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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 2.7.11)

The Town came out on DVD and Blu-ray this time last year, but  it Warner Bros. is already giving us an Ultimate Collector's Edition on Blu-ray. We're not sure what the special features are, but we sure liked Ben Affleck's movie, so it's our Recommendation of the Week.

First Releases
- A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Anonymous (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Rebound (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Sunset Limited (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Project Nim (DVD)
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (DVD and Blu-ray) (Released 10th February 2012)

- Lady and the Tramp (1955) (Blu-ray)
- The Town (2010) (Blu-ray)
- La Jetee/Sans Soleil (1962) (Blu-ray)
- Love Story (1970) (Blu-ray)
- Dangerous Liaisons (1988) (Blu-ray)
- A Star is Born (1937) (Blu-ray)

The Town (2010) (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

Directed by Ben Affleck
Written by Ben Affleck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard (screenplay), Chuck Hogan (novel)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm

What’s the Deal?
Ben Affleck has certainly come a long way from being the laughing stock of the acting and celebrity worlds to being a hot directing talent. He made a real splash with Gone Baby Gone and The Town was a big critical and commercial hit. It earned Jeremy Renner a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination.

The Charlestown neighborhood in Boston is a bank robbery capital of America and Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) and his crew are apart of the criminal underworld. After one robbery, Doug had kidnapps a bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall, Frost/Nixon) and to keep her silence forms a relationship. On Doug’s back are FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm, Mad Men), who wants his crew arrested, and crime lord Fergus Colm (Pete Postlethwaite) who wants them to rob Fenway Park.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 94% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $37.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The First Releases of the week are an odd mix, including a Christmas stoner comedy, an old-fashioned Roland Emmerich butchering of history, the documentary Project Nim and the latest "Twilight" movie. The major re-release highlights are the animated classic Lady and the Tramp and a Chris Marker double bill La Jetee/Sans Selil.

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson
Written by Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris

What’s the Deal?
The "Harold & Kumar" series has never impressed in the box office but done well on DVD. Despite that, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema wanted the third movie of the series to be a box-office success, so they released it in 3D.

This Christmas-themed adventure sees Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) reunited after years apart. But of course when they are together mishaps happen and Harold’s father-in-law’s prized Christmas tree is burnt down, forcing the duo on another adventure.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 69% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10 (read our review)


DVD Special Features: Additional scenes

Additional 3D Blu-ray Features: Extended Cut; Through the Haze with Tom Lennon: Colorful vignettes & muses from the comedic genius; ; Bringing Harold & Kumar Claymation to life: Director Todd Strauss-Schulson shares his passion and inspiration to bring this memorable scent to life

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD), $17.99 (Blu-ray) $22.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo), $27.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Anonymous (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Roland Emmerich
Written by John Orloff
Starring: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, Rafe Spall

What’s the Deal?
The master of disaster, Roland Emmerich, has already insulted my nation with the God Awful The Patriot,  a highly black-and-white portrayal of the American Revolution. Now he has had a second go with Anonymous simply because he did not like Shakespeare as a kid.

Anonymous is based on the controversial historical conspiracy that William Shakespeare was not a real playwright of some of the greatest works in the English language. It hypothesizes that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) is the real author, hoping to spread his political ideas, but he covers his identity because plays are the works of commoners. He is also Queen Elizabeth I’s (Vanessa Redgrave) lover and father of her illegitimate children. So much for the Virgin Queen. Oxford recruits an actor, William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), a man who defies logic because he can read but not write, to act as the front man.

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


DVD Special Features: Commentary with Director Roland Emmerich and Writer John Orloff; Who Is The Real William Shakespeare?

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: More Than Special Effects; Speak The Speech…

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Rebound (DVD and Blu-ray)

Written and Directed by Bart Freundlich
Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Justin Bartha

What’s the Deal?
Catherine Zeta-Jones has been out of the acting game for awhile, making few movies since 2005. The rom-com The Rebound is sadly not the best vehicle for a comeback. It was released in many nations in 2009 and 2010 and only comes to the USA as a direct-to-DVD release.

Sandy (Zeta-Jones) is a mother of two who lives in the suburbs when she finds out her husband has been cheating on her. She moves to New York and rents an apartment above a coffee shop. She befriends a coffee shop employee, Aram (Justin Bartha, The Hangover), and hires him as a nanny. Soon sparks start to fly but is he just a rebound or is it the real deal?

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 45% (average)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $11.99 (DVD), $17.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Sunset Limited (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Tommy Lee Jones
Written by Cormac McCarthy (screenplay), Cormac McCarthy (play)
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson

What’s the Deal?
Cormac McCarthy novels The Road and No Country for Old Men have been turned into great movies and with The Sunset Limited he adapted his own play into a TV movie for Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.

The Sunset Limited tells the story of two men who hold opposing beliefs. Black (Jackson) is a religious man who stops White (Jones) from killing himself at a train station. Black takes White back to his apartment to try and convert him or at least believe in something else than nihilism.

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


DVD Special Features: Audio commentary with Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, and Cormac McCarthy; The Making of The Sunset Limited

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 4 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.

