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, Circuit City, and Fry’s.

The Good

SOUTH PARK (SEASON 11)
South Park has become almost run-of-the-mill in its episodic delivery of insanity these past few years, losing a little bit of that hilarious edge and non-stop creativity that made it once so very special. Even so, it remains above and beyond one of the best comedic shows on television, and there is always at least a couple great moments per episode. This includes everything from Randy incorrectly filling in the word “N_ggers” on national television to terrorists attacking our imagination in the epic three-part series Imaginationland.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Mini-commentaries from series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$32.99 $29.99
Amazon – $29.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free $5 Target GiftCard, plus exclusive lenticular packaging.
Where? Target

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free South Park magnet set.
Where? Circuit City

THE WIRE (SEASON 5)
Hands down, The Wire is my all-time favorite television series in existence. It’s a show that operates on a level untouched by current cinema, telling an incredibly authentic ongoing story about crime in Baltimore where every plot element is essential and every episode of every season has been mapped out beforehand. Each season brings something completely new to the table, amounting to a series that’s constantly evolving. If you haven’t started watching yet, I deeply encourage you to do so, as all five seasons are now available on DVD. Season 5 contains 10 full hour-long episodes.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: 6 audio commentaries, a documentary that explores the role of the media, and a retrospective look at the first 4 seasons.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$38.99 $44.99
Amazon – $38.99

PRISON BREAK (SEASON 3)
I actually have not seen an episode of Prison Break in my life, so I’m not even sure if this show is popular anymore. If so and you watch it, can somebody please explain to me: how does a show about a guy breaking another guy out of prison continue its storyline beyond one season? I sure hope the answer doesn’t involve the characters constantly switching roles, hopping in and out of prison for as long as the ratings stay high. That seems like it would get old fast. Anyway, season 3 consists of 13 episodes instead of the originally planned 22 (due to the WGA strike).
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: 2 featurettes (‘Orientation’, ‘Breakout Episode’), directors’ takes, behind-the-scenes with the cast, and a bonus episode from The Unit.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$37.99 $26.99 $25.99
Amazon – $31.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free $5 Target GiftCard
Where? Target

CJ7
Stephen Chow’s follow-up to the hilarious Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer has been getting more much more mixed feedback than either of those films did, but the response has still been more positive than negative. In the film, Stephen Chow plays a poor father who finds a bizarre new toy for his son. Geared toward children, the movie is said to be both charming and sweet, but a little too strange and awkwardly plotted for most kids to be able to handle.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: A commentary, three making-of featurettes, a lesson on how to stand your own against the school bully, a how-to on making your own lollipop prop, a CJ7 Mission Control Game, and character profiles.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$19.99 $18.99
Amazon – $19.99

FELON
The instinctive reaction to seeing a DVD with Stephen Dorff’s name on it that hasn’t received a major theatrical release is usually one of terror, but Felon isn’t the straight-to-DVD trash that he normally stars in. The film follows a family man (Dorff) who kills an intruder and afterwards finds himself forced to live his life in the violent penal system, forced to contend with the mass murdering Val Kilmer. It currently holds a 7.9 out of 10 rating on IMDB (out of over 4,000 votes).
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: A making-of featurette.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$19.99
Amazon – $19.99

The Bad

SMART PEOPLE
This movie should’ve been titled Obnoxious Self-Absorbed Faux-Intellectual Assholes, but I suppose the marketing people thought that was a little too long. That title isn’t necessarily a negative though, as The Squid & the Whale could’ve been called that and it would continue to remain a much better film than this miserable, unpleasant and utterly dull look at people who just aren’t that interesting to look at. The only bright spot is the smile-inducing performance by Thomas Haden Church, who ironically plays the only central character in the film who isn’t intelligent (or to phrase that more appropriately, “book smart”).
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: A commentary by the writer and director, deleted scenes, a Sundance featurette, interviews, and outtakes.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$19.99 $18.99
Amazon – $19.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free E-Movie Money for Blindness ($12.00 value).
Where? Best Buy, Circuit City

THE AMERICAN MALL
Pitched as a High School Musical for an older generation, MTV’s The American Mall has been revealed to be even more generic and hollow than the HSM series, and a blatant cash-in on its success. This should really come as no surprise though; when a DVD cover reads “From the executive producers of High School Musical,” you automatically know you’re in trouble.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Two commentary tracks, deleted scenes, extended performances, a gag reel, a featurette, and three music videos.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$16.99 $12.99 $14.99 $12.99
Amazon – $15.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Buy both American Mall DVD and Soundtrack for $20.
Where? Circuit City

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free $10 Best Buy Gift Card when you buy both The American Mall and The Hills (Season 3).
Where? Best Buy

Other noteworthy DVDs available this week…
The Art of War II: BetrayalTru Calling (The Complete Series)The SecretThe Legend of the Shadowless SwordThe Killing GeneWatching the DetectivesBrand Upon the Brain (Criterion Collection)Bra Boys

Discuss: What are you planning to rent or buy this week?

