This week on home video, we’ve again got a wide variety of choices for you discriminating movie lovers out there. The highest profile films are comprised of the latest Jackass antics, a Paul Haggis thriller with Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks, and a news satire featuring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton. Then, we’ve got a rollicking satire of Islamic terrorism (you read that right) from the UK, a couple of Asian imports, two critically acclaimed documentaries from 2010, and the latest volume of Mystery Science Theater 3000. So read on and see if there’s anything worth picking up for you.



Jackass 3-D

65%

The Jackass 3D experience this editor had was in D-Box, a theater seat technology that makes it possible for viewers to be kicked around in sync with Steve-O as he goes hurtling through the air in a full port-o-john. The grandeur of it all was even too much to blog about (I’ve tried), so the DVD release of this film can only ever seem like a postcard reminder of a great vacation — but perhaps it can be more to you. You know what the worst part of the experience was? The drunkenness, a hobby more safely practiced in chairs that don’t kick you around; this would seem a big benefit of at-home viewing. Also, the rewind features. One could watch Steve-O get kicked by that donkey a thousand times and still want more. Additionally, the Blu-Ray features offer dubbing in three languages that aren’t English. Those are the makings of a big night in, if you ask us.



Morning Glory

55%

With a cast that includes Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, and Jeff Goldblum, a relatively solid director in Roger Michell (six of his eight films are Fresh), and a timely subject (news sensationalism), one would be inclined to think Morning Glory would be pretty successful. Unfortunately, critics were merely lukewarm on the movie, giving it a middling 54% on the Tomatometer. The story revolves around a young TV news producer (McAdams) who is fired and reluctantly takes a job with a struggling morning news show, where she dukes it out with a curmudgeonly anchor (Ford) and his combative co-host (Keaton). Though the film bears some resemblance to the James L. Brooks classic Broadcast News, and the cast is, in fact, worth watching, Morning Glory ultimately falls flat because its tone is inconsistent and its storyline too familiar. For better or worse, it’s available on DVD and Blu-Ray this week.



Inside Job

98%

The 2011 Best Documentary Oscar winner, Inside Job is a sleek, infuriating, and meticulously detailed examination of the current economic crisis. Director Charles Ferguson interviews (and sometimes interrogates) politicians, bank managers, economists, and others who predicted the financial crash ? or had a hand in it. It might sound like a snooze, but Inside Job is beautifully photographed, convincingly argued (thanks in part to Matt Damon’s assured narration), and briskly edited; it would also be absurdly funny if it weren’t so infuriating. If you’re in the mood for additional outrage, he DVD features even more interviews, as well as a commentary track with Ferguson and producer Audrey Marrs and a short making-of doc.



The Next Three Days

50%

Despite the fact that 2004’s Crash has become one of the more hotly debated Best Picture winners in recent memory, Paul Haggis’s track record for films he?s both written and directed (which, frankly, only includes Crash and In the Valley of Elah) is relatively good. Enter The Next Three Days, a thriller starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks about a woman (Banks) who’s accused of a murder she says she didn’t commit, and her husband’s (Crowe) efforts both to prove her innocence and, ultimately, to break her out of jail. Unfortunately for Haggis, the film didn’t resonate so well with critics, who felt that, despite the best efforts of its two star leads, Three Days lacked both a consistent pace and a believable plot. Currently at 50% on the Tomatometer, this could work for you if you don’t mind suspending your disbelief for a bit, and you’re a fan of Crowe or Banks.



A Film Unfinished

98%

If you took a detailed look at our Golden Tomato Awards earlier this year, you probably came across A Film Unfinished in the top ten Limited Release films of the year. Written and directed by first-timer Yael Hersonski, the documentary focuses on the making of an unfinished (natch) Nazi propaganda film about the Warsaw Ghetto just two months before the ghetto was overrun by German forces in 1942. Utilizing footage from the film itself (which had no soundtrack and featured many staged sequences masquerading as documentary footage), interviews with former residents, and even testimony from the film’s cinematographer, Hersonski presents a haunting, heartbreaking historical document that provides a revealing glimpse into the Nazi propaganda machine. A Film Unfinished comes highly recommended with a whopping Certified Fresh 96% on the Tomatometer, though it certainly isn’t something you’d watch if you’re looking for an upbeat movie.



The Man From Nowhere

Just this past weekend, South Korea’s I Saw the Devil hit US theaters in limited release, but it’s only the most recent in a string of brutal (and often effective) revenge flicks that have come out of Korea recently. Just last year, The Man From Nowhere opened in just a handful of theaters across the country, and only for a few days, but the few who did see the film (mostly on the festival circuit) had lots of praise for it. Won Bin (Mother) plays Tae-Sik, a quiet ex-con pawn shop owner who befriends the young daughter of a junkie stripper; when the deadbeat mom steals product from some local gangsters and they kidnap both her and her daughter, Tae-Sik hunts them down to exact justice. While there is certainly a fair share of graphic violence and hiney-kicking going on, Man From Nowhere is also infused with a bit of the same subtle humor found punctuating other South Korean thrillers. If you’re looking for a visceral punch to the gut, this movie will give it to you.



