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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 8.16.11)

There were a few contenders for Recommendation of the Week, but the winner is The Coen brothers’ cult hit The Big Lebowski, a Blu-ray re-release featuring exclusive content in a 28-page book.

First Releases
– Jane Eyre (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Something Borrowed (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Priest (DVD and Blu-ray)
– The Conspirator (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Meet Monica Velour (DVD and Blu-ray)
– The Ward (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (Blu-ray)

Re-Release
– The Killing (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Cul-de-Sac (DVD and Blu-ray)
– The Big Lebowski (Blu-ray)
– The Muppets Take Manhattan (Blu-ray)
– Muppets From Space (Blu-ray)
– Demolition Man (Blu-ray)

The Big Lebowski (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

What’s the Deal?
The Coen Brothers are able to turn their hand to pretty much to any genre and their comedy The Big Lebowski is a cult hit and our Recommendation of the Week. Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, in great roles, star in this hilarious movie and there are many fine supporting actors helping them out: Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Sam Elliot, John Turturro (Transformers), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid and David Huddleston (Blazing Saddles).

Set in 1991, Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski (Bridges) is an aging hippy who get attacked by thugs, mistaking him for a millionaire of the same name (Huddleston). The Dude’s bowling buddy, Walter Sobchak (Goodman), a right wing gun-nut, suggests going to the millionaire to claim compensation for his damaged property and meet his porn star wife Bunny (Reid, a real stretch for her). When Bunny is kidnapped, the millionaire hires The Dude to do the drop: when he fails things get worst and much funnier.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 79% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 9.3/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Limited Edition collectible 28-pg book packaging including an exclusive interview, Jeff Bridges’ on-set photography, a film timeline, trivia and more!; Digital Copy of The Big Lebowski (expires 12/31/2012); U-Control: Scene Companion – Watch behind the scenes footage, interviews and more while you watch the film; U-Control: Mark It, Dude – This on-screen counter keeps track of the “F-bombs,” “Dudes” and Lebowski-isms during the film; U-Control: The Music of The Big Lebowski – Identify the songs in the film and create a custom play list; Worthy Adversaries: What’s My Line Trivia – Test your Lebowski knowledge with this interactive game; The Dude’s Life; The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski Ten Years Later; Making of The Big Lebowski; The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever’s Story; Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of The Dude; Interactive Map; Jeff Bridges Photo Book; Photo Gallery; An Introduction; BD-Live; My Scenes; Pocket BLU; No Kid Hungry PSA

Amazon Price: $22.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 4 stars, Replay 4.5 stars (out of 5). DVD Talk Collector Series.

There are many big releases and re-releases this week, including some classy period dramas in the form of Jane Eyre and The Conspirator, horror from John Carpenter and the director of Legion and some comedy-dramas. Re-releases include the crime classic The Killing and two movies starring the Muppets.

Jane Eyre (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Bronte sisters are renowned for being some of the greatest English novelists of the Victorian Era with their novels still studied today. Jane Eyre is Charlotte Bronte’s best known novel and has been adapted a number of times onto film and television.

This 2011 version was directed by Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) and cast Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) in the title role. Michael Fassbender (Hunger, X-Men: First Class) was cast as Mr. Rochester and British actors who had roles include Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins (Made in Dagenham) and Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later). Fukunaga set out to make a darker, grittier version of the tale of Jane Eyre.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10 (Read the Review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Something.. Old?:; It’s life-altering, perspective-shifting and panic-inducing! Turning 30 is discussed by stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski and producer Hilary Swank ; On Location Tours With Emily Giffin: ; Meet the bestselling author ; Marcus’s Guide to the Ladies: ; Ladies’ man Marcus (Steve Howey) offers pointers o charming women ; What Is “Something Borrowed”?: ; The stars share their thoughts on the origin and meaning of this wedding custom; Left off the Guest List: Additional scenes; Gag reel

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Something Borrowed (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The mention of the name Kate Hudson is enough to make movie fans shudder with fear and her new movie is set to disappoint once again. Based on a novel by Emily Griffin, Something Borrowed was produced by Hilary Swank and directed by Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door). Ginnifer Goodwin (Walk the Line) leads the cast with John Krasinski (The Office), Colin Egglesfield (All My Children), Steve Howey (Shameless) and Ashley Williams as well as Ms. Hudson.

