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.

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 films 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.

Buy It

ADVENTURELAND
Adventureland does not redefine coming-of-age movies. It tells a familiar tale, and it does so with a number of story elements that we’ve seen many times before.

It’s also far better than most of its competition.

Watching Adventureland, it’s obvious that this is a very personal film for writer/director Greg Mottola. It’s real. It’s relatable. It’s charming, sweet and thoroughly engaging from start to finish. The film has plenty of laughs too, but making “silly gags” the focus of the film’s marketing campaign was a mistake. As much as the studios may want to make the film look like the next Superbad (which Mottola also directed), it simply isn’t. The jokes don’t feel like calculated gags intended to make you burst into tears with laughter. The humor has a more natural flow, always present in the interactions of the characters and the inherent comedy of the situations, but never detracting from the heart of the story: the relationship between the two young leads, played to perfection by Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. If you’re going into the film expecting something else, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Commentary with director Greg Mottola and actor Jesse Eisenberg, deleted scenes, a Just My Life: The Making Of Adventureland featurette, and a Picture Music Selection feature. Blu-ray – Everything on the DVD, plus 3 additional features (“Frigo’s Ball Tap”, “Lisa P’s Guide To Style”, “Welcome to Adventureland”), and a digital copy of the film.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$17.99 $16.99 $16.77
Amazon – $19.49

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$27.99 $26.99 $25.77
Amazon – $25.99

Rent It

FIGHTING
Better than it has any right to be, Fighting may evoke a lot of similarities to another recent “fighting” movie, Never Back Down, but those similarities are almost inconsequential given the conditions under which their stories are presented. Fighting benefits heavily from the guiding hand of writer/director Dito Montiel, who injects the project with the same grittily realistic atmosphere of his previous film, the far superior A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. That realness rarely extends to the story, sadly, and the film eventually becomes bogged down in its constant predictability and shallow plot threads. Still, the film always remains watchable. Channing Tatum and Terrence Howard both offer strong, compelling performances, and add weight to the film where there might otherwise be none. As expected, the fight sequences are stylized, but there’s also a raw brutality and scrappiness that prevents them from feeling staged or overly choreographed. These aspects aren’t enough to make Fighting a great film, by any means, but it’s enough to make it worth a rental.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Deleted scenes.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99 $15.77
Amazon – $15.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$25.99 $24.99 $24.77
Amazon – $24.99

SUNSHINE CLEANING
I love you, Amy Adams. I know you’re not reading this, but damn it all, I’m determined to make my love for you known to the world, and announcing it here seemed like the next best thing after shouting it from the rooftops. (Besides, I’m still tired from all that rooftop shouting I did last week.) If this embarrassing display of unrequited devotion seems at all irrelevant, allow me to turn the discussion to the film at hand: Sunshine Cleaning. Yeah. It’s pretty good. Why is it good? Because of Amy Adams. Who I love. She is the heartfelt presence that makes this small indie drama (that’s right – drama, not comedy) rise above the familiar territory of its plot. Even as the film progressed and I found myself waiting for it to tackle something new and different from the countless indie efforts before it, my eyes were always glued to the screen. And why wouldn’t they be? After all, it stars Amy Adams. And you know what? I love that woman. I really, really love her.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Commentary featuring writer Megan Holley and producer Glenn Williamson, and A Fresh Look at a Dirty Business featurette.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $17.99 $17.77
Amazon – $20.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$25.99 $27.99 $24.77
Amazon – $24.49

LIE TO ME (SEASON 1)
If it weren’t for the hugely underrated Tim Roth and the fascinating subject matter around which the show is built, there wouldn’t be much about Lie to Me to recommend. As far as I’m concerned, those are really the only two factors that separate the series from just about every other police procedural. Solving crimes by way of facial expression/body language examination is an interesting spin on the well-worn genre, no doubt, but it poses a problem for a channel like Fox: things like microexpressions simply don’t register for those who aren’t trained to spot them. Because of this, the show attempts to be as accessible as possible by removing all subtlety from the equation, overemphasizing every little facial twitch and shrug of the shoulder to the point of eye-rolling frustration. To top it off, the writers seem to know no other way to convey what these reactions mean for the audience than to have Roth’s character smugly declare it aloud, which in turn gives the show this self-satisfied vibe of accomplishment that it really hasn’t earned. These issues aside, the science behind the series remains compelling enough to make Lie to Me a moderately watchable affair, even if the rest of it isn’t particularly inspired.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Featurettes (“The Truth About Lies”, “The Science of Lies”, “Mett 101: Micro Expression Training Tool”, “The Lightman Group Lie Detection Tests”). Blu-ray – Everything on the DVD, plus deleted scenes and a gag reel.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$34.99 $32.99 $31.77
Amazon – $33.49

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$39.99 $44.99 $40.77
Amazon – $40.99

