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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 8.30.11)

There is one clear winner for Player Affinity’s Recommendation of the Week, The Coen Brothers Collection, offering us four classic movies on Blu-ray in one boxset. And to top it off, it offers a mix of genres and a good starter kit if you are not aware of their work.

First Releases
In A Better World (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Prom (DVD and Blu-ray)
Madea’s Big Happy Family (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Perfect Host (DVD and Blu-ray)

Re-Releases
Orpheus (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (Blu-ray)
if… (Blu-ray)
Good Will Hunting (Blu-ray)
Blood Simple (Blu-ray)
Miller’s Crossing (Blu-ray)
The Coen Brothers Collection (Blu-ray)

The Coen Brothers Collection (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

What’s the Deal?
There is a good reason why The Coen Brothers Collection is Player Affinity’s Recommendation of the Week: you are getting four classic movies in one boxset. The Coen Brothers are easily recognized for being great directors making a number of fantastic movies. They have the ability to make serious gritty dramas, crime dramas and dark comedies and sometimes combining the two. In this collection, you get a mix of these movies which are highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and of course us at Player Affinity.

Blood Simple
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.1/10

Raising Arizona
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 90% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.6/10

Miller’s Crossing
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 91% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

Fargo
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 94% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.2/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $46.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

This week’s first releases are a real collection of disappointments, with the exception being the Danish movie In A Better World. However, to compensate there are plenty of excellent re-releases to add to your growing Blu-ray collections, including the excellent British satire if…, the Matt Damon vehicle Good Will Hunting and the animated classic The Nightmare Before Christmas.

In A Better World (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

What’s the Deal?
Last week’s movie from Scandinavia was the Norwegian monster mockumentary Troll Hunter; this week’s is from Denmark and something a lot more grounded and serious. In A Better World won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, a gritty social drama by Susanne Bier (Brothers, 2004, Things we Lost in the Fire) and her long time writer Anders Thomas Jensen.

In A Better World tells the duel story of Anton (Mikael Persbrandt), a Swedish doctor working in a refugee camp in Darfur who sees the violence of a sick warlord and the other is of his son, 12-year-old Elias (Markus Rygaard), who has fallen under the influence of a grief-stricken boy named Christian (William Jøhnk Nielsen), who is willing to use violence to stop bullies. Read our review.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 78% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $30.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 2.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 3 stars, Replay 1.5 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

Prom (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
In America, Prom Night has two interpretations: the night where teenagers lose their virginity and end up with a baby nine months later or simply a rite of passage for teenagers to mark them leaving school and starting their lives as adults. Being a Disney movie, this is obviously taking the latter approach as Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden) wants to have the perfect prom with her friends, but one boy, Jesse Richter (Thomas McDonell) seems to getting in the way. But could it be a case of opposites attracting?
 
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 35% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Putting on PROM: Making of Featurette; Bloopers

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: “Last Chance Lloyd” Exclusive Short – Laugh out loud at all the creative and hilarious ways Lloyd (Nicholas Braun) asks girls to Prom in his heroic quest for the perfect date — actually, any date!; 4 Deleted Scenes – With introductions by producer Justin Springer and director Joe Nussbaum; 7 Music Videos:; Allstar Weekend – “Not Your Birthday”; Neon Trees – “Your Surrender”; Moon – “Time Stand”; Nolan Sotillo – “We Could Be Anything” (English version); Nolan Sotillo – “Juntos Lo Haremos Bien” (Spanish version); Those Dancing Days – “I’ll Be Yours”; Girl In A Coma – “Come On, Let’s Go”

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

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

Madea’s Big Happy Family (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Tyler Perry has basically made his career on his “Madea” franchise and Madea’s Big Happy Family is the 11th movie of this series. Based on the play of same name, Madea is called back into action when her niece Shirley (Loretta Devine) is diagnosed with cancer and wants her family around her. But Shirley’s family have their own troubles so Madea is needed to unitethem.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 39% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: “By-reeen” – The Baby Mama From Hell; Ties That Bind; Madea’s Family Tree; Brown Calls Maury

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

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

The Perfect Host (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
David Hyde Pierce is a talented and respectable actor with a sharp wit and high intelligence. He is best known for play Niles in Frasier but has appeared in a number of movies, such as Nixon, A Bug’s Life and Hellboy and has a love for the stage. He leads  The Perfect Host, the directing debut for Nick Tomnay that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

John Taylor (Clayne Crawford) is a criminal on the run and ends up at the dinner party of Warwick Wilson (Pierce). John claims to be a friend of a friend and that he is new to Los Angeles, but it turns out that Warwick is much more sinister then he appears.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 36% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; ; Making The Perfect Host with Writer/Director Nick Tomnay; HDNet: A Look at The Perfect Host; Trailer

Amazon Price: $13.99 (DVD), $15.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 3.5 stars, Video 3.5 stars, Audio 3 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

