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New on DVD – March 23, 2010 – New Moon, The Blind Side, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox

From the second Stephanie Meyer teen-vampire romance to the newest John Woo action epic, here’s a look at what’s coming out this week on DVD.

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In this sequel to the hugely successful first Twilight film, the ever-awkward Bella (Kristen Stewart) finds herself romantically torn between pouty vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and muscle-bound werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner). Our critic said that the resulting film, directed by About a Boy‘s Chris Weitz, is “like someone taped together five Hallmark cards, three diary pages, and a letter to the Teen Beat editors.”

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Based somewhat on the true story of real-life NFL rookie sensation Michael Oher, this heart-warming blockbuster Disney film shows what happens when a wealthy white Tennessee woman (Sandra Bullock) brings a homeless black teen Oher (newcomer Quinton Aaron) into her home. Bullock took home the Best Actress Oscar for her work in a film we called an “uplifting tale that’s light on the syrup and heavy on the honest sentiment.”

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Wes Anderson reunites with his Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou co-writer Noah Baumbach for this already-classic stop-motion-animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book about talking animals fighting back against greedy farmers. The voice cast is incredible, with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Michael Gambon. Our reviewer said, “It’s like a tree house for grown-ups, where all sorts of fantastical make-believe can be dreamed up and games played.”

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In Jim Sheridan’s remake of a 2004 Danish drama, Tobey Maguire plays a soldier who comes back to America after a brutal imprisonment in Afghanistan, only to find that his ne’er-do-well brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) has been getting a little too cozy with his wife (Natalie Portman). We called it a “story of intense heartbreak, a drama that simply and effectively states that war can destroy everything.”

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This is a semi-truth-y comedy about mind control, psychic soldiers, George Clooney’s mustache, dead goats, the Gulf War, Jeff Bridges in full Dude mode, and the wonder of Boston’s “More Than a Feeling.” We said it just might be the “funniest war movie since Stripes.”

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Hong Kong action director John Woo’s latest film is a historical epic about rebel warlords in ancient China. The most expensive Chinese film ever made, it was released there in two parts, each two and a half hours long, but chopped in half for its American release. Both versions are now on DVD. Our reviewer said, “With its slashing swords and hurtling fireballs, its grim warriors and transcendent landscapes, [Red Cliff] is 148 minutes of good, old-fashioned mindless entertainment.”

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Yolande Moreau plays French naïve painter Séraphine Louis in Martin Provost’s film about her discovery in 1914, by a much more worldly German art collector and gallery owner. We were impressed with Moreau’s performance in a gorgeous but somewhat mannered film, saying her presence “acts as an antidote to all the pretension that surrounds her.”

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