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.

Buy It

FANTASTIC MR. FOX
Fantastic Mr. Fox is as attuned to Wes Anderson’s filmmaking idiosyncrasies as any of his past work, and yet somehow it’s never felt more appropriate. Stranger still, he manages to stay true to the spirit of the book, despite Roald Dahl having his own offbeat brand of charm and quirk. It seems though that Dahl’s story gave Anderson exactly the starting-off point he needed, and he used the decidedly more simple and focused narrative to fashion a movie uniquely his own, in the best way possible. Anderson’s symmetrical framing and artful use of color translate perfectly to the animated world, and the rough, makeshift design of the sets and character design add an imperfect appeal that most animators wouldn’t even consider exposing audiences to in this day and age. If there’s one area that might’ve benefitted from an update it’s the faces of the characters, because though the old-school models fit nicely with the rest of the film’s stylistic approach, they come dangerously close to looking like dead-eyed puppets. This would probably be more of an issue were the voice acting not so perfect, and were the pace of the movie not so delightfully fast and fun. In a year filled with spectacular animated films, Fantastic Mr. Fox manages to stand out amongst them as the most interesting and original of the bunch.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Two featurettes (“From Script to Screen”, “Still Life (Puppet Animation)”), and A Beginner’s Guide to Whack-Bat. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as 4 documentary featurettes (“The Look Of Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “The Puppet Makers”, “The Cast”, “Bill And His Badger”), a Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World Of Roald Dahl featurette, a DVD copy of the film, and a digital copy.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 $19.99 $16.77
Amazon – $17.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $26.99 $24.77
Amazon – $24.99

MAD MEN (SEASON 3)
The third season of Mad Men delivers exactly what we expect it to, and that’s not at all a bad thing. No show more thoughtfully, intelligently and believably explores the lives of its many characters, and does so while having complete cultural awareness and organically examining themes in fitting with the time period. That’s the sort of expert writing and storytelling that only a show like Mad Men can deliver. It’s dramatic television at its finest.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Commentaries on each episode with cast and crew, and featurettes (“Medgar Evers: An Unsung Hero”, “Clearing the Air: The History of Cigarette Advertising”, “We Shall Overcome: The March on Washington”, “Mad Men Illustrated”). Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as an interactive “Flashback 1963″ feature.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$34.99 $32.99 N/A
Amazon – $28.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$34.99 $32.99 $36.99
Amazon – $32.99

Rent It

BROTHERS
Brothers is the type of restrained, subtle melodrama that doesn’t much appeal to the Academy, but achieves what it sets out to do just fine. Its biggest problem is that if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve already seen the movie. Even so, the film succeeds on the strength of its acting and direction, and given that this is a character-driven story, any familiarity with major plot points won’t necessarily detract from the emotional impact. What does lessen the emotional impact though is that some of those plot points aren’t rendered as effectively as they should be. One event in particular, which is the crux on which Tobey Maguire’s character’s war-time trauma is based, doesn’t carry the necessary weight it needs to in order to justify the film’s dramatic climax. It’s a somewhat minor issue, however, considering how surprisingly convincing Maguire is in the role. Even if it’s just for the performances, the film is worth watching.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Audio commentary by director Jim Sheridan, and 2 featurettes (“Remade in the USA: How Brødre Became Brothers”, “Jim Sheridan: Film and Family”).

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$20.96 $19.99 $16.77
Amazon – $19.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$27.99 $24.99 $24.77
Amazon – $24.99

Skip It

THE BLIND SIDE
“You’re changing that boy’s life.”
“No… He’s changing mine.”

