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RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Wreck-It Ralph and Red Dawn

Plus, an effective horror flick, a Gerard Butler flop, and a nightmarish collection.

by | March 5, 2013 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got at least one Oscar nominee in the mix (Wreck-It Ralph), but it’s balanced out by a couple of duds, including an unnecessary 1980s remake and another failed Gerard Butler rom-com. Then, we’ve also got a French import that broke records overseas and Barry Levinson’s effective found footage horror movie. To top it all off, we’ve got a couple of notable reissues, including a Freddy Kreuger collection to die for. See below for the full list!



Wreck-It Ralph

86%

The Best Animated Film category at this year’s Oscars featured a particularly strong field, and surprisingly enough, CGI films were the minority. One of the two that did make the cut was Wreck-It Ralph, Rich Moore’s Disney-produced ode to video games. John C. Reilly voices Wreck-It Ralph, the villain of a classic gamed called “Fix-It Felix” in an arcade where all the digitized characters come to life at night. Tired of being “the bad guy,” Ralph goes game-hopping in search of a way to prove himself, eventually befriending Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a spunky cart racer who’s been similarly outcast within her own game due to her tendency to glitch. Critics found Wreck-It Ralph both colorful and lively enough for the little ones and entertaining and nostalgic for those old enough to catch the various references. Certified Fresh at 86%, this Oscar-nominee should be a fun ride for most.



Red Dawn

12%

The original Patrick Swayze-led 1984 Red Dawn wasn’t quite a masterpiece itself, despite its topicality and guilty pleasure charms, but critics say last year’s remake — which was originally slated to hit theaters in 2010 — is far worse on every level. Chris Hemsworth plays Jed Eckert, a Marine vet on leave in Spokane, Washington who rallies a gang of ragtag teens — including his brother Matt (Josh Peck) — to fight back against a North Korean invasion of his town, guerilla warfare style. That’s really all there is to it. Red Dawn was shelved for a bit when MGM had its financial troubles, but with the emergence of Hemsworth as a bankable star, they decided to unleash the film in 2012; in the meantime, the nationality of the principal villains was switched from Chinese to North Korean because, you know, lots of people in China watch movies, and they’d have been mad. While critics admitted the updated film maintains its predecessor’s leaps of logic and lack of character development, this one has little else to make up for it. At 11% on the Tomatometer, it’s probably a film everyone involved wishes had been kept on the shelf.



The Bay

77%

Four decades in the industry, and Barry Levinson is still doing this thing. Utilizing the found footage aesthetic, Levinson’s latest effort is The Bay, an eco-horror film (is this a thing now?) presented as a real event covered up by the government. According to the film, July 4, 2009 marked the emergence of a deadly epidemic that swept through the town of Claridge, Maryland and claimed the lives of hundreds of people. Combining home video, police dashboard cams, and news reports, The Bay retraces the spread of a horrifying parasite that eats its victims from the inside out. The found footage format is sort of old hat now, but critics say Levinson does an admirable job making it feel fresh, and the story is both gruesome and atmospheric enough to elicit some real scares. Certified Fresh at 75%, this ranks as one of the better fright flicks to come out in the past year.



Playing for Keeps

3%

Save for the odd How to Train Your Dragon or Coriolanus, Gerard Butler has churned out misfire after misfire. In the case of Playing for Keeps, however, he at least shares the dubious spotlight with a handful of other quite capable actors. Butler plays George Dryer, a washed up soccer star looking for a sportscasting job who reluctantly agrees to coach his son Lewis’s (Noah Lomax) soccer team at the request of his ex-wife (Jessica Biel), who’s all set to marry her new boyfriend. In doing so, George attracts the attention of several mothers (played by Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Uma Thurman) and a philandering father (Dennis Quaid) who bribes George to give his kids special treatment. Will George be able to resist the affections of the neighborhood soccer moms and reconnect with his ex and son before it’s too late? The critics evidently didn’t care much either way. Playing for Keeps exemplifies lowest-common-denominator entertainment with a witless, unfunny, and predictable script that makes the least of some of its talented players. At 4% on the Tomatometer, this is a risk we can’t recommend you take.



The Intouchables

75%

This French import broke box office records and accrued several accolades in its native land, and while some have called the telling of this true story a bit simplistic, most feel it’s still a film worth watching. The Intouchables focuses on the relationship between a wealthy quadriplegic named Philippe (François Cluzet) and his ex-con French-Senegalese caregiver Driss (Omar Sy). Driss isn’t really looking for work, but he’s the only one who treats Philippe like a normal person, so Philippe insists on hiring him; over time, the two learn about each other’s interests and grow to become close friends. Some critics have made unflattering comparisons to Driving Miss Daisy, but most say the strong performances and sensitive direction go a long way towards making the familiar story palatable. Certified Fresh at 75%, The Intouchables is likely to tug at your heartstrings a bit, even if you can sort of see where the story’s headed.

Also available this week:

  • Faith-based drama Unconditional (67%), starring Lynn Collins and Michael Ealy.
  • Lay the Favorite (20%), starring Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, and Catherine Zeta-Jones in a comedy about sports gambling in Las Vegas.
  • A 20th Anniversary edition of Schindler’s List (97%), which includes three previously released featurettes.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (95%) collection, which includes all seven of the “original” Nightmare films (Parts 1-5, Freddy’s Dead, and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare), plus some extras.
  • Buster Keaton’s College (88%) gets an “Ultimate Edition” Blu-ray release, which includes a humorous 1966 industrial film, his last appearance on film.
  • Michael Crichton’s sci-fi/western Westworld (87%) on Blu-ray, including the 1980 pilot for a TV series adaptation that never happened.

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