DVD/Blu-ray Breakdown: November 1st, 2011

DVD Blu-ray Releases November 1st 2011

It is the start of a new month for DVD and Blu-ray fans. November has a few very special releases in store, but nothing on the scale of Star Wars or Jurassic Park. Still, plenty to look forward to.

The first week brings a pair of well-received studio films to DVD and Blu-ray, as Cars 2 and Crazy, Stupid, Love both reach home video formats. In addition, Water for Elephants makes its home entertainment debut.

There isn't a title releasing this week that jumps off the page, but many will be lured in by the Blu-ray release of Hook. A Christmas Carol and Cop Land are also now available on Blu-ray.

The 3D boom continues as Disney Pixar is releasing the entire Toy Story trilogy in 3D. A post-conversion attempt seems to be successful and those with 3D televisions should be happy to expand their collection with this beloved trilogy.

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



Cars 2 DVD Blu-ray

Cars 2 - The latest Pixar film earned $551 million at the worldwide box office amidst mediocre reviews from critics. We gave it 2.5 stars. But the sequel comes to DVD and Blu-ray in both 2D and 3D. The problem is that if you want to experience the special features, you'll have to buy the 3D version only. This is an alarming new trend in home video sales, following in the footsteps of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Pirates of the Caribberan: On Stranger Tides. While some special features remain available on the 2D version, solid featurettes are missing.

The video quality is outstanding, as usual, with this Disney Pixar release. The colors are vibrant and the animation is detailed. Cars 2 comes with a great audio mix that fills surround sound with car noises and ambient sounds. With a 7.1 mix, it will make use of even the best surround sound systems. As for those bonus features, the 2D version and 3D are world's apart. The 5-disc 3D set has an additional two hours of supplements.

2D Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary - Directors John Lasseter and Brad Lewis.
  • Hawaiian Vacation - Toy Story 3 short
  • Air Mater
  • Trailers

3D Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary
  • Hawaiian Vacation
  • Air Mater
  • Radiator Springs
  • The Pacific
  • London
  • Paris
  • Munich
  • Prague
  • Porta Costa
  • Tokyo
  • Emeryville
  • Sneak Peek: The Nuts & Bolts of Cars Land
  • Trailers

VERDICT: Rent it. If you have a 3D TV, buy the 3D Blu-ray.

Crazy Stupid Love DVD Blu-ray

Crazy, Stupid, Love - On the surface, Crazy, Stupid, Love may have seemed like another generic romantic comedy. In many ways, it is generic. But this all-star cast came through in one of the best romantic comedies of 2011. Ryan Gosling's 2011 takeover remains in effect as one of his three big films comes to home video. The film grossed almost three times its $50 million production budget.

This romantic comedy does not come across like one on the visual side. It deals with muted colors and dim lighting, but looks gorgeous on Blu-ray. It never strains to show the low lights and the cinematographer is justified with a great transfer. There are not many moments in which the audio steals the show, but when Steve Carell undergoes his transformation it does wonders with a 5.1 mix. The sever lack of detailed bonus features is disappointing.

  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Player Meets His Match
  • Steve and Ryan Walk Into A Bar

VERDICT: Rent it.

Water for Elephants DVD Blu-ray

Water for Elephants - Robert Pattinson's latest diversion from Twilight fame came in the form of a period piece drama based on a book of the same name. The film did fairly well, earning $117 million worldwide on top of a $38 million budget. It performed almost equally as well at the foreign and domestic box offices. This DVD/Blu-ray comes with some slick box art design.

Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto makes the most of the atmosphere from this period piece and it dazzles on Blu-ray. This is a beautifully shot film. There is quite a bit of ambience delivered in the 5.1 surround mix that fills the room, but the soaring original score is highlighted. A moderate amount of supplemental material gives nice insight into production, but it is not extensive.

  • Feature Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Writer Richard LaGravenese.
  • Raising the Tent
  • Secrets of the Big Top
  • The Star Attraction
  • The Traveling Show—Page to Screen
  • Robert Pattinson Spotlight
  • Working Without a Net: The Visual Effects of Water for Elephants
  • Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon

VERDICT: Rent it.


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan DVD Blu-ray

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Fox Searchlight released this film to limited theaters and earned a modest $11 million globally. Most of its profits came overseas. It did not receive positive reviews overall, and earned little attention with a mid-summer release. the DVD/Blu-ray only comes with a single bonus feature.

  • The Sworn Sisterhood of the Secret Fan

VERDICT: Skip it.

