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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 2.1.11)

If you are fan of violent horror or like your sci-fi really down to Earth, then you will be happy with this week’s releases. Also available this week is a selection of drama, comedy, foreign art-house films from Poland and France, family films and Hilary Swank in two films based on true stories.

First Releases
Let Me In (DVD and Blu-ray)
Never Let Me Go (DVD and Blu-ray)
Monsters (DVD and Blu-ray)
Conviction (DVD and Blu-ray)
Hatchet II (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Tillman Story (DVD and Blu-ray)
Welcome to the Rileys (DVD and Blu-ray)
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 (DVD and Blu-ray)

Re-Releases
The Double Life of Veronique (Blu-ray)
Alice in Wonderland (1951) (Blu-ray)
All About Eve (Blu-ray)
An Affair to Remember (Blu-ray)
– Boys Don’t Cry (Blu-ray)
Pleasantville (Blu-ray)

Let Me In (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
When it was announced that there was going to be a Hollywood remake of the Swedish horror film Let the Right One In, the big question from fans was “why?” There were questions about whether Hollywood was just making a film for people who are too lazy to read subtitles and Tomas Alfredson, the Swedish film’s director, was critical of the idea. But Let Me In surprised critics and most audiences. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) adapted the John Ajvide Lindqvist novel which stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) and Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass). Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) adds some experience to the film. Let Me In was also Hammer Films’ big reintroduction to the world after a long hiatus the ’70s.

Let Me In changes the setting from the suburbs of Stockholm to the town of Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1983. Following the same plot as Let the Right One In, Owen (Smit-McPhee) is a bullied 12-year-old boy with a troubled home live. A new neighbour moves to his apartment block, Abby (Moretz) and the two youngsters become friends. But this girl has her own dark secret.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 89% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.1/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Matt Reeves; From the Inside: A Look at the Making of Let Me In; The Art of Special Effects; Car Crash Sequence Step-By-Step; Unrated Deleted Scenes; Trailer Gallery: Greenband Trailer, Redband Trailer; Poster & Still Gallery

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Digital copy of the film

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

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

Never Let Me Go (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on a novel by British-Japanese author Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go was Mark Romanek’s big return to filmmaking after the subtle thriller One Hour Photo. Adapted by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine), Never Let Me Go attached an all-star British cast including Carey Mulligan (An Education), Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Sally Hawkins (Happy Go Lucky), Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool) and Andrea Riseborough (The Devil’s Whore). Never Let Me Go opened the 54th London Film Festival.

Set in an alternative version of Britain, Never Let Me Go follow the lives of Kathy (Mulligan), Ruth (Knightley) and Tommy (Garfield) as they grow up in rural boarding school to their lives in the outside world where they have to fulfil their mysterious purpose.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 66% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; The secrets of Never Let Me Go; Director Mark Romanek’s on-set photography; Tommy’s art; National donor programme & Hailsham campaign graphics

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 5 stars, Video 0 stars, Audio 0 stars, Extras 4.5 stars, Replay 5 stars (out of 5). DVD Talk Collector Series.

Monsters (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Made with a budget of a round £500,000 ($793,147.21) the sci-fi film Monsters is a triumph of low-budget filmmaking. Writer/director Gareth Edwards shot his film on location in Latin America and Texas as a guerrilla-style film and he made an incredibly interesting road movie that just happens to feature aliens. We at Player Affinity picked him as the most promising new director of 2010 and he won a British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for best director. Whitney Able (All the Boys Love Mandy Lane) and Scott McNairy (In Search of a Midnight Kiss) star in a film and are supported by local, non-professional actors.

Six years after a NASA probe crashes with alien life, the whole of Northern Mexico is quarantined and the American and Mexican military have to battle strange monsters. In Mexico, a photojournalist Andrew (McNairy) is ordered by his publication’s owner to escort his daughter Samantha (Able) back to the States. They have to travel through the quarantine to get back to America.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 71% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with Gareth Edwards, Scott McNairy and Whitney Able; Deleted and extended scenes; HDNet: A Look At Monsters

2-Disc Special Features: Behind the scenes of Monsters; The edit; Visual effects; Interview with Gareth Edwards; Interview with Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able; New York Comic Con discussion with Gareth Edwards

Amazon Price: $12.99 (DVD), $21.99 (2-Disc DVD), $15.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Conviction (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on a true story, Conviction stars Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell in a film that had eyes towards awards glory. Whilst it did not get noticed by the awards bodies, Swank and Rockwell were praised for their performances. Actor Tony Goldwyn (The Last Samurai) directed this film, based on a script by Pamela Gray.

