RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: A New Moon and a Frog Princess

Plus, a ninja, Pedro Almodovar's latest, and a brutal trilogy.

by | March 16, 2010 | Comments

This week in home video, we’ve got a slew of brand new releases coming your way. Unfortunately, only a few of them were critical darlings, but the ones that are critic-approved are pretty good ones. Among the new releases are the latest in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, the most recent offering from Disney’s traditional animation department, a couple of action flicks that didn’t perform as well as they would have liked, a computer animated update of an anime classic, director Pedro Almodovar’s latest film, and a boxset of a brutal South Korean trilogy. Dig in, and hopefully there’ll be something worth your while this week!



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1206167[/tomatometer]

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The second installment of Stephenie Meyer’s hugely popular and successful Twilight franchise did exactly what it set out to do: capitalize on its pre-existing fanbase and deliver more vampire/human/werewolf romantic intrigue. Though it only scored an overall 28% on the Tomatometer (compared to the first movie’s 50% rating), The Twilight Saga: New Moon was a box office success, making close to $300 million. The story follows the continuing adventures of everygirl Bella Swan, whose vampire heartthrob Edward Cullen leaves town in order to keep Bella safe from his enemies; as a result, Bella’s relationship with longtime friend (and closet werewolf) Jacob begins to blossom. If you’re familiar with the book series the films are based upon, there probably won’t be any surprises here, and the true draw of the film is to see the characters come to life off the page. If you’re not a Twilight fan, chances are you probably haven’t even read this far, but if you’re a die hard Twi-hard, you can pick up the movie this week on DVD or Blu-Ray.



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1196003[/tomatometer]

The Princess and the Frog

During this modern era of animation, in which computer-generated characters and landscapes dominate the theaters, some considered it a brave move by Disney to return to their traditional hand-drawn 2-D animation for their latest princess-themed film, The Princess and the Frog. In the end, however, this is precisely what the Disney empire is built upon, and by most accounts, their efforts were not in vain. Critics marked the film Certified Fresh with an 85% on the Tomatometer, citing the warmth of its traditional animation and the strength of its musical numbers and vivid imagery as strengths. Though perhaps not the weightiest or most impressive of the Disney canon, you can rest assured that this entry effectively draws upon its predecessors and recalls aspects of them in a lively fashion that should still please children of all ages. You can pick it up in regular DVD or snag the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack that comes with a digital copy.



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1213718[/tomatometer]

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Hugh Grant has made a career of playing the goofy, slightly neurotic lead in romantic comedies, and Sarah Jessica Parker has done her share of “America’s sweetheart”-styled fare, so why didn’t Did You Hear About the Morgans? work? Well, for one, writer/director Marc Lawrence had only helmed one film prior to this, 2002’s Two Weeks Notice (42% Tomatometer), and no other film he’s been involved with has been rated Fresh, so there’s that. But speaking plainly, critics felt that Grant and Parker had little chemistry together on screen, despite the inherent likability of the two stars. Pair that with an unfunny script about a struggling married couple who experience a romantic renewal when they witness a murder and are sent to Wyoming to hide out, and it all starts to make sense. For better or for worse, Did You Hear About the Morgans? hits video store shelves this week, so we’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not it’s something you’d enjoy.



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1198524[/tomatometer]

Ninja Assassin

Ninja Assassin gets some brownie points for its straightforward title; there’s really no mistaking what the movie’s about, and the absolute simplicity of the title implies that the tone of the film will be raw, an action film focused on the most basic elements of being a ninja assassin — namely stealth and killing. Then, when you’ve got the Wachowski brothers pushing it, as they did with their other collaboration with director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) , and one wouldn’t be crazy to expect a good time at the movies. Unfortunately, Ninja Assassin was panned by critics, who were only willing to grant a 26% Tomatometer, noting that the film took itself much too seriously and that the action sequences, which should have been the film’s strength, were incomprehensibly edited. This is doubly unfortunate for South Korean pop star Rain, who no doubt believed this would be his breakout Hollywood role, and for 80s ninja movie star Sho Kosugi, who plays a shadow of his former roles here.



