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

THE OFFICE (SEASON 4)
Season Four of The Office may not be the best display of episodes the show has to offer, but it’s still a great season all the same. The most notable issue is that the story arc isn’t quite as well-rounded this go around, which is due in large part to the season being truncated to 14 episodes (thanks writer’s strike!). That’s not to say there haven’t been some interesting developments. For one, Jim and Pam are officially together now, and somehow the writers were able to carefully downplay it so the character’s wonderful dynamic together hasn’t been affected at all. Even more interesting though is Michael’s relationship with Jan, which is taken to a much darker place than ever has been before and continues to reverse our perceptions of him. It’s things like this that are part of what makes The Office above and beyond one of the best comedy shows on television.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Four commentaries, deleted scenes, outtakes, “Did I Stutter?” Read-Through, The Office Convention Invitation, The Office Convention: Writer’s Block Panel, and a Goodbye Toby Music Video.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$29.99 $32.99 N/A
Amazon – $30.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Deluxe edition ($36.99) with 60 minutes of bonus cast footage and notepad.
Where? Target.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Gift set ($42.99) with t-shirt, water bottle, and wristband.
Where? Best Buy.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free The Office Stapler in “Gelatin” Mold.
Where? Circuit City.

THE PROMOTION
Starring Seann William Scott and the always hilarious John C. Reilly as two assistant managers of a corporate grocery store dueling for the same promotion, this comedy seems like a halfway decent version of Employee of the Month. It’s gotten a pretty mixed response from critics and audiences, as apparently it’s a low-key and forgettable affair, but if you’re feeling lazy and are in need of a video rental, this seems like a decent choice.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, making-of featurette, webisodes, and outtakes.

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

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (SEASON 4)
Admitting to people that I like this show is almost like I admitting I have a vagina, but after three seasons of sneaking around to avoid people finding out my terrible secret, I just can’t contain it any longer. I love Desperate Housewives. There, I said it. And even though I haven’t yet had the privilege of checking out Season 4, I will happily pick up the DVD box set, as I’ve heard from some that this is the best season since the first. Don’t disappoint me, you drama-filled, love-entangled crazy Wisteria Lane bitches! [Season 4 contains 17 episodes, also shortened due to the writer's strike.]
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: “Couples commentary” (in which the stars pair up to talk about favorite season 4 moments), two featurettes (‘Getting Desperate From Beginning To End’, ‘ Men of Wisteria Lane’), deleted scenes, and bloopers.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$37.99 $39.99 N/A
Amazon – $38.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free $10 Target GiftCard with purchase of both Desperate Housewives (Season 4) and Eli Stone (Season 1) ($29.99).
Where? Target.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Save $10 when you buy both Desperate Housewives (Season 4) and Eli Stone (Season 1) ($29.99).
Where? Best Buy.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free ABC TV sampler with pilot episodes.
Where? Circuit City.

SUPERNATURAL (SEASON 3)
I’ll leave it up to you guys to tell me whether this show about two brothers who battle evil spirits deserves to be in “The Good” section or not. Critical reaction seems to lean toward the negative, whereas audience response seems to be exceptionally positive. Being that I’m a big fan of this demon-infused genre (less so of WB teenager melodramas), and since you guys did such a job convincing me Prison Break was worth checking out, I’d love to hear whether I’m missing out by not giving it a chance. [Season 3 contains 16 episodes.]
Blu-ray? Yes (releases November 11, 2008).
Notable Extras: Seven “A Closer Look” featurettes, Ghostfacers! Confessionals, a special effects featurette, a featurette on Dean’s car, and a gag reel.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$37.99 $39.99 $36.99 N/A
Amazon – $38.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Calendar.
Where? Target.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free collectible ’67 Chevy Impala model on pack.
Where? Best Buy.

THE BIG BANG THEORY (SEASON 1)
Yet again we’ve struck a show that I don’t watch, this one being a sitcom about “a woman who moves into an apartment next door to two brilliant but socially awkward physicists who shows them how little they know about life outside of the laboratory.” (IMDB) Much like Supernatural, critics seem to be divided on this one, yet it has a select group of self-proclaimed “geek” fans who are absolutely nuts about it. Personally, I might’ve been willing to give it a chance before watching several clips online, but being that I didn’t laugh once, and am also wondering how there’s enough material for more than an episode (let alone a season), I think I’ll pass. [Season 1 contains 17 episodes.]
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: A making-of featurette (‘Quantum Mechanics of the Big Bang Theory’).

