As Dark Knight hype overtakes the free world this week, prepare yourself with a marathon of Batman lore on DVD with our viewing guide below — or, escape from Bat-mania by shacking up with DVDs to get you ready for Bat-alternatives Mamma Mia and Space Chimps.

If you’re a Batman fan, chances are you’ve already reserved your ticket for Friday’s The Dark Knight. (If you’re really an uber-fan, you might even have tickets to those 3am screenings.) In the meantime, turn your living room into a veritable Batcave with a marathon of our favorite Batman classics.

Batman: The Movie (1966, 80 percent on the Tomatometer)

Adam West is at full-camp best in this classic of ’60s superhero kitsch, based on the popular television series. And while West wasn’t the first on-screen Batman (Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowery preceded him in 1943 and 1949, respectively), his remains one of the most iconic characterizations. Best of all, you get not one, not two, but four of the most evil supervillains in Gotham City lore: The Penguin, The Riddler, The Joker, and Lee Meriweather‘s slinky Catwoman.

Pick up the newly released Blu-ray edition for new extras in HD, including a commentary track by West and his Robin (co-star Burt Ward), plus the Holy Pop-Up Trivia Track, Batman!

Batman & Robin (1997, 12 percent)

Joel Schumacher‘s oft-ridiculed film should be enjoyed for what it is; a modern-day throwback to the inherent silliness of two grown men who don costumes to fight bad guys. Holy codpiece, Batman! In the very least, remembering Batman at his preposterous movie low (fighting Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman as Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy, two of the worst Bat-villains ever committed to celluloid) will make you really appreciate the sobering, grown-up reboot that Christopher Nolan gave the franchise years later.

The Two-Disc Special Edition DVD features more behind-the-scenes featurettes than you’ll probably want (or would ever watch), but also contains candid revelations from director Schumacher and his cast, who appear to have realized what they had wrought by the time they recorded these bonus materials. One word: Bat-nipples.

Batman – Gotham Knight (2008)

The recently-released animated anthology connects six stories that take place between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, told in different styles by writers like Josh Olson (History of Violence), Greg Rucka, and David S. Goyer. Each of the short stories are shot in their own unique styles, with a visual nod to the look and feel of Japanese anime; Batman himself is voiced by DC Animated Universe alum Kevin Conroy. But don’t dismiss this as animated kidstuff; there’s enough action and violence to warrant its PG-13 rating. Add to that over an hour of extra content, including a look at the life of Batman creator Bob Kane, and you’ve got a great way to supplement your viewing of Nolan’s reboot and its sequel.

Batman Begins (2005, 84 percent)

While our previous selections were more of a Batman variety-hour, this is the no-brainer, must-watch DVD to get you in the Dark Knight spirit. Christopher Nolan‘s 180-degree reboot gave back to Batman what he’d been missing for years: respect. Christian Bale‘s tormented turn as Bruce Wayne/Batman will be remembered as a career highlight for years to come. And while Nolan’s sequel is more of a crime flick than the origin story/character exploration that was Batman Begins, his vision of Gotham City, its people, and its brooding hero will remain much the same in The Dark Knight. As a capper to your Batman marathon, re-watch Begins to ease into the moody atmosphere and recall the state in which we leave Batman and all of Gotham.

(As mentioned in fuller detail last week, pick up the newly released Batman Begins on Blu-ray for the six-minute Dark Knight Prologue.)

Moviegoers looking for alternatives to The Dark Knight this week can have their own DVD marathons, too. Mamma Mia, adapted from the Broadway musical, sets a girl’s search for her real father to the tunes of Swedish supergroup ABBA; luckily for you, there’s plenty of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benni, and Anni-Frid to be found on DVD. Rock out to the 1977 concert doc ABBA: The Movie, watch Guy Pearce and Agent Smith sing “Mamma Mia”; in drag in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and see one woman’s sad-sack life transformed by the power of the pop quartet in Muriel’s Wedding.

If the idea of monkeys blasting off into the galaxy appeals to you, prep for Space Chimps with a more sobering look at the repercussions of NASA’s experiments with chimpanzees in Matthew Broderick‘s 1987 sci-fi flick, Project X. And since he’s carrying the movie as a lead chimp named Ham, get a taste of Saturday Night Live‘s Andy Samberg‘s goofy antics in last year’s stuntman comedy, Hot Rod.

Click for this week’s new releases!

The Bank Job

Tomatometer: 78%

Brit action star Jason Statham (The Transporter) makes a solid career choice in this riveting, well-paced heist flick based on actual events. Toning down his proclivity for fast-paced action roles with an actual drama, Statham exercises his acting chops as the leader of a gang of robbers who stumble upon the scandalous secrets of London’s underworld — and, yes, he does get a few roundhouse kicks in to boot.