Rachel (Goodwin) is a successful lawyer and her friend Darcy (Hudson) is about to get married. But on her 30th birthday, Rachel sleeps with Dex (Egglesfield), her long-time friend and Darcy’s fiancé. As the wedding nears, Rachel has to decide between Darcy and Dex.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 15% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Left Off The Guest List: Additional Scenes

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Something.. Old?:; It’s life-altering, perspective-shifting and panic-inducing! Turning 30 is discussed by stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski and producer Hilary Swank ; On Location Tours With Emily Giffin: ; Meet the bestselling author ; Marcus’s Guide to the Ladies: ; Ladies’ man Marcus (Steve Howey) offers pointers o charming women ; What Is “Something Borrowed”?: ; The stars share their thoughts on the origin and meaning of this wedding custom; Gag reel

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 1.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 0 stars (out of 5). Skip It.

Priest (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
If you had suffered through Legion because of good faith, then you have to be a real sadomasochist to willingly watch Priest. Very loosely based on a Korean manhwa, Scott Stewart somehow blackmailed Paul Bettany again to star in his second movie. Also offering performances are Karl Urban (The Bourne Supremacy), Maggie Q (Live Free or Die Hard), Lily Collins (The Blind Side) and Christopher Plummer. Priest jumped onto the 3-D bandwagon as well.

In a post-apocalyptic future, humans and vampires have been at war for centuries and the guardians of man are The Priests. Humanity has shielded itself in cities and vampires dominate the wastelands. One priest (Bettany) discovers his niece Lucy (Collins) has been taken by vampires and he defies his order to go and save her.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 17% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: 5.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with Director Scott Stewart, Writer Cory Goodman, Paul Bettany and Maggie Q; Deleted and Extended Scenes; The Bloody Frontier: Creating the World of Priest; Tools of the Trade: The Weapons and Vehicles of Priest

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: PS3 Theme; Twisted Metal® Uncut Trailer; movieIQ; Bullets and Crucifixes: Picture-in-Picture Experience

Additional 3D Blu-ray Special Features: Weapons and Vehicle Exploration in 3D

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $24.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Conspirator (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Conspirator is the first movie from the company The American Film Company, having a simple philosophy that history is just as exciting as fiction: something I completely agree with. The American Film Company certainly pulled out all the stops for its first feature, getting Robert Redford to direct and hiring an all star cast as it tells the story of Mary Suratt (Robin Wright), the only woman charged with conspiracy in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the lawyer who defends her, Fredrick Aiken (James McAvoy). Also in this movie is Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Toby Kebbell (Control), Tom Wilkinson, Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) and Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 56% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary with Writer Director Robert Redford;  Feature-Length Documentary “The Conspirator: The Plot to Kill Lincoln”; Introduction to the American Film Company; The Making of The Conspirator; 10 “Witness History” Featurettes on the Historical Background and Making of the Film;  Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Video Commentary with Director Robert Redford; Featurette on the True Story Behind the Film; Making-of Featurette – Interviews with Cast/Crew; Video from the Premiere at Ford’s Theatre; “The Conspiracy” Featurette; Production Design Featurette; “Mary Surratt’s Catholicism” Featurette; Costume Design Featurette; Military Trial Featurette; Props and Special Effects Featurette; “Frederick Aiken: Defense Lawyer” Featurette; “Mary Surratt: Guilty or Innocent” Featurette; “Sentence and Execution” Featurette; Photo Galleries

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Meet Monica Velour (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Meet Monica Velour is the feature-length debut by Keith Bearden who wrote and directed this straight-to-DVD movie. Dustin Ingram stars as Tobe, an awkward teenager who goes on the road to meet his favorite ’80s porn star, Monica Velour (Kim Cattrall). But what he finds is a 49-year-old single mother living in a trailer park in Indiana who works in a seedy strip club. Tobe starts to befriend the woman and develops a crush in a movie that is described as a comedy.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 44% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Keith Bearden and Actress Kim Cattrall; Hilarious Deleted Scenes!

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 2 stars, Video 0 stars, Audio 0 stars, Extras 3 stars, Replay 0 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

The Ward (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
John Carpenter is a legend (see Halloween, Escape from New York and Assault on Precinct 13) but his star has faded since the ’80s. His latest movie stars a mostly female cast lead by Amber Heard (Never Back Down) and includes Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass), Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th, 2009), Mamie Gummer (Taking Woodstock) and Laura Leigh.

