This week on home video, we’ve got Seth Rogen and Zac Efron facing off in a comedy, Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson facing off in a post-apocalyptic road film, and Brenton Thwaites and Laurence Fishburne facing off in a sci-fi thriller. Then we’ve got the requisite smaller releases, a ton of recent TV seasons (and one complete collection of a popular sitcom), and three big horror franchise sets. Read on for details:



With hit projects both as director (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) and writer (the two recent Muppets movies) under his belt, it might be surprising to learn that Nicholas Stoller’s most successful film to date was Neighbors, a raunchy comedy that opened one week after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and one week before Godzilla. Pitting Seth Rogen against Zac Efron, Neighbors follows a young couple with a newborn baby who find themselves at odds with their new neighbors when a fraternity moves in next door. Most critics found the comedy surprisingly sturdy, if a bit vulgar, and praised its game cast, which included supporting turns from Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Special features on the disc include the requisite gag reel and deleted scenes, alongside a handful of making-of featurettes.

The Rover


Australian director David Michod’s 2010 film Animal Kingdom was a powerhouse debut, so it wasn’t unreasonable to set expectations high for his follow-up, The Rover, which opened in limited release back in June. While the latter wasn’t quite the critical darling its predecessor was, it still managed to impress critics to the tune of 66 percent on the Tomatometer. Utilizing the Australian landscape as a post-apocalyptic backdrop, The Rover stars Guy Pearce as Eric, a lone drifter who gets carjacked by a gang of combative thieves. In search of leads, Eric runs into Rey (Robert Pattinson), the brother of one of the thieves, and the pair set out across the desolate landscape to locate Eric’s car, encountering trouble along the way. Moody and violent, The Rover struck most critics as a stylish exercise in ambiguity, with a relatively thin story held aloft almost entirely by its stars’ compelling performances. Only one bonus feature comes with the disc, and it’s a 45-minute making-of doc.

The Signal


Films that rely on sustained tension in service of a big final payoff are difficult to craft; sometimes, they’re more confusing than they need to be, and sometimes the anticipated twist is underwhelming. Unfortunately, there were enough critics who found both to be true for The Signal that the film mustered only a mediocre 55 percent on the Tomatometer. The story revolves around a trio of MIT students (Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp) driving across the Southwest whose road trip takes a detour when they begin to receive taunting messages from an MIT hacker. Before they are able to confront their nemesis, however, they black out and find themselves trapped in a mysterious research facility, unable to explain what happened. Critics found The Signal ambitious and initially intriguing, but felt it could have used a lot more narrative finesse to deliver its climactic reveals. The film comes with a feature commentary with the director and writers, some deleted, extended, and alternate scenes, and a behind-the-scenes doc.

Also available this week:

  • Lukas Moodysson’s Certified Fresh Swedish import We Are the Best! (97 percent), about a trio of punk-rockin’ teenage girls growing up in 1980s Stockholm.
  • Claude Lanzmann’s documentary The Last of the Unjust (97 percent), which utilizes archived interviews from 1975 to tell the story of Benjamin Murmelstein, who helped thousands of Jews escape capture by the Nazis.
  • Pawel Pawlikowski’s Certified Fresh Ida (95 percent), about a nun who discovers a dark family secret just before she plans to take her vows.
  • The Calling (50 percent), starring Susan Sarandon and Topher Grace in a thriller about a detective in a small Canadian town tracking down a serial killer with a bizarre trademark.
  • Very Good Girls (17 percent), starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen in a coming-of-age film about a pair of graduating high schoolers who fall for the same boy.
  • Season three of the Emmy-winning drama Scandal (100 percent), starring Kerry Washington as a high-powered fixer.
  • Season two of Nashville (100 percent), starring Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton as dueling Country music divas.
  • Season two of Defiance (100 percent), SyFy’s action-drama set on Earth in the distant future.
  • The Certified Fresh first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (83 percent), starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher in a “workplace” comedy set in a police station.
  • The fifth season of Emmy darling Modern Family (83 percent) is out on DVD.
  • Season one of sci-fi series The 100 (72 percent) is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • The third season of Comedy Central’s sketch comedy show Key & Peele is available on DVD.
  • We’ve got two new releases from the Criterion Collection this week: Roman Polanski’s 1971 adaptation of MacBeth (84 percent), and Jack Clayton’s 1961 supernatural thriller The Innocents, starring Deborah Kerr in an adaptation of Henry James’s Turn of the Screw.
  • And lastly on this week’s list, we’ve got three horror franchise sets on Blu-ray going on sale. First up is Halloween: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray, which includes all ten films in the series, a collectible booklet, and tons of special features.
  • Next, there’s Saw: The Complete Collection. There isn’t a whole lot of information available on the special features, but the set is only three discs, so there may not be any. That said, it’s selling for $25, which is a great price for seven movies.
  • And last but not least, we have The Exorcist: Complete Anthology. Again, not much info on the bonus features, and sure, the sequels weren’t all that great, but if you’re a collector, this is another good deal at just under $30.
This week at the movies, we’ve got Viking explorers (How to Train Your Dragon 2, with voice performances by Jay Baruchel and Gerard Butler) and college-bound cops (22 Jump Street, starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum). What do the critics have to say?

