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

Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.

Rent It

PUNISHER: WAR ZONE
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Edition)
This is a movie in which a man literally punches through someone’s head. Another scene has a man being exploded mid-air by a rocket launcher. Moments like these are littered throughout Punisher: War Zone, which is a sequel/reboot that clearly has no intention of taking itself seriously. The downside though, is that in order to get these stunningly ludicrous (and yet completely badass) sequences, you’re also forced to trudge through some truly pitiful acting and dialogue. For some, this could very well add to the film’s appeal, giving it a cartoonish B-movie charm that earns it “so bad it’s good” status. And to some extent, I’d even agree with that assessment, but I also feel like there are one too many dull spots to warrant a full recommendation.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The single-disc contains no extras, while the 2-Disc includes an audio commentary, making-of featurettes, and a digital copy of the film.

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

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (and $21.99 at Amazon).

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jason butler harner changeling

The Academy Awards for 2008 have been handed out, and the “popular kids” have Oscars on their mantles, but the dirty little secret about winning awards is that you’ve gotta campaign for them. Thousands of dollars were spent by the distributors and filmmakers behind Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Milk (Focus Features), The Reader (Weinstein) and other assorted winners and nominees, but not all performances received that sort of big money backing.

I am an unabashed lover of the acting craft. I see virtually every movie, large and small, that passes through the US marketplace, and, taking nothing away from Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz and Heath Ledger, not all of 2008’s best performances have been recognized. I’m not going to be obvious here. Clint Eastwood was snubbed for Gran Torino, but he received lots of acclaim for the role including being named Best Actor by the National Board of Review. My goal is to highlight 10 performances from last year that have received virtually no acclaim in the US. Many of these roles can be found in hardly-seen, under-appreciated movies that came and went without much notice. Each and every one of these movies deserve a spot in your Netflix (or Blockbuster) cue.

My list is by no means definitive. If you have a favorite performance from 2008 that sticks with you, this is a great place to tell the world. There were 20 actors nominated on Oscar night, but there is a lot of great work that hasn’t been recognized with a walk down the red carpet.

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