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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 1.10.11)

This week’s Recommendation of the Week is Moneyball. The story about the 2002 Oakland A’s will be a contender during the upcoming awards season and you can see what the fuss is about with the DVD and Blu-ray release, which contains documentaries and behind-the-scenes footage.

First Releases
Moneyball (DVD and Blu-ray)
What’s Your Number (DVD and Blu-ray)
1911 (DVD and Blu-ray)
Film socialisme (DVD and Blu-ray)
Killer Elite (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Higher Ground (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (DVD and Blu-ray)
There Be Dragons (DVD and Blu-ray)

Re-Releases
Billy Elliot (Blu-ray)
Fever Pitch (2005) (Blu-ray)

Moneyball (DVD and Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

What’s the Deal?
Based on Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball is a movie with Oscar ambitions, directed by Bennett Miller (Capote), adapted by Steven Zallian (Schindler’s List) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and starring the Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright. Moneyball has already made a number of critics top-ten lists, won a number of critics awards and nominated for four major Golden Globes. We have to wait and see what Academy Awards it might be nominated for.

The Oakland A’s do not have the finance might of many of their rivals and are unable to compete on the field for a title. Their general manager, Billy Beane (Pitt) is tired of the A’s being a laughing stock and the whipping boys of the league. Beane hires young statistician Peter Brand (Hill) who helps create a team made of up undervalued, statistically good players, even if it means ruining his reputation.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.2/10 (Read the Review)

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Blooper-Brad Loses It; Billy Beane: Re-Inventing the Game; Moneyball: Playing The Game

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Moneyball PS3 Wallpaper/Theme; Drafting The Team; Adapting “Moneyball”

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $22.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

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

Other first releases are minimal. Fans of Jackie Chan and Chinese cinema can check out 1911, a historical movie about the 1911 Xinhai Revolution and Jason Statham fans have another DVD to include in their collection with his 1980s-set spy thriller Killer Elite. The best re-release of the week is the Blu-ray release of Billy Elliot that combines a gritty kitchen sink setting with a heart-warming story about a boy’s relationship with his family and taking up ballet in a macho-culture.

What’s Your Number (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Last week we saw the release of Puncture, an independent legal thriller that starred Captain America: The First Avenger star Chris Evans. This week we have his rom-com movie to report on that stars Anna Faris. Based on a novel by Karyn Bosnak, Ally Darling (Faris) tries to track down all her former boyfriends thinking one of them is “the one.” Her neighbor, Colin (Evans), offers to help, for a price.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 24% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: 6.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Theatrical Feature; Extended Feature; Deleted Scenes & Flashback Dates; Theatrical Trail

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

1911 (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
1911 is a movie to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution, the revolution that overthrew the Emperor of China and made that nation a republic. Jackie Chan stars and directs this historical drama about the nationalist overthrow of the Qing Dynasty through the eyes of Huang Xing (Chan), a Chinese army officer who takes up arms against the corrupt regime.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 9% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: B-Roll Footage; Trailers

Additional DVD Collection Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Interview; Hong Kong Press Conference

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $11.99 (DVD Collector’s Edition), $16.99 (Blu-ray), $26.99 (Blu-ray Collector’s Edition)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Film socialisme (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Jean-Luc Godard is one of the most influential French New Wave directors, making movies like Breathless and Band of Outsiders. Film socialisme is his newest movie from his long career. It was nominated for Un Certain Regard at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, but probably because of his reputation and that fact he is French, not because of the quality of the movie itself. Critical reception was very mixed.

Film socialisme is an art house essay about the decline of European Civilization.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 55% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: An essay about Film Socialisme by Richard Brody (author of ”Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard”); trailers; stills gallery

Amazon Price: $24.99 (DVD), $29.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Killer Elite (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
2011 was busy year for Jason “The Stath” Statham, starring in The Mechanic, Blitz, Gnomeo & Juliet and of course Killer Elite. This action-thriller set in the 1980s is Northern Irish director Gary McKendry’s feature debut and co-starring with Statham is Clive Owen, Robert De Niro, Dominic Purcell (Prison Break), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost) and Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck).

