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.

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DUE DATE
(Blu-ray available as ‘Blu-ray only’ and ‘Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy’)
I wasn’t nearly as impressed by The Hangover as the rest of the world seemed to be, nor was I as dismayed by Due Date. In my estimation, the primary reason Todd Phillips’ latest comedy fell short of his previous effort is novelty—as much in premise as character dynamic and comedic set pieces. Given enough time, I think both films will appear similarly tired. Until then though, Due Date remains a moderately enjoyable Planes, Trains and Automobiles retread, afforded more vibrancy than it’s worth due to its affable leads. Robert Downey Jr. plays the easily irritated straight man, and Zach Galifianakis plays the eccentric, flamboyant whack-job who consistently ruins his day. There are only so many directions to take that pairing, and we’ve seen most of them play out over the course of the past 80 or so years. Due Date has little new to bring to the table. But then, it’s an ‘odd couple’ road trip comedy in 2010. How could it?
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A gag reel. 2-Disc Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as additional scenes, a complete Two and a Half Men Scene featuring Ethan Tremblay, a Due Date Action Mash-Up, and a Due Date Too Many Questions Mash-Up.

BEST DVD PRICE
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$14.99 $13.99 N/A
Amazon – $13.99

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

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $24.99 at Target, Best Buy, and Amazon.

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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.

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WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN”
The impassioned, well-meaning Waiting for “Superman” prods at an important and disconcerting issue: the failure of the American school system. But that’s all it really does. It prods and points fingers, blaming unions and funding conflicts, all the while tossing out animated statistics to highlight how severe the problem is. Interspersed between this are heart-on-sleeve stories of five families hoping to gain entry to overcrowded charter schools, the procedure for which requires public school students to take place in a lottery. It’s a deeply depressing process, and the film’s frustration is justified. So what’s the solution? Waiting for “Superman” has some half-hearted ideas about what needs to be done, but very little (if any) emphasis is placed on the importance of the parent’s role in a child’s education. If you’re looking for an introduction to an ongoing crisis that’s in desperate need of positive action, Waiting for “Superman” will suffice, but it’s strictly that.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Commentary by Director Davis Guggenheim and Producer Lesley Chilcott, Four additional inspiring teacher/student stories, Changing the Odds: A look at innovative programs that are changing public education, Public Education Updates: Changes which have taken place since the making of the film, A Conversation with Davis Guggenheim, The Future Is In Our Classrooms, and The Making of “Shine”: the film’s title track by musician John Legend.

BEST DVD PRICE
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$16.99 $16.99 N/A
Amazon – $17.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$22.99 $21.99 N/A
Amazon – $21.99

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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.

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PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2
Paranormal Activity 2 is a sequel that didn’t need to exist. But since it does, I’m glad it happens to be as good a sequel as anybody could’ve reasonably hoped for. I recognize there are those who find it far less scary than the first film, and though I can respect the reasoning from a pacing and build-up standpoint, I can’t quite fathom the logic behind it. Perhaps the problem is that I don’t have any fear of ghostly supernatural forces—especially not ones inclined to spookily open doors and occasionally thump on walls. In Paranormal Activity 2, the terror becomes real, because the family is being legitimately terrorized. And by subverting expectations of how these forces are most likely to strike, the novelty of the concept is more or less retained. Furthermore, the film manages to inventively complement the narrative of the first film by directly tying itself into it. This isn’t merely a rehash; the sequel actively enhances the mythology of the series. Then there’s the baby and dog—obvious additions, sure, but they also give the series its two most sympathetic characters, and provide the proceedings with some truly intense moments. As much as I appreciate the original’s ingenuity in the face of budgetary limitations, I think I actually like the second film more.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – Theatrical and unrated cuts of the movie, and additional scenes. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as a digital copy of the film.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$17.99 $15.99 N/A
Amazon – $15.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $23.99 $23.99
Amazon – $23.99

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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.

