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.

Rent It

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED
The Disappearance of Alice Creed opens with two men prepping for what we can only assume—given the title of the film (despite any revelations about its meaning that may come later)—is a kidnapping. We assume correctly. They pull a girl into a van, tie her to a bed, strip her of all her clothes, snap photos of her, and put new clothes on her. All of this takes places without any dialogue, or any understanding of who these people are, how they know each other, or what their motivations are. The less you know about what happens from that point forward, the better. This is the sort of assured, smartly crafted thriller that puts filmmakers on the map. I’m not sure how it will play on repeat viewings, when it no longer has its clever plot turns to bolster it, but in any case it deserves to be seen. The amount of tension writer/director J Blakeson generates with just three actors and one location is pretty remarkable, especially for a first-time director. His actors are equally deserving of credit; the film asks a lot of them, relying heavily on the interplay between the characters, and they rise to the challenge admirably. It’s unfortunate that the movie didn’t get the US theatrical release it deserved, but consider yourself lucky; now you have the privilege of experiencing it free from spoilers, the way it was meant to be seen.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Commentary with writer/director J Blakeson, Deleted Scene, Extended Scene, Outtakes, and a Storyboard Comparison.

DVD PRICE
Amazon – $21.99

BLU-RAY PRICE
Amazon – $25.99

I’M STILL HERE
What were Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck attempting to achieve with the ruse that was I’m Still Here, their “documentary” that follows Phoenix’s life after he announced he would be retiring from acting to pursue a career in hip hop? In Phoenix’s own words, they wanted to make a film that “explored celebrity, and explored the relationship between the media and the consumers and the celebrities themselves”. How successfully the film achieves that goal is up for debate—I would contend not particularly well—but there’s no denying that it’s one hell of an acting showcase for Joaquin. I admire the picture greatly, partially because of the dedication that went into it, and partially because the character that Joaquin creates is perversely fascinating to watch. It’s hard to recommend it as a mockumentary, however, since in trying so hard to depict a documented reality of one man’s psychological collapse, Affleck and Phoenix opted for a ‘home movie’ feel that’s clumsy and ultimately limits what they can accomplish narratively. In comparison, other recent factually questionable “documentaries” like Catfish and Exit Through the Gift Shop have been far more cinematically and narratively satisfying.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Commentary with Casey Affleck, a second commentary with Casey Affleck, Joaquin Phoenix and cast and crew, and over 90 minutes of deleted scenes.

DVD PRICE
Amazon – $24.49

BLU-RAY PRICE
Amazon – $23.49

FLIPPED
There’s a reason some stories originate in the mediums they do; it’s because they’re specifically suited to the strengths of that medium. I haven’t read Flipped, the book on which Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age adolescent rom-com is based, but can already say with certainty that this is one of those cases. It’s a pleasant enough film, if a little too sentimental in its feel good ode to innocence and nostalgia, but its biggest setback is the conceit that ties the whole film together. The film takes places from two continually alternating perspectives, showing both sides of a relationship between a boy and a girl. It’s an interesting device for about ten minutes, but it quickly loses its novelty, and ultimately amounts to one interminable voice over where every scene is spent with the characters explaining either how they’re feeling or what’s happening onscreen. You know, the exact things you’re not supposed to do in movies.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Flipped: Anatomy of a Near Kiss featurette. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as The Differences Between a Boy and a Girl: The he said/she said lowdown between stars Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe, Embarrassing Egg-scuses: Madeline teaches raising chickens and hatching the perfect egg, and How to Make the Best Volcano.

