RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Campaign and Alfred Hitchcock

Plus, a few worthy indie releases and a horror classic on Criterion.

by | October 29, 2012 | Comments

This week on home video, our biggest movie is also the lowest-rated one on the list. This isn’t to say it isn’t any good (it still earned a 66% on the Tomatometer), but the smaller releases and the Blu-ray reissues are much stronger. See below for the full list!

The Campaign


Who better to direct a political farce than the guy who helmed both films like Recount and Game Change as well as the Austin Powers movies? While we’re at it, why not throw in a couple of comedy heavyweights like Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis to play a pair of ruthless political opponents running for the same office? It all seems to make perfect sense, doesn’t it? Well, critics had a fine enough time with The Campaign, but that was also part of the problem: it was only just fine. Not uproarious, not particularly incisive, but just fine. At 66% on the tomatometer, The Campaign wasn’t as smart or sharp as many believed it had the potential to be, but most who saw it still got their fair share of laughs from the film’s charismatic leads.

Safety Not Guaranteed


If her career continues to take off, this will be the film people point to for Aubrey Plaza?s “breakout performance.” Based on a real-life joke ad-gone-viral, Safety Not Guaranteed follows a magazine journalist and two of his interns as they attempt to track down the author of a bizarre classified posting asking for companions on a time-traveling quest. As one of the interns (Plaza) earns the man’s (Mark Duplass) trust, it becomes evident that there may be more to the story than they expected. Safety Not Guaranteed is full of great performances, nuanced humor, and charming characters, and it’s Certified Fresh at 94%.

Ruby Sparks


High-concept romantic comedies are hit-or-miss, but when executed properly, they can offer a refreshing break from typical fare. In the little seen Ruby Sparks, Paul Dano plays a young writer named Calvin struggling to duplicate the success of his first novel who begins a new work about a girl named — you guessed it — Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the script). One day, Calvin wakes up to find that Ruby has materialized into a real person, and her personality manifests in whatever way he writes her. It’s not the most original premise, but critics largely found it charming and delightful, if a bit twisted, and most had good things to say both about Kazan’s acting and writing. Certified Fresh at 79%, this one will score with those looking for something a little out of the ordinary.



Unless you live in a really big city with a flourishing independent cinema scene, or you happened to be in Cannes last year, you probably never got the chance to see Elena. This noir-ish Russian drama earned rave reviews en route to a Certified Fresh 93% and the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize at 2011’s Cannes Film Festival. The story follows a late middle-aged woman named Elena who marries a wealthy businessman named Vladimir, a former nursing patient of hers. Her own son lives in poverty, and when Vladimir refuses to help with her son’s family finances, Elena turns to a desperate plot that may backfire. Critics called Elena a slow-burning, superbly acted psychological thriller that paints a dark and haunting yet utterly riveting portrait of modern family dynamics in Russia. Definitely worth a watch if you’re looking for a satisfying foreign drama.

Rosemary’s Baby – Criterion Collection


Just in time for Halloween, The Criterion Collection offers up its release of Roman Polanski’s classic psychological thriller, Rosemary’s Baby. Polanski’s American debut, the film has earned a Certified Fresh 98% on the Tomatometer and is a staple of “best horror movie” lists. Mia Farrow stars as Rosemary Woodhouse, who moves into a new apartment building with her husband (John Cassavetes) and finds her new neighbors eccentric and unsettling. When she eventually becomes pregnant after a disturbing dream, Rosemary begins to suspect that her husband and the other tenants are conspiring to take her baby away. This Criterion edition features extras like a new making-of doc, an interview with Ira Levin (author of the source material), and a feature-length documentary on Krzysztof Komeda, the jazz musician who composed the score.

Alfred Hitchcock:The Masterpiece Collection – Blu-Ray

Several years ago, Universal released a 15-disc box set containing a solid chunk of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous work and called it The Masterpiece Collection. Though you won’t get the same velvety box with Hitchcock’s famous silhouette on the cover, The Masterpiece Collection is available this week on Blu-ray, and this time, they’ve seen fit to include one film many were disappointed they left out the first time: North by Northwest. The other films range from well known favorites like Psycho, Vertigo, and The Birds to less frequently mentioned works like Marnie and Saboteur. Each film comes with its own set of bonus features, so there’s plenty to chew on here, but the price tag is hefty, so keep that in mind if you plan on putting this on your wish list.

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