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DISCussion: What’s New on DVD/Blu-ray (5.15.12)

In a strong week of DVD and Blu-ray releases featuring some of early 2012’s best films, but the winner of our Recommendation of the Week prize is the Blu-ray rerelease of the indie hit Being John Malkovich.

First Release
The Grey (DVD and Blu-ray)
Rampart (DVD and Blu-ray)
Chronicle (DVD and Blu-ray)
Albert Nobbs (DVD and Blu-ray)
One for the Money (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Devil Inside (DVD)
Norwegian Wood (DVD)
Michael (2011) (DVD)

Re-Release
Being John Malkovich (1999) (Blu-ray)
1900 (1976) (Blu-ray)
Father of the Bride: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
The Odessa File (1974) (Blu-ray)
White Squall (1996) (Blu-ray)

Being John Malkovich (1999) (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

Directed by Spike Jonze
Written by Charlie Kaufman
Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich

What’s the Deal?
From the Criterion Collection this week is the Blu-ray rerelease of the Spike Jonze’s and Charlie Kaufman’s debut film, the highly surreal Being John Malkovich.

Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a struggling puppeteer that because of his money worries takes a job at a mysterious data entry company where he finds a strange door. The door leads into actor John Malkovich’s head, and with co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener) both see a business opportunity. However, Craig’s wife, Lotte (Cameron Diaz), starts using the portal into John Malkovich’s head to fulfil her transgender fantasies.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 92% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.8/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition; New selected-scene audio commentary featuring filmmaker Michel Gondry; New behind-the-scenes documentary by filmmaker Lance Bangs; Conversation between John Malkovich and humorist John Hodgman; Director Spike Jonze discusses Being John Malkovich via photos from its production; Two films within the film: 7½ Floor Orientation and “American Arts & Culture” Presents John Horatio Malkovich, “Dance of Despair and Disillusionment”; An Intimate Portrait of the Art of Puppeteering, a documentary by Bangs; Trailer and TV spots; PLUS: A booklet featuring a conversation between Jonze and pop-culture critic Perkus Tooth

Amazon Price: $27.86 (Blu-ray)

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

After weeks of disappointment we finally have the chance to report on a number of strong first releases. Particular highlights are Liam Neeson’s The Grey, the found-footage superpower movie Chronicle and cop drama Rampart. On the rerelease front there’sthe thriller The Odessa File and the Italian epic 1900.

The Grey (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Joe Carnahan
Written by Joe Carnahan, Ian MacKenzie Jeffers (screenplay), Ian MacKenzie Jeffers (short story)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney

What’s the Deal?
January is usually considered the dumping ground for movies that studios want to get rid of their lesser quality works, but The Grey was an upset for the record books because it was a critically well-received movie. The A-Teams Joe Carnahan and Liam Neeson reunite for a intense survival thriller.

John Ottway (Neeson) is a suicidal sniper recruited by a oil refinery to keep wolves away. But his plane to Anchorage crashes in the middle of Alaska at the height of winter and few of the passengers survive. Making matters worst is a pack of man-eating wolves hunting the survivors, picking them off one by one as Ottway tries to lead them to safety.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 78% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.1/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

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

Score (DVDTalk.com):  Content: 4 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

Rampart (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Oren Moverman
Written by James Ellroy, Oren Moverman (screenplay), James Elroy (story)
Starring: Woody Harrison, Ice Cube, Ned Beatty, Anne Heche, Steve Buscemi, Sigourney Weaver

What’s the Deal?
Rampart has a lot of quality behind it: it re-unites Oren Moverman and Woody Harrison following the Oscar nominated The Messenger and it was co-written by James Ellroy of L.A. Confidential fame.

Dave Brown (Harrison) is a Vietnam veteran and dirty cop who issues his own brand of justice. But when he is taped beating a suspect, his life is thrown into turmoil and he is forced into a personal and emotional downward spiral.

Critics Ratings (Rotten Tomatoes): 76% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS
DVD Special Features: Director’s commentary ; Cast and crew interviews; Behind the scenes ; Previews

Amazon Price: $9.99 (DVD), $14.96 (Blu-ray), $19.93 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 3 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 2.5 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

Chronicle (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Josh Trank
Written by Max Landis (screenplay), Max Landis, Josh Trank (story)
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Alex Russell

What’s the Deal?
It is easy to envy Josh Trank and Max Landis; both are not even 30 and they have made a successful movie. Chronicle was so successful that both men have been linked to bigger projects going forward.

This found footage super-powered movie follows three high-school friends, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) who develop psychic powers. But despite their early fun testing their powers, Andrew starts to explore his dark side.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 85% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.3/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Unrated Director’s Cut; Deleted Scene – Matt and Casey in Kitchen; Pre-Viz; Camera Test; Theatrical Trailer; Chronicle Soundtrack Info; DVD + Digital Copy

Amazon Price: $14.96 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Albert Nobbs (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Rodrigo García
Written by Glenn Close, John Banville (screenplay), George Moore (novella)
Starring: Glenn Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Janet McTeer

What’s the Deal?
Based on a novella by George Moore, Albert Nobbs was a labor of love for Glenn Close, who starred and co-wrote the screenplay. Albert Nobbs was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Albert Nobbs (Close) is a middle-aged woman posing as a man to work as a waiter in 19th Century Ireland who soon befriends a painter.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 55% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 6.6/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 4 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 3 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

One for the Money (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Julie Anne Robinson
Written by Liz Brixius, Stacy Sherman, Karen Ray (screenplay), Janet Evanovich (novel)
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo

What’s the Deal?
Katherine Heigl was seen as a promising star after leading Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, but she ended up biting the hand that fed her when she criticized Knocked Up for being sexist and her career has been suffering ever since. She has a hit a new low leading the adaptation of Janet Evanovich’s popular Stephanie Plum series with One for the Money, a movie that was critically panned and failed to make back its $40-million budget.

