DVD/Blu-Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 8th, 2012 at 7:01 am,

There are a couple dozen new releases out on Blu-ray this week, including several popular summer films – Cowboys & Aliens, The Hangover Part II, The Debt and The Help - a couple of box sets – Mission: Impossible Trilogy, Scary Movie Trilogy – a classic historical war film from the ’70s – Tora! Tora! Tora! – and two remakes packaged together – The Omega Man and I Am Legend – and a classic Hitchcock crime-thriller – The Lady Vanishes.

Even families have something to watch with the uninspired, yet humorous, Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

Let’s take a look at nine of these the new releases we think are interesting, and see what special features they offer.

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NEW RELEASES

Cowboys & Aliens

cowboys aliens blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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Synopsis: A stranger (Daniel Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by extraterrestrial marauders from the sky. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force.

Special Features:

  • Extended Version – Contains both a 119-minute theatrical cut and a 135-minute extended version.
  • U-Control Picture In Picture
  • Audio Commentary with Director Jon Favreau
  • Igniting the Sky – The Making of Cowboys & Aliens
  • Conversations with Jon Favreau – Favreau interviews Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer
  • Second Screen: An interactive pocket BLU feature that allows users with Wi-Fi connected Blu-ray players to access an interactive movie-watching experience from your tablet, Mac or PC. Storyboards, 3D models, FX breakdowns and more

Screen Rant Score: 3/5 Stars - Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44% Fresh - IMDB Score: 6.3/10

VERDICT: Rent It

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The Hangover Part II

the hangover part ii blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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Synopsis: Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can’t even be imagined.

Special Features:

  • Unauthorized Documentary: The Documentary About the Documentary They Don’t Want You to See About the Making of The Hangover Part II.
  • Behind the Story – The Comedy Rhythm of Todd Phillips, Not Your Everyday Monkey, and Bangkok Tour with Chow
  • Gag Reel – Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis at least had fun on location.
  • Action Mashup

Screen Rant Score: 2/5 Stars – Rotten Tomatoes Score:  35% Fresh – IMDB Score: 6.7/10

VERDICT: Skip It

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The Help

the help blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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Synopsis: Skeeter (Emma Stone), Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer) are three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed – even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes – A Senator’s Son, Keep On Walkin’, Humiliated, A Book About Jackson and Johnny’s Home
  • The Living Proof music video by Mary J. Blige
  • The Making of The Help featurette
  • In Their Own Words: A Tribute To The Maids Of Mississippi featurette

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75% Fresh – IMDB Score: 8.1/10

VERDICT: Own It

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The Debt

the debt blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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Synopsis: In 1997, shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Helen Mirren) and Stephan (Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciarán Hinds). All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio (portrayed in their younger years by Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington) tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel (Jesper Christensen) in East Berlin. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished – or was it?

Special Features

  • Commentary with Director John Madden and Producer Kris Thykier
  • A Look Inside The Debt
  • Every Secret Has a Price: Helen Mirren in The Debt
  • The Berlin Affair: The Triangle at the Center of The Debt

Screen Rant Score: 4/5 Stars – Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77% Fresh – IMDB Score: 7/10

VERDICT: Rent It

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Mr. Popper’s Penguins

mr poppers penguins blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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Synopsis: Mr. Popper (Jim Carrey) is a driven businessman who is clueless when it comes to the important things in life – until he inherits six penguins. Popper’s penguins turn his swank New York apartment into a snowy winter wonderland – and the rest of his life upside-down. Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a contemporary adaptation of the classic book.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary
  • All-new animated short: Nimrod and Stinky’s Antartic Adventure
  • The Legacy of Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  • Ladies and Gentoomen
  • Ready for their Closeup
  • Stuffy Penguin Theater
  • Penguin Pandemonium
  • Original Story Sampler
  • Select deleted scenes with optional commentary
  • Gag reel
  • Tooth Fairy 2 sneak peek
  • Theatrical trailer

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 47% Fresh – IMDB Score: 5.9/10

VERDICT: Own It (If you have kids)

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The Lady Vanishes

the lady vanishes blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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Synopsis: Alfred Hitchcock’s 1938 comedy-thriller concerning the young Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood), heading home on a train after spending the holidays in the Balkans. Iris becomes friends with a kindly old lady, Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) after Iris gets hit in the head with a flowerpot meant for Miss Froy. On the train, recovering from the blow, Iris falls asleep. When she awakens, Miss Froy has vanished, replaced by someone else in Miss Froy’s clothing. Iris talks to the other passengers, a bizarre collection of eccentrics who think that Iris is crazy for insisting on there even being a Miss Froy – everyone denies having ever seen the old woman. Finally, Iris finds a young musician, Gilbert (Michael Redgrave), who believes her and the two proceed to search the train for clues to Miss Froy’s disappearance.

