JBO: Joystiq Box Office, December 7 - December 11, plus Joyswag!

Kevin Kelly
K. Kelly|12.12.09

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JBO: Joystiq Box Office, December 7 - December 11, plus Joyswag!

We can't be gaming all the time, despite our best efforts, and from time to time we'll actually take advantage of the movie-playing abilities on our gaming systems. JBO features our top picks for XBL, PSN, Netflix's Watch Instantly and Blu-ray each week.

With the holidays in mind, we're going to be giving away ... wait for it ... MOVIES with each Joystiq Box Office post on Friday from today through January 1! Simply leave a comment below telling us what you'll be watching on your Xbox, PS3, PC, PSP, DS, OMG or whatever, and we'll pick two winners at random each week to receive a nifty prize. This week we'll be giving away one copy of Disney/Pixar's amazing Up and one copy of the romantic comedy The Ugly Truth. Now before you cringe in terror over a Katherine Heigl / Gerard Butler romcom, consider this: It'll make your movie collection look sensitive. Both movies come with an additional digital copy that you can stick on your computer, your PSP, your iPod, what have you. Read the complete rules at the end of this post, and good luck! [Update: The entry period has closed.]

Recommendation of the Week:

The Mel Brooks Collection (Blu-ray, $139.99 suggested retail)
I can't recommend this set highly enough. First of all, it includes nine Mel Brooks films: Twelve Chairs, To Be Or Not To Be, Silent Movie, History of the World: Part 1, High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, many of which are making their Blu-ray debut. Second, it includes a ton of extra features: just the Young Frankenstein disc alone is loaded with tons of fun stuff, including a "Blücher Button" for instant horse whinnying sounds. Third, it's packaged in a long case containing an artbook about all about Mel Brooks and his movies called "All About Mel Brooks." Fourth, it's Mel Brooks, and you need a few laughs in high definition. Amazon has this right now for $92.99, whittling it down to almost ten bucks a movie. You won't be sorry.

Read on for the rest of the recommendations, and as usual, we'll see you at the popcorn sta -- well, actually, we won't see you at all. But you catch our drift. Plus, be sure to tell us what you'll be watching, or what you've seen recently that bowled you over.

Xbox Live Video Marketplace (Xbox 360)

The Cove
(1600($19.99) HD, 1200($14.99) SD, to purchase)
I saw this movie at Sundance earlier this year, and it is a completely heartwrenching documentary about the mass slaughter of dolphins in Japan. A team of activists comes in with spy cameras disguised as rocks, night vision goggles and other high-tech instruments to expose this practice, which has been hidden from the media and the general public. It's incredibly appalling, and If this doesn't make you choke back a tear or two, then you just aren't human. I know we like to joke around in Joystiq Box Office from time to time, but this movie is completely engrossing and can trace its roots all the way back to the television show Flipper. The film won the U.S. Audience Award for a Documentary at Sundance, but it deserves more attention.

Netflix Watch Instantly (Mac/PC, Xbox Live, PS3, subscription required: starts at $8.99 per month)

THX 1138
George Lucas wasn't always simply the guy who created Star Wars. He also directed the dystopian classic THX 1138, which was released as a special edition back in 2004, complete with an extremely clean transfer, new effects and with a new director's cut of the film. If you haven't seen it, you need to. It's a much better movie than the Star Wars prequel films, and it doesn't rely on special effects to sell the story. A young Robert Duvall turns in a muted, understated performance as the titular character, and it stands out starkly when compared to Star Wars, which came six years after this movie. It's well worth watching, as long as you aren't expecting eye-bleeding CGI. We highlighted Lost: Season 5 on Blu-ray last week because it looks so amazing, but it's also available on Netflix Watch Instantly, just as a heads up for those of you who need to catch up.

PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3 or PSP)

Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
($19.99 HD, $14.99 SD, to own, per movie)
What says "Happy Holidays" more than a Quentin Tarantino movie? Not much, right? While you're waiting on Inglourious Basterds to come out next week, you can whet your appetite with Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, both in HD. Why this hasn't been issued in a Blu-ray superset I'll never know, but these editions are only a couple of bucks more expensive than the lackluster Blu-ray single editions and they look great. I don't know if Uma Thurman is ever going to top this performance, and it's a fitting pair of movies to serve as a swan song for David Carradine. Has it really been five years since Vol. 2 hit theaters? Get a few friends together, watch these two movies, then load up something like the Bayonetta demo or Muramasa: The Demon Blade and take out any lingering, sword-based aggression.

Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($35.99, much lower at many retailers)
I outed and embarrassed myself during a trivia game the other night by knowing Lord Voldermort's real middle name (Marvolo). My friends made fun of me the rest of the night for being an adult Harry Potter fan, and you know what? I'm wearing that badge with pride. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is probably the finest of the Potter films so far, and just when I thought the franchise was getting stale, it thrilled me all over again. Which either means it's a fine piece of filmmaking, or I'm just a sap. Possibly even both. As with all of the Potter releases, it includes a bunch of extras, including a sneak peek at The Deathly Hallows.

Additionally, if you own an online connected Blu-ray player (and if you're reading this, I'm betting you have yourself a PS3), there's a special event tomorrow, Saturday December 12 at 12PM Pacific Time where owners of the movie can participate in a live chat with Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, and director David Yates. Click here for more details and to sign up. This movie looks real enough in Blu-ray for you to shout EXPELLIARMUS! That is, if you're a dork like me.

What are you watching? Let us know to enter to for your chance to win a Blu-ray move prize detailed below:
  • Leave a comment telling us what you're watching (on any format).
  • You must be 18 years or older and a resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec).
  • Limit 1 entry per person (replies to other comments won't count as entries, so feel free to chat it up).
  • This entry period ends at 12:00PM ET on Monday, December 14.
  • At that time, we'll randomly select one winner to receive a one copy of Up on Blu-ray (ARV $45.99); and one winner to receive a copy of The Ugly Truth on Blu-ray (ARV $39.95).
  • For a list of complete rules, click here.

What is Joyswag? Since we don't keep the games and merchandise we receive for review or promotional purposes, it becomes "Joyswag," which is passed along to our readers. For more info on our policy, click here.
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