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DISCussion: New on DVD and Blu-ray This Week (11.25.14)

"New on DVD and Blu-ray this Week!"
While there are some critically-subpar film New on DVD this week, there are some spectacular re-releases. It was a tough choice, but we have selected The Wizard of Oz as our Recommendation of the Week. New Releases The November Man – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Expendables 3 – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) What If – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) The Giver – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Merry Friggin' Christmas – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Re-Releases The Wizard of Oz (75th Anniversary Metal Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week* Les Blank: Always for Pleasure – (Criterion Blu-ray Box Set) L'Avventura (1960)– (Criterion Blu-ray)   New on DVD The Wizard of Oz (1939) – (75th Anniversary Collectable Metal blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week* Directed by Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy; Norman Taurog; King Vidor Written by (and this is a long one) Noel Langley (screenplay and adaptation), Florence Ryerson (screenplay), Edgar Allan Woolf, (screenplay), L. Frank Baum (from the book by) Arthur Freed (uncredited), Irving Brecher (contributing writer uncredited), William H. Cannon (uncredited), Herbert Fields (contributing writer uncredited), Jack Haley (additional dialogue uncredited), E.Y. Harburg (uncredited), Samuel Hoffenstein (contributing writer uncredited), Bert Lahr (additional dialogue uncredited), John Lee Mahin (contributing writer uncredited), Herman J. Mankiewicz (contributing writer uncredited), Jack Mintz (contributing writer uncredited), Ogden Nash (contributing writer uncredited), Robert Pirosh (contributing writer uncredited), George Seaton (contributing writer uncredited), and Sid Silvers (contributing writer uncredited) Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger You know the plot... This edition is in 3D and has a collectable metal case Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 99% (Superb) Metacritic: 100 (See above) IMDB: 8.1 (Excellent) Entertainment Fuse: 10/10 DISC DETAILS Amazon: $34.26 (75th Anniversary Collectable Metal blu-ray)   New on DVD The November Man – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Roger Donaldson Written by Michael Finch (screenplay), Karl Gajdusek (screenplay) and Bill Granger (based on the book “There Are No Spies”) Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko Pierce Brosnan's answer to Liam Neeson's Bryan Mills. An ex-CIA agent is reinstated to bring his old trainee to justice. With plenty of explosions and some solid sexagenarian action, November Man finally lives up to its title with a late November home video release. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 34% (Very Bad) Metacritic: 38 (Very Bad) IMDB: 6.3 (Good) Entertainment Fuse: 7/10 (Read our review) DISC DETAILS Amazon: $14.99 (Blu-ray); $9.99 (DVD); $4.99/$12.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   New on DVD Expendables 3 – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Patrick Hughes Written by Sylvester Stallone (screenplay and story), Creighton Rothenberger (screenplay), Katrine Benedikt (screenplay) and Dave Callaham (characters) Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, countless other aging action heroes The third in the series of exceedingly-violent 80's-action-movie-mashups fell flat with audiences and critics alike. Abandoning the audience with which the series found its initial favor, Expendables 3 chose to forgo the 'R' rating for a teen-friendly 'PG-13' to disastrous consequences. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 33% (Very Bad) Metacritic: 35 (Very Bad) IMDB: 6.2 (Good) Entertainment Fuse: 5.5/10 (Read our review) DISC DETAILS Special Features: Unrated Version; “The Expendables 3 Documentary;” “A New Blood: Stacked and Jacked” featurette about the young guns in the film; “Total Action Package” stunts featurette; Gag reel; extended scene Amazon: $19.96 (Blu-ray); $14.96 (DVD); $4.99/$12.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy) Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 2.5 stars(out of 5); Video: 4.5 stars; Audio: 4.5 stars; Extras: 3 stars; Replay: 2.5 stars. Rent It.   New on DVD What If – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Michael Dowse Written by Elan Mastai (screenplay); T.J. Dawe (play “Toothpaste and Cigars”) and Michael Rinaldi (play “Toothpaste and Cigars”) Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park A medical school dropout, Wallace (Radcliffe), who has sworn off love after several failed relationships, forms an instant connection with new friend Chantry (Kazan). As the pair become closer, Chantry's live-in boyfriend proves an awkward obstacle as the two consider the question “What If your soulmate is your best friend.” Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 69% (Fresh) Metacritic: 59 (Okay) IMDB: 6.9 (Good) DISC DETAILS Amazon: $15.99 (Blu-ray); $19.99 (DVD); $4.99/$12.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   New on DVD The Giver – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Phillip Noyce Written by Michael Mitnick (screenplay), Robert B. Weide (screenplay) and Lois Lowry (book) Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep One of the originators of the YA movement, Lois Lowry's book spawned a genre devoted to young adult readers. Spending nearly 20 years in development, as Jeff Bridges' pet project, the film was poorly received. In the distant future, a colony has put an end to all human suffering. One boy is chosen to learn from an elder about the true nature of human pain and the pleasures of the real world. