RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: True Grit and Just Go With It

Plus, a pretty cave thriller, a corporate drama, and a lot of Superman.

by | June 7, 2011 | Comments

This week on home video, we had, yet again, a whole lot of Blu-Ray reissues and just a handful of new releases. Many of the new BRDs – like The Man Who Would Be King, Vera Cruz, and Happy Gilmore, for example – seemed pretty straightforward, so we’re going to keep this one tight and focused. This week, you’ll find the latest critically-acclaimed Coen brothers film, a drama about corporate downsizing, an Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston rom-com, and a deadly underwater adventure produced by James Cameron. Then, we’ve also got Mike Leigh’s latest critical darling, and a definitive box set of films depicting the Man of Steel. Check out the new releases below!

True Grit (2010)

95%

Remaking a beloved classic starring one of Hollywood’s most iconic actors is a pretty ambitious endeavor, and if anyone was ready to dismiss outright the thought of a remake of the 1969 Western True Grit, it would be difficult to blame them. But when you consider that the Oscar-nominated (ten nominations, to be exact) 2010 True Grit was put together by the Coen brothers (Fargo, No Country for Old Men) and starred one of this generation’s own modern icons, Jeff Bridges, it would be equally as understandable to throw up your arms and think, “Well, why not? This could be good.” Indeed, seeing as how the film garnered a Certified Fresh 96% on the Tomatometer, most critics would be quick to confirm that suspicion. Sure, there are some quibbles about whether the film is an alternate interpretation of the source novel or a remake of the older John Wayne film, but that’s beside the point. The fact remains that True Grit 2010 is a tightly constructed piece of filmmaking with strong performances from Bridges as a U.S. Marshall hired to track down a murderer, Matt Damon as the Texas Ranger who joins him, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as the teen who hires them. See it for yourself when it comes out on home video this week, and decide how it holds up to the 1969 version.

Just Go with It

19%

Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston haven’t exactly been synonymous with what many might call “quality cinema,” particularly as of late, but that hasn’t stopped them from being successful box office draws. Sandler, for one, is what we call “critic-proof,” in that it doesn’t usually matter what the critics think of his movies, because there will always be a fanbase for them. Aniston hasn’t been so lucky, which is why it was probably smart to team up with Sandler for Just Go with It, a romantic comedy about a plastic surgeon (Sandler) who convinces his assistant (Aniston) to pretend to be his wife in order to cover up a lie he carelessly let slip while attempting to woo a sexy schoolteacher (Brooklyn Decker). Unfortunately, critics found the film cheap with its humor and largely ineffective at eliciting the reactions and emotions it tries so hard to pry from its audience. If you’re one of the Sandler faithful or a big fan of Jennifer Aniston, then by all means, have at it. Otherwise, you might want to just go with something else.

The Company Men

67%

Given our current economic situation, it’s understandable that some might not be in the mood for a movie about downsizing. Still, The Company Men has plenty going for it – not least its outstanding cast (which includes Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, and Chris Cooper) and generally positive notices from critics. It’s the story of Bobby (Affleck), a hotshot corporate exec who gets laid off when his company feels the pinch of the recession. Chastened, Bobby gets a carpentry job with his brother’s company, while his fellow newly-jobless colleagues must also adjust to new realities. Critics found The Company Men to be uneven but well-intentioned and observant, with fine acting from its top-notch ensemble. The DVD release comes with audio commentary, an alternate ending, deleted scenes, and a making-of featurette.

Sanctum

30%

Though super-director James Cameron only gets behind the camera once every few years or so, his technical innovations in filmmaking have influenced countless other films, and he himself lends himself as producer on several of these efforts. One such example is Sanctum, an adventure/thriller about a team of underwater cave divers who become trapped during an exploration of one of the largest and most isolated cave systems. The advanced 3D photography techniques pioneered by Cameron for 2009’s global blockbuster Avatar were used in the filming of Sanctum, and critics were certainly quick to point out not only how beautifully the images in the film were captured, but also how much more effective the 3D effects were than most other films. That said, critics also felt that the pretty views alone weren’t enough to overcome what was ultimately a ham-handed script brought to life by flat, lifeless performances. It might be worth viewing, just to see Cameron’s techniques put to good use, but then again, there’s also Werner Herzog’s Certified Fresh Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which may still be in theaters in some places and would probably be a more satisfying experience.

Another Year

92%

Of course, no RT on DVD column would be complete without at least one lesser-seen indie flick, but this week, we’ve got a good one from an extremely reliable director. Mike Leigh’s (Happy-Go-Lucky, Vera Drake) last four films have been Certified Fresh at 83% or higher, and though the five films preceding those don’t have enough reviews to stick that CF designation, their Tomatometers are 87%, 94%, 91%, 100%, and 100%, respectively. Now that is a resume to be proud of. Leigh’s most recent effort, 2010’s Another Year, a slice-of-life dramatic comedy centered around an aging couple, Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), and their relationships with their friends and their grown son (Oliver Maltman), is no different. If you’re familiar with Leigh’s work, you know this is right up his alley, and critics say he’s delivered another homerun, rewarding Another Year with a Certified Fresh 92% on the Tomatometer. The film is characterized by top notch acting and Leigh’s impressive ability to capture the nuances of everyday life genuinely. If you missed this when it was in theaters, here’s your chance to treat yourself to a quietly funny gem.

Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology (1978-2006) – Blu-Ray

These days, we’re used to superhero blockbusters with remarkable visual effects. But in 1978, when Superman hit the big screen, its tagline (“You’ll believe a man can fly!”) couldn’t have sounded more auspicious — or prophetic. The first two Superman movies were marvels of state-of-the-art special effects, gee-wiz wonderment, sly humor, and thrilling action. And Christopher Reeve made for an immensely likeable Man of Steel, occasionally winking to the audience but never letting the laughs get in the way of rip-roaring heroism and daring-do. After a terrific start, the franchise fell on hard times with Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which looked cut-rate and campy compared to the exhilarating first two installments. Superman returned in 2006 with, ahem, Superman Returns; Bryan Singer’s attempt to revive the franchise was politely received and featured some remarkable effects, but didn’t set the world on fire. For the complete story, check out the Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology (1978-2006) blu-ray set, which features all five official Superman theatrical releases plus alternate versions of the first two movies (including Richard Donner’s cut of Superman II), plus tons of special features, from making-of docs to Supe cartoons to dozens of deleted scenes. Up, up, and away!

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