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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 1.4.11)

It’s a new year and the first week of 2011 is also Robert Rodriguez Week. His latest film Machete comes out on DVD and Blu-ray today as well as three of his most popular films on Blu-ray. For anyone who may not be a fan of his work you have options in the fields of comedy, animation, action and a bio-pic.

First Release
- Machete (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Dinner for Schmucks (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Catfish (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Howl (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Gun (DVD and Blu-ray)

- El Mariachi/Desperado (Blu-ray)
- Once Upon A Time in Mexico (Blu-ray)
- Coraline 3D (DVD)
- Ishtar (DVD)

Machete (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Robert Rodriguez looks like he wants to make a new genre of film: Mexploitation. Based on a fake trailer from Grindhouse, Rodriguez turned Machete into a feature length film. Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn) reprises his role and Machete features the likes of Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Seagal and Cheech Marin.

Machete (Trejo) is a ex-Federale from Mexico turned hitman. After taking a job to kill a right-wing Senator (De Niro) Machete is double-crossed, which forces the man on a mission of revenge. As the trailer said: "he kills the bad-guys, he gets the girls."

The release of the film is surprisingly timely after Arizona introduced some draconian immigration laws.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 72% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 6.8/10


DVD Special Features: Closed Caption

Additional Blu-ray Features: Exclusive Deleted Scenes

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD), $21.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Dinner for Schmucks (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Dinner for Schmucks is a 
remake of the French film The Dinner Game, a film that won three Cesars. This American version was directed by Jay Roach, who turned down Little Fockers for this. Writers of Fast Track, David Guion and Michael Handelman, reunite for the screenwriting duties and the comic talents Paul Rudd and Steve Carell star in this film. Other comic actors like David Walliams (Little Britain), Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Bruce Greenwood (Thirteen Days) work in supporting roles.

Tim Conrad (Rudd) is a mid-level executive on the edge of a promotion. But to obtain it he has to find a fool to make fun of at an executive dinner. Tim believes he found one when meets Barry (Carell): but he has to choose between his morals and his ambitions.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 44% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 5.6/10


DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; Behind The Scenes With The Cast; Deleted Scenes; Outtakes Reel

Additional Blu-ray Features: The Men Behind The Mouseterpieces: Bringing Barry's Dioramas to Life HD; Outtakes Reel HD

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $21.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 3 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 3 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

The Last Exorcism (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Made on a small budget of $1.8 million, The Last Exorcism was a successful film within the horror genre. This mockumentary-style film was produced by Eli Roth (Hostel) and Marc Abraham (Dawn of the Dead (2004)), hoping to make a sleeper hit. Low budget German director Daniel Stamm helmed the project that stars Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell.

Cotton Marcus (Fabian) is a Protestant priest about to perform him last exorcism. He has a documentary crew follow him as he sets out to prove that exorcisms are fake. But it seems that his last client, Nell (Bell) may really be possessed by a demon.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 72% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 5.9/10


DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; ; Audio Commentary with Producers Eli Roth, Eric Newman and Thomas A. Bliss; ; Audio Commentary with Director Daniel Stamm and Actors Ashley Bell, Patrick Fabian and Louis Herthum; ; The Devil You Know: The Making Of The Last Excorcism; ; Real Stories of Exorcism: Interviews with Actual Victims and Participants; ; 2009 Cannes Film Festival Teaser Trailer; ; Protection Prayer

Additional Blu-ray Features: Witness to an Exorcism: Rare Audio Commentary with Former Exorcism Participants; Teaser Trailer; Protection Prayer; Theatrical Trailer

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 2.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 3.5 stars, Replay 0.5 stars (out of 5). Rent it.

Catfish (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Catfish was one 
of the most anticipated documentaries in 2010, a film directed by newcomers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. Released in the same year as The Social Network, Catfish is the other film about Facebook.

The filmmakers track New Yorker Yaniv Schulman, Ariel’s brother, who forms a relationship through Facebook with a family in Michigan. As he gets closer to the family Yaniv starts to flirt with the oldest daughter, Megan.

There was controversy with this film because there were reports and allegations that Catfish was faked or broke journalistic ethics.

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


DVD Special Features: Secrets Revealed: Exclusive Interview with the Filmmakers

Amazon Price: $18.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Howl (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Academy Award-winning documentary filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt) have turned their talents to an experimental film, Howl, with mixed results. Nominated for awards at the Berlin and Sundance Film Festival, Howl stars James Franco, Aaron Tveit (Gossip Girl), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) and Mary-Louise Parker (RED).

