This week on home video, we’ve got a super successful space odyssey from Marvel, a feelgood sequel, and an inspirational sports film to lead things off. Then, there are a number of smaller releases, some notable TV box sets, and a few remastered anniversary Blu-rays of popular older films. Read on for details:



Guardians of the Galaxy

92%

Unless you were already into the comics scene, chances are you’d never heard of these so-called Guardians of the Galaxy. Boy, has that changed. The film surprised almost everyone by ruling the late summer box office, thanks to a number of factors: a cast of charming misfits, a wry sense of humor, top-notch special effects, a killer soundtrack, and James Gunn’s steady directorial hand. This is the movie that made Chris Pratt a star and put a dancing baby Groot on everyone’s stocking-stuffer wishlist. With a Tomatometer score of 90 percent and an Audience score of 94 percent, Marvel’s Guardians succeeded in impressing nearly everyone, which isn’t easy to do. If you pick this one up this week, you’ll get a pretty in-depth commentary track featuring James Gunn, a making-of featurette, and deleted and extended scenes, among other things.



Dolphin Tale 2

66%

Speaking of late summer surprises, 2011 had one of its own in Dolphin Tale, a feelgood movie about a handful of people rescuing a dolphin that was Certified Fresh at 82 percent. Naturally, we got a sequel this year, and though it didn’t fare as well as the first film, most critics found it pleasant enough. This time out, Winter the dolphin is struggling because her dolphin friend Panama has died; in an effort to raise Winter’s spirits and keep her at the aquarium, a search begins for a new companion to share Winter’s tank. Critics agree that Dolphin Tale 2 is a sweet, heartfelt drama for the whole family, even if it doesn’t quite distinguish itself from its predecessor, and it’s Fresh at 68 percent. Bonus features include a couple of short making-of docs, a look at Clearwater Marine Academy’s mission, and a brief piece covering the true events that inspired the film.



When the Game Stands Tall

20%

One of the reasons we love sports is that there are so many incredible stories to tell; the only problem is, when you’ve seen so many of them dramatized on screen, they become more difficult to distinguish from each other. When the Game Stands Tall suffers from this problem; although its tale of football coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) and the De La Salle High School team he led to a record-setting 151-game winning streak is undoubtedly remarkable, the film ultimately gets lost in all too familiar clichés. If you’re looking for something inspirational to watch, this may do the trick, but at 18 percent on the Tomatometer, don’t expect any surprises whatsoever, especially when the story plays out exactly like you might expect it to. Extras include a handful of deleted and extended scenes, a profile of the real Coah Ladouceur, and a look at the on-field filming techniques employed in the movie.

Also available this week:

  • Frank (93 percent), starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal in a dramedy about a young musician who joins an avant-garde band led by an eccentric man who never takes off his giant papier-mâché mask.
  • Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves (85 percent), starring Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning in a drama about a trio of environmental activists who plan to blow up a hydroelectric dam in protest.
  • I Origins (52 percent) starring Michael Pitt and Brit Marling in a sci-fi drama about a biologist studying the evolution of the eye who makes a breakthrough discovery that alters his understanding of the world.
  • French import The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (47 percent), a horror film in the Giallo style about a man who descends into psychosexual chaos when his wife disappears without a trace.
  • Warner Bros. is releasing a handful of films on “Diamond Luxe Edition” Blu-rays that are celebrating various anniversaries this year: The Green Mile: 15th Anniversary (80 percent), Natural Born Killers: 20th Anniversary, Forrest Gump: 20th Anniversary, Tim Burton’s Batman: 25th Anniversary, and Gremlins: 30th Anniversary. Feel old yet?
  • We also get three choices from the Criterion Collection this week: Todd Haynes’ Safe (84 percent), starring Julianne Moore in a paranoid thriller about a woman who falls victim to an inexplicable disease; Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits (93 percent), about a boy who experiences the journey of a lifetime with a band of time-traveling dwarfs; and Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter (67 percent), starring Charlotte Rampling as a Nazi concentration camp survivor who attempts to rekindle her sadomasochistic relationship with her former torturer in post-war Vienna.
  • Season eight of the BBC’s Doctor Who (91 percent), the first season with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season two of Under the Dome (57 percent), a sci-fi mystery about a town trapped under a mysterious dome, is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • The first of three classic TV sets coming out this week, the complete series of 1960s comedy Mister Ed, about the famous talking horse, is available on DVD.
  • Second, the complete series of the popular 1980s sitcom The Jeffersons is also available on DVD.
  • And third, the complete series of the Robin Williams Happy Days spinoff Mork & Mindy is also available on DVD.
This week at the movies, we’ve got a spy on the run (The November Man, starring Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko), some haunted explorers (As Above/So Below, starring Perdita Weeks and Ben Feldman/), and four supernatural elimination specialists (Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd). What do the critics have to say?



The November Man

36%

Pierce Brosnan is best known for his stint as cinema’s greatest spy, James Bond. He plays a different sort of espionage agent in The November Man; unfortunately, critics say that while the film is slick and competently made, it suffers from convoluted plotting and middling dialogue. Brosnan stars as Peter Devereaux, an ex-CIA agent who’s lured out of retirement to protect an important witness. However, Devereaux quickly discovers that everyone’s out to get him. The pundits say that Brosnan is strong as a thoughtful, haunted protagonist, but The November Man is largely a generic spy thriller that’s weighted down by an overloaded narrative. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Brosnan’s best-reviewed films.)



As Above/So Below

26%

What better place to set a horror movie than the catacombs beneath Paris, where the bones of millions of souls are part of an intricate series of dark tunnels? Critics say As Above/So Below occasionally takes full advantage of its chilling locale, but its characters aren’t particularly well-developed. It’s the story of three adventure seekers on a quest to find a mythical artifact. When they venture into the catacombs, however, they’re forced to confront horrors both tangible and psychological. The pundits say As Above/So Below is atmospheric and occasionally spooky, but it lacks the weight and urgency necessary to be a true head-trip.



Ghostbusters

97%

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Yes, that’s right: Ghostbusters, one of the most beloved comedies of the 1980s is back in theaters in celebration of its 30th anniversary. Critics found it to be a sublime blend of witty banter and inspired special effects, and it’s barely dated a lick since its original release.

Also opening this week in limited release:

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