RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Ender's Game, All Is Lost, and More

We've also got a decent comedy, a landmark foreign film, and a couple of acclaimed TV shows.

by | February 11, 2014 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got a blockbuster based on a beloved sci-fi novel, a survival tale featuring a towering performance from Robert Redford, an almost universally praised landmark film from Saudi Arabia, a comedy sequel 14 years in the making, and a bit of a clunker from Ridley Scott and some other talented folks. On the TV side, we’ve got an acclaimed adaptation of an iconic literary character, a Golden Tomato-winning French import, and a TV movie, as well as a bunch of smaller releases. Read on for the full list:

Ender’s Game


Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel Ender’s Game isn’t just another sci-fi epic; it’s taught in college courses, and it’s part of the US Marine Corps’ official reading list. Naturally, there was much anticipation leading up to the release of its feature film adaptation, and while it didn’t blow everyone away, most agreed it was relatively solid. The story centers on Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a gifted young boy in the distant future who, along with other similarly gifted children, is groomed by the military to help defend humanity against an alien threat. Most critics felt the film was true enough to the source material to please fans, but others found that some of the book’s power was lost in translation, resulting in a too-serious tone and a somewhat unearned sense of self-importance. Regardless, almost all agreed the film was well-acted and visually impressive enough to earn it a 61% on the Tomatometer.

All Is Lost


J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, the survival story of one man lost at sea, may have the shortest cast listing of any feature film on IMDB. Though its lone actor, Robert Redford, failed to make it into this year’s crowded Best Actor Oscar field, the film boasts a powerhouse performance by the veteran, who carries the film entirely. Redford plays an unnamed man whose ship collides with a rogue shipping container in the middle of the ocean. With his boat steadily taking on water, the man struggles to patch up the hole and fix his communications equipment, hoping to survive long enough to be rescued. Critics roundly praised All Is Lost as a showcase for Robert Redford’s talent; even Pi had a tiger to talk to from time to time. Certified Fresh at 93% on the Tomatometer, this is an equally thrilling and moving tale of survival that grips the viewer and refuses to let go.



Even before anyone had seen Wadjda, it had already secured two landmark achievements: it was the first feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia — where no movie theaters exist — and it was the first to be made by a female Saudi filmmaker, namely Haifaa Al-Mansour. With that in mind, it’s something else altogether that the film has earned near universal acclaim from critics. The story centers on the titular young Saudi girl, who dreams of owning a green bike and racing her neighborhood friend, Abdullah, something the locals frown upon. With family drama brewing at home, Wadjda sets out to earn her own bike money however she can. Critics engaged with the Wadjda‘s central themes of freedom and change in the face of oppression, calling the film an inspiring critique of Saudi society that somehow manages also to be a charming tale of youthful whimsy. Certified Fresh at 99% on the Tomatometer, Golden Tomato winner Wadjda is both insightful and delightful without overtly moralizing or succumbing to cloying sentimentality.

The Best Man Holiday


Back in 1999, writer/director Malcolm D. Lee scored a surprise hit with The Best Man, an ensemble rom-com about a tight-knit group of friends hashing out their issues. Fourteen years later, Lee reunited the entire cast for The Best Man Holiday, earning the best reviews he’s gotten since 2002. This time around, the gang meets up for a Christmas holiday together at Mia’s (Monica Calhoun) request, only to find that older doesn’t always mean wiser. While Harper (Taye Diggs) surreptitiously attempts to gather info for a biography of retiring football star Lance (Morris Chestnut), Candace (Regina Hall) and Mia hide secrets of their own, and wildcard Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) is looking for love in all the wrong places. Critics conceded that the plot contrivances are fairly standard and familiar, but also that Lee manages to wring some genuine laughs and heartfelt sentiment out of them. It’s a little out of season at this point, but at 68% on the Tomatometer, The Best Man Holiday is a decent dramedy worthy of its predecessor.

The Counselor


When you’ve made as many films as Ridley Scott has, you’re bound to release a stinker every now and then. You just don’t expect that stinker to come from the pen of Cormac McCarthy and star the likes of Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Brad Pitt. Fassbender plays the titular counselor, who, tempted by a huge profit margin, unwisely gets himself wrapped up in a drug deal with a Mexican cartel. When the deal immediately goes wrong, the counselor becomes a target and finds he has few friends he can count on. Past adaptations of Cormac McCarthy’s work have yielded great results, but critics say his first attempt at an original screenplay mostly falls flat; The Counselor is a sloppily plotted thriller that spends too much of its time on clumsy dialogue and too little of it building real tension. At 34% on the Tomatometer, it’s hardly representative of the talented individuals involved.

