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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 2.22.11)

This week’s releases sees an invasion of European films, with entries from Britain, France, Sweden and Italy. Other major releases include three animated adventures (two with superheroes), some comedies and a classic psychological thriller. Enjoy.

First Releases
Due Date (DVD and Blu-ray)
Get Low (DVD and Blu-ray)
Mesrine: Killer Instinct (DVD and Blu-ray)
Fish Tank (DVD and Blu-ray)
All-Star Superman (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Stieg Larsson Trilogy (DVD and Blu-Ray)
Megamind (DVD and Blu-ray) (released Feb. 25)

Re-Release
Sweet Smell of Success (DVD and Blu-ray)
Senso (DVD and Blu-ray)
Memento (Blu-ray)
The Last Unicorn (Blu-ray)

Due Date (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
In 2009, The Hangover was a massive surprise hit. Director Todd Philips follows it up with another comedy starring The Hangover star Zach Galifianakis along with Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and Jamie Foxx offering supporting roles.

Peter (Downey) is an expecting father who attempts to get back to Los Angeles to be at his wife’s side when she delivers. But when he can not fly from Atlanta, he has to go on a road trip from hell with aspiring actor Ethan (Galifanakis) and his French Bulldog. I am normally won over by cute dogs.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 39% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 6.7/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Gag reel

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Complete two and a half men scene featruring Ethan Tremblay; Additional scenes; Due Date action mash-up. Compilation of the physical comedy from the film; Due Date too many questions mash-up. What makes Ethan the most annoying guy with whom you could ever be stuck in a car?;

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $24.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Get Low (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Aaron Schneider is one of those lucky directors who with his first indie-spirited film was able to attach a top cast. Robert Duvall stars in the leading role, the first time since The Apostle, and is joined by Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek (In the Bedroom), Lucas Black (Jarhead) and Scott Cooper (Gods and Generals).

Felix Bush (Duvall) is a hermit people normally avoid. But he decides to have a funeral whilst he is still alive and funeral director Frank Quinn (Murray) uses it as opportunity to let people tell stories they heard about Felix.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Cast & Crew Q&A; The Deep South: Buried Secrets; Getting Low: Getting Into Character; A Screenwriter’s Point of View; On the Red Carpet; Commentary with Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Director Aaron Schneider and Producer Dean Zanuck

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Mesrine was an ambitious project, a two-part film about the life of Jacques Mesrine, France’s most notorious gangster. Directed by Jean-Francois Richet (Assault on Precinct 13), Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) stars as the criminal, from his days as a Algerian war veteran, his romances with Sofia (Elena Anaya of Sex and Lucia) and Jeanne Schneider (Cecile de France of Hereafter) and his rise within the French underworld in a film that will please crime film fans.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 9.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Thetrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $26.99 (DVD), $25.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Fish Tank (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
One thing British cinema does really well is gritty social realism: films looking at social issues and working class culture. Andrea Arnold’s (Red Road) film sets out to continue this trend and won the Jury Prize at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival and best British Film at the BAFTAs for her troubles. Michael Fassbender (300, Hunger) stars alongside newcomer Katie Jarvis, who was discovered after the casting director saw the teenager arguing with boyfriend at a train station.

Mia (Jarvis) is a troubled 15-year-old teenager who lives in a run-down council estate in Essex (that is the county just east of London). She has been expelled from school and hangs around drinking alcohol. But her life is complicated further when her mother brings home a new boyfriend, Conner (Fassbender).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 90% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Three Short Films by Director Andrea Arnold: Milk (1998), Dog (2001), and the Oscar-winning Wasp (2003) – New Video Interview with Actor Kierston Wareing – Audio Conversation with Actor Michael Fassbender from 2009 Audition footage – Stills Gallery by Set Photographer Holly Horner; Original Theatrical Trailer – Plus: a Booklet featuring an Essay by Film Scholar Ian Christie

Amazon Price: $21.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray)

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

All-Star Superman (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Grant Morrison’s comic book series is the source for the latest adventure from Warner Premier. Comic book and TV writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths) adapts the series for Sam Liu (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) to direct. James Denton (Desperate Housewives) voices our favourite Kryptonian and is joined by Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace) and Edward Asner (Up).

