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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 2.21.11)

Unforgiven is considered one of the greatest Westerns ever made and it has been re-released once again onto Blu-ray. This new edition contains the usual set of features, including commentaries, documentaries and an episode of Maverick.

First Releases
J. Edgar (DVD and Blu-ray)
Martha Marcy May Marlene (DVD and Blu-ray)
Tower Heist (DVD and Blu-ray)
London Boulevard (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Way (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Son of No One (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Mighty Macs (DVD)
Puss in Boots (DVD and Blu-ray) (Release Date 24 February 2012)

Re-Releases
Anatomy of a Murder (1959) (DVD and Blu-ray)
World on a Wire (DVD and Blu-ray)
Unforgiven (Blu-ray)
Fort Apache (1948) (Blu-ray)

Unforgiven (1992) (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by David Webb Peoples
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Jaimz Woolvett

What’s the Deal?
Clint Eastwood made his name with the Western genre, both as an actor and as a director. He has also been very good to the genre, making the revisionist Western Unforgiven, considered one of his finest movies and one of the best Westerns ever made. Unforgiven won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman.

William Munny (Eastwood) is a former outlaw-turned-farmer and lone father. Despite his oath to stay straight, he agrees to a help a young gunslinger, the Schofield Kid (Jamiz Woolvett) to retrieve the bounty on two cowboys who scarred a prostitute in Big Whiskey, Wyoming. But sheriff Little Bill Daggett (Hackman) will use any measure to defend law and order in his town.
 
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 96% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.6/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary by Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel; 4 documentaries: ; All on Accounta Pullin’a Trigger; Eastwood & Co.: Making Unforgiven ; Eastwood… A Star; Eastwood on Eastwood; Classic Maverick episode Duel at Sundown; Theatrical trailer

Amazon Price: $25.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The critically acclaimed Martha Marcy May Marlene is the major first release of the week that we recommend. Elsewhere there’s Eastwoo’d most recent film, J. Edgar, as well as Puss in Boots and Tower Heist. The re-releases on tap include courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder,  sci-fi thriller World on a Wire and John Ford Western Fort Apache.

J. Edgar (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by Dustin Lance Black
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Arnie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Judi Dench

What’s the Deal?
J. Edgar had the promise of a great movie. It was written and directed by Oscar-winning talents and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, who is still desperately seeking his Oscar. It is also a biopic of the most colorful figures of American politics and law enforcement. It sadly did not deliver on the awards front.

The film focuses, of course, on J. Edgar Hoover (DiCaprio), one of the most controversial figures in American history. It examines both his professional life as the first director of the FBI and personal life, namely the nature of his relationships with Clyde Tolson (Arnie Hammer, The Social Network) and mother (Judi Dench).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 44% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 5.8/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: J. Edgar: A Complicated Man

Additional Blu-ray/DVD Combo Special Features: J Edgar: The Most Powerful Man in the World

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $22.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Martha Marcy May Marlene (DVD and Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Sean Durkin
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, Hugh Dancy

What’s the Deal?
Martha Marcy May Marlene is seen as one of the best movies of 2011, including by us. The film features an incredible performance by Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of the Olsen twins. Writer-director Sean Durkin won the Directing Award for Best Drama at Sundance and Martha Marcy May Marlene was nominated for the Un Certain Regard at Cannes.

Martha (Olsen) is a traumatized young woman who has escaped from a cult in the Catskill Mountains. Even though she is safe with her sister (Sarah Paulson) Martha is a now paranoid young woman unable to separate reality and her dreams as she tries to re-assimilate back into society.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 90% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.8/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Tower Heist (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Brett Ratner
Written by Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson (screenplay), Bill Collage, Adam Cooper, Ted Griffin (story)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Michael Peña

What’s the Deal?
Tower Heist started as an attempt to make an African-American Ocean’s Eleven before slowly evolving into a blue-collar heist movie for Brett Ratner (The “Rush Hour“ trilogy) to direct. Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is a manager for an extensive apartment building in Manhattan and is close to all the tenants, including financier Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda). But Shaw turns out to be a fraudster a la Bernie Madoff, running a ponzi scheme, and it includes all the building’s employees’ pension plans. $20 million  is missing, so Kovacs decides to recruit a team to plan an ambitious heist of Shaw’s apartment during the Macy’s Day Parade.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 68% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.3/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

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

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

London Boulevard (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by William Monahan
Written by William Monahan (screenplay), Ken Bruen (novel)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone

What’s the Deal?
William Monahan has proven himself as a talented screenwriter, winning an Academy Award for The Departed. He has now turned to directing, but his first movie, London Boulevard was a critical and commercial disappointment, coming to the States as a straight-to-DVD release.

Mitchel (Farrell) is an ex-con released from prison. He wants to go straight and he is hired by an movie star, Charlotte (Knightley), as her bodyguard to keep the paparazzi away. But a crime lord, Gant (Winstone), wants Mitchel to do some work for him because of his reputation.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 33% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: The Making of London Boulevard

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Way (DVD and Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Emilio Estevez
Starring: Martin Sheen

What’s the Deal?
The Way is certainly a family affair; it was written and directed by Emilio Estevez based on his son’s experience, and he got his father, Martin Sheen, to star in it. Tom Avery (Sheen) is a doctor who goes to France to collect his son’s body who died in the Pyrenees Mountains. Filled with sadness and grief, Tom decides to complete Daniel’s (Estevez) journey to Camino de Santiago in Spain, known as the Way of St. James, and meets various of people on the journey.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 80% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $13.99 (DVD), $21.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Son of No One (DVD and Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Dino Montiel
Starring: Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche, Ray Liotta, Katie Holmes

What’s the Deal?
Dino Montiel’s career as a writer-director has been heading on a downward trajectory. He started off well with A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, but his goodwill was threatened with his follow-up movie Fighting. Based on his own unpublished novel, The Son of No One failed to impress critics and audiences at Sundance and has since become a direct-to-DVD release.

