New on DVD & Blu-Ray: Maleficent, Hercules, and A Most Wanted Man

by | November 4, 2014 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got a little something for everyone, whether you’re looking for some fantastical drama, a bit of sword-and-sandal action, a dash of spy intrigue, or just something to babysit the kids for an hour and a half. Plus, there’s a few smaller releases also worth mentioning, as well as a couple of notable series sets of fan favorite TV shows. Read on for details:



Disney’s Maleficent had a few things going for it: a charismatic, larger-than-life A-lister in the lead role, an intriguing twist on a familiar tale, and a Disney-sized budget for some wild special effects. The only thing it could have used, apparently, was a bit more help in the writer’s room. Angelina Jolie stars as the titular sorceress from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, a fairy once betrayed by the man she loved whose actions are motivated by vengeance. Unfortunately, for every critic who felt it was a novel retelling of the story, there was another who didn’t think there was enough substance to justify the film, despite a winning performance from Jolie and a fair amount of visual spectacle. Maleficent ultimately split critics down the middle, earning a 49 percent Tomatometer score. Bonus features include a handful of short making-of docs and five deleted scenes.



As long as we’re talking about fantastical tales, we might as well mention Hercules, Brett Ratner’s (After the Sunset, Tower Heist) take on the tale of the legendary demi-god. Dwayne Johnson (The Tooth Fairy) dons the armor here, aided by a misfit gang of mercenaries and his nephew, Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), whose job it is to spread (embellished) word of Hercules’s exploits. When Hercules is hired to train the armies of Thrace to defend against the attack of an invading warlord, he finds himself in the middle of a complicated power struggle. Johnson is almost always fun to watch, and surrounded by the likes of Ian McShane, John Hurt, and Rufus Sewell, among others, he gave most critics what they were expecting, especially in a Brett Ratner film. At 59 percent on the Tomatomter, Hercules performed about as well as anyone could have predicted. Special features include featurettes on the characters, the weapons, and special effects, as well as some deleted and extended scenes, plus more.

Planes: Fire and Rescue


In case you missed it, Disney’s direct-to-video studio, Disneytoon, made a Cars spinoff called Planes last year and released it in theaters, and though most grown-ups saw it for what it was — a fairly standard money grab intended to capitalize on the immense kid-popularity of the Pixar property — most kids saw it for what it also was, namely, “Ooh, talking planes!” No surprise, then, that we got a sequel this year, though it is somewhat surprising that it was actually better-received than the original (and only four percentage points below Maleficent on the Tomatometer). Dane Cook reprises his role as the voice of Dusty the ambitious cropduster-turned-racing plane, who inadvertently sets an airport on fire and subsequently decides to take on a new career as a firefighter. This isn’t top notch animated entertainment or particularly inventive storytelling, agree most critics, but it’s a pleasantly agreeable enough diversion for the kids, if you’re in the market for that. Extras include a handful of animated shorts, a look at some of the real vehicles that inspired the characters, and a few other items, all kid-friendly.

A Most Wanted Man


Depending on what you think of the franchise, it’s almost a little disappointing that the final two screen appearances of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman — an extremely gifted, versatile Oscar-winner — will come in the form of a supporting role in a blockbuster YA series, even if it is The Hunger Games. Thankfully, he also recently starred in a smaller thriller that arguably made much better use of his talents. In the John le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man, Hoffman plays Gunther Bachmann, a German intelligence agent on the trail of a Chechen refugee he suspects is a terrorist with ties to Al Qaeda. Following up on a separate lead, Bachmann teams up with another German official and an American diplomat to infiltrate a local network and analyze the threat. A Most Wanted Man is Certified Fresh at 90 percent on the Tomatometer, with critics calling it a smart, thoughtfully told thriller that builds suspense as it moves along. There are only two bonus features: a standard making-of featurette, and a 9-minute interview with le Carré discussing his personal history in intelligence.

Also available this week:

  • The Dog (94 percent), a Certified Fresh documentary about John Wojtowicz, the man whose fascinating story inspired Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon.
  • The Discoverers (88 percent), starring Griffin Dunne in a road trip comedy about a professor en route to a conference with his kids who takes a detour when he learns his father has gone missing.
  • The One I Love (80 percent), starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss in a dramedy about a struggling married couple who retreat to a remote cabin to rekindle their love, only to discover the guest house holds a bizarre, mysterious secret.
  • Frontera (54 percent), starring Ed Harris and Michael Pena in a drama about a Mexican immigrant who is suspected of murdering an Arizona sheriff’s wife.
  • Premature (41 percent), a coming-of-age comedy about a high school senior who discovers he relives the same day over and over again… every time he has an orgasm.
  • Season two of HBO’s The Newsroom (69 percent), starring Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer, is available on DVD and Blu-ray, ahead of its season three premiere this weekend.
  • Universal is releasing a Complete Series set of the popular NBC show Quantum Leap, which stars Scott Bakula as a quantum physicist whose consciousness jumps through time, temporarily inhabiting the bodies of different people.
  • Fans of the BBC’s Sherlock might be interested in the Sherlock Limited Edition Gift Set, which includes all three seasons of the series to date on DVD/Blu-ray combo discs, new bonus features, collectible busts of both Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson, and a couple of art cards.

