This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Buy It

FUNNY PEOPLE
(DVD available as single-disc and 2-Disc Unrated Edition)
Funny People is the type of film that can only be made on the studio’s dime once the director has already proven themselves as a profitable entity. There’s no way Judd Apatow would’ve been able to get a green light on this film in its current state if it weren’t for the countless successful comedies he’s produced, as well as the two critically-acclaimed, $100+ million grossing efforts he’s written and directed. As the third entry in his directorial filmography, Funny People was met with a lukewarm critical response and didn’t even earn back its budget. That’s a shame. This movie deserves to find an audience. I’d even argue that it’s a superior film to either The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up (which I also adore, mind you). Granted, it’s also a much different film. Whereas those films took the more familiar Hollywood formula route and injected it with enough heart and hilarity to overcome whatever potential issues might’ve stemmed from their predictable nature, Funny People disregards the formula (almost) entirely and opts for a more personal, honest approach. There are funny moments to be sure, but at its core, this is a character study about a famous comedian and the choices he’s made, contrasted against an up-and-coming comedian and the choices he has yet to make. Understandably, not everyone will find themselves able to relate to the plight of a man who has more money than we will ever know. There have also been complaints made about the film’s lengthy running time and lack of a consistent conflict—both of which become readily apparent in the third act. These are only some of the reasons for which I admire the film. It doesn’t feel the need to adhere to some derivative narrative structure when there’s a much more interesting emotional struggle already at play, and it’s willing to acknowledge that not everything in life plays out in a comfortable three-act format. By far his most mature and truthful work to date, Judd Apatow’s Funny People finds the perfect balance between dramatic and funny, and is guaranteed to find a spot on my Top 10 of ’09 list.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: 2-disc DVD – Theatrical and unrated cuts of the film, deleted/extended scenes, an extended gag reel, actual home videos of Adam Sandler’s prank phone calls, and a Line-O-Rama. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as U-Control (“Behind the Scenes Picture in Picture Commentary”).

BEST DVD PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99 $15.77
Amazon – $15.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$25.99 $25.99 $24.77
Amazon – $23.99

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has just passed $600 million at the worldwide box office, despite mostly really bad reviews. This is nothing new. Mainstream audiences don’t listen to the critics, and big screen spectacle will almost always win over quality entertainment. Nothing was going to stop me from seeing the movie, not all the bad reviews in the world. It’s an event movie — and I needed to see it for myself. It should be noted that box office should never be looked at as an indication of the mainstream public’s thoughts on a movie (it sold tons of tickets so the mainstream public must’ve loved it) but only an indication of the hype (and in later weeks, possibly word of mouth).

The success of Transformers 2 got me thinking. What is the worst reviewed box office success of all time? Could it be Revenge of the Fallen? Find out what I’ve uncovered after the jump.
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In this week’s episode of Totally Rad Show, Alex Albrecht went off on a mini-rant about the use of computer generated backgrounds in Angels & Demons (I’ve embedded a clip after the jump).

Due to the controversial nature of the book, the Vatican wouldn’t allow Ron Howard to shoot the film in many of the locations featured in the novel. Instead of constructing large sets based on the actual locations, some of the movie was shot on green screen stages. The computer constructed backgrounds left a lot to be desired. Would the film have been good if they had shot on location or on constructed practice sets? Probably not, but the backgrounds wouldn’t have distracted the audience from the story going on in the foreground.

Discuss: So I’m wondering, what are some of your most hated uses of CG in movie history? Good movies ruined by bad CG or just unnecessary CG that took you out of the story…

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Angels & Demons – What Did You Think?

angels and demons super bowl

Ron Howard‘s adaptation of Angels & Demons hits theaters today. I have yet to see the movie (that’s what happens when my local press screening is scheduled against the season finale of Lost). So far reviews are mixed, better than The Da Vinci Code, but not by much. I’ve always considered Angels & Demons to be the better book in the series and all the clips and ads so far looked very action orientated (a huge complaint of the first film). Of course, the first film went on to make over $758 worldwide despite the critical response, and has been rated slightly higher by general audiences.

I’ll probably check out Angels & Demons tonight or later in the weekend, but I wanted to know what you guys thought. Was it good? Bad? Just okay? What didn’t work? Is Tom Hanks just inherently unlikable as Dr. Robert Langdon? How did the Religion vs Science message play on the big screen? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Angels & Demons

Ron Howard‘s big screen adaptation of the Da Vinci Code prequel Angel’s & Demons won’t hit theaters until May 15th, but Columbia Pictures is already moving forward with a third film in the series.

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New Angels & Demons Video Clip: Hunt Them Down

Angels & Demons
Sony Pictures has released a new video clip from Ron Howard’s adaptation of Angels & Demons on IGN. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) explains why the Illuminati were driven underground by the Catholic church and have grown to become a huge threat. I do find it odd that Sony would release a clip of Hanks relaying exposition, as that was a common complaint from The Da Vinci Code. Watch the new clip after the jump.
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Angels & Demons Sneak Peek

Angels & Demons
Sony has released a new Sneak Peek video for Angels & Demons which features the beautiful score by Hans Zimmer. The quick interview introduction is followed by a montage of clips from the film set to Zimmer’s score. If MTV had a channel where they ran music videos for movie score tracks, it would probably look something like this. Watch the video after the jump.
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New Angels & Demons TV Trailer

angels and demons tv top

Sony Pictures has begun airing a new 1+ minute television spot for Ron Howard‘s adaptation of Angels & Demons. I’m calling it a TV trailer (even though it’s technically a tv spot) becuase it’s long enough that it almost feels like a new theatrical trailer. I can’t tell you how unexpected my excitement is for this film. At ShoWest, we were shown an impressive extended promo reel for the film which was cool enough to make me forget that Da Vinci Code film had ever been released. Watch the new television spot after the jump. Thanks to FirstShowing for the tip.
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