RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Unflinching Cop Thriller End of Watch

Plus, a couple of acclaimed documentaries, a lurid adaptation, and a raunchy comedy.

by | January 22, 2013 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got a few Certified Fresh movies to share with you, and at the top of the list is a gritty copy thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. After that, we’ve got an Oscar-nominated music documentary, a period drama based on a book, a cheeky female comedy, and another acclaimed doc about a bizarre crime story. See below for the full list!

End of Watch

85%

David Ayer’s filmography is filled with stories about Los Angeles cops, from screenwriting credits on Training Day, S.W.A.T., and Dark Blue to directorial efforts on Harsh Times and Street Kings. The only problem is, he hasn’t had a Fresh film since Training Day… until now. End of Watch finds Ayer mining familiar themes in the story of a pair of LAPD officers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena) who unwittingly uncover an underground cartel network and, in doing so, become the targets of a ruthless gang. Thanks to a couple of outstanding performances from Gyllenhaal and Pena, as well as an air of authenticity in the script and some tense, adrenaline-fueled action, End of Watch came away with a Certified Fresh 85% on the Tomatometer, one of the better action thrillers to come out in the last year.

Searching for Sugar Man

95%

As any crate-digging DJ will tell you, thousands of musical acts have simply come and gone over the decades, having left little to no impression on the world. Such was apparently the case for Sixto Diaz Rodriguez — known simply as Rodriguez — an American folk singer who recorded a couple of albums in the 1970s and promptly disappeared. What he didn’t know was that his music had inexplicably caught on like wildfire in South Africa, and a couple of decades later, upon hearing rumors of his suicide, two fans from across the Atlantic set out to discover what had really happened to their hero. Searching for Sugar Man tells the story of their journey and the unexpected revival of Rodriguez’s music that followed, and critics say it’s by turns fascinating, informative, and mysterious. At a Certified Fresh 95% on the Tomatometer, the film has been nominated for Best Documentary at this year’s Oscars; it’s a winning portrait of a forgotten musical pioneer that’s probably worth a look.

The Paperboy

45%

Director Lee Daniels impressed critics back in 2008 with Precious, the grim portrayal of inner-city child abuse, but it seems they weren’t quite sure what to think of his follow-up, The Paperboy. Based on the Pete Dexter novel of the same name, The Paperboy stars Matthew McConaughey as a 1960s Florida reporter named Ward Jensen who attempts to prove the innocence of death row inmate Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack). Along for the ride are Jack’s partner Yardley (David Oyelowo), younger brother Jack (Zac Efron), and a sensual woman named Charlotte (Nicole Kidman) who is in love with Van Wetter, despite never having met him. Critics felt that, despite its clearly talented cast and its faithfulness to the novel’s trashy, sordid tale, The Paperboy was simply too uneven in tone, so much so that it sometimes veered into camp. It has earned a few accolades here and there, but at 39% on the Tomatometer, be prepared for a bit of uncomfortable melodrama.

The Imposter

95%

If you like your documentaries dark, twisty, and bizarre, then search no further; The Imposter is most certainly up your alley. Utilizing both first person interviews and some reenactments, director Bart Layton tells the story of a young Texas boy’s disappearance in 1994 and his subsequent recovery — in Spain, of all places — three years later. But wait, there’s more: young Nicholas Barclay, as the boy was named, sported several of his distinguishing characteristics, but he now had brown eyes and dark hair, as opposed to blue eyes and blond hair. Was this actually Nicholas? If not, then who? How were his family members able to overlook the differences and accept him back into their lives? These are the questions that The Imposter seeks to answer, and critics say it’s an utterly gripping, brilliantly told story with pleasantly unexpected twists, despite its “true-crime” trappings. Certified Fresh at 95%, this is a ripped-from-the-headlines mystery that will engross you and baffle you all at once.

For a Good Time, Call…

57%

The success of Bridesmaids proved there was a viable contemporary market for female-centric comedies (duh, right?), and we’ve seen more of them pop up since then, including For a Good Time, Call…, which opened last August and left theaters shortly thereafter. It might be argued that its lack of recognizable, big-name stars only worked to its detriment, but for what it’s worth, critics were basically split down the middle on it. The film stars Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller (who also co-wrote the script) as polar opposites Katie and Lauren, enemies since their freshman year of college. When Lauren can no longer afford to live alone, a mutual friend (Justin Long) reintroduces her to Katie, and the pair reluctantly become roommates, until a mutually beneficial phone sex business brings them together. Many who saw the film found it funny, briskly paced, and with just the right amount of raunchiness, while others saw past what they thought to be half-hearted attempts to mimic the Judd Apatow formula. For a Good Time, Call… currently sits at 56% on the Tomatometer, so you may get some good laughs out of it, but don’t expect a comedic masterpiece.

Also available this week:

  • New Criterion Collection releases for Wim Wnders’s Oscar-nominated dance documentary Pina (95%) and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood (100%) on both DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Certified Fresh drama Keep the Lights On (95%).
  • A 60th Anniversary Special Edition Blu-ray of John Ford’s Oscar-winning A Quiet Man (89%), starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
  • Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (49%), starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

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