Four Lions

83%

No one will argue that it was more than a little audacious for Christopher Morris to tackle the subject of terrorism in a black comedy, but the actor-turned-director was no stranger to controversy, having tackled some touchy issues as an anchor on the UK parody news show The Day Today and as a faux undercover reporter on spoof documentary show Brass Eye. Four Lions, Morris’s debut feature, follows four bumbling Islamic terrorists in their efforts to undertake a successful suicide bombing. While the premise might suggest the presence of tasteless and offensive humor, the film actually manages to navigate those controversial waters and emerge with a smart and funny satire that touches on some uncomfortable truths. Critics praised the film to the tune of a Certified Fresh 80% Tomatometer, which promises a worthy watch if you’re willing to check your preconceived notions at the door.



Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

89%

Back before Japanese animator extraordinaire Hayao Miyazaki released films like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, he made a film called Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, based on a manga he also wrote. Many consider this to be the unofficial birth of the famed Studio Ghibli, which has produced all of his films since. Originally released in Japan in 1984 and rereleased in the US in 2005 (featuring voice dubbing by Alison Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Patrick Stewart, and Uma Thurman, among others), Nausicaa is a post-apocalyptic fantasy film about an environmentally conscious warrior princess who inserts herself in the middle of a war in an effort to stop the destruction of the land. With themes that mirror those of Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa is considered by Miyazaki fans to be one of his classics, and this week, Disney DVD is bringing it home on Blu-Ray. The special features, though sparse, are engaging: two doc on Studio Ghibli, a making-of featurette, a feature-length storyboard presentation, and more. This is a great pickup for Miyazaki fans. (For those who are curious, another Studio Ghibli anime, Tales from Earthsea, by Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro Miyazaki, is also available this week on home video.)



Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XX

The latest collection from MST3K has arrived, once again featuring the wacky riffs of Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, and Joel. For those unfamiliar, Mystery Science Theater was a long-running (11 years, to be exact) TV program that screened some of the worst cinema to hit celluloid, while the aforementioned cast cracked jokes throughout each movie. This most recent offering features the MST3K team’s takes on such renowned classics as Project Moonbase, The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, Master Ninja, and, of course, Master Ninja II. Also included in the set are extras like an interview with Bill McKinney, star of Master Ninja; a featurette exploring the look of < em>MST3K with the show’s DP, Jeff Stonehouse; and a Dragon-Con Panel featuring “Tom Servo Vs. Tom Servo.”

Written by Ryan Fujitani, Sara Vizcarrondo, and Tim Ryan

Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass team are back for a third round of inspired mayhem, and even better, their latest don’t-try-this-at-home movie offering is being presented — as logic, or lack thereof, dictates — in glorious, port-a-loo-splattering 3-D.

To mark the occasion, RT and Paramount/MTV Films are giving away 5 double in-season passes to Jackass 3D, which opens November 4 in cinemas around Australia. On top of that, we’ll throw in DVD copies of Jackass: The Movie and Jackass: Number Two. Pretty sweet.

All you have to do to win is tell us, in 25 words or less, your favourite Jackass stunt, and why. Email your answers to Jackass 3D Giveaway. Be sure to include your full name and postal address for prizes.

Entries close Thursday November 4. Winners will be notified by email.


Jackass 3D is in cinemas November 4.


This weekend proved once again that film audiences enjoy the lowest common denominator, as Jackass 3D destroyed the rest of the box office this weekend, setting a new record for the month of October, while fellow newcomer Red also posted a positive result.

Four years after the last installment of the men behaving badly series, Jackass 3D used the awesome power of 3D (and 3D ticket prices) to jump start the box office with a massive $50M debut, according to estimates. If these estimates hold, the film will be the new king of October opening weekends, dethroning the reigning champ of the last seven years, fellow threequel Scary Movie 3 which opened in October of 2003 with $48.1M. The movie opened with $22M on Friday (setting the single-day October record), fell 23% to $16.9M on Saturday and dropped 34% to $11M on Sunday. Apparently the quick death of 3D has been postponed as audiences filled the theaters and had no problem paying the extra surcharges to watch the demented Johnny Knoxville and company reach deep into their bag of tricks. In one weekend Jackass 3D is near the totals of the past two films, which made $64.3M and $72.8M in 2002 and 2006.

