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DVD/Blu-ray DISCussion (New for 5.17.11)

It is a strange week of DVD and Blu-ray releases because plenty were released, but none are truly remarkable. The best choices that the Player Affinity staff can recommend are The Hustler and Beverly Hills Cop. Italian cinema is very well represented but France and Japan also have offerings this week. If you are looking for something new then your best bet is either The Mechanic or Thor: Tales of Asgard.

First Release
- The Mechanic (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Rites (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Other Woman (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Roommate (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Thor: Tales of Asgard (DVD and Blu-ray)

Re-Release
- Diabolique (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Pale Flower (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Deep Red (DVD and Blu-ray)
- The Hustle (Blu-ray)
- Beverly Hills Cop (Blu-ray)
- Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Blu-ray)
- Marriage Italian Style (Blu-ray)
- Sunflower (Blu-ray)


 
The Mechanic (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Simon West was once seen as a promising action director, making films like Con Air and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. But his career has been on the slide. CBS Films, looking to make their reputation, took a punt on West and recruited him to direct a remake of the 1972 film of the same name that starred Charles Bronson and directed by the most annoying man in Britain, Michael Winner. Action fans’ favorite Jason Statham stars in it with Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma). Tony Goldwyn (The Last Samurai) and Donald Sutherland are also featured in the film.

Arthur Bishop (Statham) is an assassin who is assigned missions to make them look like accidents. But he is forced to go on a personal mission when his mentor is murdered and Arthur has to teach his son Steve McKenna (Foster) the tricks of the trade.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 53% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 6.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: movieIQ

Amazon Price: $15.99 (DVD), $16.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


The Rite (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
The Catholic faith has been a great basis for horror cinema, with films like The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Omen. Now author Matt Baglio and screenwriter Michael Petroni (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) have taken on the religion with Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom (1408). Anthony Hopkins whose career was made in a horror role leads the cast with Irish newcomer Colin O’Donoghue and Alice Braga (I Am Legend, Predators).

Michael Kovak (O’Donoghue) is a skeptical young priest sent to the Vatican to learn about exorcism from a legendary but unorthodox priest, Father Lucas (Hopkins). Michael questions Lucas’ methods and the so-called supernatural elements but they both come across a case that even challenges the senior priest’s abilities.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 19% (awful)
Player Affinity Score: 3.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Additional scene

Additional Blu-ray/DVD Combo Special Features:
Chilling alternate ending ; The Rite: Soldier of God: ; Meet father Gary Thomas, the Vatican-ordained exorcist whose life story inspired the film; Go inside the actual exorcism academy and share eyewitness accounts of real-life exorcism

Amazon Price:
$14.99 (DVD), $19.99 (Blu-ray), $22.99 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Score (DVDTalk.com):
Content: 1.5 stars, Video 3 stars, Audio 2.5 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 1.5 stars (out of 5). Skip It.


The Other Woman (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
The Other Woman was a film
that was completed in 2009 but has only been released now for one simple reason: to cash in on Natalie Portman's Oscar win. Directed by Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex), The Other Woman features Lisa Kudrow, Scott Cohen (Love and Other Drugs) and Charlie Tahan (I Am Legend).

Emilia Greenleaf (Portman) is a young woman who is vilified as a home wreaker when she marries lawyer Jack Woolf (Cohen). She is also a woman suffering from grief after loosing her infant son and struggling with her relationships with her stepson (Tahan) and Jack’s ex-wife (Kudrow).

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 38% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Trailer

Amazon Price: $10.99 (DVD), $15.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):
Content: 2 stars, Video 3.5 stars, Audio 3.5 stars, Extras 1 stars, Replay 0 stars (out of 5). Rent It.


The Roommate (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Danish director Christian E. Christiansen (if that’s his real name, his parents were very cruel) is second Scandinavian director to make a horror film this week. Starring Leighton Meester (Country Strong) and Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights), they play two roommates who are freshmen at a university when one develops an unhealthy obsession for the other.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 4% (terrible)
Player Affinity Score: 4.0/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features:
Director's Commentary; Alternate Opening Sequence

Additional Blu-ray Special Features:
movieIQ; Obsession: The Making of The Roommate; The Roommate: Next Generation of Stars; Dressing Dangerously

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

Score (DVDTalk.com):
Content: 1.5 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 2.5 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 1.5 stars (out of 5). Skip It.


Thor: Tales of Asgard (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Seeing that the live action version of Thor is in theatres at the moment it cannot be a better time to release a straight-to-DVD animated adventure. Sam Liu, a veteran of making superhero adventures, like Hulk vs. Thor, Planet Hulk and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Thor: Tales of Asgard shows Thor (Matthew Wolf) at a young age who goes on a quest with his brother Loki (Rick Gomez) to recover a legendary sword.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features:
Audio commentary with Supervising Producer Craig Kyle and Screenwriter Greg Johnson; Audio commentary with Supervising Director Gary Hartle, Animation Director Sam Liu and Character Designer Phil Bourassa; “Worthy: The Making of Thor: Tales of Asgard” featurette; The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Bonus Episode from the new hit TV series

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

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


Diabolique (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Based on a novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s (The Wages of Fear) Diabolique is considered a classic in the horror genre.

