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.

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HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1
(Releases on Friday, April 15 — Blu-ray available as single-disc and Blu-ray+DVD+digital copy)
I’m still not convinced that the final installment of the Harry Potter franchise needed to be separated into two films, but perhaps that’s a discussion better reserved for Part 2. Is it fair to judge this as a standalone film, or should it be taken as only half of a whole (which in itself is only one seventh of an even greater whole)? Director David Yates seems to want it both ways, while also attempting to appease both hardcore fans of the books and more casual viewers of the movies. The effort is admirably ambitious, though not always successful, often servicing fans at the cost of narrative flow. I’ll hold off on casting any judgments on how the film fits into the grander story at play — something that could very easily make or break the film in retrospect — but as a continuation of what’s essentially evolved into a serialized big screen mini-series, this entry is as problematic as it is utterly compelling. As a devoted fan of the films, it’s fascinating to see how these characters (and actors) have grown and matured, and Yates does a tremendous job portraying the toll that these inherited responsibilities have taken on their relationships. Where the film falters is finding a satisfying way to properly set up and condense subplots from the book, leading to many awkward moments where characters and MacGuffins appear at random. I’m also terribly conflicted about the ending, because as much as I recognize the need to offer some sort of emotional climax, it doesn’t register as an organic progression, and is treated with such gravitas that it inadvertently undercuts a far more significant occurrence at the end of The Half-Blood Prince. Criticisms aside, I have to respect Yates for endeavoring a near impossible task and not losing sight of the characters and their journey amidst the commotion. There lies the strength of the film, and that’s exactly the way it should be.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Blu-ray – Includes a copy of the DVD and a digital copy of the film, as well as a sneak peek of an opening scene from the final film, a Maximum Movie Mode, Focus Points (“The Last Days of Privet Drive”, “Hagrid’s Motorbike”, “Amazing (or) Magical Tents!”, “Deatheaters attack Cafe”, “Creating Dobby and Kreacher”, “Godric’s Hollow”, “The Harry And Nagini Battle”, “The Frozen Lake”, “The Return of Griphook”), featurettes (“On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James”, “The Seven Harry’s”, “Dan, Rupert, and Emma’s Running Competition”, “Behind The Soundtrack”), and additional scenes.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$14.99 $13.99 N/A
Amazon – $14.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$22.99 $22.99 $22.99
Amazon – $22.99

*Does not include single disc edition, which costs $16.99 at Best Buy and Amazon.

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heartlessa

Fans who can’t make it to Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas from September 23-30 will be able to catch four of the movies playing there from the comfort of their own couch. IFC Midnight, a new genre label of IFC Films, will simultaneously premiere four films at the genre film festival and also on demand in about 40 million homes including those with Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner and Bright House.

The films in question are Heartless, directed by Philip Ridley and starring Jim Sturgess, High Lane, directed by Abel Ferry, Primal, directed by Josh Reed and Red White & Blue, directed by Simon Rumley and starring Noah Taylor and Amanda Fuller. Other films playing Fantastic Fest this year include Let Me In, Red, Mother’s Day, Buried, I Spit On Your Grave and more.

Hit the jump to read more about the IFC Midnight films and see some stills. Read More »

heartless_poster

I first ran into the work of Philip Ridley when I was about nineteen and found his first feature, 1990′s The Reflecting Skin, in a Calgary video shop. I don’t love his wild little rural coming of age tale tinged with horror, but I have to respect it for having the ambition to be something rather unique. A young Viggo Mortensen gives a good performance there, too.

Ridley has made one other film since then (The Passion of Darkly Noon, in 1995) and is finally poised to return to screens with a strange-looking horror tale called Heartless. The film opens soon in the UK, and the first trailer has finally appeared online. Read More »

heartless_jim

The original plan was that I would be commuting home to Oxford from Frightfest every night. After one night of that, I simply had scrap the plan and find somewhere – anywhere!- in London to stay. Back-to-back horror movies can be quite a tiring experience and staying up afterward trying to make sense of them, and write these posts? Killer.

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