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DISCussion: What’s New on DVD/Blu-ray (8.21.12)

Universal continues to celebrate its 100th Anniversary this year, which includes a rerelease of Good Will Hunting, our Recommendation of the Week.

First Release
The Dictator (DVD and Blu-ray)
A Separation (DVD and Blu-ray)
Bernie (DVD and Blu-ray)
Freelanders (DVD and Blu-ray)
Weekend (DVD and Blu-ray)
Disneynature: Chimpanzee (DVD and Blu-ray)
Hell (DVD and Blu-ray)
Breathless (2008) (DVD)

Re-Release
The Aristocats (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition (DVD and Blu-ray)
Pocahontas Two-Movie Special Edition (DVD and Blu-ray)
Good Will Hunting (1997) (Blu-ray)
Mallrats (1995) (Blu-ray)
Barton Fink (1991) (Blu-ray)
Zoolander (2004) (Blu-ray)
War Games (1983) (Blu-ray)

Good Will Hunting (1997) (DVD and Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

Directed by Gus Van Sant
Written by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon
Starring: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Stellan Skarsgård

What’s the Deal?
Written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, this movie made both men’s names, earning them a Best Original Screenplay Award and a Best Supporting Actor Award for Robin Williams.

Will Hunting (Damon) is a janitor at M.I.T. with a genius-level intellect. But he has often run into trouble with the law and after beating up a man is threatened with serious jail time. An M.I.T professor, Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) offers to take Will under his wing, teach him mathematics and get him therapy with his friend Sean Maguire (Williams). But Will is very hostile to authority and pushes people away as he forms a relationship with a British Harvard student, Skylar (Minnie Driver).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 97% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: “Miss Misery” music video

Amazon Price: $10.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

There are plenty of new releases and rereleases coming out this week, including the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Dictator, the award winning Iranian movie A Separation and indie movie Bernie. Disney is re-releasing five animated movies on to DVD and Blu-ray and indie hits Mallrats and Barton Fink also come in new high-def discs.

The Dictator (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Larry Charles
Written by Sasha Baron Cohen, Alec Berg, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Jason Mantzoukas, Ben Kingsley

What’s the Deal?
After successfully making the mockumentaries Borat and Bruno, The Dictator is the first traditional comedy made by Larry Charles and Sacha Baron Cohen. A new character was created for the movie, Admiral General Aladeen, the dictator of the Republic of Wadiya, who he has been lovingly oppressing the people for over 30 years.

Aladeen is the biggest pariah in the world; he is attempting to make nuclear weapons and NATO is on the verge of attacking Wadiya. Tamir (Ben Kingsley), Aladeen’s main advisor and uncle, advises him to make a speech at the United Nations to defuse tensions, but it is really a ploy to replace Aladeen so Tamir can introduce the horrors of democracy to Wadiya. Lost in New York, Aladeen finds two allies in his quest to return as the rightful dictator of Wadiya, his former nuclear scientist (Jason Mantzoukas) and the runner of a co-op store, Zoey (Anna Faris).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 58% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 6.2/10 (read our review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; Deleted and extended scenes

Amazon Price: $15.49 (DVD), $21.99 (Blu-ray)

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

A Separation (DVD and Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayet, Sarina Farhadi

What’s the Deal?
Iran is a nation that suffers from the iron fist of a brutal theocracy, rigs elections and crashes any forms of demonstrations and opposition. But despite this horrible backdrop, Iran has a strong film industry and A Separation was a real awards winner, winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language and three awards at the Berlin International Film Festival. It was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

A Separation is a social drama about a married couple, Nader (Peyman Moadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami), who have different views. Simin wants to move abroad, believing it would give their daughter a better opportunities while Nader wants to stay in Iran to care for his father.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 99% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary with writer/director Asghar Farhadi; An evening with Asghar Farhadi; Birth of a director featurette

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 3 stars, Replay 4 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.

Bernie (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Richard Linklater
Written by Skip Hollandsworth, Richard Linklater
Starring: Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, Shirley MacLaine

What’s the Deal?
Bernie is latest from indie filmmaker Richard Linklater. He reunites with his School of Rock star Jack Black and Dazed & Confused star Matthew McConaughey as they tackle the story of Bernie Tiede, a respected assistant mortician who is well-liked in his community and ends up handling the affairs of a widower, Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine). But things take a dark turn between Bernie and Marjorie and one of the strangest court cases ever emerges.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 91% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Featurettes: amazing grace, true story to film, the gossips; Deleted scenes; Previews

Amazon Price: $10.86 (DVD), $14.86 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 3.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 3 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 3 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

Freelancers (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Jessy Terrero
Written by L. Phillippe Casseus
Starring: 50 Cent, Robert De Niro, Forest Whittaker, Dana Delany

What’s the Deal?
You have to admire Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s determination. Despite his inability to act or rap, he continues to have a go in the entertainment industry. For Freelancers, he was able drag down two Academy Award-winning actors, Forest Whittaker and Robert De Niro (but admittedly De Niro has been doing an excellent job at torching his own career).

