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 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.

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $16.99 N/A
Amazon – $17.99

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$22.99 $21.99 N/A
Amazon – $21.99

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AFI’s Top 10 Movies and TV Shows of 2010

It’s that time of year again, when all of the critics societies and film organizations name their top 10 movies of the year. The American Film Institute have released their lists of the top 10 films and television shows of 2010. As with most of the lists AFI releases, the films are not numbered in any order, but instead just a compilation of “winners.” Hit the jump to find out which movies and television shows were chosen.

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2010 Gotham Independent Film Awards Winners

Tonight, the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) held the 20th Anniversary Gotham Independent Film Awards ceremony in New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street. The winners were comprised mostly of films which played earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. A total of 30 films received nominations in seven competitive categories, including: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, Festival Genius Audience Award and Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You®. Hit the jump to read the full list of winners and the official press release.

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Usually, when The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces their short list of documentaries eligible for the Best Documentary Oscar, a dark cloud comes over my day. Pretty regularly, some of my favorite films haven’t been eligible for a nomination. Shut Up and Sing, The September Issue and Dear Zachary all come to mind as heartbreaking snubs.

For 2010 the list is a little better, with films such as Exit Through The Gift Shop and Restrepo making the cut but, as usual, there are some notable snubs. Catfish isn’t on the list, nor are Babies, Oceans, Best Worst Movie, Freakinomics or Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, just to name a few. Is your favorite 2010 documentary eligible to be nominated an Oscar? Check out the list after the jump. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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