CATEGORIES DVDs
That loud, piercing sound you're about to hear? 'Twilight' hitting DVD.

The girl-on-vampire novel-turned-movie 'Twilight' quickly became one of 2008's most buzzed about movies, and it didn't disappoint at the box office, where it racked up $190 million. Now the sensation lands on DVD, where fans can watch it over and over (and over...).

Also out this week: the mystifying sequel to 'The Punisher' (sans Thomas Jane), and the acclaimed romantic drama 'Elegy,' starring Ben Kingsley and Oscar winner Penelope Cruz.

Get the full scoop on this week's DVD releases, plus our recommendations from weeks' past.


'Twilight' (out Saturday, March 21)
What It's About: Based on Stephenie Meyer's insanely popular book, it follows the romance (and all the deep stares said romance entails) between a recently relocated teen (Kristen Stewart) and her new vampire beau (actual vampire Robert Pattinson*).

It's Kind of Like: 'The Lost Boys' meets 'One Tree Hill' (or WB show of choice)

What We Say: Not being a young female who OMGs over the book (or a young female's hip mother), I'm obviously not in the target demo. So speaking strictly from an outsider's perspective, this vamp cheesefest pretty much bites. On the upside, there's some great unintentional humor (particularly the super-pale vamps' awesome makeup jobs).

Special Features? The two-disc special edition should leave die-hards happy, with extended and deleted scenes, star commentary and a SEVEN-part documentary, among other features.

*Yet to be confirmed

Add to Netflix queue | Buy from Amazon | Watch Pattinson-Stewart-Meyer Q&A

'Punisher: War Zone'
What It's About: One movie after avenging the baddies who killed his family, Frank Castle (then Thomas Jane, now Ray Stevenson) sets his sights on uber-villain Jigsaw (played by Dominic West, and not to be confused with the immortal 'Saw' torturer).

It's Kind of Like: 'Max Payne' in a skull tee-shirt

What We Say: 2004's 'Punisher' grossed only $33 million, on a reported budget of $33 million, making 'War Zone' one of the most curious sequels to hit theaters in years. Part II grossed a paltry $8 million (on a budget of $22 M). Ouch.

Add to Netflix queue | Buy from Amazon | Watch trailer & clips

'Elegy'
What It's About: Believing it's to good to be true and thus doomed to fail, a celebrated college professor (Ben Kingsley) does everything in his power to screw up his relationship with a sexy student (Penelope Cruz).

It's Kind of Like: 'The Visitor' with sex appeal

What We Say: This underseen romantic drama about dealing with self-doubt in relationships is elegant, sophisticated and yes, even sexy (never thought we'd say that about a Ben Kingsley movie this decade). And it also reinforces the immortal words of Aaliyah: Age ain't nuthin' but a number, Sir Ben.

Add to Netflix queue | Buy from Amazon | Watch the trailer

Other New Releases This Week:
'Goal II'
'Yella'

New DVD Recommendations

    'Milk'

    Release Date: March 10

    What It's About: Sean Penn is Harvey Milk, the iconic San Francisco politician who became the first openly gay man elected to office in the U.S. in 1977. Josh Brolin is the jerk who assassinates him.

    What We Say: Gus Van Sant's biopic of the slain leader is much more conventional than you might expect, but not any less affecting or inspiring. Penn's performance is a triumph. And given the recent passage of Prop 8 in California, the film is as topical as they come.

    Awards & Nominations: Penn prevailed in the closest major race at the Oscars, edging out Comeback King Mickey Rourke ('The Wrestler') for Best Actor. The film also won Best Original Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black), but lost pretty much anywhere it was up against 'Slumdog.'

    Rent the DVD | Buy the DVD
    Oscars Movies Made Easy

    Universal

    'Role Models'

    Release Date: March 10

    What It's About: Sentenced to community service after an energy drink-fueled rampage, "big brothers" Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott teach their "littles" how to stare at breasts without getting caught, plus more valuable life lessons.

    It's Kind of Like: 'Old School' meets 'Cop and a Half'

    What We Say: 'Tropic Thunder,' 'Pineapple Express' and 'Sarah Marshall' may have gotten more play, but 'Role Models' was the funniest comedy of 2008. Both brilliantly sophomoric and sneakily witty (thanks to Rudd's handprints on the script), it's a must-see, and even better on repeat.

    Rent the DVD | Buy the DVD
    Watch trailer & clips

    Universal

    'Rachel Getting Married'

    Release Date: March 10

    What It's About: Released from rehab for a weekend to attend her sister's wedding, Anne Hathaway's bundle of nerves Kym tries her hardest not to ruin the bohemian-flavored celebration for all.

    What We Say: Moviegoers were generally divided over this indie drama from Jonathan Demme. Fans praised its intimacy and realism. Count me in the camp that appreciated it, but found it comparable to watching someone's home video of the best.wedding.ever.

    Awards & Nominations: If there's one reason to see 'Rachel,' it's Hathaway's stunning Academy Award-nominated performance (she was even an early favorite to win). It should be enough to make you forgive her for 'Bride Wars.'