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$18.99 $24.99 $21.99 N/A
Amazon – $18.99

MARRIED LIFE
According to the reviewer response on Rotten Tomatoes, the best thing Married Life has going for it is the fantastic performances from its talented ensemble cast, which includes Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, and Rachel McAdams. The film is a darkly witty “1940s-set drama where an adulterous man plots his wife’s death instead of putting her through the humiliation of a divorce.” (IMDB) Despite that great premise, it’s been said that the movie has tone and pacing problems that prevent it from reaching greatness.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Audio commentary and three alternative endings.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $19.99
Amazon – $9.99

The Bad

LIFE (SEASON 1)
Some people may find it unfair of me to instantly label a show as bad due to a single video clip, and normally I would agree with the sentiment… Then I saw THIS. As a gamer, it actually pains me to watch that footage. Any show that can combine so many illogical concepts, poorly handled clichés, and a complete disregard for reality in such a short span of time just cannot be considered quality television.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Five audio commentaries, deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and several featurettes.

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

Other noteworthy DVDs available this week…
Then She Found MeEli Stone (Season 1)Bright Lights, Big CityCheers (Season 10)How to Rob a BankGhost Whisperer (Season 3)Itty Bitty Titty CommitteeOutsourcedThe Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow

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

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


Exclusive: Free exclusive comic book included with purchase of Next Avengers ($14.99).

$9.99 – Charlie Wilson’s War, The Bourne Ultimatum, Superbad, 10000 BC, American Gangster, 3:10 to Yuma, Gone Baby Gone, We Own the Night, 30 Days of Night, Cloverfield, Bee Movie, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Simpsons Movie, Atonement, The Fast and the Furious (Franchise Collection), and more…


$4.99 – The Monster Squad (2-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition), Crash, Walk the Line, Dirty Dancing (20th Anniversary), The Punisher (Extended Cut), Lord of War, Cast Away, First Blood, Alien, and more…


$3.99 – The Silence of the Lambs, Robocop, Raging Bull, When Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap, The Usual Suspects, Rocky, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Hoosiers, Back to School, Walking Tall, The Amityville Horror, and more…

$6.99 – Donnie Darko (Director’s Cut), Little Miss Sunshine, The Illusionist, Kingdom of Heaven, and more…

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SXSW Film Festival

It has been a few days since the last time I found a few minutes to blog about my SXSW adventures. And it’s not for a lack of stories or interesting tales. If Sundance was the internet, than SXSW would be Web 2.0. At Sundance everyone is working (well, actually, that isn’t true because the celebs and Hollywood folk party, but most of the journalists are working). At SXSW, the social atmosphere extends throughout the city of Austin, and probably even beyond the city limits. So instead of listing item by item of what has happened since the last update, I have decided instead to talk about the interesting things.

On Saturday, we caught the Harry Potter fandom documentary We Are Wizards, which was somewhat of an enjoyable mess. The documentary consisted of two parts, one which focused on the emerging music genre of Wizard Rock, and another on the legal battle between the fans and Warner Bros. I’ve had a bunch of experience dealing with movie studio legal departments, yet found that whole portion of the documentary to be rather boring. If they were to recut the feature to focus on the Wizard Rock bands, then the film would be much better for it.

American TeenWe then went to the Alamo Lamar to see American Teen again. I had first caught the film at Sundance after it had been recommended to me by Jason Reitman. Teen was not only my favorite movie of Sundance, but also my favorite movie of the year so far. Finally a documentary with real mainstream appeal. American Teen played even better than I remembered it, and the audience actually cheered in parts. Earlier in the day I found out from my Paramount Vantage rep that Hannah was not available for an interview I had requested earlier in the week. Neil at Film School Rejects also was denied. I wonder what happened, as she was clearly in town. Alex from FirstShowing and myself met up with Hannah outside the screening after it had let out. We learned that she is now going to Film School in New York City. I asked if she was working on a screenplay, and she told me that she just started screenwriting classes, and she’ll eventually get to that. I wish her good luck.

We then headed to Alamo Ritz for Explicit Ills, which was god awful. First time director Mark Webber tried to use every gimmicky film school trick over the course of the agonizing effort. I don’t know how many people from the badge line got in, but it seemed to me to be less than 50 people total. The cast and crew packed the theater with their respective entourage, leaving little room for no one else. Today (Tuesday) I learned that the film won the audience award, which is just so mind blowing, because I have yet to meet someone who loved the film. In fact, I didn’t even get a ballot while walking into the theater, although I noticed that most of the entourage did. Actually, Rosario Dawson actually came out onto the stairs and told those waiting in line inside the theater how to vote for the film. She explained that you rip the 5 on the ballot cards, and demonstrated with her card.

We then headed over to the Explicit Ills party, which was really lame. We saw Morgan Spurlock upstairs for a second, and decided to leave and find something better. We met up with one of our favorite publicists and the guys who made Blip Festival: Reformat The Planet, and hung out at the Iron Cactus until 1:59am magically turned into 3:00am. The guys who made the film are really cool, and I hope their film gets bought.