Bonus Features:

Here’s a DVD that extends your enjoyment of the film with only a handful of extra features. Director Roger Donaldson (Cocktail) is joined by actress Saffron Burrows and his composer, J. Peter Robinson, in a feature-length commentary that should be interesting to those curious about the real-life events that inspired the film. When the robbery occurred in 1971 London, a government-issued media blackout silenced news coverage, ostensibly to protect the scandalous young royal whose indiscretions may have been uncovered by the contents of stolen safety deposit boxes — a turn of events indeed stranger than fiction.

Step Up 2 The Streets

Tomatometer: 25%

If our culture’s current So You Think You Can Be America’s Best Dancing With The Stars’ Crew obsession is any indication, we loves us some dancing. And if you know the names Comfort, Twitch, and Kherington, then here is a DVD that was made for you. In the sequel to 2006’s Step Up (the movie that bestowed upon womankind the gift that is Channing Tatum) first-time director Jon M. Chu gives America what they want: namely, another star-crossed romance with much, much more hipping and hopping. Where Step Up remained largely in the contemporary dance world (yawn), its sequel, introducing the impressive booty-shaking talents of Briana Evigan and Robert Hoffman, takes us where we really want to go: the streets!

Bonus Features:

In addition to deleted scenes and music videos, director Jon Chu takes you backstage on the very first day of his very first feature film, as well as rehearsals with the cast’s very talented dancers. In the disc’s best feature, watch America’s Best Dance Crew, the JabbaWockeez, in an amazing full dance scene that is only glimpsed in the film — it’s one of the best routines you’ll ever see. Just be prepared to hear a LOT of “Apple bottom jeans, boots with the furrrrr,” because Flo-Rida’s “Low” plays over and over throughout the DVD. .

College Road Trip

Tomatometer: 15%

Road trip, or train wreck? Martin Lawrence makes another journey into dumb hijinks territory as an overprotective dad taking his eager-to-leave-home daughter (Raven-Symone) on a cross-country trip to visit colleges. Note to Lawrence: When Donny Osmond is your co-star — and he gets bigger laughs then you — it’s time to reconsider your career choices.

Bonus Features:

Two featurettes (one with Raven-Symone and director Roger Kumble, the other with the two screenwriters) are probably two too many for this lame G-rated affair. A gag reel dominated by Donny Osmond outtakes might just be the best extra of the bunch.


Tomatometer: 53%

Christina Ricci is back playing another quirky chick in Penelope, a modern-day fairytale about a high-society girl cursed with the snout of a pig. Can James McAvoy‘s roguish gambler cure her affliction…with love? Despite a solid supporting cast (Catherine O’Hara, actor-producer Reese Witherspoon), muddled directing by Mark Palansky and a script that turns out a notch below magical divided critics.

Bonus Features:

A spare DVD menu doesn’t say much for Summit Entertainment’s enthusiasm for the flick, although the disc does feature a tantalizing (and completely unrelated) sneak peek at the upcoming teen vampire flick, Twilight (based on the uber-popular novels by Stephanie Meyer).


Tomatometer: 7%

The original 2004 Thai version scored well with critics (79%), but Hollywood hasn’t yet learned how to avoid making much crappier versions of Asian horror films. Behold, the latest tired remake to hit DVD: Shutter, starring Dawson’s Creek alum Joshua Jackson and Transformers hottie Rachael Taylor. You won’t find anything new here; rent the Thai version instead. Sometimes reading subtitles are worth the trouble.

Bonus Features:

You’ll find a three-minutes longer unrated cut (plus featurettes, deleted scenes, and commentary), which just might prove better than the theatrical PG-13 version. But probably not.

‘Til next week, happy viewing!