Trespass DVD Blu-ray

Trespass - In a strange move, Millennium Entertainment is releasing Trespass on DVD and Blu-ray only two weeks after its theatrical debut. It has not fared well in limited release, earning only $24,094 to date. We gave the film 2.5 stars and claimed that it was worth a rental at home, but not the price of a movie ticket. Product details have not been released.

VERDICT: Skip it



Hook Blu-ray

Hook - Rufio. Rufio. Ru. Fi. Ooooooo. Steven Spielberg's storied career continues to make its way to Blu-ray with his latest addition to the format, Hook. The classic re-telling of Peter Pan's famous tale features a pile of big name talent and a rousing score from John Williams. Hook is the highest-grossing "pirate film" not starring Johnny Depp. Unfortunately, while many young movie fans grew up with Hook, it received mostly poor reviews.

The Blu-ray is digitally remastered for surround sound and while this is not a stunning video transfer, it does the job. At under $15 at most locations, this may be a Blu-ray worth owning if you are exclusive to the format. No details on bonus features were released, but considering the price and the video transfer, don't expect much.

VERDICT: Buy it. It's Spielberg on Blu-ray and Hook hasn't been released on home video since 2000.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Blu-ray

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind - George Clooney's directorial debut hits Blu-ray just in time for you to see how much he has improved. Chuck Barris is a strange man and his impact on game show entertainment is present still today. Sam Rockwell delivers a great performance as the eccentric man behind popular shows like The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. Charlie Kaufman wrote this hidden gem of a film that many will be pleased to see on Blu-ray.

The film is transferred to Blu-ray very well, even amidst the bizarre filtered scenes that purposely look odd and off-kilter. Certain moments stand out visually in the way that many of the best transfers do, but those moments are few and far between. Still, it's a great release. Unfortunately, this release doesn't add anything new to the special features category. Everything is in Standard Definition, but the famous Sam Rockwell Screen Test is on the disc.


  • Audio Commentary with Director George Clooney and Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Clooney and Sigel
  • Sam Rockwell Screen Tests
  • Gong Show Acts
  • The Real Chuck Barris

VERDICT: Rent it.


A Christmas Carol Blu-ray

A Christmas Carol - Leonard Maltin provides a special introduction on the Diamond Anniversary edition of the famous holiday film. At just over $10 on Amazon, this is definitely worth the purchase, especially if you plan on buying somebody a Blu-ray player for Christmas. An original Blu-ray release was available two years ago, but this Diamond Edition brings the holiday classic back to shelves. All featurettes are the same except for the Leonard Maltin introduction.

VERDICT: Rent it.


Scrooged Blu-ray

Scrooged - The comedic alternate to A Christmas Carol starring Bill Murray is also available on Blu-ray this week. The Blu-ray serves little to the hungry fan of this film other than to bring it back into the spotlight as holidays approach. The video and audio transfers are nice and will be a significant improvement on any DVD you may own - but without a single special features, this seems like a huge waste of a Blu-ray release.

VERDICT: Rent it.


Cop Land Blu-ray

Cop Land - The star-studded cast (especially for 1997) of Cop Land come to Blu-ray in Miramax's second Blu-ray re-release of the week. While this release won't do huge numbers on home video, it brings another classic to the format for the devoted fans of '90s Stallone. It's also one of James Mangold's earlier pictures. The release includes an intriguing commentary that is worth a listen.

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director James Mangold, Actors Sylvester Stallone and Robert Patrick and Producer Cathy Konrad
  • Cop Land: The Making of An Urban Western
  • Storyboard Comparison
  • Deleted Scenes

VERDICT: Rent it.

Big Country Blu-ray

The Big Country - Another star-studded film of its time is The Big Country. The 1958 Western earned two Academy Award nominations, including a win for Burl Ives as Supporting Actor. The film was restored beautifully and once again reminds us that classic films can do wonders on Blu-ray, in the right hands. A small featurette is the only bonus feature on this release.

  • Fun in the Big Country
  • TV spots and trailer

VERDICT: Rent it.


Next week features a few titles that have made themselves known on Screen Rant. Sci-fi and action fans will be pleased to see Mortal Kombat: Legacy and Doctor Who arrive. Other movie buffs will have to keep an eye on some great re-releases like Gia, Executive Decision, The Cannonball Run and Blue Velvet. Also reaching home video are The Change-Up, Atlas Shrugged and a 3D release of Meet the Robinsons. 

Stay tuned for the latest breakdowns of DVD and Blu-ray releases every Tuesday. Follow me on Twitter (@Eisentower30) for more home entertainment updates.

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