RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Hangover Part III, The Purge, and More

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

by | October 8, 2013 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got a lot of things to cover, including the latest Hangover film, a home invasion thriller starring Ethan Hawke, and a popular horror-themed TV show. Then, we’ve got a pair of sci-fi flicks — one highly rated and the other, not so much — as well as a wealth of other movies and TV shows. Read on for the full list:

The Hangover Part III

20%

2009’s The Hangover was a huge sleeper hit, and though its follow-up was far less impressive, it still made a ton of money. In this year’s third installment, Todd Phillips and co. decided to ditch the “what happened to us last night” formula for a more straightforward action-oriented plot. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is off his meds and out of control, so Doug (Justin Bartha), Phil (Bradley Cooper), and Stu (Ed Helms) escort him to a rehab clinic in Arizona. On the way, however, the Wolf Pack is taken hostage by a mobster (John Goodman), who’s been ripped off by Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) and thinks the guys know how to find him. The Hangover Part III was much darker and less funny than most expected, and while it was refreshing not to get another retread of the first two films, critics simply weren’t convinced Part III‘s story made up for it. At 19% on the Tomatometer, it may be fun if you’re just looking to spend a couple more hours with these characters, but otherwise, it’ll probably disappoint.

After Earth

12%

It seems Jaden Smith is intent on following in his father’s footsteps; unfortunately, it would appear that After Earth was a giant leap in the wrong direction. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan — whose name was famously left out of all the marketing efforts due to his rapidly declining popularity — After Earth stars Smith as Kitai Raige, a cocky young cadet in the distant future. When he and his father, General Cypher Raige (Jaden’s real life father Will Smith) crash land on an abandoned Earth, Kitai must learn to master his fear, lest his fear become his master. Critics were fairly harsh on After Earth, shackling it with an 11% Tomatometer score and calling it dull and poorly paced. Some felt the film had some potential, but it’s all mostly squandered early on, and what’s left is a ham-fisted, sentimental actioner with less than spectacular action.

The Purge

39%

Ethan Hawke has been all over the big screen in the last year or so, and his films have gotten responses as varied as the genres they inhabit. The Purge, which opened back in June, was arguably one of the more interesting projects he worked on, though critics largely agreed it could have been much better. The year is 2022, and in order to combat crime and unemployment, the US has instituted a yearly “Purge,” — a single 12-hour period when all illegal activity is permitted. On the night of the Purge, James Sandin (Hawke) and his family are barricaded inside their home, but when their son Charlie lets in a bloodied stranger, a brief scuffle sets in motion a chain of events with tragic consequences. While critics applauded The Purge‘s clever intentions — utilizing the thriller formula in service of social commentary — most were disappointed it ultimately devolves into familiar clichés and needless violence.

Europa Report

81%

In the wake of Gravity‘s stellar opening weekend, we have another tense space thriller arriving on home video this week. Think of Europa Report as Apollo 18‘s much more sophisticated cousin, as both films rely on the found footage theme to explore the idea that we are not alone in the universe. The story revolves around the crew of the fictional Europa One mission, tasked with investigating the titular moon of Jupiter for signs of life. The journey is not without its complications, of course, but things get really hairy when the explorers land and discover more than they were prepared for. Europa Report might be too slow a burn for some, but most critics found the film riveting and beautifully shot, especially for its budget. It also gets a few brownie points for focusing more on the science than most other films of its ilk; whether or not that’s a good thing will depend on the viewer, but at a Certified Fresh 78%, this should satisfy most sci-fi enthusiasts.

American Horror Story: Asylum

The idea behind FX’s American Horror Story is something of a novelty in contemporary television, as each season is intended to exist as an individual miniseries. The first season focused on a family who moved into a haunted house, and the current third season follows the goings on at a modern-day school for witches. This week, the second season of AHS, subtitled Asylum, arrives on home video. Set in 1964, the story centers on the staff and patients of a mental institution for the criminally insane, where demonic possessions and alien abductions are not out of the ordinary. Asylum is also notable for its impressive cast, which includes Jessica Lange, Joseph Fiennes, James Cromwell, Zachary Quinto, and more. Asylum earned a Certified Fresh 80% from critics, who appreciated its ability to be frightening and address some social issues all at once, and it’s available on DVD this week.

Also available this week:

  • Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing (84%), a modern-day interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedic play.
  • The Lifeguard (13%), starring Kristen Bell in an indie drama about an aimless near-thirtysomething who returns to her hometown and resumes life as she lived it in high school.
  • Season 8 of Bones.
  • Season 4 of White Collar.
  • Season 7 of Psych.
  • One new release from The Criterion Collection: Rene Clair’s 1942 comedy I Married a Witch (100%), starring Veronica Lake and Fredric March, on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17 (97%) is available in a new Blu-ray.
  • A 30th Anniversary edition of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (89%) is out on Blu-ray.
  • A 40th Anniversary Blu-ray of The Exorcist (87%) is also available.
  • A Complete Collection of the Child’s Play horror franchise is available this week on Blu-ray.

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