    Rent the DVD | Buy the DVD
    Oscar Movies Made Easy

    Sony Classics

    'Let the Right One In'

    Release Date: March 10

    What It's About: In a small and wintry Swedish town, a young boy becomes BFFs with the new girl next door, who, it turns out, is a vampire starving for blood.

    What We Say: It's 'Twilight' for the arthouse crowd. Subtle but thoroughly chilling, this acclaimed import is one of the most sympathetic portraits of vampires you'll see. Eli (Lina Leandersson) may be deadly, but she's pretty damn adorable (and tortured), too.

    Where It Ranks: 'Let the Right One In' placed #29 on our list of 2008's 50 best movies.

    Rent the DVD | Buy the DVD

    Magnet Releasing

    'I've Loved You So Long'

    Release Date: March 3

    What It's About: When the long-missing and mysterious Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) says at a dinner party she's been in prison the last 15 years for murder, people may laugh, but she ain't kidding. Her sister helps welcome her back into society.

    It's Kind of Like: 'Rachel Getting Married' in French

    Critical Consensus: Reviewers loved it so long, with the film scoring a 90 percent approval rating on RottenTomatoes.

    Awards & Nominations: Nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Drama, the excellent-in-any-language Thomas was a longshot contender for a second Oscar nom (after 'The English Patient'), but was likely edged out by Melissa Leo.

    Rent the DVD | Buy the DVD

    Sony Classics

    'Dear Zachary'

    Release Date: Feb. 24

    What It's About: After his close friend Andrew is murdered, documentarian Kurt Kuenne sets out to make a film about Andrew's life for his son Zachary. But a shocking turn of events transforms the intended tribute into something far different.

    What We Say: This is a tiny, highly personal doc in the same vein as 'Capturing the Friedmans' that got next-to-no attention during its ultra-limited theatrical release, despite a nearly unanimous chorus of critics labeling it a must-see. We can only hope it finds an audience on DVD: It's one of the most devastatingly powerful and affecting documentaries ever made.

    Where It Ranks: 'Zachary' placed #30 on our list 2008's 50 best movies (can someone say Oscar snub?).

    Rent the DVD | Buy the DVD
    Watch the trailer

    Oscilloscope

    'Frozen River'

    Release Date: Feb. 10

    What It's About: Hard up for cash after her no-good husband ditches her (and with their money for a new trailer home!), a gun-toting, retail-working mother of two (Melissa Leo) begins moonlighting as an immigrant smuggler.

    Awards & Nominations: Leo has been racking up accolades since the indie drama debuted at Sundance a year ago, and is now an Academy Award nominee for Best Actress. The film is also up for Best Original Screenplay.

    What We Say: Courtney Hunt's indie drama is without a doubt the unflashiest movie contending for Oscars this year (call it the anti-'Iron Man'). Steered by a quietly devastating performance by Leo, its power lies in its deft storytelling and unflinching realism.

    Rent the DVD | Buy the DVD
    Oscars Movies Made Easy

    Sony Classics

    'W.'

    Release Date: Feb. 10

    What It's About: A charismatic and hard-partying frat guy (Josh Brolin, in an impressive turn) with serious daddy issues and difficulty holding onto a day job quits booze, finds God, and becomes the 43rd president of the United States. Based on a true story.

    What We Say: Oliver Stone isn't nearly as hard on George W. Bush as most expected he'd be, instead painting a partly sympathetic, mostly tragicomedic portrait of the now ex-prez. At the very least it was one of 2008's most intriguing movie experiments (but for a funnier, more stinging portrayal, see Will Ferrell on stage in 'You're Welcome America.')

    Where It Ranks: 'W.' placed #44 on our list of 2008's 50 best movies.

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    Watch Brolin-Banks Unscripted

    Lionsgate

    'Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa'

    Release Date: Feb. 6

    What It's About: A lion (Ben Stiller), hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), giraffe (David Schwimmer) and zebra (Chris Rock) who like to move it, move it... New voices include Alec Baldwin and the late Bernie Mac.

    Critical Consensus: The animated sequel scored better overall reviews than the first, 2005's 'Madagascar,' with 63 percent approval rating on RottenTomatoes (vs. 55 percent the first time around).

    Special Features? The DVD comes served in a two-pack along with a disc including two installments of the Nickelodeon series 'The Penguins of Madagascar' (think the opposite of 'Animal Planet').

    Rent the DVD | Buy the DVD
    Read Jada Pinkett-Smith Q&A

    DreamWorks

    'Zack and Miri Make a Porno'

    Release Date: Feb. 3

    What It's About: Platonic friends Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) do what anyone would do when they're so broke they can't afford to pay the bills: porn.

    What We Say: This is Kevin Smith in Judd Apatow mode, with many of the latter's regular troops (Rogen, Banks, Craig Robinson) butting heads (among other parts) with Smith players (Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson) and porn stars (Katie Morgan, Traci Lords). Raunchy to the extreme, it's Smith's best work in a decade.

    Recommended If You Liked: 'Superbad,' 'Chasing Amy,' 'Orgazmo'

    Rent the DVD | Buy the DVD
    Read Kevin Smith Q&A

    Weinstein Company