Franco stars as the poet Alan Ginsberg as he talks about his life and work. The obscenity trial that his poem Howl led to is dramatized.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 57% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: James Franco in conversation with Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman - an all new feature length Audio Commentary; ; Holy! Holy! Holy! The Making of Howl - featuring Directors Epstein and Friedman and Stars James Franco, Jon Hamm, David Straithairn, Treat Williams, Bob Balaban, Poet Anne Waldman; ; Director's Research Tapes - Original Interviews with Ginsberg's friends and Collaborators Eric Drooker, Peter Orlovsky, Tuli Kupferberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Steven Taylor; Allen Ginsberg reads Howl - Never Before Seen Footage from a Performance in 1995 at the Knitting Factory in New York; ; James Franco reads Howl Audio Feature

Additional Blu-ray Features: Q&A with directors Epstein and Friedman moderated by John Cameron Mitchell at the Provincetown Film Festival

Amazon Price: $19.99 (DVD), $23.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Gun (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Despite his inability to act or even rap, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is continuing his career in the film industry, writing and starring in his new action film Gun. Dominican music video director Jessy Terrero helms the project which attached Val Kilmer, AnnaLynne McCord (90120), Danny Trejo and John Larroquette (Boston Legal).

Detroit is suffering from a rising crime rate and gun violence. The police and FBI target a gun runner Rich (50 Cent). After Rich is saved by his friend Angel (Kilmer) and they set out to find out who the snitch in their organisation.

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


DVD Special Features: Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $16.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

El Mariachi/Desperado (Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
making Machete, Spy Kids and Sin City, Robert Rodriguez’s first step into filmmaking was the Spanish language film El Mariachi. Made on a low budget of $7,000, El Mariachi has became a cult hit. A nameless Mariachi musician (Carlos Gallardo) is hunted by a gang in a small Mexican town after a case of mistaken identity.

After the success of El Mariachi, Rodriguez made a sequel, Desperado. A big-name cast was attached to this film: Antonio Banderas (replacing Gallardo), Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi and Quentin Tarantino. This action film sees El Mariachi getting mistaken as a hitman and forced into a web of love and corruption: sounds like he knows how to live.

El Mariachi
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 92% (excellent)

Player Affinity Score: 7.7/10

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 61% (good)

Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10


DVD Special Features: Director Robert Rodriguez Commentary; Director's Commentary; MovieIQ; The Cutting Room; 10 Minute Film School; Robert Rodriguez's Student Film: "Bed Head"; 10 More Minutes: Anatomy of a Shootout; Los Lobos with Antonio Banderas - "Morena De Mi Corazón"; Tito & Tarantula- "Back To The House That Love Built"

Amazon Price: $13.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Once Upon A Time in Mexico (Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
third part of the "Mexico Trilogy" is Once Upon A Time in Mexico. Once again Robert Rodriguez returns to the series, with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. Johnny Depp, Eva Mendes, Danny Trejo, Willem Defoe and Mickey Rourke also joined the cast.

The third film in the trilogy sees El Mariachi being recruited by a CIA agent, Sands (Depp). El Mariachi is thrown into another adventure filled with hitmen, criminals, drugs barons and the FBI in a story about an attempt on the life of the President of Mexico.

One thing I don’t understand is why the studio did not release these films in a "Mexico Trilogy" boxset.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 68% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10


DVD Special Features: Robert Rodriguez audio commentary; Ten-minute flick school; Inside Troublemaker studios; Deleted scenes with optional commentary; Ten-minute cooking school; The anti-hero's journey; Film is dead: an evening with Robert Rodriguez; The good, the bad and the bloody: inside knb fx; Blu-ray exclusive: the cutting room

Amazon Price: $14.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Coraline 3D (Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
The author Neil Gaiman’s work is becoming more and more popular in Hollywood. Stardust has already been made into a film and The Nightmare before Christmas director Henry Selick turned Gaiman’s novel Coraline into a 3-D stop-motion film. Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders (Shrek 2), Dawn French (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Keith David (Platoon), Ian McShane and Robert Bailey Jr. (The Happened) all offer their voices for this dark and twisted film.

Coraline (Fanning) is an 11-year-old girl who wants to explore and is ignored by her parents. In her new home she finds a small door taking her to a seemingly perfect world with more fantastic versions of people she knows. But it is not as great as it seems.


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $34.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Ishtar (Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Ishtar is 
notorious for being a box office flop and a critical disaster. But since its release in 1987 this comedy film has become a cult classic and some people see it as being so bad its good. Written and directed by Elaine May (A New Leaf), Ishtar stars acting legends Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty.

Lyle (Beatty) and Chuck (Hoffman) are two songwriters who lack talent. They are advised by their agent to flee the country and go to Morocco where they end up in the middle of a planned revolution and trying to attach an attractive left-wing revolutionary.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 19% (very bad)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $18.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


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