RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Pacific Rim, The Heat, and More

We run down the most notable home video releases in film and television.

by | October 15, 2013 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got Guillermo del Toro’s affectionate homage to classic Japanese monster movies, a female buddy cop comedy, a high seas hijacking, and a slasher remake, followed by a slew television shows and smaller films. Read on for the full list:

Pacific Rim

72%

Leave it to a Mexican director to merge two popular Japanese genres and craft a big budget action film that would speak to the inner children in folks the world over. Though Pacific Rim‘s domestic box office was ultimately a bit disappointing, reviews were generally positive and its worldwide gross was significantly better. Set in the future, the film drops viewers into a world where gargantuan creatures known as “Kaiju” have risen from the ocean depths to wreak havoc on humanity, and the nations of the world have built equally giant robots — “Jaegers” — to combat them. As the invading Kaiju grow bigger, stronger, and smarter, a handful of Jaeger pilots band together to eliminate the alien threat once and for all. Clearly a passion project for Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim boasted fantastic visuals, a keen eye for detail, and some spectacular action set pieces, but critics also longed for just a bit more substance to chew on. At 72% on the Tomatometer, Pacific Rim may not blow you away with its story, but it’s a healthy dose of souped-up eye candy that makes the most of its Japanese anime and monster movie inspirations.

The Heat

66%

In 2011’s Bridesmaids, Paul Feig took the popular Judd Apatow-styled brand of hyper-masculine comedy and applied it successfully to the female perspective, so who better to do the same for the traditionally male-oriented buddy cop comedy? Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are uptight FBI agent Sarah Ashburn and loose cannon Boston cop Shannon Mullins, respectively, who are forced to work together in order to take down a drug kingpin. Ashburn is cocky and prefers to do things by the book, while Mullins is a rough-and-tumble potty mouth with a penchant for violence; naturally, hijinks and bonding ensue. If it sounds a bit familiar and predictable to you, well, the critics essentially agree. On the other hand, though, most also felt that the chemistry between Bullock and McCarthy was solid, and the film was funny enough to earn it a 65% on the Tomatometer, making it the best female buddy cop comedy since Feds.

A Hijacking

96%

The Tom Hanks thriller Captain Phillips just opened last weekend, but about four months ago, a Danish film titled A Hijacking pretty much already covered the same material and earned similarly high marks from critics. The story centers around a Danish cargo ship, the MV Rozen, as it is intercepted and hijacked by Somali pirates on its voyage home. Once they’ve taken the ship’s crew hostage, the pirates begin a series of tense ransom negotiations with the shipping company’s CEO in Copenhagen. A Hijacking earned praise across the board for eschewing sensationalist action clichés and focusing instead on the human element and the sense of unrelenting dread. Certified Fresh at 95% on the Tomatometer, it takes a slightly different approach to its topic than Captain Phillips does, but it’s every bit as riveting a film.

Maniac

53%

The low budget 1980 slasher film Maniac certainly has its cult following among genre enthusiasts, and if you’re going to remake a cult favorite, you’d better make it better or, at the very least, different. Writer Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D) and director Franck Khalfoun (P2) opted for the latter, choosing to film the 2012 Maniac entirely from killer’s point of view. Elijah Wood is Frank Zito, the mentally unstable owner of a mannequin business; traumatized by childhood memories of his mother’s life as a prostitute, Frank unleashes homicidal sexual impulses on innocent women, murdering them and keeping a collection of their scalps. When Frank falls in love with a local artist, he attempts to control his urges, but of course, tragedy is inevitable. Critics were a bit kinder to the remake than they were to the original, saying the film was admittedly smarter than average, but most also continued on to say its cleverness was too often undermined by excessive amounts of gore.

Also available this week:

  • Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (64%), a standup comedy film showcasing Hart’s live “Let Me Explain” tour by couching it as a response to criticisms by his friends that his divorce has changed him.
  • Dirty Wars (82%), an up-close-and-personal documentary about the US’s covert operations.
  • Jug Face (82%), an indie horror film about a pregnant teen trying to escape a backwoods cult that worships an ominous pit in the ground.
  • The Colony (14%), starring Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton in a sci-fi thriller about a group of survivors in the next ice age defending themselves against a savage outside threat.
  • Season 1 of Vikings (78%), about a clan of vikings on the cusp of exploring the world by ship.
  • Season 1 of SyFy original series Defiance (59%), set during a future war between humanity and invading aliens seeking refuge.
  • Season 2 of Hart of Dixie, the CW drama starring Rachel Bilson as an NYC doctor who relocates to rural Alabama.
  • New Blu-rays of two classic 1963 horror films: the original version of The Haunting (86%) and Mario Bava’s anthology film Black Sabbath (86%).
  • A new Blu-ray of 1980s comedy Weird Science (56%).
  • And lastly, from The Criterion Collection, Georges Franju’s iconic 1960 psychological thriller Eyes Without a Face finally gets a Blu-ray edition.

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