Malo (Jackson) is the son of an NYPD officer who died in the line of duty. Malo decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and joins the police. Quickly he befriends his father’s old partner, Captain Vic Sarcone (De Niro) but ends up joining his Task Force of rogue cops.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $12.99 (DVD), $16.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Weekend (DVD and Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Andrew Haigh
Starring: Tom Cullen, Chris New

What’s the Deal?
Weekend is a critically acclaimed, low-budget British movie, that won awards at the British Independent Film Awards as well as film festivals such as South by Southwest and the London Film Festival. Tom Cullen plays Russell, a young man who goes out on Friday night to a local gay club simply to hook up, but when he meets Glen (Chris New) it turns into something surprising as they spend the weekend together.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 94% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 6.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: New program featuring Interviews with Haigh, Pontikos, Producer Tristan Goligher, and actors Tom Cullen and Chris New; New interview with Haigh and the film’s sex scenes; On-set video footage shot by New and others; Two scenes from Cullen and New’s audition; Video essay on the film’s set photographers, Oisín Share and Colin Quinn; Cahuega Blvd. (2003) and Five Miles Out (2009), two short films by Haigh; Trailer; ; Plus: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Dennis Lim

Amazon Price: $24.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Disneynature: Chimpanzee (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield
Narrated by Tim Allen

What’s the Deal?
Chimpanzee is the latest nature documentary from Disney’s nature educational wing, Disneynature. Chimpanzee follows Oscar, a 3-year-old chimp who is orphaned after his mother dies in an attack and attempts to survive on his own before being taken in by another group of chimpanzees.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 74% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Disc 1 – See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzees Disney’s Friends For Change Disney’s Conservation Legacy Disc 2 – Blu-ray Feature Film + Bonus On Location: The Making of Chimpanzee – Experience the daunting obstacles filmmakers encountered on their three-year quest to capture this extraordinary story “Rise” Music Video by McClain Sisters Behind the Scenes of “Rise”

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

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

Hell (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Tim Fehlbaum
Written by Tim Fehlbaum, Oliver Kahl, Thomas Woebke
Starring: Hannah Herzsprug, Stipe Erceg, Lisa Vicari, Lars Eidinger

What’s the Deal?
From executive producer Ronald Emmerich is Hell, a German post-apocalyptic movie. In 2016 a solar flare has destroyed the Earth’s atmosphere and the temperature has risen by 10° C. A group of survivors head to the mountains to find water and vegetation.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $13.49 (DVD), $12.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 3.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 0 stars, Replay 3 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

Breathless (2009) (DVD)

Written and directed by Yang Ik-Jun
Starring: Yang Ik-Jun, Kim Kkot-bi

What’s the Deal?
From South Korea is Breathless, a critically acclaimed drama and winner of film festival awards in Asia and Europe. Yang Ik-Joon, writes, stars and directs, playing Sang-Hoon, a loan shark and the victim of child abuse who strikes up a friendship with a high school student, Yeon-hee (Kim Kkot-bi), who is struggling with the death of her mother.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 82% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Aristocats (1970) (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Written by Lary Clemmons, Vance Gerry, Ken Anderson, Frank Thomas, Eric Cleworth, Julius Svendsen, Ralph Wright
Starring: Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Liz English, Gary Dubin, Dean Clark, Sterling Holloway, Roddy Maude-Roxby

What’s the Deal?
“Everybody wants to be a cat.” The jazzy animated hit The Aristocats is the 20th animated movie Disney made and the last one to be supervised by Walt Disney before his death. Set in Paris, 1910, Duchess (Eva Gabor) and her three kittens are dumped into a back alley by a jealous butler. Duchess and the kittens find an ally in the form of an alley cat, Thomas O’Malley (Phil Harris), who offers to take them home, but they’ll have to avoid the pitfalls of the Parisian underground.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 67% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Disney virtual kittens; Virtual kitten DVD-ROM; The Aristocrats fun with language games; The great cat family (excerpt); The Sherman brothers; The Aristocats scrapbook; Deleted song

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: The lost open; “Oui oui Marie” music video; Classic deleted song: “She Never Felt Alone”; The Sherman brothers: the artistocats of Disney songs; The great cat family (excerpt); Classic bonus short: “Bath Day”; Play movie with on-screen lyrics; Disney song selection

Amazon Price: $21.85 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition (DVD and Blu-ray)

The Rescuers (1977)
Directed Wolfgang Reitherman, John Lounsbery, Art Stevens
Written by Larry Clemmons, Vance Gerry, Ken Anderson, Frank Thomas, Burny Mattinson, Fred Lucky, Dick Sebast, Dave Michener (screenplay), Margery Sharp (novel)
Starring: Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Michelle Stacy, Jim Jordan, Geraldine Page

The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
Directed by Hendel Butoy, Mike Gabriel
Written by Jim Cox, Karey Kirkpatrick, Byron Simpson, Joe Ranft (screenplay), Margery Sharp (characters)
Starring: Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, John Candy, Tristan Rogers

What’s the Deal?
It has been 35 years since the release of The Rescuers, so Disney is celebrating the occasion by re-releasing The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under onto a special DVD and Blu-ray double. Based on Margery Sharp’s children’s novels, The Rescuers series tells of two mice, Bernard (Bob Newhart) and Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor), agents for the Rescue Aid Society who as the title suggests, rescues children and animals.