Swank plays Betty Anne Waters, an uneducated single mother whose brother Kenny (Rockwell) is arrested and sentenced for murder. With the family unable to afford a lawyer for an appeal, Betty sets out to do it herself. She goes to Law School with only one client in mind.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 69% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: A Conversation with Director Tony Goldwyn & Betty Anne Waters; ; Closed Caption

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Hatchet II (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Despite the original Hatchet film making unremarkable business, writer/director Adam Green returns for a sequel. Kane Hoddler returns as serial killer Victor Crowley, starring along with Tony Todd, Danielle Harris, Tom Holland and R.A. Mihailoff. 

Set soon after the first film, Marybeth (Harris) escapes the terror of Victor Crowley. But after learning of her family’s connection to the killer, Marybeth is forced back to the swamps of Louisiana with an army of hunters to get revenge against the killer.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 37% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $13.99 (DVD), $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Tillman Story (DVD and Blu-ray)

What;s the Deal?
Pat Tillman is famous for being an NFL American football player who after 9/11 gave up his promising sports career to join the U.S. Rangers. He was killed whilst serving in Afghanistan and the Bush administration used him as perfect propaganda to show the strength of American patriotism. However, this was not the real story and documentary filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev with the Tillman family set out to show, that he is more then a propaganda tool whose image was hijacked by George W. Bush.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 93% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Look Behind the Scenes: “Pat Tillman, The Man, The Mission, The Legacy”

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 4 stars, Video 3.5 stars, Audio 3 stars, Extras 1.5 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

Welcome to the Rileys (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Ridley Scott’s family has been into filmmaking for a long time: his brother Tony is a famous action director, his daughter Jordan made her directional debut in 2009 and now his son Jake has made his second film after a 11-year hiatus. Based on a script by Ken Hixon, Jake Scott recruited James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo (The Fighter) for this drama.

Doug and Lois Riley (Gandolfini and Leo) are a married couple whose marriage is collapsing after their daughter died when she was 15. On a business trip, Doug meets a young prostitute Allison (Stewart) and the grieving man is willing to pay large sums of money to gain a daughter.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 53% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Creating the Rileys Featurette

Amazon Price: $18.99 (DVD), $23.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  Content: 3.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 1 stars, Replay 2.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended

The Double Life of Veronique (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Krysztof Kieslowski is considered on of the best filmmakers Poland has ever produced, making films such as The “Three Colours” Trilogy and A Short Film About Killing. In his French/Polish language film, Irene Jacob (Three Colours: Red) stars in a film that won three awards at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991.

Jacob plays two women, Weronika, a young Polish woman who suffers from a heart condition, but refuses to let it hold her back, and Veronique, a French elementary school teacher. Both are united by singing ability, but have very different views about their talent.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Restores high-definition digital transfer with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack; Audio commentary featuring Annette Insdorf, author of Double Lives, Second Chances: The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski; Three short documentaries by Kieslowski: Factory (1970), Hospital (1976), and Railway Station (1980); The Musician (1958), a short film by Kieslowski’s teacher Kazimierz Karabasz; The U.S. ending; Kieslowski – Dialogue (1991), a documentary featuring a candid interview with Kieslowski and rare behind-the-scenes footage from the set of the Double Life of Véronique; 1966-1968: Kieslowski, Polish Filmmaker, a 2005 documentary tracing the director’s work in Poland, from his days as a student through the Double Life of Véronique; Video interviews with actress Irene Jacob, cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, and composer Zbigniew Preisner; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic Jonathan Romney and selections from Kieslowski On Kieslowski