DVD PRICE
Amazon – $19.99

BLU-RAY PRICE
Amazon – $25.99

Skip It

THE EXPENDABLES
It was a good idea, rounding up a massive ensemble of burly action stars in a bid to reclaim the ’80s. But that’s all The Expendables is: a good idea. Its appeal lies in the premise, not the actual movie. The film itself is a waste of limitless potential, sloppily cobbled together and barely paying off anything it promises. Strangely, most of the film is spent with no more than two or three characters together in a scene, but that’s less a complaint than a peculiarity; the characters aren’t engaging enough to care about how much screen time they have. The primary function of the cast is to show up briefly in a scene or two early on, slyly reference their real-life persona, and then show up again at the end and engage in mindless carnage—which might be more fun were the first two parts not handled so poorly. Supposedly they’re all badasses, but the characters spend more time commenting on each other’s badass-ness than proving it. Maybe it’s assumed. In any case, they’re boring characters, and the story they’re thrust into is a slog. I realize its paying tribute to the old-school action blockbusters of ’80s and early ’90s, but the film makes no attempt to play on the plot contrivances of its genre; it merely aims to recreate them, in all their dull, lazily scripted glory. Is it worth a 120 minute investment for 20 minutes worth of excessive violence and over-the-top, explosion-laden action? Your call.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Commentary with Sylvester Stallone, a “Before the Battle” Making-of Featurette, a deleted scene, and a gag reel. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as Inferno: The Making of The Expendables documentary, 2 additional featurettes (“From the Ashes: Postproduction and Release”, “Comic-Con 2010 Panel”), and a digital copy of the film.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$13 $16.99 N/A
Amazon – $12.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $19.99 $24.99
Amazon – $19.99

Not Screened

EAT PRAY LOVE
This movie is practically begging to be adored by its target audience. “Look at me!” it seems to be saying. “I’m everything that matters to you, incarnated in film form. Romance! Spirituality! Food! Julia Roberts!” In other words, it’s the middle-aged female equivalent of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, except with none of the satirical self-awareness and cultural self-deprecation. Critics weren’t impressed.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Includes both Director’s cut and theatrical versions of the film, and A Ryan Murphy’s Journey with Eat Pray Love featurette. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as a Better Days Music Video, and 3 additional featurettes (“The Beginning of the Journey”, “Praying in India”, “Finding Balance”).

DVD PRICE
Amazon – $16.99

BLU-RAY PRICE
Amazon – $19.99

Other noteworthy DVD (and Blu-ray) releases this week…
Countdown to Zero [DVD / Blu-ray] – The Winning Season

Noteworthy Blu-ray-specific releases this week…
America Lost and Found: The BBS Story (The Criterion Collection)Deadwood (The Complete Series)

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

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Prices effective Friday, Nov. 26 – Saturday, Nov. 27.

$1.99 – Casino Royale, Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Punky Brewster
$5.99 – 500 Days of Summer, The Hangover, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Julie & Julia, It’s Complicated, and more…
$13 – Toy Story 3, Grown Ups

$9.99 – Weeds (Season 1 – 5), Friends (Season 1 – 10), The Simpsons (Season 1 – 5), Sex and the City (Season 1 – 6)
$12.99 – The Simpsons (Season 6 – 12, 20), The Office (Season 2 – 5), The Big Bang Theory (Season 1 – 3), and more…

$7.99 – Blu-ray sale: The Lord of the Rings, Taken, Wanted, Gran Torino
$12.99 – Blu-ray sale: Inglourious Basterds, Clash of the Titans, The Hangover, Zombieland

PRE-BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Prices effective until Wednesday, Nov. 24.

$14.99 – Heroes (Season 3), The Office (Season 5), House (Season 5), Battlestar Galactica (Season 4.5)
$16.99 – The Shield (Season 6), Rescue Me (Season 6)

$7.99 – Blu-ray sale: Planet Hulk, 3:10 to Yuma
$12.99 – Blu-ray sale: Zombieland, Hot Tub Time Machine, She’s Out of My League, and more…
$14.99 – Blu-ray sale: Get Him to the Greek, The Hurt Locker, MacGruber, Green Zone, The Wolfman, and more…
$17.99 – Blu-ray sale: How to Train Your Dragon

$3.49 – Final Destination 3, Jaws 3
$9.99 – Green Zone, The Wolfman, MacGruber, The Hurt Locker, Get Him to the Greek, Zombieland, Hot Tub Time Machine, She’s Out of My League, and more…

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Prices effective Thursday, Nov. 25 – Saturday, Nov. 27.