Special Features

  • Crook’s Tour – a feature film from 1941, directed by John Baxter, reunites Charters (Basil Radford) and Caldicott (Naunton Wayne) from The Lady Vanishes
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut – a short excerpt from Francois Truffaut’s notorious interview with the British director
  • Mystery Train – a video essay by film scholar Leonard Leff
  • Stills Gallery
  • Commentary with film historian Bruce Eder
  • Booklet – an illustrated booklet featuring essays by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and Hitchcock scholar Charles Barr

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97% Fresh – IMDB Score: 8.1/10

VERDICT: Own It

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Tora! Tora! Tora!

tora tora tora blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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Synopsis: The events that led to the Japanese attack on the American naval base during World War II are told from the Japanese point of view. With Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the wheels are set in motion by Japan to plan the attack. After internal differences in the government, the Japanese quickly mobilize plans for the assault. Key American personnel ignored warnings of the possibility of Japanese aggression. The first part of the film divides scenes from both countries. Part two contains spectacular battle scenes of the bombing that destroyed the American naval base of operations in Hawaii. Governmental errors on both sides add to the confusion, but the Japanese ultimately carry out the deadly mission.

Special Features

  • No advance listing of the special features was released

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71% Fresh – IMDB Score: 7.5/10

VERDICT: Own It

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Mission: Impossible Trilogy

mission impossible trilogy blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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Mission: Impossible has proven to be a viable movie franchise spawning three films, with a fourth (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) coming to theaters this Christmas. Each movie follows Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as a highly-trained spy who breaks into the CIA, stops a rouge terrorists from poisoning the world and rescues fellow agents (and his wife) from a ruthless arms dealer. The movies aren’t perfect, but they are a tremendous amount of fun and are filled will some thrilling action – Mission: Impossible II particulary because it was directed by John Woo. Any action fan should own this three-movie box set.

Special Features

Mission: Impossible

  • Mission: Remarkable – 40 Years of Creating the Impossible
  • Mission: Explosive Exploits
  • Mission: Spies Among Us
  • Mission: Catching the Train

Mission: Impossible 2

  • Commentary with director John Woo
  • Three behind-the-scenes featurettes – Behind the Mission
  • Mission Incredible
  • Impossible Shots

Mission: Impossible 3

  • Commentary with Tom Cruise and director J.J. Abrams

VERDICT: Own It

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Scary Movie Triple Feature

scary movie triple feature blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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A good parody movie is hard to pull off, but Wayans brothers Keenan, Shawn and Marlon struck a home run with their first parody film, Scary Movie. It came out in 2000 when teenage horror films like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer were popular. It is mainly a mashup of parodied scenes from other films, but Marlon and Shawn managed to craft a script that both made sense and was hysterically funny. Unforunately, the subsequent films weren’t anywhere near as good or funny – but if you are a fan of this series then now is your chance to own all three at once; anyone else, buy Scary Movie 1 and skip this box set.

Special Features

  • No advance listing of the special features was released

VERDICT: Skip It

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I Am Legend/The Omega Man

i am legend omega man blu ray cover DVD/Blu Ray Breakdown: December 6, 2011

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In 1964, Vincent Price starred in science fiction horror movie The Last Man on Earth – a film about a man who spends his nights locked in his home and his days killing vampires. The movie is based on the 1954 novel I Am Legend written by Richard Matheson and in 1971 the movie was remade as The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston as U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville. In 2007, Will Smith took up the role of Neville in the movie I Am Legend - but the writers took a vastly different approach to the original story, which didn’t sit well with fans of the novel. Both films are enjoyable in their own right, but The Omega Man is usually considered the best because it follows the original story more closely. The double-feature Blu-ray is worth owning just for The Omega Man.

Special Features

I Am Legend

  • Theatrical cut and alternate version with a different ending
  • Creating I Am Legend mini-documentary gallery
  • Cautionary Tale – The Science of I Am Legend featurette
  • Four animated comics -
  • Death As a Gift
  • Isolation
  • Sacrificing the Few for the Many
  • Shelter

The Omega Man

  • Introduction by co-stars Eric Laneuville and Paul Koslo and screenwriter Joyce H. Corrington

  • The Last Man Alive – The Omega Man vintage featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer

VERDICT: Own It

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Follow me on Twitter -@Walwus- and tell me what movies you plan on buying.

TAGS: cowboys and aliens, i am legend, mission impossible, the debt, the hangover 2, the help

6 Comments

Post a Comment

  1. SR – I really appreciate the new format you are useing for the DVD/Bluray breakdowns. The reviews and synopsis are helpful to help me understand if I want to see the movie or not. And of course your verdict at the end is helpful too! Keep up the good work SR

  2. I may pick up a copy of cowboys & aliens it was an ok movie.

  3. A bunch of crap plus the excellent Tora Tora Tora and Omega man

  4. i really don’t get y so many people hate on hangover part 2, sure it was the same as part 1, but it was still hilarious

  5. might get cowboys and aliens definatly picking up hangover 2 =D

  6. Aside from a great performance by Harrison Ford, Cowboys and Aliens was a massive turkey.

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