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Monday, Nov. 1, 2010

Out on Blu-ray/DVD

Releases for the Week of 10/26/10 - 11/01/10 (Ratings Out of Four Stars.)

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ALIEN ANTHOLOGY

(1979-1997)

* * * (B)

Starring Sigourney Weaver

Available on: Blu-Ray

Fox//Rated R//Sci-Fi//477 minutes

Special Editions and Director Cuts, Available on: Blu-Ray

The four Alien films are nicely collected on Blu-ray with tons of included special features. It may be overkill, but it's fun by the ton. The films can be viewed in their original theatrical formats or with an additional 15-40 minutes of footage. The anthology, spanning 400 years, each scenario Sigourney Weaver suiting up as the cynical Ridley, a beleaguered astronaut outraged by 'the company's' efforts to get a viable specimen of the same aliens she's spent several lifetimes trying to kill. One interview reveals that Weaver insisted Ridley die in the third chapter because she did not intend returning for a fourth. This necessitated cloning her character when Alien Resurrection was made. 6-Disc Blu-Ray features: theatrical and director's cut of each film, commentaries, director intros, Historical facts, Unseen dailies, Deleted scenes, Extended Scenes, Making-of and Behind-the-scenes featurettes, Over 12,000 photographs and artwork stills, interview outtakes, Isolated score including alternate and unused cues, archival documentaries, MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream, separate Enhancement Pod index, Production notes, test footage, TV specials, Multi-angle studies, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

THE TUDORS: THE COMPLETE FINAL SEASON

(2010)

* * * * (A)

Created by Michael Hirst

Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Joely Richardson, Joss Stone

Showtime//Not Rated//Drama//533 minutes

Available on: DVD

Over its four seasons, the Spectacular Showtime series depicts King Henry VIII's nearly 40 year, tumultuous reign (1509-1547). In this final season, Henry (Meyers) beheads and tortures those he believes have betrayed him, doing so at an amazing rate. Henry begins the season married to his fifth wife, Katherine Howard, then moves on to his sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr (Richardson) who survives his suspicious nature due to her excellent temperament and intellect. War, religious strife, Henry's declining health, and the ambitions of his Catholic eldest daughter Mary, along with various men of the cloth, make this a bloody, but bloody great drama. Meyers is superbly cast in a series about British royalty that outdoes efforts by the BBC with the highest production values and in-depth character studies. 3-Disc DVD features: United States of Tara Seasons 2 Episodes 1 & 2, Via E-Bridge Technology: Dexter Season 5, Episodes 1 & 2, Californiacation Season 3 Episodes 1 & 2, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

WINTER'S BONE

(2010)

* * * (B)

Directed by Debra Granik

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes

Lionsgate//Rated R//Thriller//100 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Adapted for the screen by the writer-director and her cowriter Anne Rosellini, this thriller is based on Daniel Woodrell's novel. Jennifer Lawrence portrays Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old from the Ozarks hoping to find her bail-skipping daddy and save the family home they put up as collateral. Just days before the home is seized, Ree is joined on the danger-filled mission by her Uncle Teardrop (Hawkes), a hardened, drug-addicted criminal. Critically acclaimed, this bleak tale took best picture and best screenplay at Sundance because it depicts desperate characters with grace and subtlety. DVD and Blu-Ray features: deleted scenes, Alternate opening, commentary with Granik and DP Michael McDonough, Making-of featurette, "Hardscrabble Elegy" composed and performed by Dickson Hinchliffe alternate opening, music video, theatrical trailer, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

SEX AND THE CITY 2

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Michael Patrick King

Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, John Corbett, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Willie Garson, Mario Cantone

Warner//Rated R//Comedy//146 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack

