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New on DVD & Blu-Ray: 22 Jump Street, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, If I Stay, and More

by | November 18, 2014 | Comments

This week on home video, movies rule the list, but we’ve got at least one impressive TV collection to talk about, too. The blockbuster sequel to a Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill buddy cop comedy leads things off, along with another sequel from Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, an earnest YA novel adaptation, a disaster movie, and Hayao Miyazaki’s last directorial effort. Then we’ve got a few notable smaller releases, and a gigantic collection of one of the most iconic TV shows ever. Read on for details:



22 Jump Street

85%

Initially, nobody thought a big screen adaptation of a popular but forgotten 1980s cop show directed by the guys who did Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs could work. But it did, and did so impressively. Cue the inevitable sequel, with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reprising their roles as mismatched buddy cops on the trail of another campus drug dealer — but this time in college. While 21 Jump Street played on cop movie clichés, 22 riffed hard on bromances and the perils of sequelitis, successfully avoiding its fate as a subpar follow-up. Critics gave the film nearly the same marks as its predecessor; Certified Fresh at 84 percent on the Tomatometer, 22 Jump Street sits just one percent below 21. Bonus features include the requisite commentary track, jokey outtakes and improve bits, and deleted/extended scenes, as well as a number of featurettes on the cast and crew and even a ten-minute “dramatic” cut of the film with all the jokes removed (for international marketing purposes, apparently). Lots of good stuff for fans of the movie.



Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

42%

Speaking of sequelitis, here’s a fairly solid example of it. The first Sin City wasn?t universally adored by critics, but a large majority of them found its stylized aesthetic and brutal storytelling fresh and inventive. Not so, the second time around. Following its predecessor’s template, A Dame to Kill For revolves around a handful of connected narratives in a gritty ensemble noir with returning actors Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Jessica Alba joined by newcomers like Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, and Lady Gaga, among others. While A Dame to Kill For sported the same comics-inspired look and feel, critics weren’t overly impressed with the film, which felt like more of the same, but less original the second time around. At 44 percent, it’s probably worth seeing for fans of the first film and source material, but you may come away thinking co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller could have crafted something a little better. Bonus features include character profiles, a couple of making-of featurettes, and a curiously sped up 16-minute version of the film meant to highlight its use of green screen.



If I Stay

36%

Though the big, epic YA novel adaptations like The Hunger Games and Divergent have captured most of the media attention, while smaller, more serious fare like The Spectacular Now and The Fault in Our Stars have been making waves with the critics. If I Stay hoped to capture some of that same acclaim, focusing on a supernatural melodrama about Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz), a teen victim of a car accident who lands in a coma and has an out-of-body experience. Over the course of a day, Mia must decide whether it’s worth it to return to a life that will now be much more difficult for her. Unfortunately, critics weren’t so kind to the film; they have no qualms with melodrama, but for most, If I Stay was simply more manipulative than moving, and it notched just a 36 percent on the Tomatometer. Special features include deleted scenes, a couple of music videos, a music-specific commentary track, and a featurette on the film’s transition from page to screen.



Into the Storm

21%

Don’t look now, but someone other than Roland Emmerich made a disaster movie — it happens from time to time — and guess what? According to critics, it’s actually worse than some of the stuff he’s done. The spiritual successor to 1996’s Twister, Into the Storm employs a found-footage format to follow a handful of small-town citizens as they flee, chase, and scream at each other through a barrage of tornadoes. Most notable among the cast is Richard Armitage, who audiences have gotten to know over the past couple years as Thorin Oakenshield, the dwarf leader from the Hobbit films, but even he was unable to save what critics felt was a lackluster script populated by paper-thin characters. Still, if you just want to see some cool special effects, you can always throw this on in the background while you do the dishes.



The Wind Rises

88%

We could debate endlessly whether or not Hayao Miyazaki is really retired, but if the iconic Japanese animator really is done for good, The Wind Rises is a pretty great sendoff. Based on the manga he adapted himself from a 1937 short story, the film tells a fictionalized account of the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed two of Japan’s most important fighter planes in WWII. Though some took issue with Miyazaki’s romanticization of Horikoshi’s life, most critics appreciated his typically superb storytelling, lush animation, and bittersweet themes, and awarded it a Certified Fresh 89 percent on the Tomatometer. There are only a handful of standard special features (storyboards, trailers, a featurette on the voice acting), but Miyazaki fans might be interested to know that two of his other widely celebrated films, Princess Mononoke and Kiki?s Delivery Service, are also coming out in new Blu-rays this week, the latter of which includes a new bonus in the form of a musical montage.

Also available this week:

  • Eric Rohmer’s A Summer’s Tale (98 percent), about a young man who runs into relationship trouble while vacationing Bretagne, France.
  • Housebound (95 percent), a horror comedy from New Zealand about a woman sentenced to house arrest in her mother’s home, which she claims is haunted.
  • Georgian import (the country, not the state) In Bloom (93 percent), about two 14-year-old friends coming of age in the newly independent Georgia during the early 1990s.
  • Alive Inside (72 percent), a documentary about the powerful effect of music on the human psyche.
  • Automata (33 percent), starring Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith in a sci-fi thriller about a “Robotics Insurance” agent tasked with investigating a robot that broke its protocol to protect human life.
  • Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes (18 percent), starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton in a romantic comedy about an old curmudgeon who learns to love life again, thanks to his neighbor and an estranged granddaughter.
  • One selection from the Criterion Collection arrives in a new Blu-ray transfer this week: Frank Capra’s Oscar-sweeping 1934 romantic comedy It Happened One Night (98 percent), starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable as a spoiled socialite runaway and the reporter hot on her trail.
  • And last, but certainly not least, there’s The Twilight Zone: 5th Dimension, a limited edition complete series set that includes both the original Rod Serling series of the 1960s and the 1980s series in one amazing DVD box set, which also includes a number of brand new featurettes and interviews, as well as tons of goodies available on previous releases. This is the first time both series have been offered in one set, so it’s a great pickup for anyone who loves The Twilight Zone.

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