Stephanie Plum is a need of a new job after losing her previous gig as a lingerie buyer. She finds work through her cousin who is a bail bondsman and she becomes a bounty hunter. As it goes, one of her first bounties is her ex-boyfriend, Joe (Jason O’Mara, Terra Nova).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 2% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: 4.0/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Making the Money: Behind the Scenes; Bond Girls: Kicking Ass in the Bail Bonds Industry; Gag Reel; Deleted Scene; Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $14.96 (DVD), $19.96 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 2.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 3.5 stars, Replay 1.5 stars (out of 5). Skip It.

The Devil Inside (DVD)

Directed by William Brent Bell
Written by William Brent Bell, Matthew Peterman
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Suzan Crowley

What’s the Deal?
The Devil Inside started 2012 on a real sour note, earning an F grade on CinemaScore, which started a massive controversy between Paramount Pictures and CinemaScore. Continuing with the massively successful found-footage genre, The Devil Inside was a very profitable movie, making $101 million from a budget of $1 million.

In 1989, Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) is found insane after killing three people. Twenty years later her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) goes to Italy to seek help from two rogue priests to perform an exorcism.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 7% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: 2.0/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.96 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Norwegian Wood (DVD)

Directed by Tran Anh Hung
Written by Tran Anh Hung (screenplay), Haruki Murakami (novel)
Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kiko Mizuhara

What’s the Deal?
Based on Haruki Murakami’s popular 1987 novel, Norwegian Wood is a Japanese coming-of-age story set in the 1960s. The late ‘60s are a turbulent time as students the world over try to overthrow the established order. It is also a turbulent time for Toru Watanabe (Kenichi Maytsuyama), a young man devoted to his first love, Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), but it is a union forged by the suicide of their friend.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 73% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $20.93 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Michael (2011) (DVD)

Written and directed by Markus Schlenizer
Starring: Michael Fuith, David Rauchenberger, Christine Kain

What’s the Deal?
The Natascha Kampusch and Josef Fritzl cases have had a massive impact on the Austrian psyche and made many people question why crimes like that coul happen in their nation. Writer-director Markus Schlenizer attempts to tackle this subject in his movie Michael, a movie about a 10-year-old boy who is held captive by a pedophile for five months.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 79% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $18.93 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

1900 (1976) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
Written by Franco Arcalli, Bernardo Bertolucci, Giuseppe Bertolucci
Starring: Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Donald Sutherland, Alida Valli, Burt Lancaster

What’s the Deal?
1900 is an epic movie by Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor) about two Italian men that spans from 1900 to 1945. Born on January 1, 1900 are Olmo Dalcò (Gérard Depardieu, Cyrano de Bergerac), the son of a Socialist farmer, and Alfred Berlinghieri (Robert De Niro), the son of fascist landowner. They grow up during Italy’s political turmoil during the first half of the 20th Century.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 43% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $24.96 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Father of the Bride: 20th Anniversary Edition – The Movie Collection (Blu-ray)

Father of the Bride (1991)
Directed by Charles Shyer
Written by Charles Shyer, Nancy Meyers (screenplay) Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett (original movie)
Starring: Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams, Martin Short

Father of the Bride 2 (1995)
Directed by Charles Shyer
Written by Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer (screenplay), Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich (original movie)
Starring: Steven Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short

What’s the Deal?
Last week we had the double Blu-ray pack of Dirty Dancing. This week the Steve Martin remakes of the Father of the Bride comedy series gets the same honor as shoe company owner George Banks (Martin) has to organize a wedding for his daughter and deal with the dual pregnancy of his wife and daughter in this comedy and sequel.

Father of the Bride (1991)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 72% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 6.8/10

Father of the Bride 2 (1995)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 47% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Odessa File (1974) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Ronald Neame
Written by Kenneth Ross, George Markstein (screenplay), Frederick Forsyth (novel)
Starring: Jon Voight, Maximilian Schell, Maria Schell

What’s the Deal?
Based on a novel by Frederick Forsyth (Day of the Jackal), The Odessa File is a very solid thriller from the ‘70s. Peter Miller (Jon Voight) is a young freelance journalist in Germany in 1963. When investigating the suicide of a Holocaust survivor, Miller discovers the man’s diary and the name of an SS officer. That officer has since become a prominent businessman and Miller’s investigation leads him to a secret organization of ex-SS officers.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 64% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Theatrical Trailers; Bonus Trailers

Amazon Price: $10.00 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

White Squall (1996) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Todd Robinson (screenplay), Charles Gieg Jr, Felix Sutton (book)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Savage, Ryan Phillppe, Scott Wolf, Bathazar Getty, Jeremy Sisto, Jason Marsden, Eric Michael Cole

What’s the Deal?
Based on a true story, White Squall tells how sailor and teacher Christopher “Skipper” Sheldon (Jeff Bridges) takes a crew of high schoolers on a once-in-a-lifetime time trip to sail to the tip of South America. But on the way back their boat is caught in a storm and the journey becomes a battle for survival.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 65% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $9.98 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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