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.
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.
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.