New on DVD & Blu-Ray: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Maze Runner, The Skeleton Twins, and More

by | December 16, 2014 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got a 1980s franchise reboot, a dystopian YA novel adaptation, Woody Allen’s latest film, and a couple of dramedies about dysfunctional families. Then we’ve got some notable TV releases — including the complete series of a popular anime — and some smaller films. Read on for details:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


After some controversy surrounding whether or not the turtles in the Michael Bay-produced reboot would, in fact, be mutants, Bay himself came forward and told fans not to worry. As it turns out, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had enough other problems for critics to point out. The story remains essentially the same: four turtles and a lab rat are transformed by science into walking, talking, butt-kicking humanoids, and an evil neo-samurai known as the Shredder threatens their fair city with a nefarious plot. The turtles still love pizza, and plucky reporter April O’Neil becomes an unexpected ally in their righteous battle. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Battle: Los Angeles), the film featured plenty of callbacks to the beloved 1980s franchise (“Cowabunga!”) but little in the way of wit, compelling storytelling, or entertainment value in general, resulting in a skimpy 22 percent Tomatometer. The film comes in a regular Blu-ray/DVD package as well as a 3D release and features a handful of extras like a look at the character design and a look at the real-life evolution of turtles.

The Maze Runner


The latest release in the increasingly popular genre of dystopian young adult novel adaptations is also one of the better-reviewed of the bunch. Starring a cast of relatively unknown young actors, the film centers on a young man named Thomas, who wakes up with no memory in a giant maze alongside others like him. He quickly discovers he and his fellow runners are trapped, forced to cobble together some semblance of a society as they attempt to figure out why they were brought to the labyrinth and how to escape it. Thanks to its unique premise, its embrace of bleak themes, and strong performances from its stars, The Maze Runner garnered a 63 percent Tomatometer score, though some critics wished for a more satisfactory third act. Special features include a long, multi-part behind-the-scenes doc, deleted scenes, gag reel, and more.

This Is Where I Leave You


A dysfunctional family comedy wherein the dysfunctional family in question consists of veterans like Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, and Jane Fonda, as well as rising stars like Adam Driver and Corey Stoll, sounds like a pretty good idea on paper. And for what it’s worth, critics say This Is Where I Leave You has its moments, even if it ultimately underwhelms. Based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Tropper, the film centers around the Altman family, who come together for a week when their father passes away. They bicker, air dirty laundry, rehash past grievances, and attempt to make sense of their own lives, with mixed results. Critics acknowledged the amount of talent on display, which both helped to elevate the somewhat banal material and raised expectations for the end product — it unfortunately fell a bit short on the latter, resulting in a 42 percent Tomatometer score. The Blu-ray comes with a few extras on the making of the film and a deleted scene.

Magic in the Moonlight


Uber-prolific director Woody Allen has had a rollercoaster career over the past several years, consisting of critical hits (Match Point, Midnight in Paris) and misses (Scoop, To Rome with Love). So it might have been wishful thinking to hope that his follow-up to last year’s widely acclaimed Blue Jasmine would also be a winner. Magic in the Moonlight follows a popular stage magician (Colin Firth) who travels to the French Riviera in order to debunk a young spiritualist (Emma Stone) claiming to be clairvoyant and who may or may not be taking advantage of a grieving widow. Critics were split at 51 percent on the Tomatometer; while some lauded the cinematography and period detail for creating a specific mood, others felt the laughs were few and the introspective themes treated with too light a touch.

The Skeleton Twins


It’s not uncommon for comedic actors to diversify and pursue weightier roles as their careers progress — think Robin Williams, Bill Murray, and Ben Stiller, for example — and the end result is often unpredictable. With The Skeleton Twins, however, SNL alums Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig have landed on impressively solid ground. The pair star as estranged twins Milo and Maggie, who reunite under tragic circumstances, prompting Milo to move back home to New York and live with Maggie and her husband (Luke Wilson) for a while. Slowly, the siblings begin to repair their relationship and, with each other’s help, attempt to rebuild their own lives. Critics agreed that Hader and Wiig were in top form, and their strong performances and onscreen chemistry helped lend authenticity to the film’s more affecting moments, leading to a Certified Fresh 86 percent. Bonus features include a commentary track with director Craig Johnson, Wiig, and Hader, as well as outtakes, deleted scenes, and a 15-minute making-of doc.

Also available this week:

  • Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (30 percent), starring the internet’s favorite cat in a holiday tale about a kitty who gets adopted by a young girl and helps avert a couple of crises.
  • At the Devil’s Door (24 percent), a horror thriller about a real estate agent who puts her sister in danger when she attempts to sell a house with a dark history.
  • One choice from the Criterion Collection: Sydney Pollack’s acclaimed Certified Fresh comedy Tootsie (88 percent), starring Dustin Hoffman as a notoriously difficult actor who resorts to dressing as a woman in order to find work.
  • Season two of Certified Fresh period drama The Americans (97 percent), starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as a pair of Russian spies living undercover in 1980s America.
  • The Certified Fresh first season of Extant (83 percent), starring Halle Berry in a sci-fi drama about an astronaut who returns home with a secret after a year in space.
  • Season one of BBC America’s sci-fi series Intruders (39 percent), about a supernatural secret society whose members inhabit the bodies of others to achieve immortality.
  • And lastly, the complete series of the groundbreaking anime (it was the first to be broadcast on Adult Swim in the US, ushering in a wave of Japanese animation) Cowboy Bebop is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Tag Cloud

