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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 12.06.11)

Sweden has produced a number of great movies over the years from The Seventh Seal to Let the Right One In. There is also a growing literary scene in that nation and The Millennium Trilogy is one of the most successful. Now all three Swedish movies are coming out on Blu-ray in their extended forms and are Player Affinity’s Recommendation of the Week.

First Releases
- The Help (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Hangover Part II (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Cowboys and Aliens (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Mr Popper’s Penguins (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Debt (DVD and Blu-ray)

- Mission Impossible Trilogy (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Design for Living (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Tora! Tora! Tora! (Blu-ray)
- The Lady Vanishes (Blu-ray)
- The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (Blu-ray)

The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

What’s the Deal?
David Fincher’s version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is Player Affinity’s most anticipated movie this winter, so it's a great time to release another boxset of the Swedish originals. Steig Larsson’s novels were a publishing sensation and have fans the world over, including myself. The original The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was the most successful Swedish movie ever, making over $100 million worldwide. The following adaptations directed by Daniel Alfredson were made for Swedish television and edited down for cinemas. Now the extended versions of the movies are being released for your enjoyment as Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander take on the evils of Swedish society. The stars of the original trilogy, Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist, have landed Hollywood gigs with the upcoming movies Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 86% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.9/10

The Girl Who Played With Fire
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 69% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 6.6/10

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 53% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $71.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

There are a number of big releases this week, the biggest being The Help, a surprise hit and one of biggest crowd-pleasers of the year. There is also the release of the comic book adaptation Cowboys and Aliens, the comedy hit The Hangover Part II and the spy thriller The Debt. Being re-released this week is the "Mission: Impossible" Trilogy for all you action nuts, followed by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes and the classic war movie Tora! Tora! Tora!

The Help (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Help was one of the big sleeper hits of 2011, making $198 million worldwide from a $25-million budget and already being considered a dark horse Oscar contender. It is one of Player Affinity's most highly rated movies of 2011. Based on a popular novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help was written and directed by Tate Taylor and a top female cast was assembled including: Emma Stone, Viola Davis (Doubt), Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life) and Allison Janney (The West Wing).

In 1960s Mississippi, a young woman, Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan returns to her home town after studying at the State University, determined to become a writer. She causes a massive stir in her home town by interviewing black maids, including her own family‘s, Aibileen Clark (Davis), about domestic segregation during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 75% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.4/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $27.99 (3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Hangover Part II (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Hangover was a huge succees in 2009, making over $467 million in addition to a strong reception. Despite the material not suggesting a sequel was possible, Todd Phillips and his writers made one anyway. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis reunite as the Wolf Pack, as they repeat the same events of the first movie when they can not remember a bachelor party in Bangkok

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 35% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 3.7/10 (read our review)


DVD Special Features: Instant Streaming with UltraViolet Digital Copy; Gag Reel

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: "Comedy Rhythm of Todd Phillips"; "Not Your Everyday Monkey"; "Bangkok Tour with Mr. Chow"; Action Mash-Up

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $17.99 (Blu-ray), $19.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

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

Cowboys and Aliens (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Fanboys the world over were excited about Cowboys and Aliens: it was a high concept movie starring James Bond and Indiana Jones and directed by Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame. But many were left disappointed, including us here at Player Affinity. Based on a graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, he originally intended that his idea would be a movie, but Hollywood showed no interest. Lost writer Damon Lindelof and writing partners Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek) adapted the graphic novel and Olivia Wilde (House), Sam Rockwell and Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) joined Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.

In 1873, in the Western frontier, Jake Lonergan (Craig) wakes up in the desert with no memory and a strange device on his wrist. He finds out that he is an outlaw and he crossed the powerful ranger Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). But when aliens attack the town and abduct a number of civilians, all the rival parties unite to take on this new foe.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 44% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 5.0/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Digital Copy of Cowboys & Aliens - Theatrical Version (expires 05/27/2012); Second Screen; Conversations with Jon Favreau; Igniting the Sky: The Making of Cowboys & Aliens; Feature Commentary with Director Jon Favreau; My Scenes; D-BOX; BD-Live; U-Control Picture In Picture; pocket BLU App

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Mr. Popper’s Penguins (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Based on a popular children’s book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a return to live action family movies for Jim Carrey. Directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls), Mr. Popper’s Penguins also features Carla Gugino (Watchmen), Angela Lansbury and Clark Gregg (Thor). Mr. Popper (Jim Carrey), a successful businessman but a poor father — basically a typical Hollywood dad — ends up adopting six penguins.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 47% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Blu-ray), $22.49 (Blu-ray with Plush Penguin)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 1 stars, Video 0 stars, Audio 0 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 1 stars (out of 5). Skip It.