The Rescuers Down Under has the rare honor being one of the few Disney sequels to earn a cinematic release.

The Rescuers (1977)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 85% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 65% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Disc 1 – The Rescuers 35th Anniversary Edition; “Three Blind Mousketeers” Silly Symphony Animated Short; “Water Birds” Disney True-Life Adventure; “Someone’s Waiting For You” Sing-Along Song; ; Disc 2 – The Rescuers Down Under – The Making Of The Rescuers Down Under

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Disc 1 – Blu-ray Two Feature Films + Bonus; ; “Peoplitis” – “The Three Blind Mousekeepers” Disc 2 – DVD Feature Film + Bonus

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $22.86 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Pocahontas Two-Movie Special (DVD and Blu-ray)

Pocahontas
Directed by Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg
Written by Carl Binder, Susannah Grant, Phillip LaZenbnik
Starring: Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson, David Ogden Stiers

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World
Directed by Tom Elley, Bradley Raymond
Written by Allen Estrin, Cindy Marcus, Flip Kobler
Starring: Irene Bedard, Billy Zane, Jim Cummings, Donal Gibson, David Ogden Stiers

What’s the Deal?
The final rerelease from Disney this week is the doublepack of Pocahontas/Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, the animated movies loosely based on the live of Native American woman Pocahontas, who formed a romance with sailor/explorer John Smith and diplomat John Rolfe (Billy Zane) and stopped the English and Native Americans from going to war.

Pocahontas
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 57% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 40% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: The music of Pocahontas; Pocahontas II DVD storybook

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Drawing inspiration; “Little Hawatha” cartoon short; Deleted song: “If I Never Knew You”; Deleted scenes; Audio commentary; Plus: Classic DVD bonus features powered by Disney Live

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Mallrats (1995) (Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Kevin Smith
Starring: Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London

What’s the Deal?
Following the success of his first, very low-budget debut movie Clerks, Mallrats was met with a more mixed response for director Kevin Smith, but fans still enjoyed it as friends Brodie (Jason Lee) and TS (Jeremy London) are both dumped on the same day. They both go to the mall to meet their friends and try and win back their exes.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 54% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: More Than an Hour of Deleted Scenes; Making-Of Featurette; Production Photos; Film Highlights; DVD-ROM Features: Weblinks

Amazon Price: $34.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Barton Fink (1991) (Blu-ray)

Written and directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Starring: John Turturro, John Goodman, Michael Lener, Judy Davis, John Mahoney

What’s the Deal?
Barton Fink is one of many classics made by the Coens and is coming out onto a basic Blu-ray. John Turturro stars as the title character, Barton Fink, a New York playwright who sells out and moves to Hollywood to write a wresting picture. In his hotel he meets a range of characters, from insurance salesman Charlie Meadows (John Goodman) to Southern writer W.P. Mayhew (John Mahoney, Frasier) as Fink struggles with writer’s block.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 91% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: 8 deleted scenes; Still gallery

Amazon Price: $34.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Zoolander (2001) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Ben Stiller
Written by Drake Sather, Ben Stiller, John Hamburg (screenplay), Ben Stiller, Drake Sather (story)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Christine Taylor

What’s the Deal?
In 1996 and 1997, Drake Sather and Ben Stiller created the character Derek Zoolander for a couple of video specials for the VH1 Fashion Awards. Obviously Sather and Stiller liked the character so much they made a feature film for Stiller to direct and star in.

Zoolander is a three-time winner of the VH1 Model of the Year, but his star is fading and a new kid on the block emerges, Hansel (Owen Wilson). Fashion guru Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) hires Zoolander, promising to revitalize his career, but Mugatu really plans to brainwash Zoolander to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 64% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 4.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $44.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

WarGames (1983) (Blu-ray)

Directed by John Badham
Written by Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes, Walon Green
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Ally Sheedy

What’s the Deal?
Made at time of a growing use of computers and Cold War paranoia, the 1983 movie WarGames came out at the right time as a teenage hacker, David (Matthew Broderick) hacks into a government supercomputer that predicts the outcome of nuclear war, thinking he was getting a computer game, but ends up possibly causing the countdown to World War III.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 97% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 5.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: 8-page booklet with trivia and production notes

Amazon Price: $12.86 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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