Kirsten (Heard) is a young woman who wakes up in a ward in a psychiatric hospital, not knowing how she got there. Four other women are there and they have the same question as slowly they start to disappear.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 31% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; Commentary by John Carpenter and Jared Harris; Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD), $17.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Did we really need another Hoodwinked! movie? The first one was a rather unremarkable and cheap and the sequel could not even get its main star back. Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) replaces Anne Hathaway in the lead role as Red is recruited to train with a covert agency and must stop a wicked witch (Joan Cusack).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 12% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Music Videos: ; Hayden Panettiere “I Can Do It Alone”; Lavay Cole – “You Know It”; CeeJ – “Perfect Two”; The Voices of Hoodwinked Too!; Storyboard Sequences; Production Artwork

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

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

The Killing (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
I love Stanley Kubrick and his movies and The Killing is a great little crime: it was one of the influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. Based on the novel Clean Break by Lionel White, Sterling Hayden stars as Johnny Clay, a criminal who plans to rob a race track on the biggest race day of the year. Johnny hires a crew of insiders to achieve this ambitious heist, but there are outside forces trying to stop Johnny.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 97% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 10/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; New video interview with producer James B. Harris; Excerpts of interviews with actor Sterling Hayden from the French television series Cinéma cinémas; New video interview with film scholar Robert Polito about writer Jim Thompson and his work on The Killing; Restored transfer of Stanley Kubrick’s 1955 noir feature Killer’s Kiss; New video appreciation of Killer’s Kiss with film critic Geoffrey O’Brien; Theatrical trailers; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Haden Guest and a reprinted interview with Marie Windsor on The Killing

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Cul-de-Sac (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Criterion Collection’s second re-release of the week is a Roman Polanski movie starring Donald Pleasance and Lionel Stander (Once Upon a Time in the West). George (Pleasence) and his French wife Teresa (Françoise Dorléac) live in a castle in the middle of nowhere when a criminal (Stander) and his dying partner break in to their home to hide from the police.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 87% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New digital restoration, approved by director Roman Polanski, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; Two Gangsters and an Island, a 2003 short documentary about the making of Cul-de-sac, featuring interviews with Polanski, producer Gene Gutowski, and cinematographer Gil Taylor; Interview with Polanski from 1967; Theatrical trailers; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Thompson

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Muppets Take Manhattan (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Jason Segel’s new movie about the Muppets, with the imaginative title The Muppets, arrives in theaters Nov. 23. But if you want to get your nostalgia on, two of the previous “Muppets” movies are being re-released onto Blu-ray this week. The Muppets Take Manhattan is the third movie in the series and this was directed by renowned puppeteer Frank Oz. This movie sees The Muppets graduate from college and try to break into Broadway, but they find it to be a much more difficult task than originally anticipated.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 80% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Jim Henson Interview; Muppetisims: Fozzie Bear ™; Muppetisms: Miss Piggy & Kermit the Frog ™; Muppetisms: Pepe

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 2.5 stars, Video 3.5 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 1 stars, Replay 1.5 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

Muppets From Space (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Muppets From Space is the sixth movie in the “Muppets” series. It was released in 1999 and the first Muppets movie made after the death of creator and head puppeteer Jim Henson. Muppets From Space was directed by Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks, Hop) and tells the story of Gonzo receiving a message in his cereal and becoming convinced he’s an alien. The strange little creature attempts to contact his home planet but is captured by evil government scientist (the US government really needs to rethink its recruitment policies), K. Edgar Tambor (Jeffrey Tambor, Arrested Development). It’s up to Kermit and others to save Gonzo and reunite him with his family.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 62% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Outtakes; I Hate Rats!; Music Video: “Shining Star” by The Dust Brothers Featuring Jeymes

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

Demolition Man (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Sometimes cop and action movies can get so cliché, so back in 1993 Demolition Man combined the genre with sci fi. Commercial director Marco Brambilla took on the project which stars Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock.

Starting in 1996, John Spartan (Stallone) is an LAPD Sergeant falsely accused of a crime committed by his nemesis Simon Phoenix (Snipes). Both men are cryogenically frozen. Phoenix is awakened 36 years later when he escapes into a utopian city where the police are useless. One officer, Lenina Huxley (Bullock), suggests there is only one person who could stop him: Spartan!

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 63% (good)
Player Affinty Score: 6.8/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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