RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: An Extended Hobbit, White House Down, and More

Plus, the latest season of Mad Men, a few complete series, and bunch of indie films.

by | November 5, 2013 | Comments

We’ve got a lot to cover this week on home video, including a Roland Emmerich actioner, the Extended Edition of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a box set of Mad Men‘s sixth season, complete collections for shows like Seinfeld and Saved by the Bell, and notable indie releases like Lovelace, As I Lay Dying, and more. Read on for the full list:



White House Down

50%

The second of the “attack on the White House” action films to hit theaters this year, White House Down earned slightly better reviews than Olympus Has Fallen. Channing Tatum plays Secret Service applicant John Cale, who doesn’t quite make the cut, but nevertheless chaperones his politics-loving daughter on a White House tour after his unsuccessful job interview. Lucky for him — and not so lucky for the bad guys — a group of mercenaries takes the president (Jamie Foxx) hostage, and Cale jumps into action to prove his mettle, save the president, and ensure the safety of his daughter. Directed by Roland Emmerich, White House Down takes itself much less seriously than Olympus Has Fallen did, and it seems to have worked to its benefit; even though it’s fairly standard action fare, Tatum and Foxx have great chemistry, so even at 50% on the Tomatometer, this might be fun for a couple hours.



The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Extended Edition

64%

Whether or not you will be interested in this Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey depends, of course, entirely on whether you felt the film was already too long, which was one of the criticisms leveled against it. That said, this version adds just 14 minutes of extra footage, a far cry from the 2 extra hours across the LOTR Extended Editions. What might make this a worthy pickup for Tolkien fans, however, is the wealth of bonus features to be found here. How much, exactly? We’re talking over 9 hours of HD-quality featurettes, contained on two separate extra discs. We won’t list what the features are, because, as you can imagine, they cover pretty close to everything. So, while An Unexpected Journey may have divided some audiences, this would still be a pretty nice gift for anyone interested in the making of the film.



Lovelace

53%

In 1972, Linda Boreman (aka Lovelace) starred in the world’s first “mainstream” hardcore pornographic film, Deep Throat, which became a commercial success and a pop culture phenomenon; Andy Bellin’s film, Lovelace, offers a glimpse at Lovelace’s troubling rise to porn stardom. Amanda Seyfried stars as the young Lovelace, who escapes her religious family in Florida and marries Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), an abusive man who not only forced Lovelace into prostitution at gunpoint, but also compelled her to hide the dark truth of their relationship under the guise of sexual liberation. Lovelace earned a 54% on the Tomatometer, with critics acknowledging both Seyfried’s and Sarsgaard’s commitment to their roles, but lamenting the lack of depth to the film. It’s a heartbreaking story, but its failure to dig deeper ultimately robs it of some of its power.



Parkland

50%

Not everyone gets to make their feature debut with a film about an infamous moment in US history featuring a star-studded cast, but that’s exactly what Peter Landesman did. Parkland recounts the events of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, choosing to focus on the untold stories of the people on the fringes of the event, rather than honing in on the assassination itself, like others have already done. For example, Paul Giamatti plays Abraham Zapruder, the man whose amateur camera footage of the event we’ve all come to know so well; Zac Efron plays the young resident tasked with trying to save the president; and Billy Bob Thornton is the chief of JFK?s Secret Service detail. While critics applauded Parkland‘s fresh angle on the tragedy, many also felt the film’s various narrative threads failed to cohere properly, making the film seem disjointed. At 47% on the Tomatometer, it’s an ambitious, interesting exercise, but one that perhaps could have been put together a bit better.



Mad Men – Season Six

Whatever it is they’re putting in the water over at AMC, we’d all be better off if they would just bottle it up and send cases of it to other networks. The first of its super-successful hourlong dramas — preceding the likes of Breaking Bad and The Walking DeadMad Men completed its sixth season earlier this year, and critics say it’s as strong as it ever was. We don’t want to spoil anything for those looking to catch up (and we’ll have a Weekly Binge article coming this week to help you with that), so we’ll just mention that the season six box set comes with a few bonus featurettes, including a half hour look at the growing drug culture during the time period of the season and another 30-minute piece on the fabulous production design of the show.

Also available this week:

  • French import Renoir (69%), a biographical drama about the relationship between the famed Impressionist painter and his son Jean (before his directorial career).
  • James Franco’s As I Lay Dying (41%), an adaptation of the William Faulkner novel about a rural family transporting the body of their deceased mother to her hometown for burial.
  • Brian De Palma’s Passion (33%), starring Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams in an erotic thriller about the dark and twisted relationship between an advertising exec and her subordinate.
  • Girl Most Likely (20%), starring Kristen Wiig in a comedy about a failed playwright who is forced to live with her estranged mother when a desperate plea for help backfires.
  • Grown Ups 2 (7%), the sequel to the Adam Sandler-Chris Rock-Kevin James-David Spade-etc comedy about a bunch of guys hanging out and trying to be funny.
  • There’s also Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga Box Set, for fans of Stephenie Meyer’s wildly successful vampire-human-werewolf romance.
  • The Certified Fresh first season of Under the Dome (82%), a Stephen King adaptation, is available.
  • Season two of Magic City is available.
  • A reissue of the Complete Series of Seinfeld is available on DVD.
  • Also available this week: Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely All of It is new on DVD.
  • And lastly, two collections that will take some of you back to your childhood: Saved by the Bell: The Complete Collection and Boy Meets World: Complete Collection are both available on DVD.

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