How to Train Your Dragon 2


When How to Train Your Dragon became a runaway critical and commercial hit, it helped to quiet the contention that DreamWorks was simply a second banana to Pixar. Happily, critics say the inevitable sequel lives up to the high standards set by its predecessor — it’s exuberant, ambitious, and visually striking. This time out, Hiccup is all grown up and hoping to prove himself to his community. He and his dragon pal Toothless inadvertently discover a new land, where a different group of people work with dragons for a different purpose. The pundits say the Certified Fresh How to Train Your Dragon 2 is headier and darker than your average kiddie fare, and the result is a sweeping, imaginative fantasy adventure. (Watch our video interview with How to Train Your Dragon 2 stars Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson.)

22 Jump Street


21 Jump Street was a pleasant surprise, so what can we expect for an encore? How about a near-total repeat? Critics say that’s not a bad thing at all; 22 Jump Street works well enough as an action comedy, but it’s even better as a meta commentary on the action comedy formula. The plot unfolds exactly the same as before: two cops (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) go undercover (this time at a college) in order to foil a drug ring. Once again, they learn a bit about themselves (and each other) in the process. And once again, their boss (Ice Cube) is constantly up in their business. The pundits say the Certified Fresh 22 Jump Street has fun at the expense of cop movie cliches, but what really puts it over the top is the deft chemistry between its two leads. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, a compendium of buddy cop movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Agnieszka Holland‘s Burning Bush, a drama about the fallout from a brave protest of the Soviet occupation of Prague in 1969, is at 100 percent.
  • Policeman, a drama about the leader of an Israeli counterterrorism unit who’s tasked with stopping a group of armed revolutionaries, is at 82 percent.
  • Witching and Bitching, a horror comedy about a desperate criminal gang that runs afoul with a coven of witches, is at 80 percent.
  • Ivory Tower, a documentary about the high cost of college tuition, is at 77 percent.
  • A Coffee in Berlin, a dramedy about an aimless man who meets a series of interesting people, is at 73 percent.
  • Violette, a biopic about celebrated French novelist Violette Leduc, is at 69 percent.
  • The Rover, starring Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce in a thriller about two men trying to survive in post-apocalyptic Australia, is at 68 percent.
  • Heli, a thriller about a family that gets caught up in the Mexican drug war, is at 56 percent.
  • I Am I, a drama about a woman who tracks down her estranged father only to discover he suffers from memory loss, is at 50 percent.
  • Hellion, starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis in a drama about a troubled 13-year-old reeling from the death of his mother, is at 50 percent.
  • All Cheerleaders Die, a horror comedy about a teenager who plans revenge on the pep squad, is at 48 percent.
  • The Signal, starring Laurence Fishburne and Brenton Thwaites in a sci-fi thriller about a group of hackers who stumble upon a top secret desert facility that may house extraterrestrial life, is at 47 percent.
  • Lullaby, starring Richard Jenkins and Amy Adams in a drama about a man who reconnects with his terminally ill father, is at 38 percent.

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