[tomatometer]MuzeID=10008727[/tomatometer]

Astro Boy

Though many who saw the film probably weren’t aware of this, Astro Boy was actually one of the more influential characters in Japanese animation, a 50-year-old story that began in manga form and went on to spawn an animated TV series that aired in over 40 countries. In fact, one could argue that Astro Boy was one of the shows that pioneered the Japanese “anime” genre. Last year, Imagi Animation Studios and Summit Entertainment hit theaters with a computer-animated update on the story, starring the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Charlize Theron, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nighy, and Donald Sutherland, among others. These days, unfortunately, big name voice talent is hardly a guarantee that an animated film is going to be any good; Astro Boy only managed a 49% Tomatometer. The good news is that the visuals are, by all accounts, pretty stellar; what critics didn’t like was the somewhat shoehorned political message the film seemed to carry. But, all things considered, there is worse animated fare out there, so this could be a pleasant enough distraction for the kiddies.



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1207884[/tomatometer]

Armored

Hungarian director Nimrod Antal turned heads with his 2005 debut film, Kontroll, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film that year at the Oscars. Unfortunately, it’s his only Fresh film so far (will this year’s Predators change that?), and while Armored boasted an interesting take on a familiar genre (the heist movie), critics were mostly unimpressed by it. Despite its solid cast, which includes Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, and Laurence Fishburne, the film is ultimately undone by its plot holes and by a messy conclusion, which left the critics wanting. The story here revolves around a foolproof plan by a crew of armed transport officers to hijack one of the company trucks; initially intended to be clean and easy, the plan encounters complications when an unexpected witness appears. Antal displayed a knack for claustrophobic environments in Kontroll, and there are some moments in Armored that recall this, but beware if you pick this one up at the video stores; it may leave you a bit disappointed in the end.



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1209302[/tomatometer]

The Fourth Kind

There’s a chance The Fourth Kind might have done a little better if it hadn’t been preceded by a little movie called Paranormal Activity, which seemed to capitalize on the same atmospheric brand of horror. While critics felt the latter was an effective, suspenseful exploration of the supernatural, they dismissed the former as clumsy and strangely mundane, despite a handful of genuine scares. The Fourth Kind is purportedly loosely based on true events, even going so far as to utilize what is supposed to be real footage from historical records, and tells the story of Dr. Abigail Taylor (Milla Jovovich), a psychologist in Alaska whose husband’s unsolved death spurs her on to investigate a string of alien abductions. It only scored an 18% on the Tomatometer, but critical acclaim tends to pass the horror genre by regularly, so some of you may find this to be an adequate thriller if you pick it up this week.



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1194556[/tomatometer]

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

John Krasinki is best known as Jim on the popular NBC sitcom The Office, but he’s enjoyed some moderate big screen success with films such as Leatherheads and Away We Go. Last year, he took his first stab at working behind the camera, for Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, based on the short story collection of the same name by David Foster Wallace. While the book was presented as a series of “interview” transcripts, sans interviewer, Krasinki’s script includes the interviewer, played by Julianne Nicholson, as a means of tying all the stories together. Unfortunately, critics felt the film was uneven overall, despite Krasinki’s ambitious efforts to capture the same depth that Wallace’s book offered. Part of this may have to do with the fact that the source material was less than ideal for adaptation, so it may be worth checking out, if only to see what potential Krasinki might possess as a director.



[tomatometer]MuzeID=1202277[/tomatometer]

Broken Embraces

Director Pedro Almodovar has maintained quite an impressive career, at least according to the Tomatometer. Only his debut film is rated Rotten, and his previous directorial efforts before Broken Embraces were rated at 92% (Volver), 89% (Bad Education), 92% (Talk to Her), and 98% (All About My Mother). Put simply, the man knows how to make a quality movie, and Broken Embraces is no different; it’s Certified Fresh at 81%. The story centers around a novelist and filmmaker named Mateo Blanco who was rendered blind in an auto accident that also claimed the life of his beloved. Determined to leave that part of his life in the past, he adopts his literary pseudonym, Harry Caine, as his permanent identity, and it isn’t until his young secretary has an accident of his own that he retells the events of the tragic night fourteen years prior that took away his lover and his eyesight. Though critics agreed that this wasn’t necessarily Almodovar’s best work, the film is filled with fine performances and enough visual flair to make it worth watching. You can pick it up on DVD or Blu-Ray this week.


Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy

South Korean cinema has been experiencing quite a boom lately (as evidenced by Bong Joon-Ho’s film Mother, which opened just last weekend to widespread critical acclaim), and one of the more recent success stories has been Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy, a dark and mysterious thriller with flashes of visual brilliance and a gripping plot. When Oldboy achieved a moderate cult following, moviegoers discovered it was the second film of what Park called his “Vengeance Trilogy,” along with 2002’s Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and 2005’s Lady Vengeance (unrelated stories, by the way). Park’s Vengeance Trilogy is a collection of brutal stories about desperate people in unthinkable situations, often punctuated by gritty violence, and though they aren’t always easy to watch, they signal Korea as an emerging source of quality filmmaking. A side note: you can pick up the Vengeance Trilogy on regular DVD most anywhere tomorrow, but if you want it in Blu-Ray, you’ll either have to trek on over to your nearest Best Buy or wait till it drops everywhere else in June.

Tag Cloud

VICE Travel Channel TV movies new star wars movies young adult Year in Review die hard spider-man Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt kaiju australia Television Academy FX on Hulu Women's History Month CMT Masterpiece New York Comic Con Dark Horse Comics 73rd Emmy Awards adenture Tags: Comedy Nominations golden globe awards The Walt Disney Company Pop TV Election BET Awards werewolf Music discovery comic books YouTube Red Sundance Emmy Nominations Spectrum Originals sag awards mob Star Trek cats halloween tv CW Seed HBO The Walking Dead The Purge Interview golden globes biography justice league Comic Book critics 99% BBC One Drama twilight Hallmark technology Apple travel National Geographic Spring TV south america Trivia MTV classics DirecTV Animation Christmas science fiction indie diversity hispanic Television Critics Association slasher emmy awards Cartoon Network mcc king kong Trailer reviews worst movies renewed TV shows HBO Go Musicals Chernobyl rom-coms ID documentary Esquire Ovation movies rt labs critics edition adventure adaptation USA Network See It Skip It cartoon aliens Oscars Superheroe award winner Apple TV Plus green book asian-american police drama dreamworks dogs rt labs Nat Geo best VOD indiana jones spanish dragons trailers cooking LGBT anime canceled CBS reboot Fargo game show Creative Arts Emmys DGA DC Comics Disney streaming service vampires DC streaming service comic Crunchyroll witnail Valentine's Day Reality Competition nfl kong stand-up comedy stoner ABC Family RT21 Sci-Fi 007 Horror psycho HBO Max Cosplay all-time olympics Hulu monster movies Pride Month Peacock Disney SDCC A24 jamie lee curtis The Witch Tarantino Awards Tour X-Men 4/20 LGBTQ directors MSNBC revenge Amazon Prime Video ratings Disney Channel true crime trophy Acorn TV docudrama Binge Guide Pet Sematary scorecard quibi heist movie cults TV Mary Tyler Moore leaderboard TV One sequel french Writers Guild of America Alien fresh scary know your critic toy story FOX Awards black natural history crossover TCA Showtime venice Best and Worst deadpool 2016 FX Marathons nature Opinion superman Comedy Central book adaptation Image Comics Kids & Family Schedule serial killer Rock documentaries Sundance Now Wes Anderson Lucasfilm Marvel HFPA posters video Walt Disney Pictures ABC Signature Mudbound Netflix Neflix Box Office Turner BAFTA halloween Emmys fast and furious El Rey free movies E3 marvel cinematic universe foreign Photos doctor who comiccon Calendar Lionsgate hist Pixar breaking bad comics SXSW Ellie Kemper 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Fall TV medical drama Apple TV+ anthology Toys Cannes romance Arrowverse