The Specials
NOTE: Some deals may be in-store only.


$18.99 each – Smallville (Seasons 1-6), Supernatural (Seasons 1-2), Veronica Mars (Seasons 1-3), Entourage (Seasons 1-3 pt. 2), Two and a Half Men (Seasons 1-3)
$24.99 – The Simpsons (Season 9 or 10)
$29.99 – Bones (Season 2)
$34.99 – John Adams


Exclusive: Free E-Movie Money for Tropic Thunder ($12.00 value) when you buy Team America ($6.99) or other select comedies.

$9.99 – 2-Disc Special Editions – Taxi Driver, Dr. Strangelove, Memento, Lawrence of Arabia, Saving Private Ryan, Snatch, Magnolia, The Dirty Dozen, Rebel Without a Cause, Wyatt Earp, Das Boot, Black Hawk Down (Deluxe Edition), Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Natural, Superman II, Constantine, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Extraordinarily Deluxe Edition) , Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Enter the Dragon, Gandhi, JFK (Director’s Cut), The Maltese Falcon, Forbidden Planet, and more…

$4.99 – Green Street Hooligans, Tears of the Sun, Full Metal Jacket, Under Siege, Demolition Man, Deep Blue Sea, Goodfellas, Million Dollar Baby, Deliverance, Lethal Weapon, Into the Blue, Stealth, Basic, The Mask of Zorro, and more…


$16.99 – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Seasons 1 & 2), Flight of the Conchords (Season 1)
$19.99 each – Heroes (Season 1), Weeds (Seasons 1-3), My Name is Earl (Seasons 1-2), That 70′s Show (Seasons 1-8)
$29.99 – Nip/Tuck (Seasons 1-4)


$2.99 – Dumb and Dumber, Frequency, Spawn, The Long Kiss Goodnight, U.S. Marshals

$3.99 – The Girl Next Door (Unrated Version), Moulin Rouge, The Abyss, The Transporter, Aliens, Die Hard, Speed, and more…

$5.99 – Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Devil Wears Prada, Night at the Museum, and more…

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Smart People Movie Trailer

Smart People

Smart People is probably the first adopted pedophile incest comedy, although I wouldn’t really call it that (that’s really just the subplot). Here is the plot synopsis from my early review: Dennis Quaid plays Lawrence Wetherhold, a miserable and pompous college professor who suffers a head trauma while trying to jump the fence at a car impound lot. Unable to drive himself around, his screw-up adopted-brother Chuck (played by the incomparable Thomas Haden Church) moves in and becomes his personal chauffeur (if he can ever remember to pick his brother up). Chuck tries to expose Lawrence’s conservative daughter Vanessa (Ellen Page) to beer and drugs, and in the process, a complicated relationship develops. Meanwhile Lawrence falls for his Doctor Janet, played by the ever-so annoying Sarah Jessica Parker, and in the process, must find a way to cure himself of his unhealthy obsession with his deceased wife.

Check out the movie trailer for Smart People after the jump.
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Sundance Movie Review: Smart People

Smart People

Dennis Quaid plays Lawrence Wetherhold, a miserable and pompous college professor who suffers a head trauma while trying to jump the fence at a car impound lot. Unable to drive himself around, his screw-up adopted-brother Chuck (played by the incomparable Thomas Haden Church) moves in and becomes his personal chauffeur (if he can ever remember to pick his brother up). Chuck tries to expose Lawrence’s conservative daughter Vanessa (Ellen Page) to beer and drugs, and in the process, a complicated relationship develops. Meanwhile Lawrence falls for his Doctor Janet, played by the ever-so annoying Sarah Jessica Parker, and in the process, must find a way to cure himself of his unhealthy obsession with his deceased wife.

Page’s Vanessa is a snappy sarcastic smart aleck 17-year-old. Imagine if Juno were less indie/punk and more conservative / school smart. Page steals every scene she shares on screen. Church, also an attention hog (in a good way) is ever so charming as the lovable loser. Screenwriter Mark Poirier is all over Hollywood in a non-Diablo Cody way. Poirier is set to make his feature directing debut for Paramount with his script, Bong Hits 4 Jesus. Commercial turned Feature director Noam Murro makes a fantastic debut.

