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DISCussion: New on DVD and Blu-ray (8.26.14)

"'The Normal Heart' gets the distinction of being this week's Recommendation of the Week"
New on DVD and Blu-ray this week, we have several critically-acclaimed new releases, in addition to two Criterion Collection Blu-ray re-releases. Although there were several differing votes, we have chosen The Normal Heart  as our Recommendation of the Week. New Releases: The Normal Heart – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Belle – (Blu-ray and Instant) The Double – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Aftermath – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Jackpot – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Trust Me – (DVD and Instant) Blended – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Re-Releases: All That Jazz (1979) – (Criterion Blu-ray/ DVD Combo) Vengeance is Mine (1979) – (Criterion Blu-ray)   New on DVD The Normal Heart – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) *Recommendation of the Week* Directed by Ryan Murphy Written by Larry Kramer (screenplay and play), Ryan Murphy (uncredited) Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Jonathan Groff, Frank De Julio Based on the hit play of the same name, The Normal Heart explores a group of gay activists raising HIV/AIDS awareness in the early 80's. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 93% (Excellent) Metacritic: N/A IMDB: 8.2 (Excellent) Entertainment Fuse: 9/10 DISC DETAILS Amazon: $21.24 (Blu-ray); $14.39 (DVD); $12.99 (Instant Buy)   New on DVD Belle – (Blu-ray and Instant) Directed by Amma Asante Written by Misan Sagay Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson Based on the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Mbatha-Raw), Belle is the story of a mixed-race woman being raised by her great uncle and aunt. Belonging to the upper crust of society has its perks, but her racial background limits the degree to which she is able to enjoy said privileges. Incredibly powerful, Belle is a story about overcoming adversity to find happiness and love. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 83% (Very Good) Metacritic: 68 (Good) IMDB: 6.7 (Good) Entertainment Fuse: 8/10 DISC DETAILS Amazon: $19.99 (Blu-ray)$4.99/$12.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   New on DVD The Double – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Richard Ayoade Written by Richard Ayode, Avi Korine and Fyodor Dostoevsky (novella) Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn Although the timid Simon's (Eisenberg) life is going nowhere, things take a dark turn when his office receives a new employee. His exact physical match, and the polar opposite in personality, the menacing James (Eisenberg) threatens to destroy Simon's existence. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 83% (Very Good) Metacritic: 64 (Good) IMDB: 7.4 (Very Good) DISC DETAILS Amazon: $12.26 (Blu-ray); $12.26 (DVD); $3.99/$14.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   New on DVD Aftermath – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Peter Engert Written by Christian McDonald Starring: Edward Furlong, Monica Keena, William Baldwin A group of strangers find themselves occupying a small room serving as a makeshift bomb shelter. While the United States is entangled in WWIII, the group of injured people must work together in order to survive. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 40% (Bad) Metacritic: 34 (Very Bad) IMDB: 5.8 (Okay) DISC DETAILS Amazon: $13.48 (Blu-ray); $12.48 (DVD); $3.99/$9.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   New on DVD Jackpot – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Magnus Martens Written by Magnus Martens (screenplay) and Jo Nesbø (story) Starring: Kyrre Hellum, Mads Ousdal, Henrik Mestad This Norwegian film from 2011 was given a limited run in American theaters earlier this year to mostly-positive reviews. This Coen Brothers inspired action drama follows the incredible story of Oscar Svendson (Hellum) as he recounts why he was found inside a strip club holding a shotgun and surrounded by eight dead bodies. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 63% (Fresh) Metacritic: 43 (VBad) IMDB: 6.6 (Good) DISC DETAILS Amazon: $27.98 (Blu-ray); $22.98 (DVD); $3.99/$12.