RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Green Lantern and Horrible Bosses

Plus, Terrence Malick's latest, a Kevin James comedy, and an understated road trip movie.

by | October 11, 2011 | Comments

This isn’t the best week on home video that we’ve seen in a while, but it certainly has some variety; it’s one of those weeks that probably has a little something for everyone. First off, the two big releases: Ryan Reynolds stars in DC’s failed attempt to bring one of its classic heroes to the screen, and Jason Bateman headlines an all-star ensemble cast in a silly and slightly raunchy workplace comedy. Then, we’ve got the much-talked-about new film from Terrence Malick (you know, the one with dinosaurs), and a couple of kid flicks that critics didn’t love. Lastly, we’ve got an acclaimed British road trip comedy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and Criterion’s latest offering: a classic epic. See below for the full list!

Green Lantern

26%

This summer was a pretty great one for superhero movies… if you were part of the Marvel universe, anyway. The one DC Comics hero to get a feature film, Green Lantern, didn’t receive the same kind of love his Marvel counterparts (Thor, Captain America, and the X-Men) did. Ryan Reynolds donned the skintight green suit as Hal Jordan, the cocksure test pilot who is the first human to be inducted into the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force of sorts charged with keeping the peace across multiple worlds. Despite a pedigree that boasted James Bond veteran director Martin Campbell and co-stars like Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, Angela Basset, and Blake Lively, Green Lantern failed to impress critics, who found the film noisy, overproduced, and thinly written, successfully squandering a character with a rich mythology. If gigantic, special effects-driven action scenes and run-of-the-mill storytelling is all you need to get by, then by all means, check out this 27% Fresh movie. If not, there are better alternatives already out on video.

Horrible Bosses

69%

Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis have been popping up everywhere recently, so it was probably only a matter of time before they shared the screen. In Horrible Bosses, the two Jasons, along with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s Charlie Day, team up to plot the deaths of their three respective supervisors, played by Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell. Of course, things don’t proceed quite according to plan, and hilarity ensues. Though the film has since dropped to a 69% Tomatometer, Horrible Bosses did earn a Certified Fresh stamp early on, as most critics initially enjoyed the performances from its cast and the silliness of the premise, even if the film itself was a bit uneven. It won’t be the funniest film you’ll see all year, but by most accounts, it’s a decent comedy that should generate some good belly laughs.

The Tree of Life

84%

Terrence Malick is an enigmatic director, to be sure; while his films are generally praised by critics, they continue to divide audiences, who either love Malick’s poetic delivery or find his work impenetrable. The Tree of Life is perhaps his most experimental film, one that ostensibly focuses on the relationship between a young boy named Jack (Hunter McCracken) in the 1950s and his father (Brad Pitt), but delves much deeper into the human condition by taking the viewer through the ages, beginning with the first moments of all creation and culminating in the musings of a grown-up Jack (Sean Penn). Critics rewarded Malick for his efforts with a Certified Fresh 84% Tomatometer score, conceding that while the film may leave some scratching their heads, patient viewers more accustomed to Malick’s unique style will find it an emotional and visual treat. The Tree of Life isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of Terrence Malick, you will find much to explore and discuss here.

Zookeeper

14%

Adam Sandler seems to have taken Kevin James under his wing, specifically in order to groom him as the next slapstick-happy star of juvenile, inexplicably critic-proof comedies just a tad too simple for thinking grownups and just a tad too naughty for the children at which they seem aimed. The latest exhibit is Zookeeper, which features hip, talking zoo animals, James falling, grunting, flying through the air, and smashing into things, and not one, but two blatant product placement references to T.G.I. Friday’s… and I’m only talking about the movie’s trailer. Needless to say, the movie didn’t fare well with critics, who blasted it with a 13% Tomatometer score, but it still managed to make over $160 million at the box office. In other words, there’s apparently still a big enough audience worldwide for poop jokes to keep the Happy Madison family going, and honestly, who can deliver a poop joke better than Adam Sandler as the voice of a monkey?

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

21%

It’s no secret that children’s books are a great source for children’s movies. This is even more true for book series, in which the same characters will often mature and evolve over time. On top of that, when you succeed in creating something kids love, you’ve got a surefire moneymaker on your hands. It’s unfortunate, then, that Megan McDonald’s popular Judy Moody series translated into a 14% Tomatometer box office bomb. Jordana Beatty plays the title role, a third grader looking to liven up her summer vacation when her parents depart on a trip to California and leave her in the hands of her super cool Aunt Opal (Heather Graham). Consensus among critics was that the film was absolutely manic in its presentation, suitable only for those with short attention spans. There is simply too much going on in this movie for anyone over the age of five to sit through without quickly developing a headache, so if you’re looking for something to excite the kids, you can throw this on for 90 minutes, but it won’t be of much use beyond that.

The Trip

89%

Did you happen to catch that hilarious video clip a few months ago showing Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon trading Michael Caine impersonations over a coffee? This is the movie that spawned that clip. The Trip opened in limited release back in June and failed to generate any heat, but that’s not entirely surprising, given that it was about two relatively unknown (at least, here in the States) British comedians eating food and improvising silly conversations. Playing somewhat fictionalized versions of themselves, Coogan and Brydon travel the English countryside together when Coogan is asked to review a string of restaurants there and requests Brydon’s accompaniment after everyone else rejects his invitation to come along. Critics found the film amiable, funny, and surprisingly insightful, succeeding on the merits of the natural chemistry between its two stars. Certified Fresh at 89%, The Trip is a pleasant little diversion for those who are inclined towards movies like this, and even those who aren’t accustomed to such understated comedy may find it a rewarding watch.

The Four Feathers (1939) – Criterion Collection

100%

The Four Feathers was originally an adventure novel written by A.E.W. Mason back in 1902, but it was so popular that several film versions of it were produced after its publication, the most recent of which was the Heath Ledger-powered adaptation in 2002. The most celebrated version of the story, however, is Zoltan Korda’s 1939 The Four Feathers, a grand, sweeping epic filmed in Technicolor on location in Africa. For those unfamiliar, The Four Feathers takes place during the Mahdist War of the late 19th century, in which the UK parcitipated. One British lieutenant by the name of Harry Faversham (John Clements) resigns from service on the night before his regiment is set to depart for battle, eliciting accusations of cowardice from his friends and fiancée. In order to prove himself, Harry embarks on his own to join the battle, thus beginning a long and adventurous journey across Africa. This week, Criterion releases its restored print of The Four Feathers on both DVD and Blu-ray, with features like audio commentary, an interview with the director’s son, and a 1939 short film showing Zoltan Korda filming on set.

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