledge of the other planet, which turns out to be a mirror version of Earth.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 63% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 9.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: 7 Deleted Scenes; Music Video: “The First Time I Saw Jupiter” by Fall On Your Sword; The Science Behind Another Earth; Creating Another Earth; Fox Movie Channel presents Direct Effect with Mike Cahill, In Character with Brit Marling, and In Character with William Mapother

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

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

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Werner Herzog has a massive reputation as an art house director and made a number of documentaries, including the critical hit Grizzly Man. His documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams is Herzog’s first 3D movie, as he goes into the Chauvet Cave of Southern France to examine the oldest paintings created by man.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 96% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $24.99 (DVD), $18.99 (3D Blu-ray)

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

One Day (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
One Day is a very popular and critically well-received novel, so a movie adaptation was inevitable. David Nicholls adapted his own novel and Lone Scherfig from An Education fame took on the directing duties. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess (The Way Back) star as Emma and Dexter and it follows the two friends on one day for 20 years. Despite the obvious awards ambitions, One Day failed to impress critics or audiences.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 37% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 3.0/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $18.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Art of Getting By (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Premiering at Sundance Film Festival, the romantic coming-of-age story The Art of Getting By is the debut of Gavin Wiesen and stars Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts.

George (Highmore) is a lonely and fatalistic teenager who does not see the point is school or life in general, but he forms a connection with Sally (Roberts), one of the most popular girls in school and it turns out he has a crush on her.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 17% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

5 Days of War (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Finland’s Renny Harlin was one of the biggest action directors around in the 1990s, making Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and The Long Kiss Goodnight. But his career has been on a downward spiral since the epic box office bomb Cutthroat Island. Now he is making direct-to-DVD movies. His movie about the 2008 Russo-Georgian war stars Andy Garcia, Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventure of Superman), Emmanuelle Chiriqui (Entourage), Rupert Friend (The Young Victoria), Val Kilmer and Heather Graham as an American journalist, his cameraman and a Georgian native who are caught in the crossfire of the war.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 35% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio commentary with Producer/Director Renny Harlin; Deleted scenes

Amazon Price: $18.99 (DVD), $21.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Wave (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
The novel The Wave, by Todd Strasser, is based on the Third Wave Social Experiment and is considered compulsory reading in German classrooms for its examination about how a democratic society could turn fascist. Written and directed by Dennis Gansel, his adaptation had a decent critical reception and a very good score on IMDB.

Rainer Wenger (Jurgen Vogel) is a high school teacher who attempts to get his students more engaged in history and politics by running a controversial social experiment. Rainer runs his classroom as an autocracy and persuades the students to get involved, but soon everything takes a dark turn when history seems to repeat itself.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 63% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $22.49 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Seven Days in Utopia (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
The straight-to-DVD sports movie Seven Days in Utopia is another movie that serves as a directorial debut, this time for visual effects coordinator Matt Russell. Academy Award winning actors Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo star with Lucas Black (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) in a movie based on sport psychologist Dr. David Lamar Cook’s non-fiction book Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia.

Black plays Luke Chisholm, who after his disastrous debut on the pro golf circuit, gets stranded in Utopia, Texas for seven days and ends up being taught by an eccentric rancher, John (Duvall).
 
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 12% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Friends With Benefits (DVD and Blu-ray) (Release Date Dec. 2)

What’s the Deal?
2011 gave us the battle of the sex comedies, the first one being Natalie Portman’s No Strings Attached. Her Black Swan co-star Mila Kunis also got to perform in a similarly themed movie with Justin Timberlake. Easy A director Will Gluck took the directing duties on this R-rated project.

Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) are two friends who have had recent relationship problems with other people. Tired of this situation, the two throw caution to wind and start to have a causal sexual relationship and avoid all the clichés of a romantic comedy. But it turns out that the new relationship makes everything much more complex between the two.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 71% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 6.7/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with Writer/Director Will Gluck, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis; Deleted Scenes; Outtakes

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Bonus Benefits: A Pop-Up Trivia Track; On Set With FWB; In A Flash: Choreographing A Mob

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

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

The Smurfs (DVD and Blu-ray) (Release Date Dec. 2)

What’s the Deal?
There is a continuing horrible trend in Hollywood of making CGI/live action hybrids of classic cartoons. We saw it with Alvin and the Chipmunks and Yogi Bear and now we have The Smurfs. Starting life as a comic, Belgium’s The Smurfs was turned into a popular cartoon in the ’80s and hack-for-hire Raja Gosnell (Scooby-Doo, Beverly Hills Chihuahua) helmed this adaptation. TV actors Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Jayma Mays (Glee) and Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) took on the live action roles and the voice roles were filled by Katy Perry, Fred Armisen, Alan Cumming, Anton Yelchin and George Lopez. Jonathan Winters respired his role as Papa Smurf.

The small blue people known as the Smurfs live in a magical world, but are under constant threat by the evil wizard Gargamel (Azaria). After being chased by Gargamel, the Smurfs end up in New York City and they have to find their way back before the wizard finds them.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 23% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 5.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Find the Smurfs Game; The Smurfs: Comic Book to the Big Screen; Going Gargamel

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol; Smurf-O-Vision: Second Screen Experience: Interact with the Smurfs as they take over your TV & iPad®, iPhone® or iPod touch® while you watch the movie!; The Smurfs Fantastic Adventure Game; Find the Smurfs Game; Deleted & Extended Scenes; Smurf Speak: Meet the Cast; Progression Reels

Additional 3D Blu-ray Special Features: Director’s Commentary; Producer, Writers and VFX Supervisor Commentary; Deleted & Extended Scenes; The Smurfs: Comic Book to the Big Screen; Smurf Speak: Meet the Cast

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $24.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 2.5 stars, Video 5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 4 stars, Replay 2 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

Horror Express (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The only re-release of the week is this 1974 Spanish horror movie that stars Hammer Horror legend Christopher Lee, Grand Moff Tarkin himself Peter Cushing and Telly Savalas (Kelly’s Heroes).

Lee and Cushing play two English anthropologists in 1906 who discover a frozen monster in Manchuria. They try to take their discovery back to Europe on the Tran-Siberian Railway when the creature starts to defrost and butchers the passengers.
 
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 40% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $13.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 2 stars, Audio 2 stars, Extras 3.5 stars, Replay 4 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

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