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 lackluster box office performance of Youth in Revolt does not bode well for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Has the world had their fill of Michael Cera? Perhaps so, and though I understand the accusations lobbied against him—that he has no real acting skill, and has conveniently fashioned a career out of playing himself in every movie—I respectfully disagree. Very few actors have as brilliant of comedic timing as Cera, and even fewer are quite so capable at projecting the awkward social anxieties of the introverted mind. The reason he’s been typecast is because he looks and sounds like Michael Cera, and when you look and sound like Michael Cera, there isn’t much variation in the sorts of roles for which Hollywood thinks you’re suited. With Youth in Revolt, Cera continues his trend of playing meek, soft-spoken adolescents who are awkward and in love, but the familiarity is contrasted nicely with the mustachioed, sociopathic supplementary persona known as Francois Dillinger, which is a role unlike any that Cera has played. It may surprise many to discover how much control he has over his performance, (hopefully) settling the debate about his acting ability once and for all. The film itself is quite good, too, and riotously funny. Though the storyline is distinctly episodic, there’s an old school charm to the way it unfolds, and the emphasis on smart, urbane dialogue to convey much of the humor is refreshing. Even if the comic episodes are nothing you haven’t seen before, the writing and performances—including a terrific supporting cast that includes Zach Galifianakis, Ray Liotta, Fred Willard, Steve Buscemi, and Justin Long—keep the material feeling fresh. Director Miguel Arteta ups the indie quirk factor a little too aggressively with a variety of animated segues, but the movie is consistently hilarious enough that they never become much of a concern. As of now, it’s a definite comedic highlight of 2010.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Commentary with director and Michael Cera, deleted scenes, deleted/extended animated sequences, and audition footage.

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 $17.99 N/A
Amazon – $16.49

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$24.99 $24.99 N/A
Amazon – $19.99

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When the claymation film Mary and Max premiered at Sundance in January, it was met with great acclaim. (It’s currently at 95% at Rottentomatoes.)  The film marks the feature debut of Adam Elliot, who won an Oscar with his short film Harvie Krumpet. It tells the story of an unlikely friendship. Mary is a young Australian girl with no friends. She becomes penpals with Max, an aging and obese man from New York who has a great number of neurosis and insecurities. The film’s style is a bit visually goofy but also touching and surprisingly effective. There’s a new trailer for the film, which is now available On Demand; watch it after the break. Read More »

Must Watch: Mary and Max Movie Trailer

Mary and Max was the first film I screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and it ended up being one of my favorites. A truly indie clay-animated definitely not-for-children story of a pen pal relationship between a Mary Dinkle (Toni Collette), a chubby, lonely 8-year-old living in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia; and Max Horovitz (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a severely obese, 44-year-old Jewish man with Asperger’s Syndrome living in the chaos of New York City. Check out the trailer after the jump thanks to our friends at Collider. I highly recommend it.
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Sundance Review: Mary and Max

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Note: I’ve included a video review of the film above for anyone inclined to watch. It features the usual crew of guests: Alex from FirstShowing, Scott from WeAreMovieGeeks, and Neil from FilmSchoolRejects.

I’ll admit it. I wasn’t really looking forward to the 2009 Sundance Film Festival opening night film Mary and Max. Rarely do I become involved in many animated features produced outside of the Pixar campus, and claymation has never really been my thing. But Mary and Max was something magical. It is the perfect film to start off the festival, because it is everything that Sundance would like to stand for. It’s handcrafted and so very unique that it would have been impossible for any studio and Hollywood to produce anything like it. They wouldn’t have the guts.

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Mary and Max to Open 25th Sundance Film Festival

The opening night film at the Sundance Film Festival is usually a film which might otherwise be overlooked in the extensive festival line-up. For some years this has meant a documentary, and for others this has meant into a not easily categorized genre-mash like In Bruges.

This year’s film is a feature-length clay animated film starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette. And while at first glance, this year’s selection seems a bit odd, it’s the perfect representation of what Sundance is all about. In a day of computer animation and 3D films, the clay animated feature film is now the Hollywood outcast.

Academy Award-winning short filmmaker Adam Elliot makes his directorial debut with Mary and Max, a story based on the director’s own pen-friendship, which lasted over twenty years. Mary and Max is the tale of two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. Read the full press release after the jump.
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