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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 1.3.11)

It is the beginning of 2012 and we have a whole new year of DVD and Blu-ray releases awaiting us. Our first Recommendation of the Week is the DVD and Blu-ray release of the medical thriller Contagion. This Steven Soderbergh movie features an all star cast and the DVD and Blu-ray releases offer a series of documentaries that should scare germophobes even more.

First Release
Contagion (DVD and Blu-ray)
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (DVD and Blu-ray)
I Don’t Know How She Does It (DVD and Blu-ray)
Shark Night (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Guard (DVD and Blu-ray)
Puncture (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Last Lions (DVD and Blu-ray)
I Am (DVD)

Re-Release
Proof (DVD and Blu-ray)

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

What’s the Deal?
Contagion is a movie we thought of very highly, a compelling and haunting medical-based thriller that scared audiences the world over. Steven Soderbergh, soon to retire from this profession, directed this globally set movie and worked closely with writer Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum) in conducting tons of research. A massive cast was recruited: Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Soderbergh shows what happens when the world suffers from a pandemic: society starts to breakdown and scientists rush to find a cure.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.1/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Includes Instant Streaming with UltraViolet Digital Copy; Contagion: How A Virus Changes The World

Additional Blu-ray/DVD Combo Features: The Reality of Contagion; The Contagion Detectives

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $17.99 (Blu-ray), $22.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The first week of 2012 does not offer any real remarkable releases. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and the Irish movie The Guard are the releases of most interest because of either big name involvement or high critical praise. Also out this week is Shark Night, which should give bad movie fans something to chuckle about. A pair of documentaries also arrive.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The horror remake Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was highly anticipated for one simple reason: Guillermo del Toro produced and co-wrote it. Based on a 1973 TV movie, del Toro was a big fan and wanted to get its story on the big screen. Bailee Madison (Brothers), Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce star in this movie, directed by first time director Troy Nixey.

Sally (Madison) is a young girl who moves in with her father (Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Holmes) to a 19th Century mansion in Rhode Island they are resorting. But this house is filled with mysterious creatures who wants to make Sally one of their own.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 59% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 5.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: The Story; Blackwood’s Mansion; The Creatures

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

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

I Don‘t Know How She Does It (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Sarah Jessica Parker has female fans the world over because of her role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, but she is also the source of ridicule for many. Since Sex and the City she has struggled to find the right vehicle. I Don’t Know How She Does It is no exception. Allison Pearson (The Devil Wears Prada, We Bought A Zoo) adapted her own novel for Douglas McGrath (Infamous) to direct.

Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear and Kelsey Grammer also star in this comedy about Kate Reddy (Parker), a finance executive who has to juggle her home and work life as she becomes the main breadwinner in her household.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 17% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $35.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Shark Night (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Shark Night is unashamed schlock, a movie that revelled in its sexism and violence. Helmed by The Final Destination director David R. Ellis, this 3D movie stars Sara Paxton (Superhero Movie), Dustin Milligan (90210), Chris Carmack (The O.C.), American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee and Chris Zylka (The Amazing Spider-Man).

A group of friends vacationing in Louisiana get attacked by freshwater sharks. Sadly, the sharks do not have laser beams on their heads.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 15% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: 4.7/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Shark Attack! Kill Machine!; Ellis’ Island; Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Guard (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Martin McDonagh made a real splash in the filmmaking world with his darkly funny debut, In Bruges. Now his brother, John Michael McDonagh, has gotten in on the act, making the critically praised Irish black comedy The Guard which stars Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle. Liam Cunningham and Mark Strong offer support in a movie that was a critical and commercial hit in the UK and Ireland.

Gleeson plays Sergeant Gerry Boyle, a police officer on the West Coast of Ireland who shows no interest in a cocaine smuggling operation going on in his backyard that FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle) is investigating. Prepare for a chalk and cheese relationship and a clash of personalities in this new take on the buddy-cop genre.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $20.99 (DVD), $23.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 5 stars, Video 5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 4 stars, Replay 5 stars (out of 5). DVD Talk Collector Series.

Puncture (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Chris Evans finally showed his leading man potential by starring in Captain America: The First Avenger over the summer, so its a great time to release movies some more obscure movies featuring him. The legal drama Puncture is one such film. Premiering at the Tibeca Film Festival, Puncture was directed by brothers Adam and Mark Kassen. Evans stars alongside the latter of the two directors along with Marshall Bell (Total Recall), Michael Biehn (The Terminator) and Vinessa Shaw (The Hills Have Eyes, 2006).

Mike Weiss (Evans) is a talented lawyer in Houston who is battling with his own drug addiction. He takes on a case in which a nurse, Vicky (Shaw), gets pricked by a contaminated needle and ends up having to take on the might of the American Health Care and Pharmaceutical industries.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 53% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.49 (DVD, $24.99 (Blu-ray)

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

The Last Lions (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Since the success of March of the Penguins, nature documentaries have become decent moneymakers for studios, because they are cheap to make, generate a reasonable profit and people love animals. This National Geographic production was made by documentary filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert who filmed lions in Botswana and make a case that lions need the same international protection that tigers and elephants enjoy. Jeremy Irons narrates this documentary.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 87% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

I Am (DVD)

What’s the Deal?
Tom Shadyac is best known for directing comedies such as Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor and Bruce Almighty, but in 2007 he suffered a bicycle accident that resulted in a concussion and left him with depression. He turned to documentary filmmaking, asking the big questions: what is wrong with the world and what can we do to about it? Shadyac interviews many influential people such as Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Ray Andersen and historian Howard Zinn.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 39% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Proof (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on a play by David Auburn Proof, Proof was adapted by Rebecca Miller (The Ballad of Jack and Rose) and directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Debt). An all star cast was assembled: Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal and Hope Davis (About Schmidt) as the daughter of a brilliant mathematician Catherine (Paltrow) has to come to terms to the possibly she might inheritance his mental illness.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 63% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $17.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

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