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How to Spend $20

By Eric Hughes

March 22, 2011

And that's why they call you the Butterscotch Stallion?

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Welcome to How to Spend $20, BOP’s look at the latest Blu-ray discs and DVDs to hit stores nationwide. This week: How Do You Know embarrasses James L. Brooks, aliens destroy LA (a bad thing?) and Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie get romantical in Venice.

Pick of the Week

How Do You Know

James L. Brooks' first writer-director credit since Spanglish didn’t earn back nearly enough money to justify How Do You Know’s reported $120 million budget. Instead, it stumbled out of the gate with a little over $7 million in its opening weekend, and final domestic tally of $30.2 million.

No, How Do You Know isn’t a strangely named sequel to The Lord of the Rings or The Matrix, but a romantic comedy that ended up costing Columbia Pictures a total crap load to distribute. I mean, if I had $120 million to do with what I wanted, I certainly would not choose to produce a rather generic looking piece of fiction and spend nearly half of the money on talent alone.

Disc includes: Blooper reel, deleted scenes, Extra Innings: Making Of featurette, audio commentary, A Conversation with James L. Brooks and Hans Zimmer featurette




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Skyline

An official synopsis to Skyline: After a late night party, a group of friends are awoken in the dead of the night by an eerie light beaming through the window. Like moths to a flame, the light source is drawing people outside before they suddenly vanish into the air. They soon discover an otherwordly force is swallowing the entire human population off the face of the earth. Now our band of survivors must fight for their lives as the world unravels around them.

And in Battle: Los Angeles, released a week and a half ago: …Earth is attacked by unknown forces. As people everywhere watch the world's great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. It's up to a Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and his new platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they've ever encountered before.

What the Skyline synopsis leaves out is that the movie takes place in, yep, Los Angeles – all but guaranteeing that Skyline and Battle: Los Angeles are more or less the same movie. So much so that the filmmakers hired to do Battle: LA’s visual effects, Greg and Colin Strause, were suspected to have created their own LA-based alien flick – what would become Skyline – using the knowledge they gathered from Battle: LA.

Of course, this isn’t the first time competing studios played an expensive game of copycat. Just a few years ago, we got two movies centered around magic (The Prestige, The Illusionist) and Truman Capote (Capote, Infamous). Back in the ‘90s, we got served two flicks about attempting to prepare for and then hopefully destroy a large comet (Deep Impact, Armageddon).

Disc includes: Audio commentaries, deleted and extended scenes, alternate scenes, Pre-Visualization featurette


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