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.

Rent It

VALKYRIE
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Edition)
As hard as I try, I can’t bring myself to garner much interest in this film. I blame history for spoiling the ending. It’s like watching The Passion of the Christ: “So… I wonder what happens to Jesus at the end.” There’s also something inherently off-putting in seeing Tom Cruise in Nazi Germany with an eye patch and no accent. That said, I’m a big supporter of Bryan Singer’s work, and the film has been said to be serviceably entertaining, so I’ll be sure to give it a fair shake just as soon as I learn to stop whining about those aforementioned minor issues. If you’ve seen the film though, it would really help if you could offer some incentive to check it out in the comments.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The single disc contains no extras, while the 2-disc holds a commentary by director Bryan Singer, actor Tom Cruise, and writer Christopher McQuarrie, a second commentary with writer Christopher McQuarrie and writer Nathan Alexander, 2 featurettes (“The Journey to Valkyrie”, “The Valkyrie Legacy”), and a digital copy of the film.

BEST PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99
Amazon – $15.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).

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The First Six Minutes of Valkyrie

United Artists has made the first six minutes of Valkyrie available online to promote the film. Check it out embedded after the jump or head on to Apple.com for the High Definition version.
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Movie Review: Valkyrie – The Redemption of Tom Cruise?

As I sat down to write my review of Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie, I was struck by how many questions this film is expected to answer upon its release. Can Singer still deliver a big-budget success, after the lackluster performance of Superman Returns? Can Tom Cruise bounce back from his self-inflicted public image problems? Can an exciting and suspenseful film be made about a story that virtually everybody knows the ending to? Read on, curious inquirers…
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Early Reviews of Valkyrie Label Tom Cruise As Laughable

Despite a solid pedigree, with Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie taking up directing and writing duties respectively, Valkyrie has taken a drubbing on the PR front, mostly because of people’s poisonous initial reactions to Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. A recent article at the NYTimes laid out what a high-stakes bet Valkyrie is for MGM Studios:

Valkyrie has turned into a test not only of Mr. Cruise’s career durability, but of MGM’s determination — with new ownership, and under the chairmanship of Harry E. Sloan since 2005 — to be taken seriously as a producer and distributor of the kind of risky event films that define a major studio.

If Valkyrie succeeds, even moderately, MGM wins a modicum of credibility in image-is-everything Hollywood. A failure brings fresh sniping that the studio does not know what it is doing, making the job of attracting top-notch talent even harder. Financially speaking, the stakes are considerable. With a stated production budget of $75 million — competitors insist it is closer to $90 million — Valkyrie is the most expensive film made for distribution by MGM under  Sloan’s watch. The studio will now spend about $60 million to market the movie — if nothing else, to make the point that it can play in the big leagues.

Unfortunately, we’re now hearing some pretty bad buzz about Valkyrie from MSNBC’S The Scoop (via Get The Big Picture), citing unnamed sources who have seen the movie and call Cruise’s performance laugh-inducing. In particular, a scene where Cruise was forced to give the “Heil Hitler” salute:

It’s an unsettling scene but you almost start to laugh…His character is resisting it but you never forget it’s Tom Cruise saying “Heil Hitler.” It’s funny and shocking at the same time.

Sources also say that the film isn’t very thrilling at all:

It’s a bunch of white guys in Nazi uniforms. It’s too bad. And Tom doesn’t speak with a German accent — though they did add a voiceover of him speaking German to the beginning of the film. Still, it’s as if he could say ‘I complete you’ at any time. This is not his Oscar moment.

Head over to The Scoop for some more details. While these unnamed sources may or may not be an appropriate gauge of what general audiences will think, I’m still holding out hope that Singer can deliver a thriller on par with The Usual Suspects (although more and more I begin to doubt). After all, the last Valkyrie trailer wasn’t half bad. Right?

Update: /Film commenter Cerisier points out that one should probably take the above anonymous sources with a pound of salt. I would wholeheartedly agree.

/Film commenter Emily directs us to The Independent, which has reports from screenings that took place on Saturday and Sunday. According to the article, the screening eliminated fears that Cruise would attempt a German accent and also garnered  “shockingly positive” reviews. According to Steve Gaydos, executive editor of Variety:

All the buzz is that it’s pretty good…Von Stauffenberg is not a typical role for Cruise, but in the event, he is a terrific actor who has surrounded himself with some of the most talented people around.

In other words, Valkyrie certainly still has the potential to be a big hit. More reports from screenings as they roll in.

