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DVD New Releases: March 20, 2012
Battle Royale: The Complete Collection (2000, 2003) A title that has shocked, thrilled and unnerved audiences; a film whose fiendishly simple premise has inspired many imitations, including the upcoming "The Hunger Games" motion picture. Based on the 1999 global best-seller by Koushun Takami, the futuristic tale first came to the screen in 2000, directed by the legendary Kinju Fukasaku. Authors, filmmakers and film fans the world over consider the film and its 2003 sequel, "Battle Royale II: Requiem," sacred cinematic classics. In the near future, the economy has collapsed, unemployment has soared and juvenile crime has exploded. Fearful of their nation's youth, the Japanese government passes The BR Law: Each year, a 9th grade class is sent to a remote island where they will be locked into exploding neck collars, given a random weapon, and forced to hunt and kill each other until there is only one survivor left. Chiaki Kuriyama and screen legend Takeshi Kitano star in the movie that has been argued, acclaimed and banned around the world. More than a decade later, it remains one of the most savage, shocking and emotionally powerful films of all time. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Digital. Four-disc set: "Battle Royale Director's Cut" with both Japanese and English language tracks and English subtitles; "Battle Royale Theatrical Cut" with both Japanese and English language tracks and English subtitles; "Battle Royale II" with Japanese language and English subtitles; "Battle Royale Bonus Content" with Japanese language and English subtitles. Extras: "The Making Of Battle Royale," "Battle Royale press conference," "Instructional Video: Birthday Version," audition & rehearsal footage, special effects comparison featurette, Tokyo International Film Festival 2000, Battle Royale documentary, basketball scene rehearsals, behind-the-scenes featurette, filming on-set, original theatrical trailer, special edition TV spot, TV spot: Tarantino version. $44.98 DVD, $49.99 Blu-ray. A single-disc DVD and Blu-ray of "Battle Royale Director's Cut" will also be available for $24.98 and $29.99. (Anchor Bay).
Carnage (2011) Dir.: Roman Polanski; Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: "Actors' Notes - A Look at the Making of the Film," "An Evening with John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz," "On the Red Carpet." (Sony).
Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (2011) Eric Elmosnino, Lucy Gordon, Laetitia Casta, Doug Jones, Anna Mouglalis, Orphee Silard. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital Download. Extras: Making-of documentary, collection of original storyboards and character sketches. (Music Box Films).
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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011) Director: David Fincher. Stars: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer, Joely Richardson. Formats: DVD, three-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo, VOD, Digital Download, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: Commentary by director David Fincher. Blu-ray adds the "Vangar Archives" featurettes: "Men Who Hate Women," character profiles, on location featurette, post-production and promotion featurettes. (Sony).
Jane By Design: Volume 1 (2011) Two-disc set with 10 episodes, $29.99. Formats: DVD. (ABC Studios).
Letter Never Sent (1959) The great Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov, known for his virtuosic, emotionally gripping films, perhaps never directed one more visually astonishing than "Letter Never Sent." This absorbing tale of exploration and survival concerns four members of a geological expedition who are stranded in the bleak and unforgiving Siberian wilderness while on a mission to find diamonds. Luxuriating in wide-angle beauty and featuring one daring shot after another (the brilliant cinematography is by Kalatozov's frequent collaborator Sergei Urusevsky), "Letter Never Sent" is a fascinating piece of cinematic history and a universal adventure of the highest order. New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Extras: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Dina Iordanova. Also available on Blu-ray Disc. (The Criterion Collection).
The Muppets (2011) Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, with the voices of Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, David Rudman, Matt Vogel, Peter Linz. Formats: 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital with Soundtrack, 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD, 1-Disc DVD with Soundtrack, 1-Disc DVD, VOD. Extras: "The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History - We Think)," "Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read Through" featurette, "Disney Intermission," an all-new feature that allows viewers to press "pause" on their remote control and watch as the Muppets take over the screen and entertain until the movie resumes playing, "Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song," commentaries with screenwriter and star Jason Segel, director James Bobin and screenwriter Nicholas Stoller. (Disney).
Scarecrow & Mrs. King: The Complete Third Season (2011) Five-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98. (Warner).
The Sitter "Totally Irresponsible Edition" (2011) Jonah Hill, Max Records, Ari Graynor, J.B. Smoove, Sam Rockwell, Landry Bender. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo. Blu-ray Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, alternate ending, gag reel, outtakes , "For Your Consideration" with Blythe featurette, "The Making of The Sitter" featurette, "Jonah the Producer" featurette. (Fox).
Snow White: A Deadly Summer (2012) Shanley Caswell, Maureen McCormick, Eric Roberts. A new twist on the fairy tale has Snow being sent off to a summer camp with a murderous past. Formats: DVD, Digital, VOD. (Lionsgate).
Splintered (2010) Stephen Martin Walters, Holly Weston, Sacha Dhawan, Sadie Pickering, Jonathan Readwin, Sol Heras, Colin Tierney. Troubled teen Sophie drags her friends deep into a forest in search of a local legend - a wild beast, half animal and half man, that uses its cunning ability and brutal strength to kill for pleasure. But when the beast leads Sophie and her friend, John, to an abandoned orphanage, the hunters become the hunted. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo. Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes. (Well Go USA).
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011) Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Ciaran Hinds, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Kathy Burke, Tom Hardy. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: TBA. (Universal).
The War Room (1993) The 1992 presidential election was a triumph not only for Bill Clinton but also for the new breed of strategists who guided him to the White House and changed the face of politics in the process. For this thrilling, behind-closed-doors account of that campaign, renowned cinema verite filmmakers D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus closely followed the brainstorming and bull sessions of Clinton's crack team of consultants - especially the folksy James Carville and the preppy George Stephanopoulos, who became media stars in their own right as they injected a youthful spirit and spontaneity into the process of campaigning. Fleet-footed and entertaining, "The War Room" is a vivid document of a political moment whose truths ("It's the economy, stupid!") still ring in our ears. New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by directors D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Extras: "Return of the War Room," a 2008 documentary in which advisers James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Paul Begala and others reflect on the effect the Clinton war room had on the way campaigns are run; "Making The War Room," a conversation between the filmmakers about the difficulties of shooting in the campaign's fast-paced environment; panel discussion hosted by the William J. Clinton Foundation and featuring Carville, Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan, journalist Ron Brownstein, and surprise guest Bill Clinton; interview with strategist Stanley Greenberg on the increasing importance of polling; booklet featuring an essay by writer Louis Menand. Also available on Blu-ray Disc. (The Criterion Collection).