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LET ME IN
How you respond to Let Me In will depend almost entirely on whether or not you’ve seen the original. On a purely technical level, its craft is unquestionable. Director Matt Reeves has thoughtfully and skillfully reconstructed Let the Right One In for American audiences, maintaining the solemn mood and tender intimacy of the boy-girl relationship that made the original so heartbreakingly compelling. But that’s also the problem: the film is strictly an imitation. Save for some narrative streamlining and one astounding new set piece, this movie lacks any identity of its own. It is nearly a shot-for-shot remake, and it makes very little attempt to differentiate itself. Because of this, anyone who has seen and loved the original (as I did) will find it nearly impossible to divorce themselves from the material. Which is a shame, really, because it many ways the film is an improvement over its predecessor. Reeves managed to not only identify what worked so well in the original and recreate it with better actors, but he also found what was lacking and axed it completely. In spite of this, my loyalty to the original—or rather, originality in general—prevents me from recommending the film to the same extent that I did that film. And even if you haven’t seen Let the Right One In, I would still suggest viewing that film prior to this one. For me, it was the original’s relaxed, indie sensibilities that allowed for the film’s now-iconic moments to resonate so vividly, bringing an unexpectedness to the brief yet startlingly effective action beats. Moreover, the shots themselves were decidedly more quiet and restrained, which in turn made them all the more haunting. Had I seen Let Me In first, I am doubtful that the film would’ve struck a chord with me in the same way Let the Right One In did.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – An audio commentary with director Matt Reeves, featurettes (“From The Inside: A Look at the Making of Let Me In”, “The Art of Special Effects”), unrated deleted scenes, and a Car Crash Sequence Step-by-Step. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as a Dissecting Let Me In feature, and a digital copy of the film.

BEST DVD PRICE
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$17.99 $13.99 N/A
Amazon – $13.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $19.99 $19.95
Amazon – $19.99

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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.

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ENTER THE VOID
Enter the Void is unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced. It’s a one-of-a-kind work of stunning ambition and passion—a psychedelic trip through one man’s drug-fueled perception of his life, his death, his afterlife, and his rebirth. This is not a film to be taken lightly. From its dizzying, techno-charged opening credits onward, it assaults the senses, immersing you (whether you like it or not) into a soulless abyss of life-altering despair, vacuous sex, vibrant neon cityscapes, and obsessive existential desires. For many, it will be a confounding, interminable bore, so indulgent in its own sensual kineticism that it fails to conjure up a satisfying, coherent narrative. Such a reaction is understandable, but with the current antiquated need for the same strict storytelling structure in every film, Gaspar Noé’s soaring, perspective-bending journey through an ethereal Tokyo dreamscape marks exactly the sort of unrestrained madness that today’s jaded moviegoers should be celebrating. It isn’t just the greatest visual achievement since 2001: A Space Odyssey—it’s one of the greatest achievements in cinema, period.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Deleted scenes, VFX, Vortex, DMT, Posters, and Teasers/Trailers/US Trailer/Unused Trailers.

DVD PRICE
Amazon – $14.99

BLU-RAY PRICE
Amazon – $21.99

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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.

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BURIED
Buried is everything that a single-location thriller about a man trapped in a coffin possibly could’ve been. It is economic, minimalist filmmaking at its finest. Where other filmmakers might look to this sort of concept to ease the burden of budgetary restrictions, director Rodrigo Cortés takes the opposite approach, employing the most challenging—and creatively satisfying—use of negative space, close-ups, alternating hues, and whirling camera movements at his disposal, all of which skillfully coalesce to deliver a constant sense of discomfort, dread, anxiety and claustrophobia. As the oxygen level and cell phone battery life depletes, the tension continues to increase, the viewer never granted a moment’s rest from being stuck in that coffin right alongside Ryan Reynolds. By the end, you start to hope that he’ll just claw his way out, if only to free yourself. Not the most pleasant of experiences, admittedly, but coupled with Reynold’s charismatic screen presence and a script that knows how to build and maintain intrigue, it’s a smart, exciting and thrilling one. Buy it, and share it with your friends.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Includes both DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film, as well as a “Unearthing Buried: The Making of Buried” featurette.

BEST DVD/BLU-RAY PRICE
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N/A $18.99 N/A
Amazon – $19.99

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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.