Amazon Price: $24.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Alice in Wonderland (1951) (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Lewis Carroll’s classic story is considered a great example of children’s literature and has been adapted a number of times into film, including Tim Burton’s 2010 effort which was met with a mixed reception. The other most famous version was the Disney animated telling, but back in 1951, it was met with similar feelings. Today, Alices animated adventure down the rabbit hole is recognized as a Disney classic.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 83% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Exclusive to Blu-ray Disc; Through The Keyhole: A Companion’s Guide To Wonderland; Painting The Roses Red Interactive Game; DisneyView – Enhanced Viewing Experience; Walt Disney Color TV Introduction (1959); Reference Footage: Alice And The Doorknobs; ; Pencil Test: Alice Shrinks; Reflections On Alice Featurette; Operation Wonderland (Now In Hi-Def!); ; ; Disc 2 – DVD Feature Film + Bonus

Amazon Price: $19.99 (Blu-ray)

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

All About Eve (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Joseph L. Mankiewicz has a long and varied career as a writer and director, making films such as Sleuth, Cleopatra, The Quiet American and Julius Caesar. He also co-wrote Citizen Kane. All About Eve is considered one of his greatest films, a drama set in New York starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter.

Margo Channing (Davis) is a respected but aging Broadway star whose position is about to be usurped by her protégé, Eve (Baxtar). Eve is about to gain a role originally written for Margo and win over the actress’ friends. Margo soon finds out who is really on her side.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary by Actor Celese Holm, Ken Geist (Joseph Mankiewicz’s Biographer) and Christopher Mankiewicz; ; Audio Commentary by Author Sam Staggs; Isolated Score Track; Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz; Joseph L. Mankiewicz: A Personal Journey; The Real Eve; The Secret of Sarah Siddons; AMC Backstory: All About Eve; Vintage Bette Davis Promotion; Vintage Anne Baxter Promotion; Fox Movietone News: ; 1951: Academy Awards Honor Best Film Achievements; 1951: Hollywood Attends Gala Premiere of All About Eve Holiday Magazine Awards; Look Magazine Awards; Theatrical Trailer; 24-Page Collectible Book Packaging

Amazon Price: $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

An Affair to Remember (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr were two of the biggest stars of their generation, starring in a number of hit films. So a film with them together was bound to be smash. Leo McCarey (Duck Soup) co-wrote and directed this romantic film. 

Nickie (Grant) and Terry (Kerr) are two people in relationships who meet on an ocean liner. They are drawn to each other, but they decide to test this relationship and meet six months later on the top of the Empire State Building. But will this meeting ever happen?

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 64% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with Writer/Director Gary Ross; Isolated Score Track with Commentary by Composer Randy Newman; Featurette The Art Of Pleasantville; Fiona Apple Across the Universe Music Video Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson; Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $23.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Boys Don’t Cry (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on the tragic story of Brandon Teena, Hilary Swank won her first Oscar for Best Actress in this hard-hitting film. Serving as Kimberly Peirce’s (Stop-Loss) directorial debut, Chloe Sevigny (Zodiac) and Peter Sarsgaard (Garden State) support Swank and Sevigny earned herself a Best Supporting Actress nod.

Brandon (Swank) is a transgender man who moves to Falls City, Nebraska. He befriends a group of local young men and even finds himself a girlfriend. But Brandon constantly worries about people finding out about his dark secret.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 88% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $16.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


Pleasantville
(Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Before Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon became big-name stars, they led Gary Ross’ (Seabiscuit) comedy-drama Pleasantville. Indie specialist William H. Macy, Joan Allen (The Bourne Ultimatum) and Jeff Daniels (The Squid and the Whale) co-star.

David (Maguire) and Jennifer (Witherspoon) are twins and teenagers living the ’90s. They end up thrusted into a 1950s TV world, Pleasantville, a perfect, black-and-white version of the ’50s. Both teenagers have different ways of dealing with their new surroundings.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 86% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with Writer/Director Gary Ross; Isolated Score Track with Commentary by Composer Randy Newman; Featurette The Art Of Pleasantville; Fiona Apple Across the Universe Music Video Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson; Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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