Peter Sciretta, Neil Miller, Kevin Kelly, Brian, Ken Evans, Mel Valentin, Alex Billington and the Blip Festival Guys

On Sunday we woke up late and picked up the incomparable Mel Valentin from the airport, grabbed a pita sandwich, and stood at the end of a very very long line at The Paramount with Doug from The Movie Blog.

I must admit, I only saw The Promotion because of John C Reilly. I love that guy in nearly everything he does. That aside, I was expecting very little, but was blown away. What a great little comedy this is. I hope that The Weinsteins actually put this in a bunch of theaters, although I’m worried that they have no idea how to promote it. The fact that the film is being distributed under their Dimension Films brand is also very odd and concerning. The Paramount Theater is like San Francisco’s Castro Theater but smaller. Even the seats feel like miniature versions. Brian from Rejects and Ken from FirstShowing went over the Seann William Scott, who was taking a few photos with some hot women after the screening. They mentioned they were from some movie websites and would like to get a few photos. Seann said that he doesn’t like photos of himself and that he wasn’t photogenic enough. Yup, total blowoff.

A combination of Alex and Google Maps got us lost on the way to the Gawker Party. Apparently you need to pay close attention to the East and West street signs. We finally made it to the bar hosting the shindig, but found the place to be too small and loud for our tastes. To be fair, I later learned that there was a huge patio in the back, which was the place to be.

We then went to the Alamo Ritz where I posted the new Indiana Jones poster while waiting in line for a special midnight screening of Dance of the Dead. They were giving away free beer, which made for a rowdy and fun crowd. The Alamo does all sorts of cool promotions like this. Later this month they are showing The Leprechaun, and you get a bowl of Lucky Charms and Green Beer with the price of admission. Very cool. The Alamo makes me wish I lived in Austin. Dance of the Dead was incredibly fun. It felt like a self aware early 80′s zombie film. Lots of good gore as well. During the big climax, a big explosion went off on screen, and the Alamo set off a confetti bomb which covered the entire audience. How cool is this theater?

Nicholas Stoller and Peter ScirettaOn Monday we grabbed some sandwiches from some deli place on 6th street, and then headed over the the Forgetting Sarah Marshall premiere party, where they had free food and drinks. Director Nicholas Stoller, and stars Jason Seagal, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand were in attendance. I got to chat with Stoller for a good ten minutes about Undeclared and Judd Apatow. He seemed genuinely excited to be there, and to have a film that was coming out.

Brian from Rejects and myself approached Kristen Bell for photos. I usually avoid the photo thing, but I’m a huge fan of Bell’s former television show Veronica Mars, plus she’s just hot. She gave us the blow off, explaining that she was hungry and was trying to get to the food for the last ten minutes. She was very nice, but I discounted it as a blow off. Five minutes later guess who taps my shoulder. Kristen fucking Bell, asking us if we still wanted to get photos. We talked about Fanboys (as expected, she still has no idea what’s going on) and a couple other things. Bell was wearing three inch heels and was still short. You have no idea how small this girl is until you see her in person close up.

Kristen Bell and Peter Sciretta


Jason Seagal and Peter ScirettaJason Seagal was also pretty cool, and down to earth. While leaving the party we ran into Russell Brand downstairs in the lobby and I approached him and told him how hilarious I thought he was at WonderCon. He stopped whatever he was doing and gave me a genuine “thank you”. We got photos with Brand, and walked over with him to The Paramount theater, inadvertently walking the press line behind him. You might see me and Neil from Rejects in the paparazzi photos from the event.

Russell Brand and Peter Sciretta

Forgetting Sarah Marshall was also much better than expected. I was actually expecting a flop, but the film had a lot of laughs, and had a very heartfelt underlying core. It’s not the best Apatow film, but it’s a lot of fun, much much much better than Harold and Kumar 2.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall Premiere

We then spent an hour trying to find something good to eat, but resorted to eating from the late night menu at Champions Sports Bar. We then met up with Muhammad Saleem, a friend of ours from the social web, of whom we had never met in person. We went to the IHeartCavemen Gieco party, which was in a cool bar with three levels. We sat outside under the heat lamps, which provided warmth in the cool night air – a weird mixture I’m not use to. We left the party with a big red gift boxes which includes candles, a candle holder, and some other junk.

I’ll be back tomorrow or Thursday with another update. We send mini updates to Twitter throughout the day, so please follow us and tell your friends. Thanks for reading!

SXSW Movie Review: The Promotion

The Promotion

A comedy-drama written and directed by Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness, The Weather Man, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway), The Promotion gently satirizes the insular world of grocery chains, consumerism, and, of course, the American Dream of success through hard work, hard effort, and fair play. Depending less on the broad, low-brow comedy generally associated with actor Seann William Scott (Mr. Woodcock, Road Trip, American Pie I and II), here co-starring with John C. Reilly (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Talladega Nights), The Promotion mixes smart, literate, character-based humor with raunchy, ribald comedy into a highly watchable, surprisingly entertaining film.

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