Sherlock – Season 3

Benedict Cumberbatch is fast becoming a household name (and oh what a name it is), and though he’d previously appeared in a handful of notable roles, it was BBC’s 2010 series Sherlock that first brought him international recognition. Paired with Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, Cumberbatch plays a contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective, a brash, socially oblivious genius who gets off on solving seemingly unsolvable mysteries and utilizes modern technology to its fullest. The series, written by Doctor Who veterans Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, adapts several of Sherlock Holmes’s classic characters and storylines, seamlessly integrating them into present-day settings and infusing them with razor sharp dialogue and crisp, inventive cinematography. Here in the US, the third and final 90-minute episode of the third season — Certified Fresh at 97% — aired just last week, and tomorrow, it will be available on DVD and Blu-ray. [NOTE: Beware of spoilers in the trailer below if you haven’t seen the first two seasons.]

Killing Kennedy


National Geographic enjoyed a strong response to their adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Lincoln, so they decided to do the same for the controversial television personality’s similarly titled JFK book, Killing Kennedy. The film, which aired on the National Geographic Channel on November 10 of last year, stars Rob Lowe as JFK, Ginnifer Goodwin as Jackie O, and Will Rothhaar as Lee Harvey Oswald, focusing both on Kennedy’ rise to power and Oswald’s growing disillusionment. While critics were somewhat split on the film, with some calling it another unnecessary — and somewhat underwhelming — portrait of an all too familiar event while others praised the performances and the somewhat novel approach to the story, Killing Kennedy did earn nominations from the Writers, Directors, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. At 59% on the Tomatometer, it’s an acceptable biopic that could have been better but nevertheless hits most of the right notes.

The Returned – Season 1

In this modern era of Hollywood remakes and reboots, it’s kind of remarkable for a foreign-language television series to be imported wholesale for the US market, but that’s exactly what happened with French supernatural drama The Returned (aka Les Revenants). Originally aired in 2012, the series was picked up by SundanceTV, who premiered it on Halloween last year. The story takes place in a small town in the mountains, where the recently deceased suddenly begin reappearing as if nothing had ever happened. As they attempt to reintegrate themselves into normal life, the mystery is compounded by strange occurrences and puzzling discoveries that seem to coincide with the phenomenon. Back in September, The Returned won the International Emmy Award for Best Drama, and its first season not only boasts a Certified Fresh 100% on the Tomatometer, but it also won our Golden Tomato Award for Best New Show of 2013.

Also available this week:

  • The Armstrong Lie (84%), a Certified Fresh Alex Gibney documentary chronicling the controversy surrounding former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal.
  • G.B.F. (80%), a teen comedy about a newly outed gay teen whose “arm-candy” potential becomes the object of every popular girl’s affections.
  • How I Live Now (67%), starring Saoirse Ronan in a post-apocalyptic YA novel adaptation about an American girl living overseas and struggling to survive when warfare in Europe prompts martial law in the UK.
  • Austenland (30%), starring Keri Russell in a comedy about a woman trying to make the most of her limited budget on a visit to a Jane Austen theme park.
  • Diana (8%) starring Naomi Watts in a biopic focusing on the relationships Princess Di maintained during the last two years of her life.
  • Disney is releasing a Diamond Edition of the 1967 animated film The Jungle Book (87%).
  • Season one of The Americans (89%), the FX drama starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as KGB spies posing as a married American couple in 1980s Washington D.C.
  • Season two of Dallas (94%), TNT’s revival of the classic soap revolving around the oil-rich Ewing family.