Superman’s nemesis, Lex Luthor (LaPaglia), has finally come up with an elaborate plan to kill Earth’s protector once and for all. With Superman suffering from solar poisoning and his powers failing, he has to reveal his real identity to Lois Lane (Hendricks) and face his ultimate battle.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Green Lantern: Emerald Knights – preview DC Universe’s next animated original movie; Explore the recent DC Universe animated original movie Superman/Batman Apocalypse;

2-DVD Special Features: Superman Now: how writer Grant Morrison revamped the Man of Steel for contemporary audiences; Bruce Timm presents 2 bonus cartoons

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: The creative flow: incubating the idea with writer Grant Morrison. Detailed look at Grant Morrison’s original sketches and ideas; Fimmaker commentary with producer Bruce Timm and Writer Grant Morrison ; All-star Superman digital comic

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $16.99 (2-Disc DVD), $17.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 5 stars, Video 3.5 stars, Audio 3 stars, Extras 3.5 stars, Replay 4.5 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.

The Stieg Larsson Trilogy (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Despite Stieg Larsson’s untimely death, his “Millennium Trilogy” was a publishing sensation with fans the world over. The rights for the series were quickly bought by Swedish company Yellow Bird and made it into a miniseries. It was edited together into three films and made into one of the Swedish film industry’s most successful exports. Niels Arden Oplev helmed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Daniel Alfredson direct the other two films. Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist play Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist as they investigate the Swedish underworld. David Fincher’s version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is one of the most anticipated films of 2011.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 86% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.5/10

The Girl Who Played with Fire
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 69% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 52% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Millenium: The Story – A 53 minute documentary detailing the phenomenon of the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and the personal history of author Stieg Larsso; Behind-the-scenes footage from the trilogy; Interviews with stars Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist; Theatrical trailers for all films

Amazon Price: $34.99 (DVD), $51.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Megamind (DVD and Blu-ray) (released 25th February)

What’s the Deal?
Pixar and DreamWorks have very different strategies to making animated hits. Pixar likes to release one film a year and prefers professional voice actors in the character roles, whereas DreamWorks releases several films a year with big name actors. Megamind was Dreamworks’ third film of 2010 and Tm McGrath (Madagascar) took on the project. Will Ferrell plays the big-blue-headed genius and the cast contains Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Brad Pitt.

Megamind is an alien super-genius who is raised to be evil and in a constant battle with Metro Man (Pitt). But when Megamind finally defeats his nemesis he is at a loss and he may end up becoming Metro City’s protector.

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; Behind the scenes with cast and crew

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Disc 1 – Blu-ray Movie; Megamind: The Button of Doom: Megamind and Minion return to battle an even bigger foe in this all-new Mega Comedy Adventure (HD); ; Enhance the Movie-Viewing Experience with the Animators’ Corner featuring Picture-In-Picture Storyboards; Uncover More Megamind Facts with the Trivia Track; Put your own hilarious twist on scenes from the film with the Interactive Comic Creator (HD); Meet the Cast (HD); Discover The Lost Scene (HD); Visit Megamind’s Lair (HD); Experience AnimatorMan (HD); Learn to Draw Megamind (HD); Unleash The Reign of Megamind Video Comic Book; Filmmaker’s Commentary; Fun High-Flying Games; ; Disc 2 – Filmmaker’s Commentary; Meet The Cast; Discover The Lost Scene

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo), $23.99 (DVD Double Pack)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Sweet Smell of Success (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis were two titan actors in their day and Sweet Smell of Success is one of their most revered films. Alexander Mackendrick (The Ladykillers) directed this film based on a novelette by Ernest Lehman.

