RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Star Trek Into Darkness and We Steal Secrets

Plus, a middling comedy, an acclaimed doc, some indies, and Friday the 13th

by | September 10, 2013 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got one blockbuster, a couple of highly rated documentaries about controversial subjects, and a Tyler Perry production. Then we’ve got a decent low-budget horror flick, a well-reviewed drama, a solid romance, and a smart mystery, plus some new Blu-rays, a couple of choices from The Criterion Collection, and an iconic horror box set. Read on for the full list:

Star Trek Into Darkness

84%

2009 saw the reboot of one of the most popular and beloved sci-fi franchises, and though some fans were skeptical at first, Star Trek proved to be a hit both with audiences and critics. 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness continues the journey with the Enterprise’s youthful new cast and proves the series is as strong as it ever was. This time out, Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), and crew are in pursuit of a powerful and mysterious villain (Benedict Cumberbatch) terrorizing the Federation. When they discover the threat may have ties to their own organization, they uncover larger conspiracy that will challenge their bonds and force them to make difficult sacrifices. Though some again conceded that this sleeker, more action-packed Star Trek is a slight departure from the heavier themes of earlier films, most couldn’t help but enjoy themselves, giving Into Darkness a Certified Fresh 87% and calling the sequel a solid, entertaining entry in the series. Note: This will also be available in a limited edition gift set that includes a Starfleet Phaser.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

92%

Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney turned his critical eye upon Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for his most recent film, a profile of the Australian hacker-journalist-activist and his controversial website, which publishes top-secret documents. We Steal Secrets begins with a 1989 worm attack on NASA computers — purportedly the work of Assange and a few others — and takes viewers through a history of WikiLeaks, both demonstrating bold journalistic decisions and examining the ethical implications of Assange’s work. As provocative as any of Gibney’s work, We Steal Secrets fascinated critics to the tune of a Certified Fresh 95%, providing an insightful but sometimes troubling depiction of an extremely timely and important issue.

Peeples

38%

Screenwriter Tina Gordon Chism cut her teeth on Drumline and ATL before making her directorial debut in this Tyler Perry-produced comedy about family, marriage, and the ties that bind. Craig Robinson is Wade Walker, and everyman in love with Grace Peeples (Kerry Washington). With the intent of asking for her hand in marriage, Wade unexpectedly shows up at the wealthy Peeples’ family reunion, only to discover he doesn’t quite fit in. Can he break through and convince Grace’s folks he’s the right man for their precious girl? Critics felt Peeples had its heart in the right place, but also that it played things much too safe and, like some of Perry’s own films, poured the message on a little thick. At 35% on the Tomatometer, this is a light, feelgood farce, but one with little creativity or inventiveness.

Chasing Ice

96%

Speaking of timely documentaries about complicated topics, Chasing Ice tackles the climate change debate head-on, thanks to the man at its center. James Balog was a climate change skeptic when the issue first came to public attention, but once the National Geographic photographer made a trip to the Arctic himself, he quickly reversed his stance and became an evangelist for the cause, helping to create the Extreme Ice Survey to collect data on glaciers. Chasing Ice follows Balog and his team through these perilous expeditions, chronicling the hardships faced and providing stunning time-lapse footage from Balog’s research. Certified Fresh at 96% on the Tomatometer, Chasing Ice is a unique, eye-opening glimpse at a subject that many have opinions about but that few have seen first-hand evidence of; most critics agree that the footage speaks for itself, no matter what side of the argument you may support.

Also available this week:

  • War Witch (96%), about a young African girl who escapes her fate as a child soldier and enjoys a time of peace, only to confront past ghosts again.
  • Susanne Bier’s Love Is All You Need (75%), starring Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm in a light romantic drama about a woman who recovers from breast cancer and discovers new love as her daughter’s wedding approaches.
  • Frankenstein’s Army (75%), a B-movie styled horror film about WWII-era Soviet soldiers encountering disfigured Nazi experiments.
  • Wish You Were Here (72%), starring Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer in a mystery about three people who return from a trip to Cambodia, having lost a fourth member of the group who disappeared, and must piece together what happened.
  • Two choices from The Criterion Collection: the 1978 French farce La Cage aux Folles (100%) is available for the first time, and the 1968 John le Carré adaptation The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (83%) is now available on Blu-ray.
  • The classic 1958 original of The Fly (94%) arrives on Blu-ray.
  • A “Complete Collection” of the Friday the 13th films is available this week on Blu-ray.

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