Orpheus (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on the Greek myth of the same name Orpheus is a 1950’s French movie directed by Jean Cocteau (Beauty and the Beast, 1946). Set in contemporary Paris, Orphée (Jean Marais) is a poet who is in love with a mysterious princess (Maria Caserés). Orphée follows the princess to the world of the living dead.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; Audio commentary by French film scholar James Williams; Jean Cocteau: Autobiography of an Unknown, a 1984 feature-length documentary; Video piece from 2008 featuring assistant director Claude Pinoteau on the special effects in the film; 40 Minutes with Jean Cocteau, an interview with the director from 1957; In Search of Jazz, a 1956 interview with Cocteau on the use of jazz in the film; La villa Santo-Sospir, a 16 mm color Cocteau film from 1951; Gallery of images by French film portrait photographer Roger Corbeau; Raw newsreel footage of the Saint-Cyr military academy ruins, a location used in the film; Theatrical trailer; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by author Mark Polizzotti, selected Cocteau writings on the film, and an essay on La villa Santo-Sospir by Williams

Amazon Price: $26.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on a short story idea by Tim Burton, The Nightmare Before Christmas is an stop-motion animated classic and a part of our popular consciousness. Written by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands, The Secret Garden), The Nightmare Before Christmas was directed by Henry Selick (Coraline), in his debut feature. “Nightmare” was converted into 3D and re-released in 2006. With 3-D Televisions now available, you can now buy the 3-D Blu-ray.

This musical delight tells the story of Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman), the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. He is depressed with his existence and when he stumbles onto Christmas Town, he decides to re-create that magical holiday. But despite his noble intentions, his mission can only lead to one disastrous direction.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Existing 2D Bonus Features; Tim Burton Movie Introduction; “What’s This?” Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour; Frankenweenie Short Film (uncut version) with Introduction by Tim Burton; Vincent Short Film; Tim Burton’s Original Poem Narrated by Christopher Lee; Audio Commentary by Tim Burton, Director Henry Selick and Music Designer Danny Elfman; Behind the Scenes Making of the Movie; The Worlds of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas;  Deleted Scenes

Amazon Price: $37.49 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

if… (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
if… is truly a Great British classic, a dark social satire that won the Palme d’Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. if… is also the first part of the Mick Travis trilogy, written by David Sherwin and directed by Lindsay Anderson (This Sporting Life). This movie also started Malcolm McDowell’s career in a role that helped him land the lead role in A Clockwork Orange.

In an exclusive boarding school in rural England, the teachers and older students rule with an iron fist. Mick Travis (McDowell) is a junior student and a complete rebel who sets out to have a revolution in this microcosm of society.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $25.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):  N/A

Good Will Hunting (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Back in the mid ’90s, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were emerging actors trying to find the roles that would make them. Tired with the poor scripts they were receiving, the two decided to write their own, which turned out to be a smart move because it made them as actors and won them an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Gus Van Sant (Milk) was hired to direct and Robin Williams won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Minnie Driver was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

Will Hunting (Damon) is a janitor at a university and a closet genius who solves complex maths problem. He is also a troubled man from South Boston who is only avoids going to prison if he agrees to see a psychiatrist. Soon Will is taken under the wings of an MIT professor (Stellan Skargard) and psychiatrist Sean Maguire (Williams).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 97% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.8/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Audio Commentary; Deleted Scenes; Production Featurette; Theatrical Trailer; “Miss Misery” Music Video; Academy Awards Best Picture Montage; Behind-the- Scenes Footage

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Blood Simple (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
In 1984, the Coen Brothers released their first movie, the neo-noir Blood Simple, and film fans have not looked back since. This Texas-set movie starred John Getz (The Fly, 1986), Frances McDormand (Fargo) and M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner). And for a footnote, the movie’s cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld, has also become a successful director, best know for making Men in Black.

Abby (McDormand) is in an unhappy marriage with bar owner Julian (Dan Hedaya) and she is having an affair with one of the bartenders, Ray (Getz). Julian finds out about this and hires a hitman to kill them (Walsh). But the hitman decides to pocket the money, kill Julian and frame Abby and Ray for the murder.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.1/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Miller’s Crossing (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Miller’s Crossing was the other gangster movie of 1990, but it sadly did not match Goodfellas’ box-office return and awards success. However, it is still a critical hit by the Coen Brothers and has found its audience on video and DVD. Miller’s Crossing has a excellent cast, including Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects), Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River), Albert Finney (Erin Brockovich), John Turturro (The Big Lebowski), Jon Politio (The Man Who Wasn’t There) and Steve Buscemi. Barry Sonnenfeld was also the cinematographer for this movie.

Set during the height of the Prohibition era, two major crime organizations are in the middle of trying to control a city. Tom Regan (Byrne) is a key lieutenant for crime boss Leo (Finney) and he is assigned the mission to keep the peace between the two. But Tom also has to juggle his own personal life, having an affair with Leo’s girlfriend (Harden) and the problem of his major gambling debts.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 91% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $16.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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