RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Ted and The Bourne Legacy

Plus, an animated sequel, a couple of Criterions, and a reborn cult classic.

by | December 11, 2012 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got a couple of franchise sequels and Seth MacFarlane’s live action big screen debut. Criterion unveils an early Christopher Nolan film and a unique cinematic trilogy, and Drafthouse Films reintroduces the world to a forgotten relic of the 1980s. See below for the full list!

The Bourne Legacy

55%

Many wondered how well the Bourne franchise would fare without its eponymous hero, and while a small majority felt The Bourne Legacy performed well enough, a lot of critics were decidedly underwhelmed. Rising star Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) took on the central role as Aaron Cross, another black ops agent similar to Jason Bourne whose life is put in jeopardy by Bourne’s actions in the previous three films. As a result, Cross goes on the lam with the only person who can clear his name: a geneticist (Rachel Weisz) who helped engineer Cross into the soldier that he is. Renner is as solid as usual here, but with a less than compelling script and some uninspired direction from Tony Gilroy, The Bourne Legacy didn’t impress critics nearly as much as they’d hoped. At 56%, the film doesn’t quite match its predecessors, but might satisfy those just looking for a bit of spy intrigue.

Ted

68%

Following the huge success of his animated television shows on Fox, Seth MacFarlane took to the director’s chair for his first feature film, a live action/CGI comedy starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and MacFarlane’s own disembodied voice. Wahlberg plays John Bennett, a grown man whose best friend is a vulgar, loud-mouthed teddy bear named Ted (voiced by MacFarlane). Unfortunately, John also has a girlfriend, Lori (Kunis), who doesn’t think John will ever “grow up” until Ted is out of his life. Who will John choose, and how many boundaries will Ted obliterate before the movie ends? Critics enjoyed the high concept premise for the most part, indulging in its goofiness and laughing at MacFarlane’s off-color humor. Some complained that the story itself felt recycled, however, and that its script was a bit uneven, but at 69% on the Tomatometer, Ted‘s probably perfect for audiences who know what to expect from it.

Ice Age: Continental Drift

37%

Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Denis Leary) set out for a fourth adventure in Ice Age: Continental Drift, a decade after their first episode together, and thought it made wads of cash at the box office, critics say this one is the least interesting of them all. This time around, the gang is stranded on a floating iceberg when the continents shift, but their journey home to reunite with their families is interrupted when they’re accosted by pirates who threaten to destroy everything they love. Unfortunately, as with many long-running franchises, critics were a bit wearied by ideas recycled from previous installments, so despite a few moments of charm and humor, Ice Age: Continental Drift only managed a 37% on the Tomatometer, the lowest score the franchise has received. Doesn’t mean it won’t be a pleasant diversion for the kiddies, though.

Following – Criterion Collection

81%

Memento was the film that put Christopher Nolan on the map, eventually paving the way for the mega-blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy, but evidence of his directorial flair could be seen in his feature debut, Following. In this modern noir, filmed in black-and-white, Jeremy Theobald plays a young writer with an unusual hobby: he follows strangers around, hoping to see something that will inspire his first novel. Everything changes when a man named Cobb (Alex Haw) notices he’s being followed, introduces himself as a serial burglar, and invites him to come along during his robberies. Made for a pittance and without highly professional equipment, Following displays Nolan’s raw talent for filmmaking and inventive, briskly paced storytelling. The new Criterion edition of the film includes a new interview with Nolan, his 1997 short Doodlebug, a chronological edit of the film’s fragmented tale, and more.

The Qatsi Trilogy – Criterion Collection

Though he’s made other experimental documentary films, Godfrey Reggio is best known for the Qatsi Trilogy, three films comprised entirely of images and footage set to the music of Philip Glass and without narration of any sort. Difficult to sum up in just a few words, the first film, 1982’s Koyaanisqatsi, depicts the progress of mankind via images of natural and urban landscapes and scenes from contemporary life; Powaqqatsi shifts its focus to the struggle between traditional ways of life and modern industrialization in third-world countries; and Naqoyqatsi utilizes mostly archival footage and stock images to communicate man’s development of and increasing reliance upon technology. Criterion’s new three-film collection includes several interviews with Reggio, Glass, and cinematographer Ron Fricke, an early forty-minute version of Koyaanisqatsi, a new video afterword by Reggio, a 28-minute montage of animal species scored by Glass called Anima Mundi, and more. This isn’t your typical Friday night viewing, but fans will surely appreciate the set.

Miami Connection

65%

There is one crucial element that separates cult films like Plan 9 from Outer Space, Troll 2, and The Room from any SyFy Channel movie of the month: an unflinching earnestness that dares not wink at the audience. Richard Park’s Miami Connection, which went ignored when it originally opened back in 1987 and subsequently languished in film limbo, is one such example, and thanks to Drafthouse Films, it’s found a new audience. Here’s how Wikipedia sums up the plot: “The synth rock band Dragon Sound, consisting of five University of Central Florida students, embarks on a crime-crushing justice in the streets of Orlando against groups of cocaine smugglers and ninjas.” If your first thought was, “Sorry, but that sounds absurd,” then this movie is not for you. But if your first thought was, “That sounds absurd in the best way possible,” then you’ll be happy to know it’ll be available on DVD and Blu-ray this week, and for those of you who want to go “old school,” you can order the film on VHS here. Its appeal may not be universal, but in this day and age, sometimes that’s a good thing.

Also available this week:

  • Gayby (90%), the indie comedy about a woman and her gay best friend deciding to have a child together, is available this week.
  • The 1998 version of Les Misérables (74%), starring Liam Neeson and Claire Danes, is out in a new Blu-ray.
  • The Warren Beatty-starring Dick Tracy (64%) is available on Blu-Ray this week.
  • Michael Bay’s sci-fi actioner The Island (40%) gets a Blu-ray release.
  • The holiday fantasy musical Babes in Toyland (25%) is also available on Blu-ray.

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