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 36% (Very Bad) Metacritic: 47 (Very Bad) IMDB: 6.6 (Good) DISC DETAILS Special Features: Highlights from the Original Script Reading featuring Lloyd Bridges; “Making The Giver: From Page to Screen”; Extended Scene; Press Conference with Filmmakers and Cast; "Ordinary Human" Featurette with Ryan Tedder; Author Lois Lowry on The Giver; Interactive Study Guide for the novel. Amazon: $22.96 (Blu-ray); $14.96 (DVD); $4.99/$12.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy) Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 2.5 stars(out of 5); Video: 4.5 stars; Audio: 4 stars; Extras: 3 stars; Replay: 2.5 stars. Rent It.   New on DVD Merry Friggin' Christmas – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Tristram Shapeero Written by Michael Brown Starring: Joel McHale, Lauren Graham, Clark Duke, Robin Williams Boyd Mitchler (McHale) is spending Christmas with his estranged family when he realizes that he left all of his son's presents at home. Deciding to make the long drive home with his father (Williams), Boyd must make the drive in one night. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 18% (Ouch) Metacritic: 28 (Awful) IMDB: 5.2 (Okay) DISC DETAILS Amazon: $14.99 (Blu-ray); $12.99 (DVD); $3.99/$12.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   New on DVD Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) Directed by Tyler Perry Written by Tyler Perry (screenplay and play “A Madea Christmas”) Starring: Tyler Perry, Chad Michael Murray, Tika Sumpter Madea gets coaxed into helping a friend pay her daughter a surprise visit in the country for Christmas, but the biggest surprise is what they'll find when they arrive. As the small, rural town prepares for its annual Christmas Carnival, new secrets are revealed and old relationships are tested while Madea dishes her own brand of Christmas Spirit to all. - © Lionsgate Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 19% (I Can't) Metacritic: 28 (Think of a Reason) IMDB: 4.0 (To See This Movie) DISC DETAILS Amazon: $19.99 (Blu-ray); $14.99 (DVD); $3.99/$12.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)   Re-Releases: New on DVD Les Blank: Always for Pleasure – (Criterion Blu-ray Box Set) Directed by Les Blank 14 of beloved documentarist Les Blank's films beautifully restored in 2K. The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1968) God Respects Us When We Work, but Loves Us When We Dance (1968) Spend It All (1971) A Well Spent Life (1971) Dry Wood (1973) Hot Pepper (1973) Always for Pleasure (1978) Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers (1980) Sprout Wings and Fly (1983) In Heaven There Is No Beer? (1984) Gap-Toothed Women (1987) Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking (1990) The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists (1994) Sworn to the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella (1995) DISC DETAILS Special Features: 2K restoration on all fourteen films with uncompressed monaural or stereo soundtracks on the Blu-rays; Excerpt from Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation, a film project by Harrod Blank and Gina Leibrecht; New interviews with Blank’s sons, Harrod and Beau, Blank documentary subject Gerald Gaxiola (a.k.a. the Maestro), Blank’s friends and collaborators Skip Gerson, Maureen Gosling, Taylor Hackford, Werner Herzog, Susan Kell, Tom Luddy, David Silberberg, and Chris Simon, and chef and author Alice Waters; Related shorts by Blank: The Sun’s Gonna Shine (1968), More Fess (1978), Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge (1991), My Old Fiddle: A Visit with Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge (1994), and The Maestro Rides Again (2005); Two outtake performances from The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Andrew Horton Amazon: $70.99 (Blu-ray Box Set)   New on DVD L'Avventura (1960) – (Criterion Blu-ray) Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni Written by Michelangelo Antonioni (screenplay and story), Elio Bartolini (screenplay), and Tonino Guerra (screenplay) Starring: Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari Antonioni's masterpiece, L'Avventura explores feelings of isolation and spirituality in a brilliantly shot film. Wonderfully abstract and with sensationalist imagery and narrative, L'Avventura is a must have for any serious cinefile. Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 97% (Superb) IMDB: 7.9 (Very Good) Entertainment Fuse: 9.5/10 DISC DETAILS Special Features: New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Audio commentary featuring film historian Gene Youngblood; Olivier Assayas on “L’avventura,” an analysis of the film in three parts; Antonioni: Documents and Testimonials, a fifty-eight-minute documentary by Gianfranco Mingozzi from 1966; Writings by director Michelangelo Antonioni, read by actor Jack Nicholson, plus Nicholson’s personal recollections of the director; Trailer; New English subtitle translation; PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, Antonioni’s statements about the film after its 1960 Cannes Film Festival premiere, and an open letter distributed at the festival Amazon: $27.59 (Criterion Blu-ray) Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 4.5 stars(out of 5); Video: 5 stars; Audio: 4 stars; Extras: 3.5 stars; Replay: 4 stars. Recommended.


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