Valkryie Featurette: Through Bryan Singer’s Eyes

MSN has a new featurette for Valkyrie focusing on director Bryan Singer. Click on the image above to watch it.

Final Valkyrie Movie Trailer

United Artists has released the last and final movie trailer for Bryan Singer‘s Valkyrie. Gone is the overly stylish split screen editing, Added, the SAW theme leads to the climax. It’s amazing how well that theme fits other movies, even though its the key theme song of a five film franchise. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really starting to look forward to this film. Complain about the lack of accents all you want. Bash Tom Cruise if you will, but this looks like a solid thriller. Share your thought in the comments below!

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/valkyrie1030trailer.flv 470 264]

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Four New Photos From Valkyrie, New Trailer on Thursday

United Artists has provided /Film with four new production photos from Bryan Singer‘s Valkyrie. Apparently, a new trailer will premiere tomorrow night around 8:00pm PT, so check back then. As always, click on the stills to enlarge.

Official Plot Synopsis: In a country in the grips of evil, in a police state where every move is being watched, in a world where justice and honor have been subverted, a group of men hidden inside the highest reaches of power decide to take action. Tom Cruise stars in the suspense film, VALKYRIE, based on the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (CRUISE) and the daring and ingenious plot to eliminate one of the most evil tyrants the world has ever known. Director Bryan Singer (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, X-MEN, SUPERMAN RETURNS) re-teams with Academy Award®-winning USUAL SUSPECTS screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie to bring to life the story of the men who led the operation to assassinate Hitler. The film also stars an acclaimed cast including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Eddie Izzard, Christian Berkel and Terence Stamp.

A proud military man, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is a loyal officer who serves his country all the while hoping that someone will find a way to stop Hitler before Europe and Germany are destroyed. Realizing that time is running out, he decides that he must take action himself and joins the German resistance. Armed with a cunning strategy to use Hitler’s own emergency plan – known as Operation Valkyrie – these men plot to assassinate the dictator and overthrow his Nazi government from the inside. With everything in place, with the future of the world, the fate of millions and the lives of his wife and children hanging in the balance, von Stauffenberg is thrust from being one of many who oppose Hitler to the one who must kill Hitler himself.

Valkyrie is scheduled to hit theaters on December 26th 2008.

UPDATE: It turns out that roughly 80% of the quotes in this memo came from FirstShowing’s Alex Billington. I should have known. ;) Alex’s glass is 80% full.

Not content with being owed one million dollars from Harvey Weinstein, vigilante blogger Nikki Finke has published an MGM internal memo that breaks down the online perception of Valkyrie 2.0 aka “Play down the eye patch and Valley Boy voice, win over graphic designers.” It makes for a pretty fascinating—if typical—look inside the Hollywood hype machine and how the Internet is a giant, throbbing Krang-like barometer. Make no mistake, all of those “awesome”s and “FAIL”s add up. Here are some enlightening highlights from the memo…

Currently, reactions to the Valkyrie trailer are significantly favorable (approximately 80%) within Entertainment, Fan-Boy, Video Sharing, Social Networks, Social Bookmarks, and Fan communities. Fans deem the trailer “fantastic,” often praising the “stylistic” way that the footage was cut and asserting that it is “way better” than the initial teaser.

But what about “the haters?” Will they “sink” Valkyrie‘s suped-up battleship? No, their numbers have diminished and were “greatly exaggerated” to begin with…

The limited amount of unfavorable discussion (5%) stems from critics expressing general disinterest in the film, contending that the trailer makes Valkyrie look like “another Hollywood action movie.”

The surge is “working”…

The [new] poster comprises the majority of discussion, as fans laud the “stylized design” and hope that it represents the “gritty” feel of the film. “I definitely want one of these up on my walls right away.”

But when the “actors speak,” the buzz stumbles…

Lack of German Accents Still an Issue – While the majority of buzz about the lack of German accents is neutral, the topic is fueling discussion among online audiences. Critics contend that their absence creates a “lack of cohesiveness” while supporters believe that their inclusion would make the film appear “cheesy.”

The bottom line “…”

“the film has the potential to be “awesome” [but some viewers] still have their doubts based on the initial critical buzz.”

If a memo about this memo’s impact on viewers is leaked, we’ll let you know. Do you think Congress is privy to this type of futuristic and “extremely accurate” buzz-measuring?

Discuss: Give a number or stat that best illustrates your “anticipation.”

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