Tag Cloud

Interview versus El Rey renewed TV shows Christmas tv talk Hulu cancelled TV series Superheroe Nat Geo Crunchyroll composers Rocky satire docudrama aliens Drama crime drama Winners Walt Disney Pictures TCM Nickelodeon Toys french TNT 24 frames CBS All Access USA Spring TV directors Marathons stoner screen actors guild Comedy Central spanish Britbox CBS ABC Family 2020 Columbia Pictures Mindy Kaling Trophy Talk 2016 Podcast Amazon Studios Anna Paquin mockumentary OWN 2018 HBO Go Syfy 2019 game of thrones Mary poppins BBC One documentary Disney streaming service WarnerMedia serial killer Watching Series Sneak Peek twilight A24 Alien Pet Sematary Marvel Television werewolf Awards Tour 2017 Tarantino Quiz TLC nbcuniversal witnail halloween tv joker reviews singing competition remakes revenge Comedy Rock venice Acorn TV boxing Hallmark APB die hard Emmy Nominations spanish language TV Land cancelled fast and furious festival spinoff ITV CW Seed doctor who Paramount Amazon Prime Video Emmys breaking bad Stephen King Binge Guide Box Office Premiere Dates nfl Tubi Super Bowl Country Music Paramount Network stop motion The Walt Disney Company YouTube anime DC Universe Character Guide Amazon Disney Channel Action Comic Book Cannes First Reviews Funimation CMT The Academy Trailer cinemax Mary Tyler Moore social media mutant australia richard e. Grant slashers obituary ID Lucasfilm Star Wars Teen comic books IFC Films TCA Sundance TV SDCC First Look harry potter Epix NYCC Certified Fresh Film Festival robots Apple Ellie Kemper Rom-Com free movies rotten movies we love trailers Captain marvel Chernobyl classics President Red Carpet IFC PBS CNN movie Tumblr Food Network 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards New York Comic Con Chilling Adventures of Sabrina USA Network children's TV ESPN Thanksgiving reboot Holidays dramedy critics Extras YouTube Premium facebook Biopics discovery Amazon Prime dark Pixar Ghostbusters Black Mirror Tomatazos hist ratings award winner Spike Avengers politics Sci-Fi Esquire Dark Horse Comics Television Academy sitcom Pride Month psycho cooking cancelled television teaser unscripted japanese Sundance Now TCA Winter 2020 dc cars Classic Film diversity theme song Turner Classic Movies Showtime dragons Sony Pictures VICE crime thriller The Witch ghosts screenings halloween BBC Travel Channel Paramount Plus independent Academy Awards Grammys zombie black Oscars Television Critics Association TruTV FXX DirecTV Turner cults DC Comics miniseries See It Skip It Valentine's Day documentaries laika BET Awards south america E! criterion Family Pop batman Apple TV+ concert American Society of Cinematographers fresh golden globes ABC Signature historical drama Reality Competition child's play Polls and Games Starz Mary Poppins Returns Freeform 72 Emmy Awards name the review Song of Ice and Fire 007 zombies romantic comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt MTV toy story spain 45 universal monsters FOX Netflix Creative Arts Emmys football BAFTA ABC TCA Awards Nominations superhero VH1 video Logo Endgame Musical DGA science fiction Brie Larson Disney Discovery Channel indie Marvel Studios Fall TV war Awards political drama Fox News deadpool natural history Mystery Trivia kids blockbuster Writers Guild of America canceled movies E3 cops TV One Adult Swim TV rom-coms sports supernatural Marvel Best and Worst Women's History Month FX on Hulu 71st Emmy Awards Opinion what to watch Hear Us Out Countdown Winter TV transformers Fox Searchlight Video Games casting adaptation cancelled TV shows cartoon OneApp disaster archives comic sag awards MCU Cosplay Shudder crime crossover Masterpiece jamie lee curtis adventure GIFs asian-american Apple TV Plus Year in Review NBC biography dceu Schedule Cartoon Network TIFF worst movies PlayStation Heroines Peacock toronto GoT 21st Century Fox AMC Lifetime Lionsgate Black History Month spider-man SXSW Arrowverse anthology HBO Max A&E spy thriller RT21 ViacomCBS dogs based on movie VOD jurassic park chucky latino worst Vudu festivals Elton John History comedies The Purge canceled TV shows Netflix Christmas movies foreign Set visit finale quibi game show MSNBC Superheroes boxoffice TV renewals Rocketman comics thriller DC streaming service Universal BET Reality true crime christmas movies Hallmark Christmas movies scorecard Animation National Geographic Spectrum Originals best talk show TBS Disney+ Disney Plus mission: impossible animated medical drama RT History Disney Plus parents X-Men 2015 FX blaxploitation travel Crackle Lifetime Christmas movies hollywood all-time Holiday GLAAD justice league Fantasy scary movies police drama Warner Bros. Musicals Sundance LGBT Photos Kids & Family series TCA 2017 a nightmare on elm street PaleyFest Pop TV Comics on TV BBC America green book zero dark thirty Bravo news indiana jones Election YA pirates of the caribbean Martial Arts Horror Shondaland book nature The Walking Dead Star Trek psychological thriller vampires Calendar Mudbound Pirates sequels 99% period drama YouTube Red 4/20 Ovation rotten 20th Century Fox The CW rt archives Infographic television james bond stand-up comedy binge video on demand hispanic Film Summer LGBTQ emmy awards Baby Yoda franchise films SundanceTV technology The Arrangement cats Western streaming sequel elevated horror romance strong female leads space comiccon WGN San Diego Comic-Con italian HBO golden globe awards