If there were one complaint about this film, it would be that the supporting storyline featuring the complicated relationship between Page and Church was far more interesting than the main romantic storyline. In fact, I would love to see a movie about those characters in that kind of situation, where more time could be devoted.

I must admit, I wasn’t expecting much from Smart People, but left the theater with a large grin in hand. This is a wonderful movie, not on the level of Juno, but up there next to Little Miss Sunshine.

/Film Rating:
8 out of 10

Sundance 2008 Photo Preview: Part 1 – Premieres

Sundance 2008

The line-up for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival was announced earlier this week. I just got my hands on a boat load of photos from the films in this year’s festival. We actually have too many photos to feature in just one posting, so we have divided this feature into a few parts.

Our first segment in the series takes a look at the films in the Premiere category, which includes: Assassination of a High School President, Be Kind Rewind, CSNY Deja Vu, The Deal, Death In Love, Diminished Capacity, The Escapist, The Great Buck Howard, The Guitar, Henry Poole Is Here, In Bruges, Incendiary, The Merry Gentleman, A Raisin In The Sun, Savage Grace, Sleepwalking, Smart People, Towelhead, Transsiberian, U2 3D, The Visitor, What Just Happened?, The Year of Getting To Know Us, and The Yellow Handkerchief.

Also be sure to check out our Sundance 2008 Photo Previews for the Spectrum and U.S. Dramatic Competition.

Check out the photos after the jump. Click on the images to enlarge.

Read More »

Sundance 2008

Yesterday Sundance announced the competition films for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Today the Institute has released the rest of the line-up, which will play out-of-competition sections of Premieres, Spectrum, New Frontier, and Park City at Midnight. Highlights include:

  • The previously announced opening night film In Bruges starring Ralph Fiennes and Colin Farrell.
  • The Great Buck Howard starring Colin Hanks as a law school dropout who answers an advertisement to be a a washed up illusionist’s (played by John Malkovich) personal assistant. Emily Blunt and Tom Hanks also star.
  • Visionary director Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, about a man (Jack Black) whose body accidentally becomes magnetized unintentionally erases every tape in his friend’s (Mos Def) video store. The pair set out to remake the lost films in a film about the magic of movies and filmmaking.
  • Bill Maher’s directorial debut, Sleepwalking, about a young man who is faced with the prospect of losing his abandoned young niece to a foster home. Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb, Charlize Theron, Dennis Hopper, and Woody Harrelson, star.
  • Morgan Spurlock’s follow-up to 2004′s Super Size Me, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? follows Spurlock’s quest to fint the world’s most wanted man.
  • Smart People, a romantic dramedy about a a widowed professor who gets an unexpected visit from his adopted brother. Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, and Ellen Page star.
  • American Beauty screenwriter Alan Ball’s directorial debut, an adaptation of Towel Head. The film follows the life of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl who is forced to live with her father. I saw this film at Toronto and it has the same underlying energy of American Beauty. Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Toni Collette, and Summer Bishil star.
  • U2 3D: A 3-D presentation of U2′s global “Vertigo” tour.
  • Barry Levinson’s adaptation of What Just Happened? stars Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Kristen Stewart, and Robin Wright Penn. The movie follows two weeks in the life of a fading Hollywood producer (De Niro) who’s having a rough time trying to get his new picture made.
  • XX/XY director Austin Chick’s new film August, about two brothers fighting to keep their start-up company afloat on Wall Street during August 2001, a month before the 9/11 terrorist attack. Josh Hartnett and Adam Scott star.
  • The Duplass Brothers return to Sundance following their acclaimed 2005 low budget indie film The Puffy Chair. Baghead explores “the minutiae of relationship dynamics in this in-depth study of a group of desperate actor friends. And a bag. And a head.”
  • Cashback director Sean Ellis’s horror thriller The Brøken starring Lena Headey (300) as a woman who sees herself driving by in her own car on a busy London street. Stunned, she trails the mystery woman as events take an eerie turn into a living nightmare.
  • Michael Haneke’s American remake of Funny Games starring Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, and Michael Pitt..
  • Quentin Tarantino presents Larry Bishop’s Hell Ride, a “bloody, sexy tale of motorcycle revenge” starring Larry Bishop, Dennis Hopper, and Michael Madsen
  • Otto; or Up With Dead People, a movie about a lonely gay zombie searches for love and meaning in contemporary Berlin.
  • Spainish writer/director Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes follows a man accidentally travels back to the past, only to meet himself there and encounters a series of mysteries that all lead to an unthinkable crime. I’m a sucker for Time Travel.

Check out the full announcement/line-up after the jump.
Read More »

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