The Debt (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Debt is a remake of a 2007 Israeli movie of the same name and it has a lot of quality behind it. It was directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), produced by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) and he co-wrote it with his writing partner Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). The cast is also impressive with the likes of Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastian, Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds (Rome).

In 1997, two former Mossad agents (Mirren and Wilkinson) are shocked to find out their former colleague (Hinds) has died and reflect on a mission they took to assassinate a former Nazi doctor in 1960 East Germany. But it appears the doctor has resurfaced in the Ukraine and the agents have to go on one last mission.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 77% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 6.5/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Mission Impossible Trilogy (DVD and Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Mission: Impossible resurrected Tom Cruise’s career. I mean, Ghost Protocol is about to hit theaters so Paramount thought it was a great time to release a box-set of the previous movies in the series. Loosely based on a popular '60s TV show, the Tom Cruise-led movie series has been very popular. It is also a very schizophrenic series, changing style, tone, genre and even the organization itself between films.

Three top directors have worked on the series, Brian De Palma (Scarface), John Woo (Hard Boiled) and JJ Abrams, whose Mission Impossible III was basically an extended episode of Alias. Many top actors like Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction), Jon Voight, Kristin Scott Thomas, Thandie Newton and Phillip Seymour Hoffman have worked on the series and many exotic locations have been used, including Prague, London, Sydney, Rome and Shanghai.

Mission Impossible
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 60% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

Mission Impossible II
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 57% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 6.5/10

Mission Impossible III
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 70% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.5/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $19.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Design for Living (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Based on a play by Noel Coward, the 1933 movie adaptation by Ernst Lubitsch (Trouble in Paradise) stars Fredric March (The Best Years of Our Lives), Gary Cooper (High Noon) and Miriam Hopkins (Trouble in Paradise) as Gilda, who can not decide between two men, so she attempts to have a mutual friendship.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 50% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: New high-definition digital restoration with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; The Clerk, starring Charles Laughton; Selected-scene commentary by film professor William Paul; Play of the Week: A Choice of Coward, a 1964 British television production; New interview with Joseph McBride on Lubitsch; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Kim Morgan

Amazon Price: $26.99 (DVD), $35.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Tora! Tora! Tora! (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor is possibly the most famous version of the attack to a younger generation, but in the 1970s people had a much more historically accurate American-Japanese production in Tora! Tora! Tora! Richard Fleischer (Soylent Green), Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale) and Toshio Masuda all co-directed this movie about Japanese planning of the attack, intelligence and military blunders by the Americans, and the visually impressive attack itself.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 71% (good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: Theatrical Feature Blu-ray; Commentary by Director Richard Fleischer & Japanese Film Historian Stuart Galbraith IV; Day of Infamy Documentary; History vs. Hollywood – TORA! TORA! TORA!: A Giant Awakes; AMC Backstory®: TORA! TORA! TORA!; Behind-the-Scenes Gallery; Production Gallery; FOX Movietone News; Original Theatrical Trailer; Collectible Hardcover Book

Amazon Price: $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Lady Vanishes (Blu-ray)

What’s the Deal?
The Lady Vanishes is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous and best received British movies and the last one before his move to Hollywood (excluding Frenzy). Margaret Lockwood (Night Train to Munich) and Michael Redgrave (The Dam Busters) star in this thriller as Iris Henderson (Lockwood) befriends an elderly lady (May Whitty) on a train. But when the lady disappears, there is no record that she was ever on the train and Iris has to both find her before it's too late and prove she is not insane.

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


DVD Special Features: High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; Crook's Tour, a 1941 feature-length adventure film; Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder; Excerpts from Francois Truffaut's 1962 audio interview with Alfred Hitchcock; Mystery Train, a video essay about Hitchcock and The Lady Vanishes; Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and promotional art; PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Geoffrey O'Brien and Charles Barr

Amazon Price: $27.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


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