DVD/Blu-ray Breakdown: August 19, 2011

DVD Blu-ray Releases August 16

Last week the home video selection was practically designed for the stoner crowd. This week is a little more balanced, but definitely gives the period piece a chance to shine. It's not a fantastic week in DVD and Blu-ray, but it is one that should provide at least one worthy release for most home video fans.

More importantly, this week brings The Big Lebowski to Blu-ray. It includes a handful of retrospective featurettes that make it a worthy addition to any home video collection and enhances the video and audio of the film tenfold.

Also out this week are Marley & Me: The Puppy Years and The Bang Bang Club. While the former is an unnecessary straight-to-DVD sequel, the latter is an intriguing movie that gained some traction at film festivals, but never caught on. With a talented cast and fascinating true story, The Bang Bang Club is worth a look. There is even a massive pile of Sylvester Stallone movies coming to Blu-ray this week, including Demolition Man. TV fans will be happy to pick up the fifth season of Dexter on DVD and Blu-ray.

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



The Conspirator DVD Blu-ray

The Conspirator - The historical drama did not fare well at the box office - it only made $11 million on a $25 million budget. Robert Redford tackled one of history's defining moments in a relatively unconventional way. While trailers attracted audiences to a riveting who-dun-it drama, the movie turned out to be a hard court drama with little for modern audiences.

Still, the cinematography was dazzling. It comes to DVD and Blu-ray with a video transfer as good as any recent release. The lighting comes across even better on the small screen and the gritty look really does make the movie worth watching, despite its lack of excitement. On top of a great video and audio transfer comes a wealth of bonus features. This includes an hour-long historical account of the plot of kill Lincoln.

  • Commentary by Director Robert Redford
  • The Conspirator: The Plot to Kill Lincoln
  • The Making of The Conspirator
  • Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots
  • Witness History: Introduction
  • The Conspiracy
  • Production Design
  • Mary Surratt's Catholicism
  • Costume Design
  • Military Trial
  • Props and Special Effects
  • Frederick Aiken - Defense Lawyer
  • Mary Surratt: Guilty or Innocent
  • Sentence and Execution


Jane Eyre DVD Blu-ray

Jane Eyre - Another movie based upon a novel hits shelves this week. Jane Eyre did fairly well in limited release, earning $13 million. Much like Something Borrowed, fans of the original literature seemed pleased with the final product and should help it gain some traction on home video.

The DVD and Blu-ray looks good thanks to superb cinematography and a faithful transfer that maintains the cool tones that place the film in an eerie setting. The score by Dario Marianelli blasts through the speakers with the ferocity of a blockbuster. It's almost worth renting this movie just to hear it. Unfortunately, the bonus features are limited.

  • Feature Commentary with Director Cary Fukunaga
  • A Look Inside Jane Eyre
  • To Score Jane Eyre: Cary Fukunaga and Dario Marianelli Team Up
  • The Mysterious Light of Jane Eyre
  • Deleted Scenes


Priest DVD Blu-ray

Priest - Our 1-star review and a $76 million worldwide gross is proof enough that Priest was a huge miss by Sony and Screen Gems. It looks decent enough and sounds pretty good on DVD and Blu-ray. The special features skim the surface, but (fortunately for those who made the movie) strays from looking too close at the production.

  • Bullets and Crucifixes: Picture-in-Picture Experience
  • Audio Commentary: Director Scott Stewart, Writer Cory Goodman, and Actors Paul Bettany and Maggie Q
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • The Bloody Frontier: Creating the World of Priest
  • Tools of the Trade: The Weapons and Vehicles of Priest


Something Borrowed DVD Blu-ray

Something Borrowed - Romantic comedies may not be high on your priority list, but this book adaptation fared well with its loyal fans. Beyond them, it mustered up a mediocre $60 million worldwide. Something Borrowed rests in a year where R-rated comedies and romantic comedies are king.

Typically, these types of films succeed in the visual component of a home video transfer because of their bright colors. Unfortunately, Something Borrowed comes off darker in visual tone and lacks any flair in the audio mix. It's just not a good release, but fans of the book will enjoy it enough for at least a rental.

  • On Location Tours
  • Inside Something Borrowed
  • Something Old?
  • What is "Something Borrowed"
  • Left Off the Guest List
  • Marcus' Guide to the Ladies
  • Gag Reel




The Big Lebowski Blu-ray

The Big Lebowski - One of the most beloved cult films of all time finally reaches Blu-ray. Considering how large the fan base for The Big Lebowski has become, it's amazing to look back and notice it only made $17 million and spent just four weekends in theaters. The film is not one of The Coen Brothers' biggest hits, but should satisfy the masses who want to expand their Blu-ray collection. Anybody who owns a Blu-ray player should have this title.

More importantly, The Big Lebowski comes to Blu-ray with a great assortment of supplements. The featurettes are not long and expansive, but do provide some interesting retrospective looks at the movie that has since become legend.

  • Jeff Bridges Photo Book
  • Scene Companion
  • Mark it Dude
  • The Music of 'The Big Lebowski'
  • Worthy Adversaries: What's My Line Trivia
  • The Dude's Life
  • The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski Ten Years Later
  • The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever's Story
  • Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of The Dude
  • The Making of The Big Lebowski



Next week brings a pair of high-rolling classics to Blu-ray - Rounders and Swingers. On a more recent note, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold and Win Win both give the indie scene some representation on DVD and Blu-ray next week.

Stay tuned every Tuesday for more breakdowns of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.

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