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.

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GRAN TORINO
Gran Torino marks a rare instance where I find myself truly baffled by the response a film has received. Hailed as one of the best films of last year, Clint Eastwood‘s latest work currently sits at #77 on IMDB’s Top 250 and earned itself an 80% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I suppose the appeal of this film is just lost on me. While I wouldn’t recommend against a rental (as even I can admit that the movie is fairly entertaining), I couldn’t help but be put off by how mind-numbingly formulaic, heavy-handed, and simplistic the movie is. Not to mention, just about every supporting performance is cringe-worthy, and oftentimes turned what should’ve been powerful scenes into moments of unintentional hilarity. What am I missing here, guys?
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: 2 featurettes (“Manning the Wheel: The Meaning of Manhood As Reflected in American Car Culture”, “Gran Torino: More Than A Car”).

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Photos have surfaced from the set of The Human Factor, the Nelson Mandella biopic directed by Clint Eastwood that is currently shooting on location in South Africa. The pics show co-star Matt Damon outfitted as Francois Pienaar, captain of the 1995 South African rugby team that took the World Cup and “capped Mandela’s miraculous 10-year effort to bring 43 million South Africans together in an enduring bond.” Morgan Freeman, who is co-producing with Eastwood, will play Mandella primarily during the years following his 23-year imprisonment, in which he served a term as president after the fall of apartheid. Set for release in December, the film is based on the book Playing the Enemy by John Carlin. Photos via TB&U. One more after the jump.

Also of note, Eastwood’s previous directorial effort (and possibly his last as an actor), 2008′s Gran Torino, continues to hold at the box office in lieu of being blatantly shut-out of the Academy Awards and dividing /Film’s staff. As of yesterday, it has taken in a massive $142 million plus, the biggest domestic gross of his career.

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Clint Eastwood may have saved his biggest for last.

If Gran Torino (Warner Bros) is, as he has hinted, his final big screen acting role, he is going out on top. The 78-year-old multi-Oscar winning director has the #1 movie in America, and the biggest opening of his career.

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VOTD: Clint Eastwood in The Growler

Clint Eastwood is back, and he’s crankier than ever in The Growler. I’m still waiting to the inevitable Dark Knight/Gran Torino movie trailer mashup. Thanks to /Film reader Rory M for the tip.

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The American Film Institute has packed their Top 10 films of the year. Like any AFI list, the films are all over the map from indies to big Hollywood blockbusters, and I find myself a little bit angry after reading through the selections (although, not as much as I usually am). Why was Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire snubbed? I thought it was considered to be partly an American production? I am also surprised that they included two comic book films in the results (not that I disagree).

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Frozen River
Gran Torino
Iron Man
Milk
WALL-E
Wendy and Lucy
The Wrestler

Also, the Boston Society of Film Critics have voted and declared WALL-E and Slumdog Millionaire both the Best Movies of the Year. And for those of you counting, this is the second critic association to give the Best Picture Award to WALL-E. Could this be a foreshadowing of what might be to come with the Academy Awards?

The Best Picture category was not the only tie, the BSFC awarded both Sean Penn (Milk) and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) Best Actor of the Year honors. The rest of the list follow:

Best Actress: Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Director: Gus Van Sant for Milk and Paranoid Park
Best Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black for Milk
Best Cinematography: Christopher Doyle and Rain Kathy Li for Paranoid Park
Best Documentary: Man on Wire
Best Foreign-Language Film: Let the Right One In
Best Animated Film: WALL•E
Best Film Editing: Chris Dickens for Slumdog Millionaire
Best New Filmmaker:
Martin McDonagh for In Bruges
Best Ensemble Cast: Tropic Thunder

via: In Contention

In this epic-long episode of the /Filmcast, Dave, Devindra, and Adam are joined by Dan Trachtenberg from the Totally Rad Show and together they question if Ben Stiller is ready to take on a courtroom drama, debate the effectiveness of the MPAA’s ratings board, and delve into a review of Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In. Alex Billington from Firstshowing.net also joins in to discuss Trick ‘r Treat, an upcoming horror film.

Have any questions, comments, concerns, feedback, or praise? E-mail us at slashfilmcast@gmail.com or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next next week as we review Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

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Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino Movie Trailer

Warner Bros has released the first trailer for Clint Eastwood‘s Gran Torino. Earlier this week Warners released the first photo and poster for the film. The trailer shows us a racist grumpy old Eastwood, who tells to a bunch of local gang bangers “Get off my lawn” I kid you not.

In the movie, Eastwood plays a disgruntled racist Korean War vet named Walt Kowalski, who sets out to reform his neighbor, a young Hmong immigrant teenage neighbor (played by newcomer Bee Vang), who, as part of a gang initiation, tried to steal Kowalski‘s prized possession: his 1972 Gran Torino. Walt ends up confronting prejudices that have isolated him.

This looks like another solid Eastwood film, unlike Changeling, which just looks “blah” (reviews also agree). Watch the trailer below, and tell me what you think in the comments!

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/grantorinotrailer.flv 470 196]

Watch the trailer in high definition on Apple.com. Gran Torino hits theaters on December 17th 2008.

First Look: Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino

Warner Bros has finally started marketing Clint Eastwood‘s new action drama Gran Torino. In the film, Eastwood plays a disgruntled racist Korean War vet named Walt Kowalski, who sets out to reform his neighbor, a young Hmong immigrant teenage neighbor (played by newcomer Bee Vang), who, as part of a gang initiation, tried to steal Kowalski’s prized possession: his 1972 Gran Torino.Walt ends up confronting prejudices that have isolated him. The poster shows Eastwood with his M-1 rifle in hand, standing in front of his Gran Torino.

Eastwood, who says this will “probably” be his last film as an actor, tells USA Today a little bit about his character:

“He worked on the line in the Ford plant and retired and had this one car he bought himself. It’s sort of a symbol of his days with the Ford plant. The M-1 is sort of a symbol of his days in the military. … He’s clinging to the memory of the war. You’ll find out when you see it, some of (the memories) are not as pleasant as others. That helps make him even tougher to get along with.” … “Walt helps him get a job and helps him toughen up a bit. (Walt) doesn’t work construction. He’s retired. But he gets the boy in through a buddy, an old crony. They take him in and try to show him how to handle himself in life.”

Warner Bros has also announced a December 17th release date for the film, which puts Torino in line for Award consideration.

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