Tag Cloud

anime Rock FX Schedule Thanksgiving Winter TV politics disaster The Arrangement ITV Spectrum Originals theme song Sneak Peek Fall TV discovery TIFF Tomatazos 2017 singing competition canceled TV shows slashers DirecTV WarnerMedia Paramount Network Women's History Month TNT Year in Review Best and Worst game show Oscars tv talk Mary poppins YouTube Red Teen Disney dragons WGN Walt Disney Pictures Mystery Extras Country TCA video Horror Film renewed TV shows MTV TV TBS robots GoT Food Network CNN Mary Tyler Moore social media animated Star Trek Turner science fiction NYCC Quiz ESPN Superheroes psycho Television Academy Brie Larson Showtime unscripted spider-man Election OWN vampires sports what to watch Mudbound TV renewals serial killer Reality PaleyFest boxoffice Universal Vudu green book Cartoon Network Interview political drama YouTube Premium CBS Red Carpet USA Network travel VICE Grammys Watching Series Bravo period drama 24 frames Fox News Star Wars based on movie Amazon award winner Stephen King Ellie Kemper MCU Set visit spinoff Nickelodeon Esquire cancelled thriller Winners Video Games crossover 21st Century Fox ghosts Pirates TLC Creative Arts Emmys Emmys Music Summer The Walking Dead Shudder FOX sequel The Witch CMT docudrama VH1 Adult Swim television Lionsgate See It Skip It Disney streaming service supernatural A&E Trivia cars dceu cults Cannes romantic comedy Marathons Spike DC Comics Holidays Comedy Central finale Sci-Fi witnail Writers Guild of America diversity Biopics facebook First Look Super Bowl transformers zombies Syfy RT21 History Opinion Nominations breaking bad HBO sitcom Apple TV Plus 45 E3 festivals El Rey children's TV dramedy Apple TV+ richard e. Grant werewolf game of thrones Song of Ice and Fire Binge Guide composers series Pixar Valentine's Day ABC Family SXSW casting Certified Fresh adaptation TruTV Elton John historical drama mutant DC streaming service Animation Nat Geo toy story halloween Heroines 2015 Cosplay adventure Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Sundance Trailer Podcast Western CBS All Access technology Marvel GLAAD APB Pet Sematary hist NBC golden globes south america FXX TV Land IFC Premiere Dates Marvel Television Reality Competition 20th Century Fox Comics on TV Awards Tour spy thriller DGA zero dark thirty Tarantino Family hispanic SundanceTV Pop BBC Arrowverse Disney Plus Photos Box Office revenge IFC Films Chernobyl Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Tumblr Masterpiece kids Black Mirror war cancelled television mockumentary Logo natural history cops Dark Horse Comics cancelled TV shows movies SDCC free movies Crunchyroll 71st Emmy Awards streaming teaser Martial Arts Amazon Prime Video police drama TCA 2017 batman blaxploitation The CW Christmas Lucasfilm comiccon YouTube cancelled TV series canceled YA LGBT PBS joker Action Captain marvel Peacock elevated horror MSNBC Musical Ovation A24 aliens Comic Book Apple Polls and Games Emmy Nominations TCM RT History Character Guide justice league biography Freeform indie BET Infographic talk show Sundance Now Rocky 007 Pride Month cooking cats Disney Channel CW Seed Shondaland versus romance Epix spain National Geographic Anna Paquin Spring TV crime binge psychological thriller crime thriller Netflix anthology American Society of Cinematographers Toys Awards Starz Calendar dc President miniseries Rocketman Comedy Turner Classic Movies Rom-Com comic cinemax BBC America true crime Musicals Lifetime USA Fantasy 2018 Film Festival The Purge New York Comic Con Warner Bros. Hulu HBO Max X-Men Acorn TV First Reviews doctor who Marvel Studios stand-up comedy Britbox Drama Ghostbusters Mary Poppins Returns AMC jamie lee curtis zombie Paramount independent Crackle San Diego Comic-Con quibi Trophy Talk Kids & Family E! medical drama Mindy Kaling Amazon Prime strong female leads ABC GIFs crime drama DC Universe harry potter ratings Classic Film Columbia Pictures space latino nature Countdown spanish language foreign Superheroe Sony Pictures 2016 2019 book LGBTQ