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

TERMINATOR SALVATION
There’s a certain expectation of quality that comes with viewing a sequel to an established franchise. In Terminator Salvation, the director of Charlie’s Angels joins forces with the screenwriters of Catwoman to remind us why those expectations usually result in the metaphorical equivalent of a grown man gleefully defecating all over our most cherished memories. It’s the type of film where it’s much easier to pinpoint what it does well, if only because it gets everything else so disastrously wrong. The positives can be counted on a single hand, with the action sequences being the primary standout—and the sole reason the film is being listed under the “Rent it” section. If you can separate yourself from the rest of the series, and view the film as no more than CGI-heavy eye candy and a compilation of Transformers-esque robotic mayhem, Terminator Salvation is watchable enough to please those undeterred by studio-manufactured Summer blockbuster silliness. The only other highlights worth mentioning are stars Sam Worthington and Anton Yelchin, who manage to do an admirable job breathing life into characters otherwise completely devoid of personality. The rest of the cast doesn’t fare as well, with literally every other role barely even registering enough to make an impression. Christian Bale in particular disappoints, reducing the should-be-badass John Connor into “military guy who shouts a lot”. Meanwhile, any opportunity the film may have had to redeem itself in the story/storytelling department is quickly thwarted by an embarrassingly illogical and self-defeating central conflict (Spoiler alert: Skynet is stupid), as well as a non-stop array of cringe-inducing lines and shamelessly flagrant callbacks to previous Terminator entries.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Includes the theatrical cut of the film, along with a Moto-Terminator featurette. Blu-ray – Includes the theatrical and directors cuts of the film, along with featurettes (“Re-Forging the Future”, “The Moto-Terminator”), a “Resist or Be Terminated” Video Archive, a Terminator Salvation Official Movie Prequel Digital Comic Issue #1, a WB Maximum Movie Mode, Focus Points, and a digital copy of the theatrical version.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$15.99 $15.99 $14.77
Amazon – $9.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 $19.99 N/A
Amazon – $16.99

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Tyler Stout's Inglourious Basterds PosterIn this week’s /Filmcast, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley debate the merits of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, reflect on the Avatar trailer/hype, try to figure out what a new director means for the Bioshock film, and lament the financial state of the entertainment industry. Special guest director Nicholas Jasenovec joins us for this episode. Nick’s film, Paper Heart, starring Charlyne Yi, is out in theaters now.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Monday at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page for our next broadcast.

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paperheart

There’s an upside and a downside to Sundays at Comic Con. The upside is that there’s a dramatic drop in the amount of people there, making it easier to roam the show floor without risk of being suffocated between the greasy, sweaty bodies of the multiple thousands of attendees. The downside is that there’s not much news to discuss.

That being the case, we thought it best to take some time checking out the lesser known panels at Comic Con, in hopes of being able to draw attention to some worthwhile indie films that deserve all the support they can get. One of these such panels was for Paper Heart, a movie which you may remember reading a fairly glowing review of when Peter visited Sundance early this year.

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Paper Heart Movie Trailer

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Paper Heart was one of the most talked about films going into Sundance 2009, and ended up winning the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. The film starts out as a documentary.Charlyne Yi does not believe in love. Paper Heart follows Charlyne as she embarks on a quest across America to explore the  the one subject she doesn’t fully understand.But the film is also partly a scripted, telling the blossoming relationship between Charlyne and real life boyfriend Michael Cera. Will Charlyne be transformed into a true believer? The answer is more complicated than what you might expect.

The film’s trailer was attached to 17 Again, and is now available online thanks to Apple. Overture Films will be releasing the movie in theaters on August 7th. I think this film is actually quite clever, and that most people that screened the film at Sundance almost completely missed (or should I say, didn’t even notice) the story’s multi-layered story (read the spoiler section of my review ONLY after you have seen the movie). Check out the trailer after the jump and tell me what you think in the comments below.