Tag Cloud

TCA Awards Acorn TV fast and furious Awards Tour WGN X-Men scorecard Masterpiece suspense Paramount TNT kaiju marvel comics National Geographic Discovery Channel spider-man mutant historical drama Disney Wes Anderson cinemax Peacock Mindy Kaling spider-verse Travel Channel zombie FX stop motion wonder woman 20th Century Fox Reality universal monsters indiana jones Black History Month Kids & Family BET FX on Hulu Hallmark Christmas movies cars crossover richard e. Grant Crackle witnail jamie lee curtis Marvel Television MCU Chernobyl Star Trek boxing zero dark thirty CBS robots reviews james bond vampires period drama ABC Mary Poppins Returns game of thrones Sundance Now cancelled TV series USA Network 45 cooking RT21 australia comic book movies Syfy Superheroe BET Awards hispanic heritage month natural history Exclusive Video Podcast justice league strong female leads TCA Winter 2020 Paramount Network godzilla tv talk TCA 2017 cartoon psychological thriller NBC art house The CW remakes Lucasfilm HBO Sundance TV all-time mockumentary japanese DC Comics 79th Golden Globes Awards monster movies Christmas twilight die hard Tokyo Olympics Lifetime Christmas movies Black Mirror San Diego Comic-Con south america leaderboard Comic-Con@Home 2021 children's TV mob Disney Channel rotten GoT independent Neflix MSNBC adaptation biography obituary 2018 psycho Schedule satire New York Comic Con razzies cancelled television Tomatazos Academy Awards SXSW Emmys Trailer anthology The Witch trophy asian-american TCM mission: impossible Lifetime worst movies TV Land Pop TV IFC Films See It Skip It adventure romantic comedy new star wars movies sopranos science fiction sports deadpool supernatural Emmy Nominations christmas movies YouTube crime thriller Binge Guide documentaries Disney Plus sitcom 73rd Emmy Awards Fox News Trophy Talk GIFs SDCC what to watch romance Vudu sag awards docudrama Super Bowl scary movies Netflix disaster crime drama child's play Heroines Tubi Election Adult Swim boxoffice latino true crime Horror First Look dark Box Office Instagram Live Universal superman travel comic books halloween PBS ViacomCBS Nickelodeon action-comedy TV renewals telelvision aliens new york HFPA serial killer Anna Paquin Broadway AMC Plus spanish language The Walt Disney Company talk show comic book movie olympics Film Star Wars Comic Book Hallmark genre Pop blockbuster Watching Series cancelled saw FXX archives biopic Captain marvel Tumblr name the review Martial Arts Shudder hispanic Arrowverse USA breaking bad dogs animated Premiere Dates movies marvel cinematic universe 4/20 political drama rom-coms anime The Purge Lionsgate legend scene in color HBO Max cops know your critic DirecTV 99% Video Games space diversity Starz Avengers black comedy Stephen King Fall TV IMDb TV Fantasy Mudbound high school slasher Marathons Winter TV crime television ghosts El Rey cancelled TV shows 1990s The Academy MTV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt harry potter award winner BBC One reboot news Calendar BBC PlayStation Fargo Opinion Character Guide Winners FOX Superheroes A24 franchise VH1 TV movies Mystery TV doctor who indie video Hollywood Foreign Press Association finale rt labs ID Musicals spain APB heist movie based on movie Song of Ice and Fire 2015 hidden camera Grammys nature mcc VICE unscripted Holidays pirates of the caribbean batman comiccon 2017 technology Epix popular Universal Pictures rt labs critics edition streaming Food Network Image Comics E! adenture dceu singing competition Best and Worst screenings feel good 71st Emmy Awards E3 video on demand comic lord of the rings Disney+ Disney Plus Certified Fresh Spring TV joker Comics on TV Amazon Studios casting Sneak Peek Reality Competition rt archives TLC gangster Rocketman Polls and Games Pixar Set visit italian parents medical drama toy story target President Legendary Classic Film The Walking Dead quibi BAFTA movie 007 CW Seed prank IFC thriller Toys Showtime Pet Sematary Cannes Netflix Christmas movies a nightmare on elm street Walt Disney Pictures Valentine's Day versus transformers Family Creative Arts Emmys vs. films Sci-Fi Apple TV Plus Amazon Prime Video Disney streaming service critics Quiz Cosplay HBO Go Red Carpet Trivia Pride Month Animation Marvel Studios Logo blockbusters golden globes YA royal family Drama LGBTQ Amazon Pacific Islander VOD Amazon Prime king arthur 2020 game show Pirates First Reviews green book worst football documentary TV One ABC Signature cults Columbia Pictures RT History dragons foreign war live action Sundance canceled TV shows dreamworks Alien renewed TV shows WarnerMedia classics 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Bravo Holiday Baby Yoda 21st Century Fox festival Teen Photos Prime Video spinoff slashers police drama DGA Comedy werewolf jurassic park Tarantino zombies blaxploitation TBS Brie Larson concert stand-up comedy Comedy Central posters CMT Elton John aapi Turner Classic Movies nbcuniversal debate book Fox Searchlight Dark Horse Comics halloween tv Countdown Cartoon Network Western Spectrum Originals chucky Year in Review spy thriller 90s Nominations Hear Us Out American Society of Cinematographers spanish international japan Action Marvel OWN Apple Apple TV+ Rom-Com Endgame TIFF cats CBS All Access Ovation TruTV social media young adult Nat Geo Paramount Plus Turner NYCC screen actors guild book adaptation Awards Funimation golden globe awards NBA ESPN Writers Guild of America festivals discovery venice sequel dexter new zealand binge Music Esquire TCA basketball Interview Infographic women Tags: Comedy PaleyFest Crunchyroll 2019 critic resources live event comedies Mary Tyler Moore revenge directors Film Festival composers king kong YouTube Red Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Spike Extras Ellie Kemper SundanceTV series Britbox DC streaming service emmy awards Ghostbusters facebook kids hist Oscars streaming movies miniseries politics trailers 72 Emmy Awards Shondaland nfl scary LGBT black AMC dramedy BBC America History Rocky ABC Family Country Thanksgiving free movies elevated horror stoner 24 frames hollywood best Sony Pictures GLAAD 2021 Hulu superhero ratings 93rd Oscars dc ITV criterion canceled Musical docuseries toronto Mary poppins A&E Television Academy fresh rotten movies we love theme song CNN sequels 2016 YouTube Premium OneApp Summer teaser comics Women's History Month Biopics The Arrangement laika french kong Rock DC Universe Warner Bros. Freeform Television Critics Association