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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 11.30.10)

It is week of box-office disappointment: two of this year’s major flops are being released this week as well as a classic animated film which failed at the cinema in the 1940s. For comedy fans awaiting Little Fockers this Christmas we have the two previous films too. There’s also the unwanted return of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer and their spoof movies. For fans of foreign films we have entries from Denmark and Hong Kong.

First Release
Knight and Day (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (DVD and Blu-ray)
Vampires Suck (DVD and Blu-ray)
Valhalla Rising (DVD)
The Special Relationship (DVD)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (DVD and Blu-ray) (released Dec. 4)

Re-Release
Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 (DVD and Blu-ray)
Meet the Parents (Blu-ray)
Meet the Fockers (Blu-ray)
Kill Zone (Blu-ray)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (DVD)

Knight and Day (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Tom Cruise was once of the most bankable star in the world with a list of hits from Top Gun, The “Mission: Impossible” series, Minority Report, etc … but his career has been on the slide after a series of infamous incidents involving couches and Scientology. Knight and Day was meant to be a comeback, but ended up a flop and a critical disappointment. Cruise’s Vanilla Sky co-star Cameron Diaz plays his love interest and Walk the Line director James Mangold helmed the project that had previously been in development hell. 

Roy Miller (Cruise) is one of America’s best secret agents and who has gone rogue. When he puts mechanic June Haven’s (Diaz) life at risk the two go on the run from the FBI, CIA and a Spanish arms dealer (Jordi Molla).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 53% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 4.8/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; ; Wilder Knights and Crazier Days; Knight and “Someday” Featuring the Black Eyed Peas and Tom Cruise; Viral Videos

Additional Blu-ray Features: Wilder Nights and Crazier Days; Boston Days and Spanish Knights; Knight and “Someday” Featuring the Black Eyed Peas and Tom Cruise; BD Live: “Live Lookup Powered by IMDb”

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD). $18.99 (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Holiday Gift Set), $19.99 (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  Content: 3.5 stars, Video 0 stars, Audio 0 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 3 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Jerry Bruckheimer is the king of the blockbuster, producing massive hits from The Rock to Black Hawk Down to The Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, but 2010 was a disappointing year for him, with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice underperforming. National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub and actor Nicolas Cage team up again and Jay Baruchel (She’s Out of My League), Alfred Molina (Spider-man 2), Monica Bellucci (The Matrix Reloaded) and Toby Kebbell (Control) co-star.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is based on the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe poem of the same name and the Mickey Mouse section from Fantasia. In this modern version set in New York City, two sorcerers are locked in a master battle, Balthazar Blake (Cage), who wants to defend the city, and Maxim Horvath (Molina), Baltazar’s arch-nemesis. But Balthazar can not do it alone, so he recruits an apprentice, the seemingly average Dave Stutler (Baruchel), who has special powers.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 42% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 5.7/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: The Making Of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ; Deleted Scene: Balthazar Recruits Dave

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Magic In The City ; The Science Of Sorcery ; Making Magic Real ; The Fashionable Drake Stone ; The Grimhold: An Evil Work Of Art ; The Encantus ; Wolves & Puppies ; The World’s Coolest Car ; 5 Deleted Scenes ; Outtakes

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo), $26.99 (3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 2.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 3.5 stars, Replay 0 stars (out of 5). Rent it.

Going the Distance (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
When the trailer for Going the Distance came out, it seemed that the film was aiming to be like (500) Days of Summer, shooting for quirky wit and indie style, but it did not match that film’s critical reception or box-office numbers. As you can see, the DVD cover art advertises Going the Distance as a more traditional rom-com. Written by first-time writer Geoff LaTulippe, documentary filmmaker Nanatte Burstein (American Teen) directs. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long lead the cast that features Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis and Christina Applegate.

Erin (Barrymore) and Garrett (Long) are two people in their early 30s who enter into a summer fling in the Big Apple. Neither believing that the relationship who last when Erin decides to go back to San Francisco. But after six-weeks together they attempt a long distance relationship.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 52% (average)
Player Affinty Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Additional Scenes

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: How to have the perfect date; A guide to long-distance dating; The cast of going the distance: off the cuff; Commentary by director Nanette Burstein; The boxer rebellion if you run music video; Behind the scenes of the Going the Distance soundtrack;

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 2.5 stars, Video 3 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 1 stars (out of 5). Rent it.

