Turn off the Lights

DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 3.20.12)

It's a big week for new releases, with several of the holiday season's most critically acclaimed and financially successful films hitting DVD shelves. Our DVD and Blu-Ray Recommendation of the Week won an Oscar, scored a whopping 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, and totaled up nearly $100 million at the box office. That's right: this week, it's time for those of you who missed it in theaters to meet The Muppets.

First Release
- The Muppets (DVD and Blu-Ray)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (DVD and Blu-Ray)
- The Sitter (DVD and Blu-Ray)
- Carnage (DVD and Blu-Ray)
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (DVD and Blu-Ray)
- The Adventures of Tintin (DVD and Blu-Ray)

- Battle Royale (DVD and Blu-Ray)
- The War Room (DVD and Blu-Ray)
- Letter Never Sent (DVD and Blu-Ray)

The Muppets (Release Date Nov. 23) (DVD and Blu-Ray)
*Recommendation of the Week*

Directed by James Bobin
Written by Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller, Jim Henson (characters)
Starring: The Muppets, Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper

What's the Deal?
OK, the Oscar came in this year's paltry Best Original Song category, but regardless, The Muppets was one of 2011's most universally beloved motion pictures. Jason Segel and co. breathed new life into the long-dormant franchise. This adventure with Kermit and the gang is a nostalgic trip for old fans, as well as a touching and hilarious introduction to new fans.

Walter (a Muppet) and his brother Gary (Segel) are the world's biggest Muppets fans. Together with Gary's girlfriend, Mary (Adams), they travel to Los Angeles to tour the old Muppet Theater, only to overhear a rich billionaire's plot to destroy it. The only thing that can save this Hollywood landmark? A reunion telethon put on by the old gang, who've all gone their separate ways.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 96% (excellent) (read our review)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10


DVD Special Features: The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Two-Disc Blu-Ray/DVD Combo), $29.99 (Three-Disc Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy + Soundtrack Download Card)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

On the first release front, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Adventures of Tintin all performed well with audiences and critics, but the Jonah Hill comedy The Sitter was a disappointment and Roman Polanski's Carnage failed to live up to its promise. Japanese cult classic Battle Royale gets a re-release just in time for The Hunger Games to hit theaters (the two are compared constantly), while Criterion tackles the political documentary The War Zone and the Russian "man vs. nature" film Letter Never Sent.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Release Date Dec. 20) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Directed by David Fincher
Written by Steve Zaillian, Stieg Larsson (novel)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer

What's the Deal?
Many thought it'd be tough to top the Swedish adaptations of Stieg Larsson's beloved Millennium trilogy, but if anyone was up to the task, it was director David Fincher. Rooney Mara gives a performance that's subtlely much different than that of Noomi Rapace, and she was rewarded for a job well done with an Oscar nomination.

After journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) is convicted of libel, he's hired by a wealthy but haunted industrialist, Henrik Vanger (Plummer), to solve the mystery of his long-lost niece. He connects with a brilliant but socially backward private investigator, Lisbeth Salander (Mara), but the men and women they are investigating are hiding a number of big secrets that, if uncovered, could mean bad things for Salander and Blomkvist.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 87% (excellent) (read our review)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 5 stars, Replay 4 stars (out of 5). DVD Talk Collector Series.

The Adventures of Tintin (Release Date Dec. 21) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish (screenplay), Herge (comic book)
Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost

What's the Deal?
Hergé's Tintin took a long time to make it to the big screen. In fact, only the colossal pairing of director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson could pull off the project. It's a very breezy adventure film with shades of Indiana Jones in the film's young ginger hero, but it's the jaw-dropping chase scene throughout the Morrocan marketplace that makes this film. It's one of the most exciting scenes in recent memory.

Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) is the ultimate whiz kid, and minding his own business one day, he's stopped trying to purchase a model ship by a man willing to pay him any money he wants for it. Tintin refuses, and later finds his home destroyed and the ship missing. His pursuit of it takes him across the world, with his life in danger around every turn.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 74% (very good) (read our review)
Player Affinity Score: 7.8/10


DVD Special Features: Go Behind the Scenes of Tintin; Snowy: The Full Tail

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $24.99 (Blu-Ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Release Date Dec. 9) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Written by Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan (screenplay), John Le Carre (novel)
Starring: Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Jones, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, John Hurt

What's the Deal?
Dense, subtle, and slow-moving, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (directed by Let the Right One In helmer Tomas Alfredson) won't be for everyone, but for people in the mood to think and admire the brilliant and restrained work of some of Britain's top actors (including the Oscar-nominated Gary Oldman), there's a lot to admire here.

