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Rob Hunter loves movies.  He also loves writing sympathy cards for a greeting card company. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. So join us each week as he takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs.

Click on any of the titles below to magically head over to Amazon.com and pick up the DVD.  And don’t forget to check out Neil Miller’s hilariously titled This Week In Blu-ray column for reviews on the latest high definition Blu-ray releases!

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(500) Days of Summer

Pitch: “This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know up front, this is not a love story…”

Why Buy? There are two scenes here that would make the dvd worth buying even if the rest of the movie were total crap. (Luckily, the movie as a whole is also wonderful, sweet, dark, sad, creative, and most of all, honest.) The dance number that takes place after Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel have spent their first night together is beautiful combination of energy, wit, and imagination. And the split screen scene depicting reality and expectation is brilliantly executed and edited. See this movie people.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Deleted scenes, commentary

District 9

Pitch: Hey Mr. Cameron, this is how you meld ground-breaking effects with an interesting story and lead character…

Why Buy? Regardless of your thoughts on Neill Blomkamp’s summer blockbuster, there’s no denying that it accomplished wonders with a relatively small budget. The CGI aliens on display here rival the best more money can buy elsewhere, and even better, they’re used to support an interesting narrative. Aliens in South Africa become an allegory for human apartheid, but there’s also a more personal story at work brought to life by Sharlto Copley in his first acting role. Impressive, exciting, and occasionally funny.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes

Family Guy Presents: Something Something Something Dark Side

Pitch: “A long time ago, when the gays weren’t all in your face about it…”

Why Buy? Family Guy misses the mark just as often as they hit it on the weekly show, and both sides of that coin are due to the series’ scatter-shot style. (Yes, the one South Park mocked so well in the two part Cartoon Wars episode.) But these Star Wars spoofs (this is the second) do a good job of narrowing the show’s focus, so instead of numerous and irrelevant cutaways we get to see some smart but respectful writing poking fun at Empire Strikes Back. Very funny stuff, and I can’t wait for them to take on Return of the Jedi… although I predict a shot of an AT-AT walker stepping on an Ewok then trying to rub it off on a log like it’s dog poop (and yes, that shot will have been borrowed from MAD Magazine.)

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes

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Blind Date

Pitch: The Bruce Willis/Kim Basinger comedy classic gets remade with Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson…?

Why Rent? That’s not true, but can you even imagine how different that would be? Anyway, this movie is actually about a long-married couple with relationship issues who decide to go on a series of first dates in an attempt to rekindle their love for each other. The story is pretty straight-forward and Tucci does a fine job as director, but the real attraction here is the acting. Tucci and Clarkson are both extremely talented and a joy to watch interact.

Blu-ray? No

Extra Features? None

Extract

Pitch: A bunch of hilarious people get together and make a mildly funny movie…

Why Rent? While I wasn’t expecting greatness with this movie (Mike Judge’s previous two films consist of the excellent Office Space and the dreadful Idiocracy), I was at least hoping for a laugh-filled comedy. But instead the movie is a slightly absurd dramedy with characters (like Mila Kunis’) who just don’t seem to fit and end up with very little to do. And with comedic actors like Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Kunis, and JK Simmons running around, why is Ben Affleck the film’s saving comedic grace?

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Deleted scenes, featurette

ICHI

Pitch: Hot, blind, and deadly with a blade…

Why Rent? The tale of Zatoichi has been told many times through numerous incarnations, but never before has the lead been so damn cute. It helps of course that this version swaps out the blind man with a blind woman… the character is a blind warrior who wanders the countryside on a personal quest but who takes time to assist those in need. Yes, it is exactly like The Incredible Hulk TV show. (No, it’s not.)

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Featurette

It Might Get Loud

Pitch: Two rock legends and an inexplicably popular musician walk into a recording studio…

Why Rent? Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White come together to discuss inspirations, guitar preferences, and the nature of rock rebellion. There’s some fairly interesting commentary along the way as each of the men revisit places that mean something to them and their career.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? Deleted scenes, commentary, featurette

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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Pitch: Michael Douglas stretches his acting chops and plays an evil, rich, white man…

Why Avoid? The easy reason is the presence of Jesse Metcalfe, but he’s actually far from the worst element here. The story follows a journalist (Metcalfe) who suspects a popular DA (Douglas) has been falsifying evidence to secure convictions, so he does the only logical thing he can… he waits for a new murder to occur then sets himself up to look like the prime suspect. He and a friend video him buying the jogging suit seen by a witness, the sneakers that match a print at the scene, etc… as if any of that precludes the possibility that he still committed the actual crime. Makes zero sense, and by the time the movie throws a lame, left-field twist at you for the finale it’ll be clear beyond a reasonable doubt that this movie is stupid.

Blu-ray? Yes

Extra Features? None

Also out this week but not reviewed due to lack of advance review material:

All About Steve, American Pie: The Book of Love, Call of the Wild 3D, Staten Island

Read More: This Week in DVD

What are you buying on DVD this week?


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