Project Nim (DVD)

Directed by James Marsh
Starring: Bob Angelini, Nim Chimpsky, Bern Cohen

What’s the Deal?
Project Nim is one of the best documentaries of 2011, earning near universal praise, yet still ignored by the Academy. Coming from the Oscar-winning director of Man on Wire, Project Nim is about a chimpanzee in the 1970s, Nim, who was raised like a human child to see if he could be able to learn language and communicate skills.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 98% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD)

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

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (DVD and Blu-ray)  (Releases Feb. 10)

Directed by Bill Condon
Written by Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay), Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

What’s the Deal?
Ah "Twilight," a series that is defended and attacked with equal measure. Now it is coming to the end and the penultimate movie is coming onto DVD and Blu-ray. The fourth novel of the series, Breaking Dawn, has received the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows treatment and been divided into two movies. Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) took on the final two film.

The big day we have been waiting for has finally come: Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) have sex—I mean get married. But on their honeymoon in Brazil, Bella becomes pregnant with a vampire-human hybrid that is eating her from the inside out. This leads to a deadly clash between the Cullen Family and the Quileute Werewolf tribe, leaving Jacob (Taylor Lautner) in the middle.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 25% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 4.0/10 (read our review)


DVD Special Features: 6-Part Making-Of Documentary; Wedding Video; Jacob's Destiny; Edward Fast Forward; Jacob Fast Forward; Audio Commentary by director Bill Condon

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Lady and the Tramp (1955) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Written by Ward Greene, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Ralph Wright, Don DaGradi
Starring: Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Bill Thompson, Peggy Lee

What’s the Deal?
Lady and the Tramp is a childhood favorite, a fun animated "Romeo and Juliet"-style story of two star-crossed lovers. Lady (Barbara Luddy) is a cocker spaniel who is the loved pet of a suburban couple. She soon falls for a stray dog, Tramp (Larry Roberts) and follows them they go through the trials of Lady’s owners having a child, the evils of the dog catcher, the racist stereotypes of Si and Am the Siamese Cats and Lady becoming the victim of the nanny.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 88% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10


DVD Special Features: DVD Feature Film + Bonus; Diane Disney Miller: Remembering Dad; PuppyPedia: Going To The Dogs; Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes; Never-Before-Heard Deleted Song; Inside Walt's Story Meetings With Disney Second Screen; Lady's Pedigree: The Making Of Lady and the Tramp; "The Siamese Cat Song": Finding A Voice For The Cats

Amazon Price: $22.99 (Blu-ray), $27.99 (Three Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

La Jetee/Sans Soleil (1962) (DVD and Blu-ray)

La Jetee (1962)
Written and Directed by Chris Marker
Starring: Davos Hanich, Jean Negroni, Helene Chatelain

Sans Soleil (1983)
Written and Directed by Chris Marker
Starring: Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle

What’s the Deal?
From the Criterion Collection is a Blu-ray double bill of the work of Chris Marker, who made two very different movies with La Jetee and Sans Soleil.

La Jetee is a 30-minute short sci-fi movie set in the aftermath of war as a prisoner (Davos Hanich) is set back in time to replenish his communities’ food, medicine and energy stocks. But by doing this he has memories of a woman (Helene Chatelain) infecting his head. La Jetee was a major influence on the Terry Gilliam movie Twelve Monkeys.

Sans Soleil is an experimental documentary/film essay as a woman (Florence Delay) reads the letters of a cameraman who has traveled the world.

La Jetee (1962)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 91% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

San Soleil (1983)
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 90% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: New video interview with filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin; New, restored high-defintion digital transfers, approved by the director; Chris on Chris, a video piece on Chris Marker; A clip from David Bowie's music video Jump They Say inspired by La Jetee; New and improved English subtitle translations; A booklet featuirng an interview with Marker; An analysis of Hitchcock's Vertigo and it's influences on Marker

Amazon Price: $27.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Love Story (1970) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Arthur Hiller
Written by Erich Segal
Starring: Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal

What’s the Deal?
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Yeah, I love to know how many relationships that really worked for. Despite its low Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB ratings, the romantic drama Love Story was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won one for Best Score. It must have been a weak year.

Oliver Barrett IV (Ryan O’Neal) is a Harvard Law student from a wealthy background. Jennifer Cavalleri (Ali MacGraw) is a music student from more humble beginnings. These star-crossed lovers marry despite Oliver’s father’s (Ray Milland) objections and Jennifer  Hollywood disease, where you show no symptoms whatsoever.

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


DVD Special Features: Commentary by Director Arthur Hiller;  Love Story: A Classic Remembered; Original Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $11.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 1.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 3 stars, Replay 0 stars (out of 5). Skip It.

Dangerous Liaisons (1988) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Stephen Frears
Written by Christopher Hampton (screenplay), Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (novel)
Starring: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer

What’s the Deal?
Based on a 18th Century French novel, Dangerous Liaisons is a dark, sexual tale about the French aristocracy as two ex-lovers, Marquise Isabella de Merteuil (Gleen) and Vicomte Sebastien de Valmont (John Malkovich) bet on whether Vicomte can seduce the God-fearing Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer). Dangerous Liaisons was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three of them, including Best Adapted Screenplay.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 93% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $15.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

A Star is Born (1937) (Blu-ray)

Directed by William A. Wellman
Written by  William A Wellman, Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell
Starring: Janet Gaynor, Frederic March

What’s the Deal?
Last but not least is the 1937 movie A Star is Born, a movie that was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning one for Best Story. It has been remade twice.

Esther Blodgett (Janet Gaynor) is a young farm girl wanting to make it big in Hollywood. She catches the eye of a alcoholic star Norman Maine (Frederic March) whom she gives one last shot of stardom. They both marry as her star starts to rise and his starts to fall.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
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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