Taking place at the height of the Cold War, Control (Hurt), the leader of a British Intelligence agency known only as The Circus, informs his most-trusted ally, George Smiley (Oldman), that their organization's upper echelon has been penetrated by a Soviet mole. With the suspects narrowed down to four, Smiley is officially let go, but the investigation goes on.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 83% (very good) (read our review)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10


DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: First Look; Feature Commentary with Director Tomas Alfredson and Actor Gary Oldman

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-Ray)

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

The Sitter (Release Date Dec. 9) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Directed by David Gordon Green
Written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka
Starring: Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, Max Records, Landry Bender

What's the Deal?
Perhaps hitting DVD shelves to capitalize on the popularity of 21 Jump Street, The Sitter was a financial and critical disappointment last December. Jonah Hill takes a trio of youngsters, of whom he's in charge of for the night, on a wild trip. Directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), The film just doesn't live up to its potential, with too many obvious gags that fall flat.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 22% (poor) (read our review)
Player Affinity Score: 4.0/10


DVD Special Features: Gag Reel; Sits-N-Giggles; Jonah the Producer

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Carnage (Release Date Dec. 16) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Roman Polanski and Yasmina Reza
Starring: Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet

What's the Deal?
With four Oscar wins among them (and plenty more nominations), Carnage undeniably has one of the strongest casts of any film in recent memory. But playing a pair of rival parents who attempt to settle a dispute between their children seems to have brought out the worst in Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet, and Christoph Waltz. Directed by Roman Polanski, the film came and went, with some finding it mildly enjoyable, but plenty others finding the characters far too detestable to care about their situation.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 71% (good) (read our review)
Player Affinity Score: 5.5/10


DVD Special Features: Actors' Notes; An Evening with John C. Reilly and Christoph waltz; On the Red Carpet

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 3 stars (out of 5). Highly recommended.

Battle Royale (2000) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Directed by Kinji Fukasaku
Written by Kenta Fukasaku, Koushun Takami
Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Taro Yamamoto, Kou Shibasaki, Aki Maeda

What's the Deal?
Before The Hunger Games, there was Battle Royale, a brutal Japanese film about a group of ninth-grade students ordered to battle to the death. Some play the game, others fight to escape their prison, but it's a fascinating study in interpersonal dynamics and a terrifying look at a futuristic society that's devolved into something frighteningly subhuman.

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


DVD Special Features: The Making of Battle Royale; Battle Royale Press Conference; Instructional Video: Birthday Version; Audition & Rehearsal Footage; Special Effects Comparison Featurette; Tokyo International Film Festival 2000; Battle Royale Documentary; Basketball Scene Rehearsals; Behind-the-Scenes Featurette; Filming On-Set; Original Theatrical Trailer; Special Edition TV Spot; TV Spot: Tarantino Version

Amazon Price: $14.49 (DVD), 16.99 (Blu-Ray), $31.99 (The Complete Collection, Blu-Ray)

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

The War Room (1993) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Directed by Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker
Starring: James Carville, Bill Clinton, George Stephanopoulos

What's the Deal?
With the 2012 Presidential election in full swing, now seems like an excellent time to revisit one of cinema's most in-depth looks into campaigning. In 1992, Governor William Jefferson Clinton gathered a group of hotshot young politicos to help guide him into the White House. Individuals like James Carville and George Stephanopoulos became celebrities in their own right, while their man went on to become the 42nd President of the United States.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: Return of the War Room, a 2008 documentary by Hegedus and Pennebaker; Panel discussion hosted by the William J. Clinton Foundation; Interview with strategist Stanley Greenberg on the evolution of polling; Booklet featuring an essay by writer Louis Menand

Amazon Price: $21.99 (DVD), $29.99 (Blu-Ray)

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

Letter Never Sent (1960) (DVD and Blu-Ray)

Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov
Written by Grigori Koltunov and Valeri Osipov (screenplay), Viktor Rozov (story)
Starring: Tatyana Samojlova, Yevgeni Urbansky, Innokenti Smoktunovsky, Vasili Livanov

What's the Deal?
In a twist of irony only the Russians could pull off, Letter Never Sent follows four geologists into Siberia. Their mission: Find an off-the-grid diamond mine. It's an arduous journey, but they ultimately succeed, only to find themselves trapped in the woods by an out-of-control forrest fire shortly thereafter.

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


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $13.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-Ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4.5 stars, Video 5 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 0.5 star, Replay 4.5 stars (out of 5). Highly recommended.


Meet the Author

Follow Us