Based on a true story (that should be taken with a big pinch of salt), Danny Bryce (Statham) is a mercenary who quits after killing a man in front of his young son. But he is forced into action when his friend Hunter (De Niro) is kidnapped by a deposed lord from Oman. Bryce has to kill three SAS soldiers and get confessions from them about their involvement in the Oman civil war. But by doing this, Bryce has to face Spike Logan (Owen), an enforcer for a secret organization of ex-SAS officers who secretly run Britain.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 25% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: 6.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 2.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4.5 stars, Extras 1 stars, Replay 2 stars (out of 5). Rent It.

Higher Ground (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

What’s the Deal?
Vera Farmiga became a respected actress after her supporting role in The Departed and Oscar nomination for Up in the Air. Farmiga has now turned to directing with the independent drama Higher Ground, which originally premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Higher Ground is the story of Connie Briggs (Farmiga) who married and became pregnant at 18 and consequently turned to religion. As she grows older she struggles with faith as her marriage starts to fall apart.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 81% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Special Features: Commentary with Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard and Renn Hawkey; The Substance of Things Hoped For: Making Higher Ground; Production Diary; Toe Sucking; Meeting of the Men; Grave

Amazon Price: $20.99 (Blu-ray)

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

The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The direct-to-DVD release of The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption is the sixth entry in The Mummy franchise and serves as a direct sequel to The Scorpion King, which itself was a spin-off and a prequel. Helmed by direct-to-DVD specialist Roel Reine (Death Race: Frankenstein Lives), this one stars Billy Zane (Titanic), Ron Perlman and Victor Webster (Mutant X).

After rising to power, Mathayus’ (Webster) empire has collapsed and he has become an assassin for hire. Now Mathayus has to protect his kingdom from an evil tyrant, Talus (Zane) and his ghost warriors.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Digital Copy of The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (expires 12/31/2012); Includes UltraViolet (download/redeem by 12/31/2012); Deleted/Extended Scenes; Deleted Shots Montage; Gag Reel; Swords and Scorpions: A Making Of; Preparing for Battle; Feature Commentary with Director Roel Reine; My Scenes; D-BOX; BD-Live; pocket BLU App; Deleted/Extended Scenes; Deleted Shots Montage; Gag Reel; Swords and Scorpions: A Making Of
Preparing for Battle; Feature Commentary with Director Roel Reine

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

There Be Dragons (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Roland Joffe was once a highly respected director of movies such as The Killing Fields and The Mission, but his career has been on a downward trajectory for years ever since. There Be Dragons is an attempt to recapture the strengths of his earlier historical movies. It stars Charlie Cox (Stardust), Wes Bentley (American Beauty), Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible II), Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) and Rodrigo Santoro (300).

Robert (Scott) is a journalist investigating one of his father’s colleagues during the Spanish Civil War who is a candidate to be canonized. But as he investigates their long and complicated relationship he stumbles upon a dark secret in their lives.
 
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 11% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD), $17.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Billy Elliot (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
After the success of The Full Monty, a number of movies were promoted in the UK as “the next Full Monty,” even if it did not match the hype. Billy Elliot broke that curse in 2000, a drama that won four BIFAs, three BAFTAs and nominated for three Academy Awards. Billy Elliot was the directing debut for then stage director Stephen Daldry (The Hours) and written by playwright Lee Hall (Pride and Prejudice 2005, War Horse). Billy Elliot was the movie that gave us Jamie Bell and co-stars Julie Walters, Gary Lewis (Gangs of New York) and Jamie Draven.

Billy Elliot (Bell) is an 11-year-old boy living in Northeast England during the 1984 miner strike. He comes from a highly macho working class culture but he ends up becoming interested in ballet. He has to keep his new love secret from his father but he shows he has a real talent dancing.

Billy Elliot ended up be turned into a successful musical.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 85% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Fever Pitch (2005) (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The 2005 movie Fever Pitch is a very loose adaptation of Nick Hornby’s memoirs that were originally adapted into a movie in 1997. The Farrelly Brothers (There’s Something About Mary) made the story into a more mainstream rom-com that starred Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, changing the English football setting to an American setting centered around baseball.

Ben Wrightman (Fallon) is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan and he who believes he is as likely to find love as much as the Red Sox are to win the World Series. But everything comes together for him when he has a new girlfriend, Lindsey Meeks (Barrymore), and the Red Sox start to do very well. However, he ultimately has to choose between his two great loves.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 64% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: 13 deleted scenes; Gag reel; Full-length audio commentary by directors Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly; “Break the Curse” and “Love Triangle” featurettes; Fox movie channel presents “Making a Scene”; Theatrical trailer & more

Amazon Price: $12.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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