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.

Rent It

THE INFORMANT!
The true tale at the core of The Informant! is not one that would appear to lend itself very well to comedy, and yet in taking that approach, director Steven Soderbergh managed to craft a sly, unusual little satire that both amuses and perplexes in all the right ways. Soderbergh’s interests appear to lie less in the lysine price-fixing conspiracy that the story revolves around than in the peculiar actions of high-ranking executive Mark Whitacre, presenting an ever-evolving portrait of a goofy, naïve, affable and possibly deranged whistleblower. Viewers will likely feel uneasy at the way the film is presented from Whitacre’s perspective, providing endless stream-of-consciousness anecdotes about corn, polar bears and ’90s corporate thrillers, and yet never giving you a strong sense of what his motives are or what exactly he’s trying to accomplish. The longer the film moves forward though, the more it becomes clear that that’s exactly the point; not even Whitacre is sure why he does the things he does, and it isn’t until he runs out of lies to tell that he stops running his mouth long enough to let that notion dawn on him. Matt Damon’s hilarious, Oscar-deserving performance conveys these facets of Whitacre perfectly, and in doing so, assists Soderbergh in the creation of one of recent cinema’s most fascinating, oddball characters.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Deleted scenes. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as a commentary with director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Burns, and a digital copy of the film.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $19.99 $15.77
Amazon – $17.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $25.99 $24.77
Amazon – $24.99

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Universal have released the first trailer for Paul WeitzCirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant and contrary to my previous expectations, I rather enjoyed it. You can see it for yourself after the break and agree/disagree. The film stars John C. Reilly as a big boss vampire and Chris Massoglia as his protege. Amongst the supporting cast are Patrick Fugit, Salma Hayek, Ken Watanabe and Willem Defoe, each of them a ‘freak’ of some kind.

The film is an adaptation of books by Darren Shan which is, funnily enough, also the name of our lead protagonist. So, is this a work of autobiography or is Shan using a pseudonym? As if there could possibly be any confusion. His real name, for the record, is Darren O’Shaughnessy.The series of books are known as The Saga of Darren Shan, and the first two are known as Cirque du Freak and then The Vampire’s Assistant. If I’d read them I’d be able to point out where the material in this trailer actually comes from, but I haven’t so I have to depend on all of you to help me out instead.

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The new issue of Empire Magazine has a few new photos from upcoming fall/winter films. First up is a photo of John C. Reilly as a vampire in Paul Weitz’s Cirque Du Freak. Based on the first three novels by Darren O’Shaughnessy, Cirque Du Freak tells the story of a 14-year-old boy named Darren Shan (Chris Kelly) who visits a travelling freak show. At the show he meets a mysterious man who turns out to be a vampire, and Darren must leave his normal life and go on the road with the show. Cirque Du Freak currently doesn’t have a U.S. release date, but it is hitting theaters in February 2009 in international territories, so expect it around then. I’m really digging Reilly’s look as a vamp. Click on the image to see the whole thing in full resolution on EmpireOnline.com.


Next up is the first official photo of Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and a non-wolfie Benicio Del Toro in Joe Johnston’s period adaptation of The Wolfman, which hits theaters on April 3rd 2009.


Next is the first official production photo of Matt Damon in Paul GreengrassGreen Zone. Basically, its the same thing we saw from the set photos a few months back. Based on Rajiv Chandrasekaran book (Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone), Paul Greengrass’ Green Zone stars Matt Damon as a CIA officer on the hunt for traces of WMDs. Green Zone is scheduled to hit theaters in 2009.

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