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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 3.6.11)

This week’s Recommendation of the Week is the comedy classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This surreal medieval farce is being re-released on a reasonably priced Blu-ray, featuring all the documentaries, commentaries and comedy sketch any Monty Python fan could want.

First Release
- Immortals (DVD and Blu-ray)
- My Week With Marilyn (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Skin I Live In (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
- Jack and Jill (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Like Crazy (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Recoil (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Senna (DVD)

- The Deer Hunter (1978) (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974) (Blu-ray)
- To Catch a Thief (1955) (Blu-ray)
- Harvey (1950) (Blu-ray)
- Out of Africa (1985) (Blu-ray)
- Parenthood (1989) (Blu-ray)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974) (Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*

Directed by Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin

What’s the Deal?
Monty Python’s Flying Circus was a incredibly popular show on the BBC and has been a staple of comedy for generations. The Monty Python crew also had a very successful turn within the film industry, both as a team and as individuals. Their first crack at filmmaking was the hilarious farce Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which sees King Arthur (Graham Chapham) and the Knights of the Round Table search for the Holy Grail to very comic results.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail was turned into a successful musical titled Spamalot.

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


DVD Special Features: Terry Jones Introduces the Outtakes; Enlightening Commentaries by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones, Plus General Complaints and Back-Biting by John Cleese, Eric Idle & Michael Palin; Join Michael Palin and Terry Jones in their Special Documentary: The Quest For The Holy Grail Locations; Monty Python And The Holy Grail In Lego!; Japanese Version; How To Use Your Coconuts (An Educational Film); BBC Film Night; Terry Gilliam Introduces His Lost Animation Reel; Meanwhile, King Arthur & Sir Bedevere…; Elephant & Castle
Run Away!; The Tale of Sir Robin; The Tale of Sir Lancelot; Three Mindless Sing-Alongs; Henry 4th; Cast Directory Photo Gallery; Holy Grail Blu-ray Credits

Amazon Price: $12.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

It is a big week of releases. There's Greek mythology epic Immortals, awards contenders My Week With Marilyn and The Skin I Live In, the documentary Senna and Adam Sandler’s latest cinematic abomination, Jack and Jill. Universal Pictures is currently celebrating its 100th Anniversary and many of its classic movies such as The Deer Hunter and Harvey are getting rewarded with a Blu-ray re-release.

Immortals (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Tarsem Singh
Written by Vlas Parlapanides, Charley Parlapanides
Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Luke Evans, Freida Pinto

What’s the Deal?
Since the success of the bloody entertaining homo-erotic romp 300, many studios have tried to cash in on this trend of stylized historical action. Sadly, nothing has matched 300's success, so its producers thought it was best to make a Greek mythology movie themselves.

After a mythic struggle, the Gods have banished the Titans and imprisoned them beneath Mount Tartarus. But a new threat has emerged, King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), who wants to release the Titans and he must have find the Epirus Bow to do this. The Gods must choose a mortal man to lead humans against Hyperion, finding him in the form of a peasant, Theseus (Henry Cavill).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 36% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 6.5/10 (read our review)


DVD Special Features: It's No Myth; Deleted Scenes; Theatrical Trailer; Sneak Peek

Additional Blu-ray Features: Theatrical Feature Blu-ray; Caravaggio Meets Fight Club: Tarsem's Vision; Alternate Opening: Young Theseus; Alternate Ending: This Is Our Last Embrace; Alternate Ending: Theseus Kills Hyperion; Deleted Scenes; Immortals: Gods & Heroes published by Archaia Entertainment; Digital Copy

Amazon Price: $17.99 (DVD), $22.99 (Blu-ray), $22.99 (3D Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 4 stars, Video 0 stars, Audio 0 stars, Extras 1.5 stars, Replay 2.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.

My Week With Marilyn (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Simon Curtis
Written by Adrian Hodges (screenplay), Colin Clark (novel)
Starring: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Emma Watson, Judi Dench

What’s the Deal?
Coming off the back of two Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor and six BAFTA nominations is the biographical movie My Week With Marilyn. It tells the story of my the world’s biggest star, Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) who comes to England to film a movie with Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). Documenting her visit is young stage hand Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne, The Pillars of the Earth) who becomes a confidant for Monroe.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.0/10 (read our review)


DVD Special Features: N/A

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

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Skin I Live In (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Directed by Pedro Almodovar
Written by Pedro Almodovar (screenplay), Thierry Jonquet (novel)
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes

What’s the Deal?
Like Inception and Super 8, the Spanish movie The Skin I Live In was marketed on the fact that its plot and story were a mystery. From prolific director Pedro Almodóvar (Bad Education, Volver), this thriller tells the story of a plastic surgeon, Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas), who attempts to make synthetic skin and needs a guinea pig to try it on.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 80% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A


DVD Special Features: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Q&A with Director Pedro Almodovar; On the Red Carpet: New York Premiere

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

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

Jack and Jill (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Dennis Dugan
Written by Steve Koren, Adam Sandler (screenplay), Ben Zook (story)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes

What’s the Deal?
Adam Sandler has been blighting cinematic comedy for years. With his partner-in-crime Dennis Dugan and his Happy Madison production company, he keeps coming up with awful movies to inflict on us. Jack and Jill earned near universal critical hatred, with Time Magazine naming it the worst movie of 2011. It recently earned 12 Razzie nominations. Adding to the shame is Al Pacino playing himself in what seems to be a contest with Robert De Niro to see who can ruin their reputation the most.