Set in the behind-the-scenes world of a press agency, the film focus on press agent Sidney Falco (Curtis) and showbiz power broker J.J. Hunsecker (Lancaster). Falco sets out to promote a client through Hunsecker’s articles, but is forced to help Hunsecker ruin the career of a jazz musician.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Disc One: New Audio Commentary featuring Film Scholar James Naremore; Original Theatrical Trailer; ; Disc Two: The Supplements; Mackendrick: The Man Who Walked Away, a 1986 Documentary featuring Interviews with Director Alexander Mackendrick, Actor Burt Lancaster, Producer James Hill; James Wong Howe: Cinematographer, a 1973 Documentary about the Oscar-winning Director of Photography, featuring lighting tutorials with Howe; New Video Interview with film critic and Historian Neal Gabler (Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity) about legendary columnist Walter Winchell, inspiration for the character J.J. Hunsecker; ; New Video Interview with Filmmaker James Mangold about Mackendrick, his Instructor and Mentor; ; Plus: a Booklet featuring an essay by critic Gary Giddins, notes about the film and two short stories introducing its characters by Screenwriter Ernest Lehman, and an excerpt about Clifford Odets from Mackendrick’s book On Fillm-Making, introduced by the book’s editor, Paul Cronin

Amazon Price: $21.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Senso (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Criterion Collection’s third release of the week is the Italian film Senso. In 1954, it was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and its director, Luchino Visconti, won the that award for Vague Stars of Ursa and the Palme d’Or for The Leopard. Based on a novella by Camillo Boito the film stars Alida Valli (The Third Man) in a tragic romance. Set during the Italian-Austrian war of unification, Livia (Valli) is an unhappily married Italian Countess who embarks on a forbidden affair with an Austrian officer.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Disc One:; The celebrated film foundation/cineteca di bologna digital restoration, created in consultation with cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno and Martin Scorsese; The making of “Senso,” a new documentary featuring Rotunno, assistant director Francesco Rosi, costume designer Piero Tosi, and Caterina D’Amico, daughter of screenwriter Suso Cecchi D’Amico and author of Life and Wotk of Luchino Visconti; Visualk essay by film scholar Peter Cowie; Disc 2:; The Wanton Countess, a rarely seen english-language version of the film; Viva Verdi, a new documentary on Visconti, Senso, and opera; “Man of Three Worlds: Luchino Visconti,” a 1966 BBC program exploring Visconti’s mastery of cinema, theater, and opera direction; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by filmmaker and author Mark Rappaport and an excerpt from actor Farley Granger’s autobiography, Include Me Out

Amazon Price: $21.99 (DVD), $25.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Memento (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Christopher Nolan has been extremely successful writer/director. Memento was the film that really kick-started his career and shows why he is one of the best directors around. His indie hit stars Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential), Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) and Joe Pantoliano (Bound).

This psychological thriller tells the story of Leonard (Pearce), a man suffering from anterograde amnesia and can not remember new memories. After his wife was murdered he started to suffer and as he searches for revenge the answers he is looking for keeps changing by the second.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 93% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 10/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with director Christopher Nolan ; Remembering Memento; Anatomy of a scene; IFC interview with writer/director Christopher Nolan ; “Memento Mori” – short story by Jonathan Nolan; Tattoo sketches ; Leonard’s journal

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Last Unicorn (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The last film of the week is the fantasy animated film The Last Unicorn. Made by same people who made the Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings, The Last Unicorn features Alan Arkin, Angela Lansbury, Tammy Grimes, Jeff Bridges and Mia Farrow in the voice roles.

Set in a world filled with talking animals and magicians, a unicorn (Farrow) believes she is the last of her kind. She goes out on an adventure to find more unicorns, where she meets friendly creatures and more danger then she ever imagined.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 50% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Disc 1: ; “Immortal Characters” featurette; Audio commentary with writer Peter S. Beagle and publisher Connor Cochran; 2010 The Last Uicorn art contest gallery ; Peter S. Beagle and his work; “The Tail of the Last Unicorn” minidocumentary; Schmendrick’s magical gallery ; Original trailer ; Trailer gallery; Disc 2: ; “The Tail of the Last Unicorn” minidocumentary ; Schmendrick’s magical gallery; “Escape the Red Bull” set-top game ; About Peter S. Beagle ; Original trailer ; Theatrical gallery

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

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

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