New This Week on DVD and Blu Ray

By: Josh Gorbutt Email
By: Josh Gorbutt Email

Bernie
It’s my understanding that this movie came to theaters in Aggieland for all of fifteen minutes, which is definitely a shame. Bernie was made in Texas, by a Texan (Richard Linklater), plays host to a bevy of Texans in its cast and, most importantly, tells a Texas story so crazy and darkly comical it’s hard to believe it’s true.

Good news for the indie movie fan on a budget? It looks to be in every Redbox in town. If I had to choose a flick to purchase this week, though, this would probably be it. If only for the handful of Texas-focused special features, this is one worth adding to your collection. Of course, it helps that the film’s transfer looks stunning on Blu Ray and that its held a strong 91% fresh review on Rotten Tomatoes since its release.

Trust me, Bernie is worth your time. Grab this one on the way home and settle in for a relaxing evening on the couch, that only Richard Linklater could provide.

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The Dictator
I have no doubts that, unfortunately, this will be the most-rented new DVD and Blu-ray this week. The only thing this movie does consistently is push the envelope, which is often misconstrued with being funny. I’ll grant that it comes closer to Borat than it does Bruno, which I promise is a compliment. I think, in the end, I’ve just had enough of Sacha Baron Cohen.

A Separation
You’ve heard of A Separation. Unfortunately, that’s where your knowledge of it likely stops.

A stark look at marriage and family life in contemporary Iran, A Separation is a gripping, emotional ride that, should you choose to get on, you won’t get off until the end.

I fully understand international cinema isn’t for everyone and a movie this heavy may not be the first choice for someone who doesn’t care for the genre. Unfortunately, there’s no Engish audio track available on the disc, so unless you’re fluent in French, you’re stuck listening to Persian and reading English. It’s also notable that this disc doesn’t boast an overly-stunning transfer or loads of special features.

All that aside, A Separation is still one of the best films of the last ten years and this release definitely worth a look.

Three Ways to Remember Your Childhood
These three BluRay discs don’t really require a review, but are definitely worth mentioning in case you’re shopping this weekend. The Disney vault opens this week to reveal a The Rescuers & The Rescuers Down Under combo disc, a Pocahontas & Pocahontas II combo disc and The Aristocats.

Discs with more than one film generally make me hesitant to buy, but the transfers I’ve seen from both look fantastic, especially compared the VHS copy of Rescuers Down Under floating around somewhere in the bottom of my closet. The discs also offer plentiful special features, from audio commentaries and featurettes to some never-before-seen bits of classic Disney animation.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know why anyone would need to own, let alone watch, Pocahontas II, but all of these discs look to be worth picking up nonetheless.

War Games (Blu-Ray)
To say that the technology in War Games is antiquated may be an understatement. That said, when the movie was made, it was cutting-edge stuff. Fortunately, the plot has held up much better.

I won’t lie, I’ve had this movie on my DVR for months and can watch it over and over, so this may be a must-buy for me. In terms of special features, it looks like MGM has made up for the dearth of extra content included on the DVD release. This disc looks to be chock-full of interesting featurettes, along with a full-length commentary from director John Badham (From Blue Thunder to Saturday Night Fever, his commentaries are generally worth a listen) and writers Lawrence Lasker and Walter Parkes.

Good Will Hunting: 15th Anniversary Edition
Let me begin by saying that the idea of a fifteenth anniversary edition of Good Will Hunting makes me feel unnecessarily old. Ben Affleck & Matt Damon’s Academy Award-winning opus is certainly one of the greatest films of the 90s and would make a welcome addition to any Blu-Ray library.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time this film has been released on Blu-Ray. In fact, a special edition Blu-Ray came out just a week shy of a year ago. By all accounts, that copy already boasted an excellent transfer and a bevy of special features, so I’m not really sure what this disc brings to the table. The budget-minded may see fit to pick up the original Blu-Ray on Amazon, as the price is sure to drop today. For those of you who see cost as no object, though, this is definitely the disc to add to your collection.


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