Jonathan (Tatum) is a rookie cop assigned to the precinct in Queens, New York he grew up. New evidence of two unsolved murders starts to unfold and it quickly emerges that there was a cover up, forcing Jonathan to face secrets in his own past.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary featuring Writer/Producer; Director Dito Montiel and Executive Producer/Editor Jake Pushinsky; Deleted Scenes

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD), $17.49 (Blu-ray), $19.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Mighty Macs (DVD)

Directed by Tim Chambers
Written by Tim Chambers, Whitney Springer (screenplay), Anthony Gargano (story)
Starring: Carla Gugino, Ellen Burstyn, Marley Shelton, David Boreanaz

What’s the Deal?
The Mighty Macs is based on a true story about Cathy Rush (Gugino), a basketball coach in 1971 who takes the job of coaching the team of Immaculata College, a small Catholic University. The team has no budget, no uniforms and no gym, but with the aid of a young nun, Sister Sunday (Shelton, Planet Terror) they start to make the team a force to be reckoned with and challenge for the championship.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 48% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; “The Making of The Mighty Macs” Featurette; The Mighty Macs ESPN Segment

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Puss in Boots (DVD and Blu-ray) (Release Date 24 February 2012)

Directed by Chris Miller
Written by Tom Wheeler, Will Davies, Brain Lynch
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris

What’s the Deal?
In 2004, I got a ginger kitten as a pet and he looked very much like Shrek’s version of Puss in Boots, so I have a soft spot for the Spanish-speaking kitty. Now that the “Shrek” series has come to an end, Puss in Boots gets his own prequel spin-off and it has been nominated for Best Animated Film at the 84th Academy Awards.

Puss in Boots (Banderas) is an adorable outlaw who crosses passes with the infamous criminals Jack and Jill (Thornton and  Sedaris) after trying to steal their magic beans. He has to united with his former friend Humpy Alexander Dumpy (Galifianakis) and thief Kitty Softpaws (Hayek) to steal the beans and get the golden goose and its golden eggs.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 83% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Purr-fect Pairings: The Voices Behind The Legends;  Deleted Scenes; World of DreamWorks Animation; And more!

Additional Two-Disc DVD Special Features: The Cat’s Meow; Kitten to Cat; Glitter Box Dance Off!; Klepto Kitty; Kitty Keyboard; Fairytale Pop-Up Book; Kitty Strikes Again; CATivities (DVD-ROM); Printables

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Kitty Strikes Again; World Of DreamWorks Animation; A DreamWorks Fairytale; Puss’ Paw Pouncing Challenge; The Animator’s Corner; Trivia Track

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Two-Disc DVD) $24.99 (Blu-ray), $27.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Anatomy of a Murder (1959) (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Otto Preminger
Written by Wendell Mayes (screenplay) John D. Voelker (novel)
Starring: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O’Connell, George C. Scott

What’s the Deal?
Based on a popular novel by John D. Voelker, Anatomy of a Murder is a legal thriller and court-room drama about Paul Biegler (Stewart) a lawyer who defends a army lieutenant, Frederick Manion (Gazzara) arrested for murdering a bartender. Manion claims that the bartender attacked his wife, but there is little evidence to prove it.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration; New interview with Otto Preminger biographer Foster Hirsc; Critic Gary Giddins explores Duke Ellington’s score in a new interview; A look at the relationship between graphic designer Saul Bass and Preminger; Newsreel footage from the set; Excerpts from a 1967 episode of Firing Line, featuring Preminger; Excerpts from the work in progress Anatomy of “Anatomy”: The Making of a Movie; Behind-the-scenes photographs by Life magazine’s Gjon Mili; Trailer, featuring on-set footage; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Nick Pinkerton and more

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

World on a Wire (1973) (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Written by Daniel F. Galounye, Rainer Werner Fassbinder (screenplay), Daniel F. Galouye (novel)
Starring: Klaus Lowitsch

What’s the Deal?
World on a Wire was originally a German TV series and it has been edited to make a three-and-half-hour-long sci-fi mystery. Helmed by legendary German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Klaus Lowitsch (Cross of Iron, The ODESSA File) stars as Fred Stiller, a cybernetics engineer in the near future who uncovers a massive conspiracy involving a computer project, Simulacron.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration; Fassbinder’s “World on a Wire”: Looking Ahead to Today, a 50-minute documentary; New interview with German-film scholar Gerd Gemunden; New English subtitles; Trailer for the 2010 theatrical release; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Ed Halter

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Fort Apache (1948) (Blu-ray)

Directed by John Ford
Written by Frank S. Nugent (screenplay), James Warner Bellah (story)
Starring: John Wayne, Henry Fonda

What’s the Deal?
John Ford and John Wayne had a long history of working together, making movies like Rio Grande, The Quiet Man and Stagecoach. This Western tells the story of Lieutenant Colonel Owen Thomas (Fonda), a Civil War veteran sent to command an outpost in Arizona. He is arrogant and refuses to listen to his subordinates, including an expert at fighting Native Americans, Captain Kirby York (Wayne), as he tries to lure the Apaches into a decisive battle.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $13.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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