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Sundance Movie Review: Paper Heart

Paper Heart was one of my most anticipated films going into Sundance. A quasi-documentary with meta elements, It’s definitely not a mockumentary because some of the interviews and situations are very real. In a few ways Paper Heart is a great companion piece to Mark Webb’s 500 Days of Summer, which is also being shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

Comedian/actress Charlyne Yi has never been in love and is not even sure if she is capable of loving someone. And the concept of the documentary is born, as Yi goes on an across country journey to try to further understand the concept of love. Along the way she interviews married couples, newly weds, divorcees, a gay couple, a romance novelist, scientists, a married judge and lawyer, a psychic, a group of young children, and even some of her friends – Seth Rogen, Demetri Martain and more. And Li also meets real-life boyfriend Michael Cera, playing himself, and begins to develop a relationship that may or may not lead to true love. Will Charlyne be transformed into a true believer? The answer is much more complicated than what you might expect.

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Paper Heart Video Clips

Paper Heart is one of the most talked about films going into Sundance 2009. Charlyne Yi and her real-life boyfriend Michael Cera were able to make the film completely under the radar. I have been able to secure five video clips from the strange meta-love story, in which both of the stars play themselves. Here is the details from the Sundance plot synopsis: “Even though Yi doesn’t believe in love, she bravely embarks on a quest to discover its true nature — a journey that takes on surprising urgency when she meets unlikely fellow traveler, actor Michael Cera.” You can read the extended plot synopsis and watch the clips after the jump. As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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2009 Sundance Film Festival Competition Films Announced

The Sundance Institute has announced the first half of the line-up for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Included in the first press release are the films in competition in the Drama and Documentary segments. 3,661 feature-length films were submitted this year, which is 37 more films than last year. For the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 19 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. Before we get into the full list, I would like to point out some of the films that particularly interest me. Also, now should be the time for me to admit that I focus more on English-language films, so my foreign picks will probably be lacking.

The Wrestler screenwriter Robert Siegel makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, which stars Patton Oswalt as a parking garage attendant and hardcore New York Giants football fan who struggles to deal with the consequences when he is beaten up by his favorite player. Michael Rapaport also stars. I loved the humor that Siegel brought to The Wrestler, and with Oswalt in the lead – this one is a no brainer.

The Office star John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace‘s book Breif Interviews with Hideous Men. The story follows Julianne Nicholson as a doctoral candidate in anthropology who “tries to remedy the heartache” of being dumped with little explanation, by interviewing men about their behavior. Krasinski, Dominic Cooper and Timothy Hutton also star.

In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti stars as a famous American actor who in the midst of an existential crisis, “explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life.” Okay, doesn’t have the best plot description but Giamatti is involved, as well as David Strathairn, Emily Watson, and Lauren Ambrose.


Emmy Rossum stars in Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare, about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.” This is a feature length adaptation of Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. I’m a sucker for coming of age films.

Everyone is talking about Paper Heart, the film that Michael Cera made under the raydar with his girlfriend Charlyne Yi. The film is apparently a meta-love story with the stars playing themselves (?). The pre-festival hype aside, I would see this film based on Cera’s involvement alone.

Teeth star Jess Weixler returns to Sundance opposite Jason Ritter in a big screen adaptation of Peter and Vandy, the Drama Desk Nominated Best Play that was lauded for its “almost embarrassing intimacy and killer comic timing.” The film tells the story of a contemporary Manhattan love story, told out of order, with no beginning and no end. Festival programer Geoffrey Gilmore says that “One of the themes” of this year’s festival is “the kind of new-generation love story,” … a new “way of telling love stories right now by a new, younger generation that’s different, that’s fresh, that’s original.” This and the Cera film Paper Heart seems to fit into this statement.

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Jeff Daniels stars as the title character Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Wackness), and Lauren Gram. The film was formerly titled “The Dream of the Romans“, which is a much better title if you ask me.


In Good Hair, Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. I’m not sure if it will be good, like many of Chris Rock’s films, but I’ll always be there for anything the guy creates.

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Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler was given unprecedented access for a film titled “The September Issue“. Cutler and crew shot Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team over the corse of nine months as they prepared the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. I’ve always been interested in the world of journalism, even if the Fashion world might be a very different realm. And I must admit that The Devil Wears Prada has me very interested to catch this one.

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You can read the full press release (which includes a listing of all the films announced today) after the jump.

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