This week on home video, we’ve got a poorly reviewed horror spoof sequel, Disneynature’s latest adventure, and a powerful one-man drama to head things off. Then, we’ve got a James McAvoy-powered Irvine Welsh adaptation and a number of smaller releases, as well as a couple of notable choices on TV. Read on for details:

A Haunted House 2


If you thought the Wayans family would be satisfied skewering horror movie conventions with their Scary Movie franchise, you were dead wrong. Marlon Wayans, the star of that franchise’s first two installments, decided to co-produce, co-write, and star in A Haunted House, another horror spoof lampooning the genre’s influx of Paranormal Activity-styled found footage films. Made on a budget of $2.5 million, the film grossed over $60 million worldwide despite dismal reviews, so this year we got a sequel, whether we wanted it or not. Filled with the usual gags and pop culture references, A Haunted House 2 was even less impressive, netting an 8 percent Tomatometer score and a paltry $24 million in box office receipts. For those of you willing to brave it, special features are limited to just a commentary track and some deleted and extended scenes.



BBC nature producer Alastair Fothergill and his team of supremely talented photographers have proven to be a rather great match for Disneynature, as the latter has consistently turned the former’s stunning work into successful feature films. Their latest joint effort is Bears, which opened back in April. In lieu of Dick Butkus, John C. Reilly was hired to narrate the tale of an Alaskan grizzly bear and her two cubs as they overcome obstacles and learn to survive over the course of a year. Certified Fresh at 91 percent, Bears earned the best reviews of any Disneynature film to date, with critics applauding its typically outstanding cinematography and its sweet-but-not-too-sweet story. The Blu-ray includes four featurettes covering how the film was made and a music video by Olivia Holt.



If you’re going to make a movie that largely (or entirely) rests on the charisma of its lead, it’s best to get someone with the chops to pull it off properly. Cast Away had Tom Hanks, All Is Lost had Robert Redford, and even Ryan Reynolds surprised some folks with his work in Buried. Likewise, Steven Knight’s single-location drama features Tom Hardy driving in his car and talking on his cell phone for the entirety of its 85-minute runtime, and it worked like gangbusters, according to critics. Ivan Locke (Hardy) is a construction foreman who, on the night before an important job, discovers the co-worker he had a one-night stand with is about to give birth; racing to be with her, Ivan phones his family, his mistress, and a colleague, juggling his responsibilities the best he can. Hardy offered up a powerhouse performance in Locke and critics took notice, rewarding his efforts with a Certified Fresh 88 percent on the Tomatometer. The only features available on the home video release are an audio commentary with Knight and a making-of featurette.



Irvine Welsh adaptations haven’t seen much success since Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting first brought his work to the big screen — 1998’s The Acid House was disjointed at best, and 2012’s Ecstasy was essentially a poor rehash of Trainspotting (even its poster mimicked the earlier film). Released last year in the UK and earlier this year in the US, Filth hoped to fare better, employing a cast that included Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, and as the manipulative, drug-addled, alcoholic, abusive Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, James “Young Professor X” McAvoy. The film follows Robertson’s exploits as he investigates the murder of a Japanese student, slowly descending into insanity amid severe hallucinations. It’s a dark, twisted comedy, and most critics went along with it, particularly for McAvoy’s performance, even if many found the film lived up to its title a bit too accurately. Another fairly barebones release, Filth comes with just a behind the scenes featurette and its theatrical trailer.

Also available this week:

  • The Railway Man (66 percent), starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman in a true story about Eric Lomax, a former WWII POW who discovers years later that his Japanese interpreter is still alive, and seeks him out.
  • Breathe In (54 percent), starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones in a drama about a foreign exchange student who upsets the balance in her host family’s home.
  • Hateship Loveship (51 percent), starring Kristen Wiig and Guy Pearce in a dramedy about a young girl who plots a faux relationship online between her housekeeper and her widower father.
  • Summer in February (36 percent), starring Dominic Cooper and Emily Browning in the dramatized true story of painter Sir Alfred Munnings, who falls in love with the same woman as his closest friend.
  • Frankie & Alice (21 percent), starring Halle Berry and Stellan Skarsgard in a drama about a woman with multiple personality disorder trying to make sense of her condition.
  • Rage (15 percent) starring Nicolas Cage in an action thriller about a man with a violent past who seeks revenge when his daughter is kidnapped.
  • The Certified Fresh first season of NBC’s The Blacklist (82 percent) is available on DVD.
  • Season one of AMC drama Low Winter Sun (45 percent) is also available on DVD.
This week at the movies, we’ve got just one new wide release: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, starring Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson in the latest Marvel superhero adventure. What do the critics have to say?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier


It’s become fashionable in some film-going circles to dismiss the recent spate of comic book adaptations as evidence that Hollywood is bereft of ideas. Critics say Captain America: The Winter Soldier offers a powerful rebuttal, delivering outstanding performances and a thoughtful political undercurrent to complement its visceral thrills. This time out, Captain America (Chris Evans) is working undercover for S.H.I.EL.D., but quickly discovers that the organization is far more secretive than he suspected. Meanwhile, a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier has carried out a series of killings — and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) seems to know more about his identity than she’s telling. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Captain America: The Winter Soldier should please both newcomers and Marvel diehards — it’s slick and action-packed, and most intriguingly, often has the feel of a paranoid thriller from the 1970s. (Check out this week’s Total Recall for a list of memorable superhero franchise part twos..)

Also opening this week in limited release:

This week at the movies, we’ve got undersea terror (Sanctum, starring Ioan Gruffudd and Richard Roxburgh), and a psycho roomie (The Roommate, starring Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly). What do the critics have to say?



James Cameron loves high drama under the sea; his directorial credits include Piranha 2: The Spawning, The Abyss, and that little movie about an ocean liner that sank after hitting an iceberg. Cameron is the executive producer on Sanctum, and critics say the film maintains his flair for arresting visuals, but unfortunately the characters and plot are nothing particularly special. Sanctum is the story of a group of cave divers who become trapped after a tropical storm. They’re lost in a vast undersea cavern, short on supplies, and desperate to find a way out. The pundits say Sanctum has moments of tension and visual wonder, but it’s undercut by one-dimensional characters and remarkably middling dialogue. (Check out Five Favorite Films with Cameron, director Alister Grierson and writer Andrew Wight.)

The Roommate


It looks like the folks behind The Roommate forgot to list a “critics wanted” ad, since it wasn’t screened prior to release. Minka Kelly stars as a college student whose new roomie (Leighton Meester) becomes obsessed with her. Hey kids, stop scouring Craigslist for a second and guess that Tomaometer! (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we present a list of memorable movie stalkers.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Into Eternity, a visually stunning documentary about the construction of a huge nuclear waste facility, is at 100 percent.
  • Cold Weather, a comic mystery about a would-be sleuth looking for his missing girlfriend, is at 79 percent.
  • The Other Woman, starring Natalie Portman in a dramedy about a newly married woman dealing with a complex family life, is at 36 percent.
  • Waiting for Forever, starring Rachel Bilson in a comedy about a young woman who reconnects with an obsessive former flame, is at 10 percent.
  • Frankie and Alice, starring Halle Berry as a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder, is at nine percent.

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