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

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (SEASON 4)
While just about every other sitcom today is either suffering from total creative bankruptcy or striving as hard as possible to steer away from the accepted sitcom format, How I Met Your Mother somehow manages to retain the style of the latter while not at all being subjected to the former. It’s a show that I fully expected to loathe upon my initial viewing of it (A laugh track? What is this, the Middle Ages?), only to find myself slowly taken in by its clever writing, recurring gags, and a hilarious cast of characters (with the two highlights of course being Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel). This winning combo continues throughout Season 4. From a storytelling perspective, the season stumbles a bit, but frankly, that’s never been the selling point of the show. This series has always succeeded on the basis of individual episodes, and in that regard, this season doesn’t disappoint.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Audio commentaries on four episodes, “Barney Stinson: That Guy’s Awesome” Music Video, Eriksen’s Fight Club, and Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Panel Discussion.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $27.99 $23.99
Amazon – $24.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$32.99 $34.99 $33.77
Amazon – $32.99

Rent It

MONSTERS VS. ALIENS
(Available as single-disc and Double DVD Pack w/ BOB’s Big Break in 3D)
Seeing Monsters vs. Aliens in theaters was just as much about the experience of watching it in IMAX 3D as it was the film itself; perhaps more so. The movie never even attempts to rival the likes of Pixar, and is clearly content with being a fun, silly, light-hearted, gag-filled throwback to ’50s creature features. Separated from both the massive screen and 3D capabilities though, there’s decidedly less to recommend to anyone who isn’t a kid. If the weaknesses of the film were readily apparent before, here they become unavoidable. No longer can you ignore a joke that falls flat simply by admiring the visual splendor. This might not sound like a huge issue, but considering what a huge part the IMAX 3D played in making the action sequences as spectacular as they were, and how forced some of the film’s humor can be, the home video release of Monsters vs. Aliens is a give-and-take offering that’s a little more ‘take’ than ‘give’.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, and featurettes (“The Tech of Monsters vs Aliens”, “Modern Monster Movie Making”). Blu-ray – Everything on the DVD, as well as BOB’s Big Break in 3D.

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

*Does not include Double DVD Pack, which costs $19.99 at Best Buy, and $22.99 at Target and Fry’s (and $19.99 on Amazon).

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $25.99 $22.77
Amazon – $22.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Blu-ray and DVD combo pack ($24.99).
Where? Target.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free BOB plush monster with purchase of either Double DVD Pack or Blu-ray.
Where? Best Buy.

AWAY WE GO
The trailer and poster may scream, “I’m an indie comedy, damn it!” but the actual film may be better described as a young couple trapped in an indie comedy. Following parents-to-be played by John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, both actors share a wonderful chemistry as they head across the U.S. in hopes of finding a place they can call home. Along the way though, they’re forced to deal with the insanity of various dysfunctional relatives and friends, which is obviously where the typical indie quirkiness comes into play. Krasinski’s and Rudolph’s characters, meanwhile, are fully sane and rational. This distinction makes for an interesting dynamic, and adds a layer of believability and level-headedness to the proceedings not often seen in ‘quirky indie films’. After all, what better way to find out what kind of parent you want to be than to use the craziness of others as an example of what not to do? While Away We Go may feel a little too familiar, director Sam Mendes’ perfect balancing of genuinely funny comedy and smart, heartfelt drama make it a must watch, even if only once.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – A commentary with director Sam Mendes and writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, and 2 featurettes (“The Making of Away We Go”, “Green Filmmaking”).

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $17.99 $21.99
Amazon – $16.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
N/A $25.99 $29.99
Amazon – $25.99

THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE
It’s hard to know what to make of Steven Soderbergh’s experimental films. Should we look at them as the film equivalent of B-sides to his more polished efforts? Are we meant to judge them as we would other films, or view them merely as personal projects that have been made publicly available? Whatever the case may be, it won’t change the fact that The Girlfriend Experience isn’t likely to appeal to most viewers. It’s a film with a very limited structural scope, although thematically it has a lot on its mind. Soderbergh implements a hyper-realistic style for the film, with dialogue that sounds like actual conversations you might overhear, and beautiful cinematography that evokes a feeling of distance and even voyeurism. The point of the film, it seems, is to convey these ideas about the business of intimacy, and the desire for sexual satisfaction coming second to being listened to and feeling appreciated and close to someone. The problem with it though, is that it’s just not particularly engaging, nor is it satisfying from a story or character perspective. If you’re looking for a movie with a plot, look elsewhere.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Includes an unrated alternate cut of the film, plus an audio commentary with director Steven Soderbergh and actor Sasha Grey, and a HDNet: A Look at The Girlfriend Experience featurette.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$21.69 $24.99 $24.99
Amazon – $21.49

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$26.99 $29.99 $28.99
Amazon – $23.99

MANAGEMENT
If you had a one-time fling with someone you had just met while on a business trip, and the next day they traveled across the country to meet you at your place of work, would you: (a) call the cops, (b) mace them, (c) file a restraining order, or (d) invite them to stay the night at your house. Apparently, the answer is (d). That’s the fundamental flaw in Management, an amusing but uneven and forgettable stalker rom-com. What holds the film together is the lead performance by Steve Zahn, who is instantly likable and awkwardly charming in a role that might’ve otherwise been creepy and weird. Jennifer Aniston also provides solid supporting work, despite not getting enough time to develop her character. Management may have its fair share of problems, but it’s a perfectly watchable effort from a first-time writer/director.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Audio commentary with director Stephen Belber and star Steve Zahn, deleted scenes and gag reel.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$22.49 $19.99 N/A
Amazon – $19.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$28.19 $34.99 N/A
Amazon – $22.99

Other noteworthy DVD (and Blu-ray) releases this week…
Shrink – Superman/Batman: Public Enemies [DVD / Blu-ray] – The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary) [2-Disc Special Edition DVD / Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD / Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray] – The Unit (Season 4)Life on Mars (The Complete Series)Kings (The Complete Series)

Other noteworthy Blu-ray-specific releases this week…
LabyrinthThe Dark Crystal

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


Exclusive: Gremlins on Blu-ray ($22.99) and Blu-ray version ($34.99) of the 2-Disc Special Edition for The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary).

Exclusive: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies includes exclusive bonus disc.


Exclusive: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies includes exclusive Batman figurine.

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