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   New on DVD Trust Me – (DVD and Instant) Directed and written by Clark Gregg Starring: Clark Gregg, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney In his sophomore directorial effort, Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson from most Marvel movies, and Television's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) stars as a struggling talent agent desperate to sign a high-profile client. Willing to “do anything” in order to secure an unsigned Hollywood starlet, he must contend with an overbearing father and his arch rival, Aldo Shocklee (Sam Rockwell). Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 52% (Rotten) Metacritic: 51 (Okay) IMDB: 6.3 (Good) DISC DETAILS Amazon: $22.98 (DVD); $6.99/$14.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   New on DVD Blended – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Frank Coraci Written by Ivan Menchell and Claire Sera Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Berrymore, Wendi McLendon-Covey Serving like the possible backstory to The Brady Bunch television series, Blended is the story of two people who go on an unsuccessful blind date, but find themselves reunited when they venture to Africa for a family vacation. The attraction between the two grows as their respective families begin to “blend” together. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 14% (Atrocious) Metacritic: 31 (Very Bad) IMDB: 6.5 (Must be a lot of Sandler die-hards on IMDB) DISC DETAILS Amazon: $22.99 (Blu-ray); $14.99 (DVD); $3.99/$14.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   Re-Releases:   New on DVD All That Jazz (1979)– (Criterion Blu-ray/ DVD Combo) Directed by Bob Fosse Written by Robert Alan Aurthur and Bob Fosse Starring: Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer Roy Scheider stars as the manic Joe Gideon (Fosse's self-referential embodiment), whose daily routine of drugs, sex and work start to take their toll. Balancing a booming career on stage and on screen, Gideon has begin to rely heavily on amphetamines to survive. A vibrant, psychedelic view of life on Broadway, Bob Fosse's musical masterpiece heightens the genre, and became the touchstone of his career. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 87% (Very Good) IMDB: 7.8 (Very Good) DISC DETAILS Special Features: 4K digital restoration with 3.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Audio commentary featuring editor Alan Heim; Selected-scene audio commentary by actor Roy Scheider; New interviews with Heim and Fosse biographer Sam Wasson; New conversation between actors Ann Reinking and Erzsebet Foldi; Episode of the talk show Tomorrow from 1980 featuring director Bob Fosse and choreographer Agnes de Mille; Interviews with Fosse from 1981 and 1986; On-set footage; Portrait of a Choreographer, a 2007 documentary on Fosse; The Soundtrack: Perverting the Standards, a 2007 documentary about the film’s music; Interview with George Benson from 2007, about his song “On Broadway,” which opens the film; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Hilton Als Amazon: $35.96 (Criterion Blu-ray/ DVD Combo)   Vengeance is Mine Vengeance is Mine (1979) – (Criterion Blu-ray) Directed by Shohei Imamura Written by Masaru Baba (screenplay) and Ryuzo Saki (novel) Starring: Ken Ogata, Rentarô Mikuni, Chôchô Miyako Vengeance is Mine is the twisted and dark story of Iwao Enokizu (Ogata) who is on a murderous rampage throughout Japan. Completely unflinching in the portrayal of the sociopathic killer, Imamura captures the brutality of the madman in lurid detail. With exceptional filming and expert storytelling, Imamura echoes the perspective Martin Scorsese's, Taxi Driver, has on life and brutality. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (Superb at 5 reviews) IMDB: 7.9 (Very Good) Entertainment Fuse: 8.7/10 (Read Our Review) DISC DETAILS Special Features: Restored high-definition digital film transfer with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition; Audio commentary from 2005 featuring critic Tony Rayns; Excerpts from a 1999 interview with director Shohei Imamura, produced by the Directors Guild of Japan; Trailer and teaser; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Atkinson, a 1994 interview with Imamura by filmmaker Toichi Nakata, and writings by Imamura on Vengeance Is Mine and his approach to directing Amazon: $30.38 (Criterion Blu-ray) Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 4 stars(out of 5); Video: 4 stars; Audio: 3.5 stars; Extras: 2 stars; Replay: 4 stars. Highly Recommended.


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