SDCC Showtime docudrama FX historical drama facebook movies Countdown mockumentary Paramount Amazon Studios jamie lee curtis Horror Cannes dc cancelled TV series blaxploitation E! Sundance Now RT21 BBC game of thrones revenge children's TV Tumblr Fantasy Thanksgiving BBC America X-Men streaming Apple TV Plus Action Cosplay Video Games cars Best and Worst Bravo A&E Television Academy Certified Fresh tv talk 2020 Funimation spain The Arrangement 2018 YouTube Red OneApp comiccon RT History breaking bad DC Universe Amazon Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt screenings WGN 20th Century Fox Kids & Family Emmy Nominations Film Festival Interview cinemax Black Mirror TBS harry potter serial killer Opinion Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Quiz ratings miniseries thriller crime Adult Swim Pixar Super Bowl period drama President Tubi Sundance TV richard e. Grant discovery DC streaming service Biopics crime drama universal monsters PBS Red Carpet Nominations Song of Ice and Fire Warner Bros. HBO medical drama 2015 Christmas Classic Film space binge LGBT Hulu Peacock CBS Binge Guide GoT comic romantic comedy true crime free movies Pop TV cooking Disney streaming service 71st Emmy Awards Awards Teen USA Network MSNBC Disney Channel Paramount Network Captain marvel Photos witnail romance Walt Disney Pictures Disney+ Disney Plus Rom-Com what to watch Mudbound theme song Superheroes canceled aliens social media TV renewals Food Network TIFF Discovery Channel Turner Classic Movies TCA Winter 2020 Awards Tour National Geographic vampires Lionsgate Columbia Pictures Reality WarnerMedia natural history Spectrum Originals Premiere Dates Marvel Studios Musical Tomatazos ABC Spike New York Comic Con HBO Max Universal 21st Century Fox elevated horror FXX Tarantino Britbox 2017 Baby Yoda Trivia Year in Review slashers DC Comics foreign mutant GLAAD transformers book hispanic zombies 007 justice league FX on Hulu SXSW finale politics dogs Avengers name the review werewolf Summer hist USA Set visit Writers Guild of America television E3 GIFs technology cartoon CW Seed directors cancelled TV shows based on movie VH1 movie TruTV Travel Channel Toys Masterpiece Country robots El Rey Trophy Talk A24 IFC Films Hallmark Holiday The Purge Heroines Rocky Starz Family Animation zero dark thirty Nat Geo ITV MTV sag awards Pet Sematary CMT adventure stand-up comedy First Reviews Calendar casting Winners 2016 cancelled television APB Emmys Superheroe Lifetime Sneak Peek cancelled Ovation Polls and Games Shondaland Cartoon Network animated unscripted DirecTV scary movies Endgame OWN Pop zombie Ellie Kemper doctor who biography science fiction Pirates Rock Character Guide ESPN Brie Larson 24 frames latino anthology toy story Arrowverse spider-man Rocketman Mary Poppins Returns YA documentary NBC Lifetime Christmas movies dragons award winner Disney Creative Arts Emmys MCU strong female leads Elton John Drama The Walking Dead Marvel Television Watching Series Freeform reboot Amazon Prime Video Mary Tyler Moore Reality Competition Mystery First Look christmas movies Apple Valentine's Day cats Turner Mindy Kaling dceu reviews ghosts Spring TV political drama YouTube comics talk show sitcom Star Wars Comedy Central teaser Extras diversity psycho disaster crossover quibi Film TCM police drama Crackle renewed TV shows cops Amazon Prime Fall TV DGA psychological thriller cults Lucasfilm Election 2019 independent Anna Paquin indie Star Trek canceled TV shows joker LGBTQ Musicals versus See It Skip It supernatural Comics on TV sports composers Esquire TLC History TV rotten movies we love Mary poppins Oscars Dark Horse Comics NYCC TV Land Syfy series Crunchyroll Trailer franchise Martial Arts Podcast halloween CNN Hallmark Christmas movies Logo Shudder Netflix video 45 singing competition Academy Awards spy thriller sequel Chernobyl Ghostbusters green book Grammys Music spinoff Box Office The Witch adaptation Sony Pictures TNT American Society of Cinematographers Marvel PaleyFest SundanceTV VICE crime thriller Marathons Epix TCA 2017 Disney Plus Comedy Comic Book kids Black History Month Netflix Christmas movies batman festivals YouTube Premium Western Sundance Stephen King spanish language AMC boxoffice The CW Nickelodeon war Sci-Fi screen actors guild Vudu San Diego Comic-Con BET IFC Apple TV+ Fox News Infographic Pride Month Acorn TV Holidays travel blockbuster ABC Family Women's History Month CBS All Access golden globes TCA game show FOX south america Winter TV Schedule nature anime dramedy