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Landing solidly into second place was the elderly spy flick Red which shot up an estimated $22.5M this weekend from 3,255 theaters for a per screen average of $6,912. Reviews for the Summit film, which stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren have been mostly positive.

Continuing its strong run, Sony’s tale of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network fell a slim 29% this weekend to $11M, according to estimates, bringing its cume to $63.1M. The film should easily join the century club, and with a slew of awards coming, probably fly higher. Following in fourth was the horse drama from Disney, Secretariat, which had the best hold in the top 10, sliding only 25% to an estimated $9.5M. Its cume is $27.5M and could find its way to a decent, if not spectacular, finish of around $65M.

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Warner Brothers took up the next three spots at the box office with three completely different films. Last week’s runner-up, the romantic comedy Life as We Know It dropped 36% from last weekend to $9.2M, according to estimates. Its total now stands at $28.8M on its way to a final cume of around $55M. In sixth place was the kid-friendly owls of Legend of the Guardians which continues to post small declines week to week, falling 38% to an estimated $4.2M. Its cume is $46M. Ben Affleck’s The Town slid 37% into seventh place with an estimated $4M, bringing its total to $80M.

Suffering the worst fall in the top 10 was Universal’s horror entry My Soul to Take which dropped 54% to $3.2M, according to estimates, bringing its cume to a paltry $11.9M. Look for a final total of around $18-20M and quick trip to the rental market. Ninth place belonged to Emma Stone (soon to be seen in the Spider-Man reboot) as her comedy Easy A rounded up $2.6M, according to estimates, a fall of 38% from last weekend. Its cume now stands at $52.3M. And rounding out the top 10 was Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps which fell 49% to an estimated $2.3M in its fourth weekend, bringing its total to $47.8M.

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In liimted release, two high profile titles opened to strong and slightly-less strong results. Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort Hereafter grossed an estimated $231,000 from only 6 screens for a per screen average of $38,500. Doubling up on screens but taking in half the gross was the Hilary Swank starrer Conviction which made an estimated $110,000 from 11 screens.

By Sujit Chawla of Box Office Guru

This week at the movies, we’ve got aging agents (Red, starring Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman) and gumptious goofballs (Jackass 3-D, starring Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O). What do the critics have to say?



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Red

Only a scant few weeks after The Expendables came and went, along comes another movie about a ragtag bunch of oldsters operating heavy firearms. Happily, the critics say Red makes for a goofy, action-packed good time – it’s witty, high-spirited, and loaded with loose, good-humored performances from a stellar cast. Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich star as retired CIA agents whose immense knowledge of top-secret intel put them in the crosshairs of their former employers. Can this crew of over-the-hill agents survive long enough to pull the lid on a huge government conspiracy? The pundits say Red doesn’t always fire on all cylinders — its mix of comedy and suspense is sometimes uneasy – it’s ultimately a fun romp, and much of the delight comes from watching these excellent actors at their most relaxed. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Mirren’s complete filmography.)



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Jackass 3-D

It’s hard not to have at least a little grudging affection for the Jackass posse: how many others have risked life and limb in such inventively absurd ways for our entertainment? But if Jackass Number Two represented an advance in terms of (relative) critical respect for the gang, the pundits aren’t quite as enthused about Jackass 3-D, which they say is more of the same shtick with limited multi-dimensional ornamentation. Once again, messers Knoxville, O, Margera, and many more perform acts that you should never, ever try at home — stunts involving jet skis, porta-potties, Santa suits, and wild animals. But the critics say this movie lacks the inspired stupidity of the group’s previous efforts, and the 3-D effects aren’t as eye-popping — or stomach-churning — as one would hope.


Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Samson and Delilah, a meditation on the lives of two displaced Indigenous Australian teens, is at 97 percent.

  • Carlos, Olivier Assayas’s biopic of notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal, is at 93 percent.

  • Margarethe von Trotta’s Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen, a biopic of a pioneering and extraordinary nun, is at 86 percent.

  • Down Terrace, a comedy about quarrelling father-and-son crime bosses, is at 80 percent.

  • Hereafter, starring Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard in a supernatural drama about three people dealing with questions about the afterlife, is at 69 percent.

  • Conviction, starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell in the based-on-true-events tale of a woman who went through law school to free her brother from prison, is at 64 percent.

  • The Two Escobars, a documentary about the infamous drug kingpin and his friendship with a soccer star with the same last name, is at 60 percent.

  • Gerrymandering, a doc about the politics behind congressional redistricting, is at 33 percent.

  • Carmo, Hit the Road, a drama about a pair of outlaws who find love while on the lam, is at 20 percent.

And finally, mad props to the festively-monikered Easter In The Batcave for coming the closest to guessing My Soul to Take‘s six percent Tomatometer.

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