spain CBS All Access A&E Mary Poppins Returns Amazon Studios criterion pirates of the caribbean 21st Century Fox Mary poppins GoT NYCC Black History Month spinoff Rocky new york universal monsters football christmas movies Heroines social media sequels BET a nightmare on elm street period drama critic resources war genre dceu Superheroes cops NBA Classic Film APB DC Universe docuseries crime drama 1990s IFC RT History vs. Musical comic book movie Marvel Television dexter talk show Legendary Tumblr television hidden camera blockbuster Avengers YouTube Premium suspense 90s Nickelodeon Universal Pictures films The CW Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Character Guide Crackle zero dark thirty target jurassic park thriller Winners TruTV casting godzilla obituary boxing live event dark Rocketman king arthur Broadway TNT 45 Tubi GIFs zombies 24 frames 71st Emmy Awards zombie romantic comedy historical drama biopic miniseries transformers 93rd Oscars PBS theme song Biopics Syfy prank TBS Song of Ice and Fire Grammys Podcast Anna Paquin Comic-Con@Home 2021 japanese Pirates Thanksgiving comedies Film action-comedy mission: impossible child's play feel good Lifetime Sundance TV scary movies History franchise Netflix Christmas movies archives Warner Bros. satire crime AMC Amazon Prime marvel comics Bravo WarnerMedia singing competition japan cancelled based on movie 79th Golden Globes Awards game of thrones crime thriller what to watch mockumentary italian saw GLAAD Ghostbusters superhero American Society of Cinematographers Endgame aapi new zealand TCA Awards popular 2017 Countdown Set visit blaxploitation President mutant debate boxoffice Red Carpet Baby Yoda space ITV First Look Teen OneApp TCA 2017 Star Wars 72 Emmy Awards Instagram Live facebook YA Disney Plus IMDb TV Fox News hollywood Disney+ Disney Plus screen actors guild BBC America Reality slashers NBC parents MCU hispanic heritage month Funimation canceled TV shows 20th Century Fox art house sopranos razzies sports OWN Universal Tokyo Olympics Sneak Peek The Arrangement The Academy women book dc Turner Classic Movies Western stop motion Film Festival lord of the rings high school festivals independent TV Land elevated horror richard e. Grant 2015 Comics on TV 2018 Pop ViacomCBS Hallmark Christmas movies binge telelvision ABC 2021 latino Martial Arts Elton John Paramount Logo Action Academy Awards Sony Pictures Mindy Kaling TCM Holidays teaser remakes politics series Vudu robots CNN worst cinemax SundanceTV Premiere Dates composers Stephen King movie harry potter Winter TV video on demand TV renewals Adult Swim TIFF festival Trophy Talk WGN political drama comic book movies Infographic FXX Fantasy Country name the review chucky Starz nbcuniversal Summer screenings Britbox USA AMC Plus sitcom Prime Video E! spanish language dramedy TLC batman rt archives 2019 finale Tomatazos PlayStation Hollywood Foreign Press Association basketball Paramount Plus Black Mirror Family PaleyFest Paramount Network gangster Amazon Pacific Islander joker strong female leads streaming Video Games james bond children's TV legend First Reviews Marvel Studios Comedy ghosts BBC unscripted toronto Discovery Channel Holiday Extras Hear Us Out San Diego Comic-Con Certified Fresh psychological thriller Rom-Com Captain marvel scene in color ESPN blockbusters Polls and Games TCA Winter 2020 rotten 2020 cancelled TV shows royal family spy thriller VH1 laika news versus animated Watching Series international tv talk streaming movies Spike black comedy Columbia Pictures Quiz Brie Larson IFC Films Food Network Exclusive Video rotten movies we love wonder woman cars YouTube supernatural Shondaland disaster Super Bowl kids cancelled TV series Lifetime Christmas movies Shudder Epix concert spider-verse cancelled television Mystery Freeform live action Fox Searchlight