Disturbed by Big's (Noth) addiction to TV, Carrie (Parker) joins best friends Miranda (Nixon), Charlotte (Davis) and Samantha (Cattrall) for an all-expense-paid luxury vacation to Abu Dhabi. Miranda and Charlotte crave girl-time away from the demands of motherhood, while single Samantha has an eye for hunky men and struggles to overcome the effects of menopause. Carrie runs into an old flame (Corbett) and finds their mutual attraction has not waned. Whether relaxing by the pool, or out on the town, the gals repeatedly flaunt feminist attitudes, offensive to Middle Eastern locals. The girl-talk remains in fashion, but the film's plot seems more appropriate for a screwball '50s comedy. DVD features: Revisiting the '80s - inspirations for the stylish period looks of the fabulous foursome in the movie's flashback prologue, in the recording studio with Alicia Keys, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-Ray features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-Ray, Digital copy, A conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and director Michael Patrick King, The men of Sex and the City including a pop quiz, Styling sex and the city 2, Patricia Field gives an exclusive look at the stunning fashions of the film, Marry me, Liza!

LAKE PLACID 3

(2010)

* (C-)

Directed by G.E. Furst

Starring Colin Ferguson, Yancy Butler, Kacey Barnfield, Kristy Mitchell

Sony//Unrated//Horror/96 minutes

Available on: DVD

"Monstrous crocodiles terrorize a serene country lake, leading to a bloody showdown as a wildlife scientist, local sheriff and feisty female hunter converge to take these predators down." The poorly written Sony hype ought to clue-in viewers regarding the quality of this Lake Placid threequel. Nevertheless ya gotta love a giant croc beating an SUV silly with its tail and biting off the hapless vehicle's door. Equally enchanting, several big'uns invade a lakeside home where large pieces of furniture become appetizers. DVD features: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Thai language tracks, Chinese subtitles, widescreen.

SEX AND THE CITY: The Complete Collection

(1998-2010)

* * *1/2 (A-)

Created by Darren Star Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, John Corbett

HBO//Not Rated//Comedy

Deluxe Edition, Available on: DVD

Long before housewives became desperate, four sometimes desperately confused single women living in NYC, found themselves breaking up more often than making up. This ground breaking HBO series spans seven seasons that find the women tackling dating and sex etiquette for professional women remaining gorgeous, but unattached, into their late 30s and 40s. Consistently a well written series, Each woman's arc is carefully traced, though Carrie, a single woman writing about single-womanhood, and played by Sarah Jessica Parker, is the lead and the show's narrator. Both theatrical films are also included in this 20-disc set. DVD features: Includes both Sex and the City Films, Alternate endings, commentaries, Behind the scenes featurettes, Deleted scenes, featurettes, Interviews, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

Also Out This Week

ALTITUDE

(2010)

Directed by Kaare Andrews

Starring Jake Weary, Jessica Lowndes, Ryan Donowho, Julianna Guill, Landon Liboiron

Anchor Bay//Rated R//Sci-Fi//90 Minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Five young people on their way to a concert, take to the air in a small plane that malfunctions and begins to climb into an electrical storm. At the heart of the storm lurks a huge, tentacled creature intent on attacking them. Written in the tradition of a claustrophobic thriller, the film is rated 5 out of 10 by Internet Movie Database users. DVD and Blu-Ray features: director commentary, Behind The Scenes, Green Storm featurette, Original Concepts Gallery, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

YOU DON'T KNOW JACK

(2010)

Directed by Barry Levinson

Starring Al Pacino, Danny Huston, Brenda Vaccaro, John Goodman

HBO//Rated TV-14//Drama//134 minutes

Available on: DVD

The life and deaths of Jack Kevorkian chronicles the story of one man's obsession with the rules by which we live and die. Critically acclaimed, the film stars Al Pacino as Dr. Kevorkian, and his battle to give those stricken with terminal illnesses, the right to die. As Kevorkian pursues his life's work, he polarizes politicians and media pundits, and risks his own freedom. DVD features: The real jack/inner circle: a behind-the-scenes featurette that provides insight into the real Jack Kevorkian and his family, friends, and supporters through interviews with the film's cast and their real life counterparts, English, French or Spanish language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.