Vampires Suck (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Here we go again. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the creators of Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie, give us another “parody” film after a two year break. This time their target is Twilight, which has its critics. Ken Jeong (The Hangover) joins a cast of Friedberg and Seltzer regulars because they cannot find any other work. Sadly, enough people go and barely any money is spent on the film, so we keep getting more.

Vampires Suck is bascially the plot of the first two “Twilight” films but with fart jokes and unfunny cultural references. Some critics said that Vampires Suck is Friedberg and Seltzer’s best film because it is more focused, but a pig with lipstick is still a pig.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 5% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: 2.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel; ; Closed Caption

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

Score (DVDTalk.com):  Content: 0.5 stars, Video 0 stars, Audio 0 stars, Extras 1.5 stars, Replay 0 stars (out of 5). Skip It.

Valhalla Rising (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
Valhalla Rising is a Danish art-house filmed in the Scottish highlands. After success with “The Pusher” trilogy and Bronson, Nicolas Winding Refn directs and co-writes this ambitious film. Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) stars as a one-eyed, mute Norse warrior, who escapes slavery and joins a band of Christian crusaders. But instead of going to the Middle East the warriors end up going the strange wilds of North America. Valhalla Rising divided critics.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Trailer

Amazon Price: $18.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Special Relationship (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
Michael Sheen seems to be making a career for himself as a professional Tony Blair impersonator. He has already played the former Prime Minister in the TV film The Deal and Oscar-winning film The Queen, both written by Peter Morgan. Morgan writes his third film about Blair with Sheen respiring his role, this time for a TV film for HBO and the BBC. However, Stephen Frears has not returned, so Richard Loncraine (The Gathering Storm, Wimbledon) steps into the director‘s chair. Helen McCrory and Mark Bazeley respire their roles as Cherie Blair and Alastair Campbell, with Dennis Quaid and Hope Davis (About Schmidt) as the Clintons.

The Special Relationship tells of the relationship between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, from Blair’s visit to Washington in 1992 and how they handled the Northern Ireland Peace Process, the Monica Lewinsky affair and the Kosovo War. People who are interested in politics will enjoy this film.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 85% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Speical Features: Closed Caption; The making of The Special Relationship

Amazon Price: $18.49 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (DVD and Blu-ray) (released 4th December)

What’s the Deal?
Ah, Twilight, the story of a girl’s eternal decision between bestiality and necrophilia. The Twilight series has divided audiences ever since the films started to be released in 2008. There are Twi-hards who love the Stephanie Meyer novels and films and the Twihaters who spend much of their free time ripping the films apart on the internet. The Twilight films have been very profitable for Summit Entertainment and have basically bank-rolled that studio. All the major players of the previous films return, with the exception of Rachelle Lefevre who was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village). David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) is the third director to helm a Twilight film and it was seen as a coup for Summit Entertainment because of his growing reputation.

A new threat is rising against the Cullen family and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). There have been mysterious killings in Seattle and the vampire Victoria (Howard) wants revenge against Bella. With a new army of vampires created, the Cullen vampires and the werewolves of the Quileute tribe have to unite to survive. Many critics consider Eclipse to be the best Twilight film so far.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 51% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 5.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Includes two audio commentaries with Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer & Wyck Godfrey; Become the ultimate The Twilight Saga: Eclipse insider with a 6-part making-of documentary; See even more with deleted & extended scenes; Relive every moment with the photo gallery; Watch your favorite scenes over and over in Edward fast forward and Jacob fast forward; Plus music videos from muse and metric

Amazon Price: $15.99 (1-Disc DVD), $17.99 (2-Disc DVD), $19.99 (1-Disc Blu-ray), $26.49 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 1.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 3 stars, Replay 0 stars (out of 5). Skip It.

Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Back in 1940, Walt Disney produced and released an ambitious film, Fantasia, a series of shorts set to classical music. Some were light-hearted while others darker and Disney favorites Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are in them. Upon its initial release, critical reaction was lukewarm and the film was a commercial flop. But years later it was recognized as a classic film and now it is coming anew DVD and Blu-ray set with its sequel, Fantasia 2000.

