New on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Expendables 3, The Giver, and The November Man

Plus, Madea does Christmas, Daniel Radcliffe does rom-com, and Criterion re-releases an Antonioni classic.

by | November 25, 2014 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got a blockbuster action sequel, another dystopian young adult novel adaptation, and a would-be first installment in a spy franchise starring Pierce Brosnan (no, not that franchise). Then, we’ve got a few smaller films, including a rom-com with Daniel Radcliffe and a couple of holiday comedies, as well as two choices from the Criterion Collection. Read on for details:

The Expendables 3


Both the first and second Expendables were quite profitable, and according to critics, the second one even improved upon the first. The Expendables 3 didn’t make as much money or impress as many people, though. This time around, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) recruits a younger crew to apprehend an Expendables founder-turned-arms dealer (Mel Gibson), but when they’re captured during the operation, he must enlist the services of the disbanded veteran Expendables to free them. Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, and Antonio Banderas join Kellan Lutz and a few other athletic young stars, but critics found this installment least exciting of all, especially considering all the talent involved. The announced Expendables 4 and 5 will give them a couple more chances to get it right, though, and failing that, there’s always the female-driven Expendabelles.

The Giver


Despite the fact that The Giver was based on a popular, award-winning dystopian young adult novel, helmed by a veteran director (Phillip Noyce), and populated by no less than two celebrated Academy Award-winning actors (Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges), the film underperformed quite dramatically. The story revolves around a seemingly utopian community devoid of emotion and all knowledge of the past, save for one individual — the Receiver of Memory — whose responsibility it is to help his society avoid repeating historical mistakes. When a young man is chosen as the next Receiver, he decides everyone should have the same knowledge. While critics gave The Giver credit for its visual flourishes and for exploring its source material’s thought-provoking ideas, most also felt it merely touched on those ideas and, furthermore, left any compelling drama by the wayside.

The November Man


If only every aging leading man could find the late-career success that Liam Neeson has earned in the action genre? Pierce Brosnan steps into somewhat familiar shoes as ex-CIA agent Peter Devereaux, a retired operative pulled back into action for “one last mission,” complete with a femme fatale (Olga Kurylenko, a former Bond girl herself), only to discover there is a mole in the agency who wants him dead. Based on a novel by Bill Granger, The November Man seemed to have been aimed at beginning another spy thriller franchise, but critics mostly grew weary of the film’s reliance on shopworn genre clichés, which earned it a paltry 34 percent on the Tomatometer. That said, a sequel is coming, whether we want it or not.

Also available this week:

  • What If (69 percent), starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in a romantic comedy about med school dropout who makes an instant connection with an animator, and the two begin to fall for each other.
  • Almost a year after its theatrical release, we get Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (19 percent), wherein the feisty matriarch accompanies a friend on a surprise visit to her daughter in a rural town.
  • A Merry Friggin’ Christmas (18 percent), starring Robin Williams (in one of his final film roles) and Joel McHale in a holiday road comedy about an estranged father and son who set out to retrieve the son’s forgotten Christmas gifts.
  • And lastly, two choices from the Criterion Collection: a new Blu-ray of Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960 masterpiece L’Avventura (97 percent); and Les Blank: Always for Pleasure, a collection of the documentary filmmaker’s eclectic filmography that contains 14 films and 8 short films.

Tag Cloud

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