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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 12.28.10)

Christmas is over for another year and I am sure most of you have been reasonably plumbed with all the festivities. Now that you might be looking for some post-Christmas home entertainment, there are few options in the thriller, horror and martial arts genres, as well as a sprinkling of foreign art house cinema.

First Release
The American (DVD and Blu-ray)
Resident Evil: Afterlife (DVD and Blu-ray)
And Soon the Darkness (DVD and Blu-ray)
Twelve (DVD and Blu-ray)
Merantau (DVD and Blu-ray)
Legendary (DVD)
Samson & Delilah (DVD)
Legacy (DVD)
Legendary Assassin (DVD)
Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies Movie (DVD)
Made in Romania (DVD)

The American (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The American was able to attach some major talent: George Clooney, Anton Corbijn (director of Control) and Rowan Joffe (the writer of 28 Weeks Later and son of Roland Joffe). This art-house thriller was a pet project for Clooney and Corbijn’s big follow up.

Based on a novel by Martin Booth, Clooney plays Jack, an assassin who is forced to leave Sweden for Italy after an attempt of his life. In Italy accepts one last job, to make a weapon for a mysterious contact, but ends up falling for a beautiful local woman.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 65% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.2/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted scenes; Journey to redemption: the making of The American; Feature commentary with director Anton Corbijn

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $23.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  Content: 4 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 3 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The “Resident Evil” film series has been critically derided but a financial success and the writer/director of the first film, Paul W.S. Anderson (The Event Horizon) has returned to the series he started. Resident Evil: Afterlife is also the first 3-D film to be shot with James Cameron’s Fusion camera system: therefore the first real 3D film after Avatar. Many of the “Resident Evil” regulars return: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Spencer Locke and Sienna Guillory return and they are joined by the likes of Wentworth Miller (Prison Break) and Shawn Roberts (I Love You Beth Cooper).

Alice continues her battle against the evil Umbrella corporation and lead survivors to safety from the zombie hordes. After hearing a rumour that Los Angeles was safe she leads survivors there, but the city is teeming with the undead and Alice and her alliances are about to enter into a deadly trap.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 26% (very bad)
Player Affinity Score: 4.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Get Inside the Creative Process of this Action Spectacular with Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes; Filmmaker Commentary and Check Out a Sneak Peek of Resident Evil: Damnation

Additional Blu-ray Features: Undead Vision – Picture-in-Picture Track; Deleted Scenes & Outtakes; 5 Additional Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes; MovieIQ + Sync

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $27.99 (Blu-ray 3D)

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

And Soon the Darkness (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
And Soon the Darkness is an American remake of a British film from 1970. This film serves as Marcos Efron’s directorial feature debut and he was able to attach a good cast: Amber Heard (Never Back Down), Karl Urban (RED) and Odette Yustman (Cloverfield).

Stephanie (Heard) and Ellie (Yustman) are two friends who go a vacation to Argentina together. But after an argument Ellie disappears and the police do not treat the case seriously because female tourists have been kidnapped. Stephanie recruits an American ex-pat, Michael (Urban) to help track her down.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Commentary; Featurette

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 2.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 2 stars (out of 5). Rent it.

Twelve (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
What happened to Joel Schumacher? He was able to make The Lost Boys and A Time to Kill: but now all he can turn out is junk. Twelve is an adaptation of a novel by then-17-year-old novelist Nick McDonell. The cast of the film includes Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl), Emma Roberts (whose career is a string of flops), Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson and Israeli model Esti Ginzburg.

White Mike (Crawford) is a 17-year-old drug dealer in New York whose life is rocked when his cousin is murdered and his best friend arrested for the crime.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 4% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

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

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

Merantau (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand have made some fine martial arts films over the years — now it’s Indonesia’s turn. Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais stars in a film directed by British director Gareth Evans.