The cruel and sadistic headmaster of a boarding school, Michel Delassalle (Paul Meurisse) has made a number of enemies, including his wife Christina (Vera Clouzot) and his mistress Nicole (Simone Signoret). Both women set out to murder Michel and dump his body in a swimming pool, but when the pool is drained the body has disappeared.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features:
New digital restoration; Selected-scene commentary by French-film scholar Kelley Conway; New video interview with Serge Bromberg, codirector of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s, Inferno; New video interview with horror film expert Kim Newman; New and improved English subtitle translation; PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty

Amazon Price: $21.99 (DVD), $26.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


Pale Flower (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Pale Flower may not be
a very well-known film but I have included it into DISCussion for two reasons: firstly, it’s re-release is distributed by The Criterion Collection and secondly, Japanese films are cool! Directed by Masahiro Shinoda Pale Flower tells how Muraki (Ryo Ikebe) is released from prison and rejoins the Yakuza. Muraki meets a young woman, Saeko (Mariko Kaga) who wants to join the world of organized crime, but Muraki sees that it could lead to her self-destruction.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features:
New high-definition digital restoration; New video interview with director Masahiro Shinoda; Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Peter Grilli, coproducer of Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu; Original theatrical trailer; New and improved English subtitle translation; PLUS: A new essay by film critic Chuck Stephens

Amazon Price: $21.99 (DVD), $27.99 (Blu-ray)

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


Deep Red (DVD and Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Italian director Dario Argento is a cult filmmaker who is not afraid to be gory or daring. Deep Red is one of his best-known and critically well received films, a horror film that features David Hemmings (Barbarella), Daria Nicolodi (Opera) and Gabriele Lavia (The Legend of 1900).

A brutal serial killer hacks a psychic to death (I bet they did not see that coming) and a English pianist, Marcus (Hemmings) witnesses the crime. He teams up with a journalist (Nicolodi) set out to investigate the murder and try and stop the killer from striking again.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features:
Interviews with Co-Writer/Director Dario Argento, Co-Writer Bernardino Zapponi and Goblin (Claudio Simonetti, Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli & Agostino Marangolo); U.S. Trailer; Italian Trailer; Goblin Music Video - "Profondo Rosso" (2010); Daemonia Music Video - "Profondo Rosso" (Directed by Sergio Stivaletti)

Amazon Price: $8.99 (DVD), $14.99 (Blu-ray)

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


The Hustler (Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
The Hustler is seen
as a classic sports film, being nominated for nine Academy Awards, won two of them and had a sequel directed by Martin Scorsese. Based on a novel by Walter Tevis The Hustler was directed by Robert Rossen (All the King’s Men) and stars Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie (Carrie) and George C. Scott (Dr Strangelove).

Fast Eddie (Newman) is a skilled small-time pool shark who wants to challenge a top player, Minnesota Fats (Gleason). But after being humiliated and hitting rock-bottom, Eddie has to gain his confidence again by going on the road. But he could end up loosing everything as he prepares for a second challenge against Minnesota.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 97% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 7.7/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features:
Audio Commentary by Paul Newman, Film Historian Jeff Young, Film Critic Richard Schickel ; ; Paul Newman at Fox; Jackie Gleason: The Big Man; ; The Real Hustler: Walter Tevis; ; Life in the Fast Lane: Fast Eddie Felson and the Search for Greatness; Milestones in Cinema History: The Hustler; Swimming with Sharks: The Art of the Hustle; ; The Hustler: The Inside Story; Paul Newman: Hollywood's Cool Hand as Seen on Biography on the A&E Network; ; Trick Shot Analysis by Mike Massey; How to Make the Shot Featuring Five Scenes; Theatrical Trailer; ; 24-Page Collectible Book Packaging

Amazon Price: $22.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


Beverly Hills Cop (Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Once upon a time there was a very promising comedian of the name Eddie Murphy, a man known for risqué comedy a man who ended up squandering his talents. But back in 1984 Murphy made his name in a little action comedy called Beverly Hills Cop, a film known now as a comedy classic, spawned two sequels and the possibility of a fourth film has been mused (damn you Brett Ratner!). But the film is not just the Eddie Murphy show, it was produced by blockbuster kings Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Martin Brest (Midnight Run, Gigli) and stars Judge Reinhold, John Ashton and Lisa Eibacher.

Axel Foley (Murphy) is a Detroit police detective whose best friend is killed in California. Axel goes to the state of sunshine and fame to investigate what happens and gets into trouble with the local police and a drugs crime lord.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.3/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: Commentary by Director Martin Berst; Beverly Hills Cop - The Phenomenon Begins; A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process; The Music of Beverly Hills Cop; Location Map; Theatrical Trailer

Amazon Price: $16.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com):
Content: 4 stars, Video 3.5 stars, Audio 3 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Recommended.


Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Vittorio De Sica, Sophia Loren and Marecllo Mastroianni have a long working relationship together as can been seen with three of our Blu-ray releases involving those three as director and actors. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is the best known of the trio. This Italian comedy tells the stories of three different women and the men they love.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 83% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $29.99 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


Marriage Italian Style (Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
The second De Sica, Loren and Mastroianni film is a comedy-drama about marriage, love, infidelity and illegitimacy. In this film Domenico (Mastroianni) has an affair with 17-year-old Filumena (Loren), who later becomes a prostitute. Years later they continue their affair and Filumena has three children. But when Domenico is about to marry someone, Filumena tricks him into marriage by claiming she is dying.

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

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $24.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


 
 Sunflower (Blu-ray)

What's the Deal?
Last but not least is a drama from Italy about Giovanna (Loren), a War Bride just after the Second World War. She refuses to believe her husband was killed on the Russian Front and the story is told in flashbacks about their courtship and marriage as well as the search in Russia in the present day.

Critics Rating (RottenTomatoes): N/A
Player Affinity Score: N/A

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Amazon Price: $24.49 (Blu-ray)

Score (DVDTalk.com): N/A


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