Jack Sadelstein (Sandler) is a successful advertising executive living in Los Angeles with his wife Erin (Katie Holmes) and their two children. But every Thanksgiving comes the dreaded visit from his obnoxious twin sister Jill (also Sandler). Jill decides to extend her visit, much to Jack’s dismay, but it may hold a benefit because a certain movie star takes a fancy to her, a movie star Jack wants to be his latest commercial.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 3% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: 2.5/10 (read our review)


DVD Special Features: Laughing is Contagious; Here Comes Jill; Look Who Stopped By; Boys Will Be Girls

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Don't Call It A Boat-Royal Caribbean

Amazon Price: $16.99 (DVD), $18.49 (Blu-ray), $19.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 0.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 0 stars (out of 5). Skip It.

Like Crazy (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Drake Doremus
Written by Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Alex Kingston

What’s the Deal?
Like Crazy is a low-budget romantic drama from young filmmaker Drake Doremus (Douchebag). Filmed on a Canon EOS 7D camera, the budget was only $250,000 and the leading lady, Felicity Jones (Cemetery Junction), won the Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performance at the Sundance Film Festival.

Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Jones) are two students who meet at a university in Los Angeles and fall in love. After graduating, Anna overstays her student visa and is deported back to Britain. The couple must decide if their relationship is worth fighting for.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 73% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 5.0/10 (read our review)


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $15.49 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray)

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

Recoil (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Terry Miles
Written by John Sullivan
Starring: Steve Austin, Serinda Swan, Danny Trejo

What’s the Deal?
It is so easy to mock wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin, except to his face. His biggest and best movie is The Expendables, and most of his acting career has been spent in mediocre straight-to-DVD action movies. Recoil is no exception as Austin plays Ryan Varrett, a cop turned vigilante after his family is murdered and sets out to get revenge on the killers. Sounds a lot like The Punisher to me.

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


DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Interviews with Cast & Crew; Behind-The-Scenes

Amazon Price: $11.99 (DVD), $14.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Senna (DVD)

Directed by Asif Kapadia
Written by Manish Pandey
Starring: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Frank Williams, Ron Dennis

What’s the Deal?
Senna is easily considered on of the best documentaries of 2011, earning near universal praise and winning the Best Documentary Award at Sundance and the BAFTAs. But somehow the Academy ignored it as it did many more mainstream docs.

Senna looks at the career of Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna, a man focused on his sport and showed no interest in the politics of F1, who formed a rivalry with Frenchman Alain Prost and died tragically at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 92% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.5/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $14.99 (DVD)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

The Deer Hunter (1978) (DVD and Blu-ray)

Directed by Michael Cimino
Written by Deric Washburn (screenplay), Michael Cimino & Deric Washburn and Louis Garfinkle & Quinn K. Redeker (story)
Starring: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, Meryl Streep

What’s the Deal?
Back in the late '70s there was an emergence of anti-war movies critical of American conduct in the Vietnam War. One of the most the famous is The Deer Hunter, which tells the story of three friends (Robert De Niro, Christopher Walker and John Savage) from a Pennsylvania steel town who sign up to serve in Vietnam. But the three are captured by the North Vietnamese, tortured and separated after their escape.

Because of the success of The Deer Hunter, Michael Cimino was given Carte Blanche to make any movie he wanted, but ended up making the infamous flop Heaven’s Gate.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 91% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.8/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $10.99 (DVD), $11.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

To Catch a Thief (1955) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by John Michael Hayes (screenplay), David Dodge (novel)
Starring: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly

What’s the Deal?
Based on a novel by David Dodge, To Catch a Thief is one of many thrillers by master director Alfred Hitchcock. Cary Grant plays John Robie, an retired American cat burglar living on the French Riviera. But a string of copycat burglaries force John  to prove his innocence to prevent himself becoming a suspect, so he sets out to catch the thief.

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


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $12.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Harvey (1950) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Henry Koster
Written by Mary Chase and Oscar Brondney (screenplay), Mary Chase (play)
Starring: James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow, Charles Drake

What’s the Deal?
Based on a play by Mary Chase, the James Stewart vehicle Harvey is a dark comedy classic. Elwood P. Dowd (Stewart) is a good-natured man who likes a drink, but also claims to see a 6-foot rabbit called Harvey, so his sister tries to commit him to a mental institution.

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


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $19.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Out of Africa (1985) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Sydney Pollock
Written by Kurt Luedtke (screenplay), Karen Blixen (book)
Starring: Robert Radford, Meryl Streep, Klaus Maria Brandauer

What’s the Deal?
Based on the memoir by Danish writer Isak Dinesen, whose pen name was Baroness Karen von Blicen-Finceke, Out of Africa was a movie that won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Out of Africa is also an example of Oscar bait, having only a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.0/10 on IMDB.

In 1913, Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) and her husband (Klaus Maria Brandauer, Mephisto) leave Denmark to start a plantation in Kenya. But in Africa, Karen’s husband starts his womanizing ways, and Karen herself falls for a white hunter, Denys (Robert Redford). She has to manage the struggling plantation as war is declared in Europe and Africa.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 63% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $34.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A

Parenthood (1989) (Blu-ray)

Directed by Ron Howard
Written by Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel (screenplay), Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Ron Howard (story)
Starring: Steve Martin, Dianne Wiest, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards

What’s the Deal?
Not to be confused with the TV Series of the same name, Parenthood is a 1989 comedy-drama by Ron Howard featuring an ensemble cast led by Steve Martin. Dianne Wiest (Hannah and Her Sisters) earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress as a group of Midwestern families struggle with the trials of working, home management and childrearing.

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


DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $11.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


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