RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Tourist and How Do You Know

Also, the latest live action/CGI mashup, an alien invasion flick, and a couple of classics.

by | March 22, 2011 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got a handful of brand new releases, but unfortunately, none of them were very well reviewed. Starting things off is the Angelina Jolie-Johnny Depp teamup of international proportions, followed by the latest Hanna-Barbera cartoon to get the live-action treatment. Then we’ve got a rom-com love triangle with Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson, and a sci-fi thriller boasting special effects and not much more. Lastly, we end this week’s limited selection with one modern classic and one silent film era classic, which should hopefully bring up the Tomatometer average for the releases on hand. So take a look and pick wisely!

The Tourist

20%

What do you get when you pair up two of the world’s biggest movie stars, add a director with a critically acclaimed hit on his resume, and mix it all up in healthy dose of international intrigue? An unforeseen misfire, apparently. The two stars in question here are Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and the director is Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the German-born filmmaker at the helm of 2006’s Oscar-winning The Lives of Others. In this remake of a 2005 French film (Anthony Zimmer), Depp stars as the titular tourist who becomes swept up into a game of cat-and-mouse when a beautiful woman (Jolie) singles him out as the fall guy in a clever deception. So what went wrong? Critics say The Tourist‘s plot was far too muddled and the chemistry between Depp and Jolie far too lacking to make the film effective, even if the stars and the scenery were indeed pretty to look at. It’s always disappointing when you feel like movie magic is lost because its principle players are working beneath their full potential, but that seems to be the case here. For those still interested, it arrives on home video this week.

Yogi Bear

13%

We here at RT very briefly toyed with the idea of putting together a list centered on cartoon-to-live-action films… and then we had a great laugh, adjusted our berets, and continued sipping our lattes. Such a list would include misses like 1994’s The Flintstones, 2002’s Scooby-Doo, and, of course, last year’s Yogi Bear. Starring Dan Aykroyd as the voice of the computer-animated ursine and Justin Timberlake as his pal Boo-Boo, the film takes a somewhat environmental angle by setting the duo up as saviors of their beloved Jellystone Park, which is threatened by the logging efforts of gubernatorial candidate Mayor Brown (Andrew Daly). Unfortunately, as with many of its ilk, Yogi Bear fails to deliver a script worthy of a feature film, and while he may be smarter than the average bear, the film is, with a 14% Tomatometer, definitely not better than the average movie.

How Do You Know

31%

What do you get when you cast three immensely likable stars, add a director known for… Wait, we already used that lead-in, didn’t we? Well, chalk up another one in the “should’ve been better” category for James L. Brooks’ comedy How Do You Know, starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson. The story revolves around a love triangle between the three actors, who play a 30-year-old Team USA softball player, a corporate executive in the midst of a criminal investigation, and professional pitcher, respectively. As with many films that fail similarly, the cast here, which includes a supporting turn by Jack Nicholson, are all serviceable enough, but the script provides them with so little characterization and so few credible dramatic moments that the film simply outlives its entertainment value. Critics collectively gave it a 30% on the Tomatometer, so consider yourself warned, but if you’re still curious to see two hot comedic talents mix it up with one of America’s Sweethearts, you can pick this up on DVD or Blu-Ray this week.

Skyline

15%

Alien invasion movies have never really fallen out of vogue, but they seem to be enjoying a resurgence as of late, ranging from family-friendly fare like Mars Needs Moms to gritty combat thrillers like Battle: Los Angeles. And with so many films tackling the genre, it really takes something special to stand out from the rest. Unfortunately, last year’s Skyline failed to generate the same kind of response that another modestly budgeted and independently made invasion film did just a couple of years ago (District 9). Skyline didn’t boast any huge star power (its biggest stars are best known for TV roles), but the promise of dazzling special effects lured many to see what the film had to offer, and the result was a middling sci-fi film with poorly scripted dialogue and an uninspired storyline. Though the special effects (which were, in fact, produced by the same company that handled effects for Battle: Los Angeles) were somewhat impressive, they just weren’t enough to convince critics that Skyline was any better than a 16% on the Tomatometer.

Stand By Me – 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray

91%

Author Stephen King is an immensely prolific writer, churning out novels and short story collections left and right for decades, and more than 35 films have been adapted from his work. And while he’s best known for his horror fiction, one of the most beloved adaptations of his work is actually based on a nostalgic coming-of-age tale about four boys in 1960 who embark on an adventure together to search for a dead body they’ve heard has been discovered. Starring Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, River Phoenix, and Jerry O’Connell, and directed by Rob Reiner during his ’80s heyday, Stand By Me was a tightly executed, well written drama of innocence lost featuring strong performances and just enough humor to remind the audience that these are, after all, just kids. In honor of its 25th anniversary, it’s presented for the first time on Blu-Ray this week, and while most of the special features are simply ported over from the 2000 DVD edition, there is one new video commentary featuring a reunion of Reiner, Wheaton, and Feldman that runs picture-in-picture style in the lower right corner as the movie plays. It’s a wonderful little movie that’s worth discovering for the first time or revisiting in high definition.

Our Hospitality – Ultimate Edition Blu-Ray

97%

They’re a historical footnote now, but once upon a time the Keatons were a renowned showbiz family, touring the country in vaudeville and medicine shows; the most famous member of the family was none other than Buster Keaton, who performed with his parents as early as three. After achieving fame on the big screen, Buster included his family members in his movies. One of the most important (and Keaton-heavy) of these is Our Hospitality, a slapstick comedy about a young man who gets caught up in a Hatfield-McCoy-esque family feud and co-stars both his parents and his infant son. If you’ve never seen a Buster Keaton movie, this isn’t a bad place to start, since it features the star’s alacrity for both deadpan slapstick and death defying stunts (a perilous moment by a waterfall is particularly show-stopping). The good folks at Kino have a brand-new Blu-Ray of Our Hospitality that features a making of documentary, an alternate cut of the film (!), and a Fatty Arbuckle-directed short with a cameo from Keaton.

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