I don’t think there’s a wanking motion dismissive enough to suitably convey my reaction to The Blind Side. At least Precious made a genuine attempt of providing insight into the “black” experience—albeit a grotesquely sensationalized one. The Blind Side, however, seems far more concerned with providing insight into the “white” experience that stems from improving the “black” experience. It’s two hours of a wholesome, wealthy, white conservative Christian family being wonderful and charming and lovable, and never once existing on any plane resembling reality. Meanwhile, the feeble black boy who they take in—”Big Mike”, as he’s called—mopes around in his loose-fitting clothes and has about as much personality as a helpless animal. His childhood traumas and current afflictions are glossed over in favor of more scenes of white people being super awesome. When those issues are momentarily explored, they’re presented from the point of view of Sandra Bullock’s character, because apparently how she feels about this is far more important than how Mike does. As a character, Mike barely exists. He is defined primarily by five things: he’s (1) big, (2) dumb, (3) sad, (4) poor, and (5) black. In other words, he is only one character trait removed from Precious; she was also a bitch. The second half of the film thankfully tones down the groan-inducing asininity with which the cultural conflicts are handled, but only does so in favor of a different kind of asininity—that of the “corny feel-good bullshit” variety. I’m not sure which I hate more.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Additional scenes. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as an interview with Michael Oher, featurettes (“Sidelines: Conversations on the Blind Side”, “Acting Coaches: Behind the Blind Side”, “The Story of Big Quinton”), and a digital copy of the film.

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

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$22.99 $24.99 $22.77
Amazon – $22.99

Not Screened

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS
A 53% on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t the most negative of rankings, but even the positive reviews paint the film as an overly safe, entirely forgettable satire. With so much raw acting talent backing the film though (George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey), I’m finding it easy to overlook that. How bad could a movie with this cast really be?
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and featurettes (“Goats Declassified: The Real Men of the First Earth Battalion”, “Project Hollywood – A Classified Report from the Set”).

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 $17.99 $15.77
Amazon – $17.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $22.99 $19.97
Amazon – $16.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free Goat Bobble Head.
Where? Best Buy.

RED CLIFF
(DVD and Blu-ray available as Theatrical and International Versions)
You’ll have to decide for yourself how you want to experience John Woo’s Chinese war epic, as its available both in its original form (two films totaling four hours) or in its condensed form (a single 2 and a half hour film). If you’re worried you’re missing out by opting for the latter, it’s worth noting that most critics responded positively to the streamlined narrative. Here’s the trailer.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: All versions include HDNet: A Look at Red Cliff, and Storyboards. Theatrical DVD – The Making of an Epic: Red Cliff, and Interview with John Woo: The Carrier’s Flight from Concept to Creation. Theatrical Blu-ray – The Making of Red Cliff: The Long Road, and A Conversation with John Woo: The Heroism and History of Red Cliff. International DVD – Includes everything on the Theatrical DVD, as well as Making Red Cliff: Trials and Tribulations. International Blu-ray – The Making of Red Cliff: The Long Road, Storyboarding Red Cliff from Script to Screen with John Woo, and A Conversation with John Woo: The Journey of Red Cliff.

BEST DVD PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 $15.99 $22.52
Amazon – $15.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $21.99 at Amazon, $23.29 at Target.

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$23.29 $19.99 N/A
Amazon – $21.49

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $25.49 at Amazon, $26.89 at Target, and $29.99 at Best Buy.

Other noteworthy DVD (and Blu-ray) releases this week…
The Prisoner (Miniseries) – The African Queen [DVD / Blu-ray] – SeraphineKrod Mandoon & the Flaming Sword of Fire – 8 Films to Die For [Dread / Kill Theory / Zombies of Mass Destruction / Reeds / The Graves / Lake Mungo / The Final / Hidden]

Noteworthy Blu-ray-specific releases this week…
Toy StoryToy Story 2Yojimbo & Sanjuro (Criterion Collection)Days of Heaven (Criterion Collection)Bigger Than Life (Criterion Collection)

The Specials
NOTES: Some deals may be in-store only. All deals are for DVDs unless otherwise noted.


Exclusive: Toy Story or Toy Story 2 Blu-ray-DVD Combo ($22.99) – Free Toy Story 3 movie ticket in each. Save $10 instantly when you buy both 1 and 2.

$16.99 – Dexter (Season 3), Supernatural (Season 4), The Mentalist (Season 1)


Exclusive: Toy Story or Toy Story 2 Blu-ray-DVD Combo ($24.99) – Save $10 instantly when you buy both 1 and 2.


Exclusive: Toy Story or Toy Story 2 Blu-ray-DVD Combo ($19.97) – Save $10 instantly when you buy both 1 and 2.

$15.99 – Blu-ray sale: Fight Club, The Wrestler, Juno, The Simpsons Movie, Horton Hears a Who, This is Spinal Tap, AVP, Marley & Me, Hitman, Max Payne, and more…

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