$3.99 – American Gangster, Drag Me to Hell, The Last Stand, Super Troopers, Observe & Report, The International, My Sisters Keeper, Year One, A Perfect Getaway

$9.99 – Entourage (Season 1 – 6), Eastbound and Down (Season 1), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season 1 – 4)
$9.99 DVDs or $9.99 Blu-rays – Weeds (Season 1 – 5), Mad Men (Season 1 – 3)
$14.99 – Dexter (Season 1 – 3), True Blood (Season 1), The Big Bang Theory (Season 1 – 3)
$19.99 – Spartacus: Blood and Sand (Season 1), Modern Family (Season 1)

$7.99 – Blu-ray sale: I Am Legend, The Departed, Hancock, The Crazies, Superbad, The Wrestler, Law Abiding Citizen, Gran Torino, Whiteout, Big Daddy, Brooklyn’s Finest, Watchmen, V For Vendetta
$12.99 – Blu-ray sale: The Hangover, The Book of Eli, The Blind Side, Clash of the Titans, District 9, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Couples Retreat, Funny People, 2012
$5.99 DVDs or $9.99 Blu-rays – The Killers, Kick-Ass, Legion, The Boondock Saints II, From Paris with Love, Public Enemies, Role Models, Taken, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Daybreakers

PRE-BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Prices effective until Wednesday, Nov. 24.

$14.99 – Blu-ray sale: The Last of the Mohicans, Ip Man, The Peacemaker, Leaves of Grass, Romeo + Juliet, My Cousin Vinny, M*A*S*H, The Day After Tomorrow/I, Robot/The Terminator (3-Pack), Jumper/The Transporter/Transporter 2 (3-Pack), There’s Something About Mary/What Happened in Vegas/The Girl Next Door (3-Pack), Juno/27 Dresses/The Devil Wears Prada (3-Pack)

$4.99 – The Abyss, Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard 3, Alien3, Alien Resurrection, AVP: Alien vs. Predator, AVP: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem
$9.99 – Hot Tub Time Machine, and more…

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Prices effective Friday, Nov. 26 – Saturday, Nov. 27.

$8.77 – Blu-ray sale: 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Aviator, Beerfest, Blazing Saddles, Blow, Bullitt, Constantine, Corpse Bride, Dark City, The Fountain, The Getaway, Gothika, A History of Violence, In the Valley of Elah, Michael Clayton, Mongol, Music and Lyrics, Ocean’s Eleven, The Omega Man, Otis, The Pelican Brief, The Perfect Storm, Rest Stop, Rest Stop: Don’t Look Back, Risky Business, Rumor Has It, Run Fat Boy Run, A Scanner Darkly, Scooby Doo: The Movie, The Searchers, Sublime, Swordfish, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, A Time To Kill, Under Siege, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, V for Vendetta, Wedding Crashers, The Wicker Man, Wyatt Earp, and more…

$12.77 – Blu-ray sale: 2010: The Year We Make Contact, 10,000 B.C., Above the Law, American History X, The Ant Bully, Any Given Sunday, Appaloosa, Batman Begins, Be Kind Rewind, Body of Lies, The Brave One, The Bucket List, A Clockwork Orange, Collateral Damage, Creepshow, Dead Calm, Domino, Dumb and Dumber, Enter the Dragon, Eraser, Final Destination, Firewall, Freddy vs. Jason, The Fugitive, Get Smart, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo, The Invasion, John Q, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, L.A. Confidential, Lady in the Water, The Mask, The New World, Ocean’s Twelve, Over the Top, Point of No Return, The Postman, Pride and Glory, Return to House on Haunted Hill, The Road Warrior, Rock’n Rolla, Sex and the City: The Movie, Snakes on a Plane, Speed Racer, Sphere, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Taking Lives, Tango & Cash, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Twister, The Wedding Singer, The Wild Bunch, and more…

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