Yuda (Uwais) is a young man living a simple life in rural Sumatra. He has to undergo merantau, a traditional rite of passage and has to leave his village: but in Jakarta he is plunged into a violent world of human trafficking and use his martial arts skills. Is it me or does this plot sound very similar to Ong Bak?

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; ; Deleted Scenes; Bloopers; Making of Merantau; Video Production Journal; Bamboo Pole Stunt; Storyboard to Screen: Fight Comparison; International Trailer

Legendary (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
The WWE wants to make wrestler John Cena into the next Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but he has yet to find the right project. Cena has turned away from action cinema to make a sport drama, directed by TV veteran Mel Damski. Cena is joined by Devon Graye (Dexter) and experience actors Danny Glover and Patricia Clarkson (Six Feet Under).

Cal Chetley (Graye) is a book-smart fifteen-year-old boy who turns to reunite his family, divided by his father’s death. He decides to do that by joining his school’s wrestling team and get his brother, Mike (Cena) to train him.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Big brother is coaching: on set with John Cena; Technical falls & follies: the bloopers & fun; Devon & Tyler’s first foray into wrestling; Matt to the mic: the making of “hustle loyalty respects”: inside look at John Cena recording the song; Deleted scenes; Photo gallery

Amazon Price: $13.99 (DVD)

Samson & Delilah (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
This week’s critical darling is the Camera d’Or-winning 2009 film Samson & Delilah. Aborigine actors Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson star in Warwick Thornton’s film.

Samson (McNamara) and Delilah (Gibson) are two 14-year-olds living in the desert of Central Australia. When tragedy strikes their community the two young lovers turn their back on their people and forced into the wilderness. Samson & Delilah is a continuing example of films looking at Aborigine culture.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $18.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Legacy (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
Idris Elba is an actor who has had a decent career film with a leading role in The Wire and supporting roles in The Losers, Rocknrolla and 28 Weeks Later. Englishman Thomas Ikimi writes and directs his second and casts the likes of Eamonn Walker (The Messenger) and Monique Gabriela Curnen (The Dark Knight).

Elba plays Malcolm Gray, a Black Ops officer hiding in a Brooklyn motel after a mission goes wrong. When hiding he is torn between retribution and personal salvation.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $13.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Legendary Assassin (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
Legendary Assassin is the directorial debut for Wu Jing, a martial artist, actor and star in Hong Kong, whose credits include Killzone. Wu also stars in the film with the likes of Benz Hui (Rob-B-Hood) and Celina Jade.

Bo Tong Lam (Wu) is a skilled martial artist and assassin who ends up befriending a police officer, Hiu Wor (Jade). But everything goes to hell when the body of a drug lord and crime syndicate leader is found on the island and peace is shattered by a gang war.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: The making of Legendary Assassin; Assassin profiles: inside the characters of Legendary Assassin; Trailer gallery

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 2.5 stars, Video 3.5 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 2 stars (out of 5). Rent it.

Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies Movie (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
Fear not, this is not a release of 2009 box-office bomb Dragonball Evolution, but a new release of a film from the original anime series. The “Dragon Ball” anime has a loyal following in the West and has followed many versions of its heroes. Curse of the Blood Rubies goes back to the beginning of the series as the Greedy King Gurumes attempts to steal the Dragon Balls to harness their wish-granting powers. But he has to take on their protector, Goku.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Trailers

Amazon Price: $13.49 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Made in Romania (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
Even since This is Spinal Tap, the pseudo-documentary has become a popular sub-genre for comedy and the UK and Romania have a new offering. Made in Romania tells how actress Jennifer Tilly (playing herself) sets out to make her dream project, a Victorian-set drama, “The Tide of Reason.” After finding a producer, Sebastian (Joe Shaw), he makes a dubious deal which results with the film having to be made in Romania. Every thing that can go wrong does go wrong. Elizabeth Hurley (surprisingly still working) and Jason Flemyng (Snatch) also star as themselves.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $6.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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