RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Battleship and Think Like a Man

Plus, another Oscar nominee, an animated winner, and lots of new Universal Blu-rays.

by | August 28, 2012 | Comments

The biggest movies available on home video this week aren’t exactly critical darlings, but to balance out the big robots and formulaic romances, we’ve got a couple of acclaimed indies, a new Criterion, and a ton of 100th anniversary Blu-rays from Universal. See below for the full list!

Battleship

34%

A lot of people cracked jokes when it was announced that Universal would be crafting a big budget action movie based on the popular board game Battleship; as it turns out, those people probably had the right idea. As the game itself lacked any sort of inherent narrative, the film finds its conflict in an alien invasion and (of course) the human effort to repel said invasion. Starring Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Rihanna, and Alexander Skarsgard, Battleship was ultimately too loud, too poorly written, and too formulaic to win over many critics, resulting in a 34% Tomatometer. If you’re into big, special-effects driven spectacles a la Transformers, this might be for you.

Think Like a Man

54%

Mainstream romantic comedies have recently been a breeding ground for Rotten reviews, and while Think Like a Man is also technically Rotten, critics say it’s not all bad. Based on the relationship advice book by comedian and media personality Steve Harvey, Think Like a Man follows the love lives of four friends whose relationships are all adversely affected when their significant others begin taking the advice of the titular book. With a game cast and some truly funny bits, the film manages to rise above most standard rom-coms, though not quite enough to earn any higher than its 54% Tomatometer. In other words, a relatively tolerable date-night movie.

The Lucky One

20%

Speaking of clichéd romances, The Lucky One bore all the trappings of a Nicholas Sparks novel without actually being based on one. Zac Efron plays an Iraq war vet who tracks down an anonymous woman (Taylor Schilling) pictured in a photograph he found while overseas, only to (surprise!) fall in love with her before revealing his stalker-ish secret. Critics, unfortunately, didn’t really buy it; at 20% on the Tomatometer, The Lucky One is simply too formulaic and too typically melodramatic to appeal to anyone not already familiar with the genre. In other words, if you’re looking for a predictable yet weepy romance, feel free to indulge yourself; if not, you might want to find your entertainment elsewhere.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

86%

The Aardman Animations company is most famous for their stop-motion work in the Wallace & Gromit series, as well as acclaimed films like Chicken Run and last year’s Arthur Christmas. Their latest feature project centers on — you guessed it — a misfit band of pirates led by the aptly named Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant), who embarks on an epic adventure to win the coveted Pirate of the Year award. Thanks to Aardman’s typically fantastic animation work, a smart and funny script, and voice work from folks like Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Piven, and Salma Hayek, Pirates managed to go Certified Fresh with an 86% Tomatometer. If you’re looking for something that’ll entertain you as well as the kiddies, this is probably your best bet this week.

Darling Companion

21%

It’s been a while since director Lawrence Kasdan (The Accidental Tourist, The Big Chill) had a hit, so it’s a bit unfortunate that his first film in nine years ended up earning the lowest Tomatometer score of his career thus far. Diane Keaton plays Beth, cast aside wife to Joseph (Kevin Kline), who finds a new BFF in the stray dog she rescues from the side of the road. When Joseph loses the dog after their daughter’s wedding, Beth organizes a search party to find the pooch. While some critics praised the chemistry between Keaton and Kline, most took issue with the slack pacing, extraneous characters, and muddled messages, resulting in a disappointing 21% Tomatometer score.

Monsieur Lazhar

97%

Another week, another Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. That’s not to say Monsieur Lazhar, the French Canadian import, doesn’t deserve the recognition; at a Certified Fresh 97%, it’s the highest-rated new release out this week. The story focuses on an elementary school teacher (Mohamed Said Fellag) who replaces another teacher who has committed suicide, even as he’s battling his own demons after losing his family to a politically charged tragedy. Making the most of its teacher-student dynamic and benefiting from powerful characterization and strong performances, Monsieur Lazhar is a tender and thoughtful film about grief and the power to overcome it.

Quadrophenia – Criterion Collection

100%

In 1973, The Who released their second rock opera, a double album titled Quadrophenia, a portrait of the early ’60s Mod lifestyle as depicted by a young man named Jimmy Cooper with alternating personalities. In 1979, Franc Roddam translated the album into a big screen narrative feature with the help of Phil Daniels (as Jimmy), Sting, and a young Ray Winstone, among others. Whether you enjoy the band’s music or not (and, to be clear, this film is not a musical), most agree that this angst-ridden portrayal of British subculture is a raw and effective document of the times, and it arrives in a Criterion edition this week. Special features include new commentary with Roddam, snippets from news programs of the ’60s and ’70s, and a handful of new interviews.

Universal 100th Anniversary Blu-Rays

Since Universal has been releasing a slew of reissues on Blu-ray to celebrate their 100th anniversary, we thought it would be easier simply to list the notable ones in a single entry. This week, you’ll be treated to new editions of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Vertigo (you know, the movie recently deemed the greatest film ever by Sight & Sound), Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity, the “early disaster film” Airport, multiple Oscar-winner (including Best Picture) Out of Africa, the Jimmy Stewart imaginary rabbit movie Harvey, Brian De Palma’s Scarface, the Michel Gondry/Charlie Kaufman collaboration Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and last but certainly not least, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Whew! If there isn’t something in there for you, I don’t even know what to say.

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