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 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.

Buy It

Generally this is where I’d try to convince you that the DVD at hand is worth buying. But given that in this particular case the movie is Slumdog Millionaire, I fail to see the point. Between the constant praise we’ve lavished on the film over the past 5 months on the /Filmcast, the almost unparalleled critical and audience acclaim its received, and the numerous awards its won at the Golden Globes and the Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Director), there’s no excuse for not having seen it (or at the very least, having plans to rent it ASAP). Considering that Danny Boyle’s previous film (the terrific Sunshine) went almost completely overlooked in 2007, it fills me with great joy to see him hitting people’s radars in such a substantial way this soon afterwards.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Commentary by director Danny Boyle and actor Dev Patel, commentary by writer Simon Beaufoy and producer Christian Colson, a ‘Slumdog Dreams: Danny Boyle & The Making of Slumdog Millionaire’ featurette, 12 deleted scenes, and a ‘Slumdog Cutdown’ feature.

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$15.99 $16.99 $19.99
Amazon – $16.99

What? Exclusive Script.
Where? Target.

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In this episode of the /Filmcast, Dave, Devindra, and Adam lament the removal of Stephen Chow from The Green Hornet, discuss whether or not a Schwarzenneger cameo would be a good idea for Terminator Salvation, and evaluate the early movie careers of Seth Gordon and Frank Miller. Special guests Erik Davis and William Goss join us from Cinematical.

Join us next Monday night at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST as your favorite film podcast runs down their top films of 2008 and reviews The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

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Post contains spoilers

Want to be seen as an even more exceptional Samaritan than Will Smith‘s pained character in Seven Pounds? Look up the start times for the film at your local cineplex, show up at one or more screenings anytime before the final credits and angrily yell “…of shit!” while shaking your fist and exiting. The majority of the audience, though exhausted from enduring one of the worst films in recent memory, will thank you with a smile or a defeated nod.

Movie stars playing the martyr in films is nothing new (see The Dark Knight, Milk). What is new is the biggest movie star on the planet playing the martyr with such eerie righteousness and penitent disconnect that it may come to (purposely?) affect the public perception of every performance and media appearance that follows. It is difficult to recall a film that manipulates viewers into shamefully disliking its protagonist at an intuitive level. From the odd psych-ward haircut to the weight-of-the-world whimper that Smith wears for the duration of Seven Pounds (reminiscent of Will Ferrell’s kitchen-table snivel in Step Brothers), this guy is Creepsville, USA. Moreover, his illegal, stalker-like behavior is justified (endorsed by the filmmakers, even) by a probable mental breakdown that resulted from a tragic accident. Place Smith’s character in the similarly unstable role of the driving instructor in Happy-Go-Lucky and Sally Hawkins’s character would find herself the happy, burdened owner of a sparkly used car!

By film’s end, we are supposed to take weepy-eyed comfort in the fact that the bogus on-screen relationship between Smith’s IRS agent and Rosario Dawson (absolutely terrible or brainwashed) is not a prolonged segment of Unsolved Mysteries that ends in a forest. You see, director Gabriele Muccino‘s follow-up to The Pursuit of Happyness (a film I liked) is simply the legend of Johnny Appleseed reimagined for these ever strange days as Johnny Bodyparts with a dash of Falling Down. Happy holidays, and remember to put down your Blackberries while driving into oncoming traffic.

Discuss: Many critics are in agreement, but do you think Will Smith’s Seven Pounds is the worst/creepiest movie of 2008? And how about that box jellyfish (e-meter?)?

Seven Pounds Movie Trailer

Last month we posted a trailer for the upcoming Will Smith drama Seven Pounds, only to have it quickly removed by Columbia Pictures hours later. The trailer is back, with a couple editing tweeks. We’ve  also transfered the comments from the previous posting.

Will Smith plays an IRS agent with a secret who will change the lives of seven strangers. The film reteams Smith with The Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino, and features Rosario Dawson as Smith’s love interest, who is suffering from a heart condition, and Woody Harrelson as a blind pianist. Conner Cruise, the 13-year-old adopted son of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, makes his acting debut as a younger version of Smith’s character.

The trailer looks promising, but early reviews from test screenings haven’t been nice, calling it “a bit too heavy handed for its own good”, pointing to its predictability and uneven pacing as weak points, and Smith and Dawson’s performance as the film’s strengths. As always, tell me what you think in the comments below.

[flv: 470 222]

Seven Pounds hits theaters on December 19th 2008.

Warner Bros Offering Academy Screeners on Blu-Ray

Warner Bros will be making history by becoming the first movie studio to send Academy members an award screener on blu-ray disc. The studio has sent out a mailer to members giving them the option to choose Blu-ray. Apparently director Christopher Nolan was partly responsible for the change, urging the studio to release The Dark Knight in the higher quality format. As previously reported, Warner Bros also plans on rereleasing the film in IMAX theaters in January to help for award consideration.

But not so fast. I call a little bit of bullshit. The Dark Knight has an expected (but yet to be officially announced) dvd/blu-ray release date of December 9th. Releasing the film to Academy members on a format which will already be available publicly doesn’t seem like a huge step to me. I’ll be more impressed when a movie studio takes the leap and release Academy Screeners for a film which was just released in theaters.

THR says that Universal and Pixar have already poopooed the idea of releasing Academy screeners on Blu-ray, saying its still too early in the format’s adoption. Sony is supposedly considering releasing its Will Smith drama Seven Pounds as a Blu-ray screener. That film hits theaters on December 19th 2008.

“Xyxyz oboboa aoavvba! Haha!”

Don’t get mad at Tropic Thunder! The trades are reporting that Connor Cruise, the 13-year-old son of Tom Cruise, will make his feature debut portraying a young Will Smith in Smith’s emotional drama, Seven Pounds, due this December. It’s said that Connor Cruise will appear mostly in photographs and will not have a speaking part.

Seven Pounds is from Gabriele Muccino, who directed Smith in the rather melancholy and surprisingly sap-less hit drama The Pursuit of Happyness. In that film, Smith’s real life kid, Jaden Smith, played his son (believably). Joining Smith and the young Cruise in the “emotional story of a man who will change the lives of seven strangers” are Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson and Barry Pepper. Oh yeah, and Connor Cruise is black.