Fantasia
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 98% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

Fantasia 2000
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 82% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Fantasia:; Audio Commentary; Disney Family Museum; ; Fantasia 2000:; Musicana — Walt’s Inspiration For A Sequel To FANTASIA

Additional Blu-ray Features: DisneyView; Disney family moment; The Schultheis notebook – newly discovered document reveals movie secrets; Interactive art gallery; Audio commentaries; Destino; Dali & Disney: a date with destino documentary; Disney’s virtual vault; Musicana; Disney family museum; Musicana – Walt’s inspiration for a sequel to Fantasia

Amazon Price: $22.99 (DVD), $28.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Meet the Parents (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Who would have thought in 2000 that Meet the Parents would have ended up becoming a big film franchise. With the third film of the comedy series about to enter cinemas, the pervious films are getting a Blu-ray re-release. After successfully directing the first two Austin Powers films, Jay Roach directed Meet the Parents based on a script by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg (Zoolander). Robert De Niro works as both an actor and producer with Ben Stiller starring. Teri Polo (The West Wing), Blythe Danner (Huff) and Owen Wilson offer supporting roles as well as two Himalayan cats (always something that interests me in a film) playing Mr. Jinx.

Greg Focker (Stiller) is a Chicago nurse who wants to propose to his grade-school teacher girlfriend Pam Byrnes (Polo). But he learns he has to ask her father, Jack (De Niro), a former CIA operative and a very protective father. Greg has to spend the weekend in Hell trying to win over his prospective father-in-law.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Spotlight on Location; Deleted Scenes; Outtakes; De Niro Unplugged; The Truth About Lying; Silly Cat Tricks; Jay Roach: A Director’s Profile; Theatrical Trailer; Feature Commentary with Director Jay Roach and Editor Jon Poll; Feature Commentary with Cast Members Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Director Jay Roach and Producer Jane Rosenthal; Pocket Blu; Social Blu; BD Live

Amazon Price: $26.98 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Meet the Fockers (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
With a budget of $55 million, Meet the Parents made just over $330 million worldwide and a sequel was made four years later. Herzfeld and Hamburg return to write the screenplay and Roach directs his second comedy series. Stiller, De Niro, Polo and Danner also respire their roles and Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand join them as Greg’s parents.

In this sequel, Greg and Pam are about to get married and plan to get their parents together before the wedding. But when both sets of parents are brought together there is a clash been Jack, a former CIA man who has very conservative viewpoint, with Greg’s parents, Bernie and Roz (Hoffman and Streisand), two sex addicted hippies.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 38% (bad)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Bloopers; Inside The Litter Box: Behind-The-Scenes With Jinx The Cat; The Manary Gland; Fockers’ Family Portrait; The Adventures Of A Baby Wrangler; Matt Lauer Meets The Fockers; Feature Commentary With Director Jay Roach and Editor/Co-Producer Jon Poll; Pocket BLU; Social BLU; BD Live

Amazon Price: $20.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Kill Zone (2005) (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
If you want to see a good martial arts film of any sort, Hong Kong cinema is usually the best place to go. The city state has the third largest film industry in the world and has produced many stars such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Chow Yun-Fat and Stephen Chow. Donnie Yen is another star of material arts films and Kill Zone was the first film he worked with director Wilson Yip (the other being Ip Man.

This is a crime thriller/martial arts film that sees retiring Detective Chan (Simon Yam) is so desperate to bring down a Triad crime lord, Po (Sammo Hung) that he stars planting evidence and tampering videos. Inspector Ma (Yen) is about to take over the investigation but an undercover cop in Po’s organisation is murdered.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary By Hong Kong Cinema Expert Bey Logan; ; Exclusive Interviews With Director Wilson Yip and Stars Sammo Hung, Simon Yam, Donnie Yen, and Wu Jing; Trailer Gallery

Amazon Price: $17.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid was released onto DVD and Blu-ray in August, but already an Ultimate DVD is now ready for your enjoyment. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is based on the first book of Jeff Kinney’s comic series of novels and a sequel is already in production. Hotel for Dogs director Thor Freudenthal has control in the director’s chair and works with a young cast including Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick and everyone’s favorite child actress Chloe Moretz. Rachael Harris (The Hangover) and Steve Zahn (Sunshine Cleaning) offer some experience to the cast, playing the parents of the lead character.

Gordon plays Greg Heffley, an 11-year-old boy who has just started middle school. He wants to becomes the most popular kid in school, but he faces obstacles, including his embarrassing best friend Rowley (Capron), his older brother Roderick (Bostick) who advises him to keep his head down and Angie (Moretz) who says that popularity is overrated (she has the right idea).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 54% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $20.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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