CALIFORNICATION (SEASON 2)
The problem with shows like Entourage, Weeds, and indeed, Californication, is that there’s only so long they can last before their simplistic narrative structures and lack of character growth become stale and predictable, and in turn, eventually devolve into a sort of self-parody. In season one of Californication, we witnessed the always charming David Duchovny engage in all sorts of sexual depravity with hot naked woman after hot naked woman. At the same time though, the show managed to keep the format fresh (and somewhat less trashy) by exploring the character’s struggle to redeem himself in the eyes of his daughter and ex-girlfriend. Spoiler alert: the end of the first season finds him accomplishing that goal. Sort of. Cut to Season 2, and we find David Duchovny engaging in the exact same depravity as Season 1, but to less satisfying results. It’s hard to take much pleasure in his actions anymore, because after this many f**k-ups, he’s made the transition over from lovably narcissistic to kind of pathetic. There are still some great moments of humor to be found, but on the whole, this season lacks the punch of the first.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Commentary with Pamela Adlon, a Marcie’s Waxing Salon feature, interviews with David Duchovny, Natascha McElhone, Pamela Adlon, Madeline Zima and Evan Handler, 2 episodes of The United States of Tara (Season 1 – Episodes 1 and 2) and 2 episodes of The Tudors (Season 3 Episodes 1 and 2).

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
N/A $24.99 N/A
Amazon – $29.49

Skip It

DUPLICITY
I was the sole voice of dissent against this film when we reviewed it on the podcast, and I imagine that I’ll continue to be in the minority when commenters on this site decide to lambast me for my categorical placement of the DVD release. But I stand by it: I hate this film. It relies almost entirely on the audience to be invested in the characters because they want to be, instead of there actually being a reason to be. Try as you might to develop any sort of emotional connection to the faces on screen beyond simply “these are sexy spies who are cool and sexy and therefore you should like their sexy coolness”, the intentions of the characters are so intentionally cryptic, and the timeline jumps around so fruitlessly, there’s no justifiable reason to do so. The plot is as weak as the characters. Remove the fractured narrative, and you’re left with a story that’s bland, simplistic and even a little silly. You could argue that the fractured narrative is the whole point of the film, but I’d argue that the fractured narrative serves no point. It exists solely because it allows writer/director Tony Gilroy (of Michael Clayton previously, which I absolutely adored, and was a much better use of his talents) the ability to screw around the audience however he pleases, rather than the events having any sort of logical reason to play out that way. For me, such an exercise in self indulgence drew my attention away from the story at hand and put it entirely on the deliberate filmmaking tactics. The illusion of the film was destroyed, and as a result, my initial indifference quickly turned to boredom and frustration.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Commentary with writer/director Tony Gilroy and editor/co-producer John Gilroy.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99 $15.77
Amazon – $15.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $25.99 $25.77
Amazon – $25.99

THE INFORMERS
I have not read the Bret Easton Ellis novel on which this film is based, but, unlike American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction before them, watching this film has not encouraged me to do so. Set in the ’80s, the film follows a brief section of the lives of a variety of hedonistic youths and adults, the stories being connected primarily by their palpable sense of hopelessness and misery. In other words, it’s a movie about unlikable, uninteresting people doing unlikable, uninteresting things. (That may be misleading actually, given that it suggests these characters do anything.) If you find yourself mildly invested in any of the stories, rest assured, none of them go anywhere. You leave the film feeling as unsatisfied with it as its characters are with life. I assume that there’s a point that the film was trying to make (a cultural study of immorality and amorality and blah blah blah), but there’s too much soap opera superficiality to warrant much desire for analysis. However, all that said, it does feature Amber Heard’s stunning naked body in countless scenes. In conclusion, you should absolutely see this movie.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Director and cast commentary, and a Human Intersections: Making The Informers featurette.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
N/A $19.99 $19.99
Amazon – $18.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
N/A $29.99 $22.99
Amazon – $22.99

Other noteworthy DVD (and Blu-ray) releases this week…
Rudo Y Cursi [DVD / Blu-ray] – Trouble the WaterGoodbye Solo – Smallville (Season 8) [DVD / Blu-ray] – Scrubs (Season 8)House, M.D. (Season 5)Life (Season 2)NCIS (Season 6)Life Is Hot in CracktownThe Last Days of Disco (Criterion Edition)

Other noteworthy Blu-ray-specific releases this week…
Children of the Corn

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


$10 – Burn After Reading, and more…


Exclusive: Early releases for Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Grace on Blu-ray ($19.99).

$16.99 – Dexter (Season 1 – 2)
$19.99 – The Simpsons (Season 1 – 11), Supernatural (Season 1 – 3), House (Season 1 – 4)

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

.

Please Recommend /Film on Facebook

blog comments powered by Disqus