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THE SOCIAL NETWORK
Each year, there are always a select number of standout films that astound through their remarkable craftsmanship. More rare, meanwhile, are the films that achieve this while also providing prescient insight into our evolving culture. The Social Network is the latter. While film may not have seemed like the medium best suited to communicate how the internet has altered the world, the dynamite pairing of director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin transforms the topic into a fiercely entertaining, cinematically rich experience. Never before has the use of computers in film been so thrilling without needing to abandon total authenticity. And for all its rhythmically-charged dialogue sparring sessions set to Trent Reznor’s electric score, the film never loses sight of the big picture, chronicling a change not just in the way we conduct business, but in the way we build relationships and interact with one another. Delving deeper into the themes of the film requires more than a brief paragraph will allow—hence my review of the film, in which I awarded the film a 10/10 rating—so for the sake of brevity, I’ll be blunt: The Social Network is a fucking masterpiece. For a movie that once so casually dismissed as “the Facebook movie”—and I’m as guilty of that as anyone—it’s amazing to see what a powerhouse work of cinema ultimately resulted. My #1 movie of 2010.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A commentary with director David Fincher, and a second commentary with Writer Aaron Sorkin & The Cast. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as the commentaries, along with a feature length documentary (“How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?”), featurettes (“Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter and Ren Klyce on Post”, “Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and David Fincher on the Score”, “In the Hall of the Mountain King: Reznor’s First Draft”, “Swarmatron”, “Jeff Cronenweth and David Fincher on the Visuals”), and a Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown feature.

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

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 $16.99 $21.99
Amazon – $16.99

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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.

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CATFISH
Good narrative-driven documentaries are hard to come by, for reasons that should be fairly obvious. It’s one thing to be a talented filmmaker; it’s another entirely to be lucky one. If we’re meant to believe that Catfish is 100% authentic—and we are—then directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are the luckiest talented filmmakers in the world. Because the story featured here is unbelievably perfect. (Keyword being “unbelievably”.) To what extent Catfish is real or staged remains unclear, but thematically, it would be awfully fitting if it were all a ruse. Just as the troubling and deeply compelling Facebook-enabled internet relationship that unfolds over the course of the film proves itself too good to be true, so too it seems is the reality that these filmmakers are presenting to us. And that, in many ways, is what the film is all about: the steadily blurring line between reality and fiction. There’s a whole lot more to it than that, certainly, but delving into other aspects of the film would require spoiling plot details that I dare not give away. So I’ll just say this: Real or fake, it doesn’t matter. This is a story that’s timely, meaningful, and incredibly well told. It deserves to be seen and discussed.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Secrets Revealed: Exclusive Interview with the Filmmakers.

DVD PRICE
Amazon – $18.99

BLU-RAY PRICE
Amazon – $27.99

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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.

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ARCHER (SEASON 1)
Much like its FX counterpart, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer is a show about horrible people doing horrible things. Premised as a ’60s spy thriller spoof, the series adopts the same irreverent brand of humor we’ve come to expect from creator Adam Reed (Frisky Dingo, Sealab 2021), thrusting our deviant band of self-obsessed special agents through the ringer as they spout fiercely clever/cleverly stupid insults at one another and zanily stumble through mission after mission—with varying degrees of blood loss. It’s everything loyal fans like myself came to love about Frisky Dingo, just with a tad bit more (very welcome) narrative structure. If you aren’t watching it, you should be.
Available on Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Original Unaired Pilot, Unaired Network Promo, The Making Of Archer (3D, Animation, Art Direction, Backgrounds, Illustration, Storyboards), deleted scenes, and pilot episodes for “Louie” and “The League”.

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
N/A $22.99 N/A
Amazon – $19.99

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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.

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SALT
Salt barrels forward at a relentless pace, and stops only for the most perfunctory of emotional beats. You know they’re emotional beats because somber music plays in the background while characters gaze longingly at each other. 30 seconds of that, and it’s back to more running, car hopping and violently-inflicted bodily injury. None of the action is especially impressive or inspired, but what it lacks in polish it makes up for in sheer volume. The mystery of Evelyn Salt is meant to keep the audience on their toes as the action unfolds, but it’s all so ludicrous and predictable; if there is a compelling mystery at the core of Salt, it’s learning just how much casual ass-kickery it can fit into a 100 minute package.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A filmmakers’ commentary, an unrated filmmakers’ commentary, an unrated extended filmmakers’ commentary, 2 featurettes (“The Ultimate Female Action Hero”, “Spy Disguise: The Looks of Evelyn Salt”), and “The Treatment” Radio Interview with Phillip Noyce. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as a Spy Cam: Picture-in-Picture function, and additional featurettes (“The Real Agents”, “The Modern Master of the Political Thriller: Phillip Noyce”, “False Identity: Creating A New Reality”).

BEST DVD PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99 N/A
Amazon – $15.99

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

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