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.

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

CHANGELING
While the reviews weren’t necessarily negative, the Clint Eastwood-directed Changeling opened to a surprisingly middling response, apparently falling prey to silliness and convention far too often. It was enough, however, to earn Angelina Jolie a nomination for Best Actress, despite claims by many critics that her performance detracted from the film more than enhanced it. To that I simply say, “…I WANT MY SON BACK!!”
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: 2 featurettes (Partners in Crime: Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie, The Common Thread: Angelina Jolie Becomes Christine Collins).

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

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Save $5 when you buy Changeling and Flash of Genius.
Where? Best Buy.

RELIGULOUS
A flawed but thoroughly engaging and entertaining examination of religions across the globe, Religulous is much more successful as a comedy than it is a documentary. With the final moments culminating in an ultimatum of sorts for the abolition of religion, it’s clear that Bill Maher was intending to do a lot more than provide atheists with an hour and a half of hearty chuckles, but with the blatantly deceptive editing and deliberately ignorant interviewee selection, the movie fails to adequately balance humor and insight.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Commentary with Bill Maher and director Larry Charles, and deleted scenes/monologues from around the world.

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

QUARANTINE
I’m amazed this movie got as decent reviews as it did. I remember seeing the trailer before its release and thinking it looked laughably bad. Granted, I may have been biased against it, since it’s a hugely unnecessary Hollywood remake coming out only a couple of years after the highly praised Spanish original (entitled [Rec]), and it stars Jennifer Carpenter, who I’ve come to loathe after enduring season after season of her as the annoying sister in Dexter. But it looks like I may have been wrong about this one, so I’ll check out in the next couple of weeks and report back with my thoughts on the /Filmcast.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Commentary with writer/director John Erick Dowdle and writer/producer Drew Dowdle, and 3 featurettes (Locked In: The Making-of Quarantine, Anatomy of a Stunt, Dressing the Infected: Make-Up Design).

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 $16.99
Amazon – $19.99

THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
I wonder if this movie would’ve been more successful if it didn’t have a title better suited for a lousy porno. The story (adapted from the short story by Clive Barker) is certainly interesting enough, following a struggling photographer who’s looking to capture a darker side of humanity and subsequently finds himself on the path of a serial killer, and the reviews have been very positive. Considering all the word of mouth I’ve heard about the project, I can almost guarantee this one will go down as a cult classic.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: A making-of featurette, a World of Clive Barker featurette, and a Mahogany’s Bag feature.

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

FLASH OF GENIUS
This classic David-and-Goliath tale has a man (played by Greg Kinnear) battling it out with a major corporation who stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper. If the subject matter sounds a little dry, it’s because it is. But even though you may have seen this type of story many times before (and done a lot better), it’s still said to be a satisfactory entry in the genre.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Commentary with director Marc Abraham, and deleted scenes.

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

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Save $5 when you buy Changeling and Flash of Genius.
Where? Best Buy.

DEAD LIKE ME: LIFE AFTER DEATH
As a devoted fan of Showtime’s now-cancelled Dead Like Me series (which follows a teenage girl who dies and becomes a grim reaper), I feel both excitement and skepticism towards this straight-to-DVD follow-up movie. On the one hand, the show never received the ending it deserved, and this movie could be a great way to tie up loose ends. On the other hand, the absence of actor Mandy Patinkin cannot be ignored, as he was one of the main highlights of the original show. It could go either way, really. I’ll be checking out the movie this week and report back with my thoughts on next week’s /Filmcast.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Audio commentary from Ellen Muth and director Stephen Herek, and a “Back From The Dead: Resurrecting Dead Like Me” featurette.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99
Amazon – $18.99

Skip It

BODY OF LIES
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Edition)
I saw this movie little over four months ago and already I’m struggling to remember anything about it. If it weren’t for the strong performances by actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe and Mark Strong, there would be absolutely no reason to see it. It’s an espionage thriller that as conventional as it is uninvolving. We’ve come to expect so much better from Ridley Scott.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The single-disc has no extras. The two disc includes an audio commentary with director Ridley Scott, screenwriter William Monahan, and author David Ignatius, an “Actionable Intelligence: Deconstructing Body of Lies” documentary, deleted scenes, and a digital copy of the film.

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

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

HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE
As sad as it is to say, Simon Pegg’s first foray into mainstream Hollywood cinema wasn’t nearly as successful as Ricky Gervais’, both financially and critically; and considering that Ghost Town basically bombed at the box office, that’s really saying something. There was so much potential for a great satire here, but despite Pegg’s best efforts, it’s a mostly unfunny and sitcom-ish affair.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Audio commentaries with director Robert Weide and star Simon Pegg, and a making of featurette.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
N/A $19.99 $16.99
Amazon – $19.99

CHOKE
If you’ve never read Chuck Palahniuk’s excellent book, then it’s very possible that you’ll find a lot of enjoyment in Choke. For those who have though, watching the film is a constant struggle of trying to figure out why somebody with such a poor grasp on the source material would go to so much effort to have it adapted for the big screen. If you’re interested in hearing a more in-depth discussion of the film, check out this episode of the /Filmcast.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: An audio commentary with writer/director Clark Gregg and Sam Rockwell, 5 deleted scenes, a conversation with Clark Gregg and Chuck Palahniuk, featurettes (My Name is Victor and I’m a Sex Addict, A Mother’s Love, From the Los Angeles Film Festival, Fox Movie Channel Presents: Casting Session), and a gag reel.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.49 $19.99 N/A
Amazon – $19.49

HOUNDDOG
There are some things in life I simply have no interest in seeing; a movie in which Dakota Fanning gets raped is one of them. Perhaps a scene like this could be justified if it was an essential part of a greater whole, but the reviews make it fairly clear that this is not the case. Pass.
Blu-ray? Will be released February 24, 2009.
Notable Extras: N/A.

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

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Extended Edition)
Call me crazy, but if we ever face the apocalypse, I firmly believe the High School Musical series will have played a major part in it. Even if it doesn’t though, it’s still an awful franchise, as is everything that’s originated from the Disney Channel in the past five or so years. If I ever have kids, I’m going to make sure that channel is blocked, so they never have to endure its insufferable attempts to dumb down today’s youths.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The single-disc release will include the theatrical cut of the film, along with a Cast Goodbyes featurette. The 2-disc will include an extended cut of the film, as well as a Sing Along Feature, deleted scenes, featurettes (Cast Goodbyes, It’s All in the Dress, Night of Nights), bloopers, and a digital copy of the film.

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

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (but only $19.99 at Amazon).

Other noteworthy DVDs available this week…
I Served the King of EnglandStill Waiting…Feast III: The Happy FinishDead Like Me (The Complete Collection)Law & Order: SVU (The Eighth Year)The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (Season 1, Vol. 1)

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


$6.99 – The Graduate, Ben-Hur, West Side Story, Titanic, Lawrence of Arabia, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Shakespeare in Love, Dances with Wolves, The Godfather, A History of Violence, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Blood Dimaond, Fracture, Beowulf, Green Street Hooligans, Blow, Point Break (Pure Adrenaline Edition), Harsh Times

$9.99 – Wall Street (20th Anniversary Edition), Pulp Fiction (Collector’s Edition), Braveheart (Special Collector’s Edition), Casablanca, Chariots of Fire (2-Disc Special Edition), The English Patient, Gandhi (25th Anniversary), The Sound of Music (20th Anniversary Edition)

$3.99 – American Psycho (Killer Collector’s Edition), Crash, Crank, Kids, Saw IV, The Last Unicorn (20th Anniversary Edition), and more…

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