This week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases offer up an exciting new release and a pair of classics to spend your lingering holiday money on. While the potentially Oscar-winning new release will make plenty of noise on shelves, the two Blu-ray re-releases have us smiling this week.

Dances With Wolves and Raging Bull both celebrate special anniversaries with expanded Blu-rays. MGM may have had some troubles in 2010, but these two releases give us something to appreciate from the studio.

The following releases can now be found on DVD and Blu-ray.

NEW RELEASES

The Social Network – Just days after The Social Network logged back into theaters, the movie also hits home video. The next time we hear about David Fincher’s latest movie will be at the many awards ceremonies this year. The film is critically acclaimed and currently nears the $200 million mark at the worldwide box office. In our 4-star review, Kofi Outlaw called it “an interesting and visually rich exploration of the events that led up to arguably the most influential invention of a generation.”

There is no question The Social Network surprised audiences with its slick style and memorable music. Trent Reznor’s original score has been one of the main components that made The Social Network a mainstream hit and the home video release has three features focusing specifically on Reznor’s work.

The special features on the DVD and Blu-ray copies are just extensive enough to keep you engaged. Some supplements focus on specific aspects of the movie, while others are comprehensive.

  • Two Audio Commentaries: One with Director David Fincher and another with Writer Aaron Sorkin and the Cast
  • How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?
  • Jeff Cronenweth and David Fincher on the Visuals
  • 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: Music Exploration
  • Swarmatron – Trent Reznor introduces a unique instrument sued to score the film.
  • Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown

Piranha 3D – One of the surprise hits on 2010 comes to home video in both 2D and 3D. The horror movie tripled its production budget with $79 million at the worldwide box office. Of course, while fans loved it for its ridiculous comedic value, it wasn’t a great movie. In our 2.5-star review, Kofi Outlaw called it the “über-trashy fun B-movie you’d expect. Over-the-top, crass, gore-filled and with more bikini-clad babes than you can count.”

Piranha 3D is the perfect movie for home video, but the question remains how much it will hold up over multiple viewings. Visually, the bright colors stand out on Blu-ray. As usual with gory movies like this, sound design is crucial and it explodes through the speakers here.

The home video has a great selection of special features. You can watch the movie with an entertaining commentary or enjoy a two-hour documentary on the production detailing every stage of its development. There are even more supplements to check out on the DVD and Blu-ray.

  • Audio Commentary: Writer/Producer/Director Alexandre Aja, Producer Grégory Levasseur, and Producer Alix Taylor
  • Deleted Scenes with optional commentary: Pet Emporium, Cheerleaders, Sand Island Ghost Train, The Kiss, Cliff Diver, and Andrew’s Death.
  • Don’t Scream, Just Swim: Behind-the-Scenes of Piranha 3D: Two-hour documentary on the making of Piranha 3D
  • Deleted Storyboard Sequences
  • Piranha Trailer & TV Spots

Alpha and Omega – Lionsgate may have assembled a fantastic cast for the voice work of Alpha and Omega, but the movie was ultimately forgettable. While many animated features made for kids don’t strike a chord with general audiences, Alpha and Omega rarely found its way into movie conversation.

Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover and Christina Ricci were not enough to turn this animated movie about two young wolves on a journey across the country into a hit. The home video is nothing to write home about, either. The animation is relatively weak, and the video and audio transfers don’t seem to turn any heads.

If you want to grab Alpha and Omega, the special features should entertain the children after the credits roll. Still, there is not enough emphasis on the creative process of filming to make this a worthy home video.

  • Making of Alpha and Omega
  • Wolves in the Wild
  • Deleted Scene
  • Log Sliding Game
  • Animal Fun FactsAre You an Alpha or an Omega?

BLU-RAY RE-RELEASES

Dances With Wolves 20th Anniversary EditionThe movie that dominated the 1990 Academy Awards makes its way to Blu-ray with a plethora of features and the most advanced remaster of the film yet. Kevin Costner’s directorial debut now features a 7.1 Master Audio track to expand the experience of one of the most romantic and passionate movies in history.

The 20th Anniversary Blu-ray release includes 50 minutes of extra footage in an extended cut and a pair of commentaries. The Oscar-winning cinematography holds up nicely on the Blu-ray transfer and shines in this edition. As mentioned earlier, the remastered audio is worth the purchase by itself.

The special features are also worth dishing out around $30 for this special edition Blu-ray. Between Field of Dreams and Dances With Wolves, Costner’s best work is now in the best format possible. If you are tired of watching the plot to Dances With Wolves recycled into the beautiful world of Avatar, this Blu-ray should give you some nice relief.

Disc 1:

  • 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio Track
  • Extended cut of film includes over 50 minutes of extra footage
  • Commentary by Kevin Costner and Producer Jim Wilson
  • Commentary by Director of Photography Dean Semler and Editor Neil Travis
  • New Interactive Special Features: Military Rank and Social Hierarchy Guide (interactive), Real History or Movie Make Believe (interactive)

Disc 2:

  • A Day In The Life On The Frontier Featurette (*new*)
  • The Creation of an Epic Retrospective Documentary
  • Original Making-Of Featurette
  • Original Music Video
  • Dances Photo Montage with Introduction by Ben Glass
  • Poster Gallery
  • TV Spots

Raging Bull 30th Anniversary Edition – One of Robert De Niro’s most iconic roles returns to home video with the newest Blu-ray release. This edition recognizes the 30th anniversary with five new special features and the latest audio and video transfer.

The last Blu-ray release of Raging Bull hot shelves in 2009, but this edition has 50 minutes of never-before-seen supplemental features to enhance the experience of one of Martin Scorsese’s best films. Here is the full rundown of the special features.

Disc 1 (Blu-ray):

  • Feature Film
  • New  – Marty & Bobby
  • New – Raging Bull: Reflections On A Classic
  • New – Remembering Jake
  • New – Marty on Film
  • New – Cathy Moriarty on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, March 27, 1981
  • Raging Bull: Fight Night
  • The Bronx Bull
  • DeNiro vs. LaMotta
  • LaMotta Defends Title

Disc 2 (DVD):

  • Feature Film
  • Commentary by Director Martin Scorsese and Editor Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Commentary by Cast and Crew
  • Storytellers Commentary

Once Upon A Time In America – Sergio Leone may be known for his Westerns, but Once Upon A Time In America is a great installment to anybody’s classic film collection. Robert De Niro embraces his role as a Jewish gangster in New York during the early 60s. James Woods and Joe Pesci shine as usual in supporting roles and the world was introduced to Jennifer Connelly as well.

One of Leone’s problems was that he always had trouble latching onto a worldwide audience – Hollywood just kept chopping up his films and Americans never got his best work. Warner Home Video is honoring the director’s vision with an uncut, 229-minute version of the film. In its theatrical form, the movie has been heralded as one of the better gangster movies of all time, but others feel it is too slow. No matter what audiences think, this movie deserves to be seen in its full form.

The Blu-ray release will include two special features – a historian commentary and making-of documentary. With a 229-minute movie, you may be burnt out before the supplements start rolling.

Next week provides few recognizable titles, but plenty to take a look at in stores. Ryan Reynolds’ Buried is the big name of next week’s home video releases, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check back on January 18th for the latest DVD and Blu-ray details.

Source: Blu-ray