It’s a fairly limited week for home video releases, but the good news is that all three of the big new films available are smaller Certified Fresh films that probably deserve bigger audiences. They include a drama co-starring Reese Witherspoon, a British comedy sequel, and an acclaimed dramedy based on true events. Then, we’ve also got a couple of seasons of television for those interested. Read on for details:



The Good Lie

87%

Reese Witherspoon seems poised for something of a career renaissance, what with acclaimed turns in Mud, Wild, a supporting role in P.T. Anderson’s Inherent Vice, and The Good Lie, which opened earlier this year. In the latter of these, Witherspoon plays Carrie Davis, an aid worker helping four Sudanese refugees adjust to live in the US after they win a lottery to relocate from their war-torn homeland. Critics were fairly impressed with The Good Lie, even if some were disappointed the story wasn’t more nuanced, and the acting all around was one of the strongest factors in helping the film to a Certified Fresh 86 percent on the Tomatometer. The Good Lie never got a wide release, so in a week when home releases are few and far between, this is one of the better choices to go with.



The Trip to Italy

87%

Who knew listening to a couple of dry-wit comedians play off each other for a couple of hours could be so much fun? And who knew that it would be almost as much fun the second time around? In Michael Winterbottom’s follow-up to 2011’s The Trip, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon again play partially fictionalized versions of themselves as they tour restaurants in Italy and banter over plates of pasta. The only qualm critics had with The Trip to Italy was that its novel premise wasn’t quite as novel any more; barring that, however, they found the film just about as funny and entertaining as the original, and it’s Certified Fresh at 86 percent. This is another small feature that earned a limited run in the US, and while it’s probably too understated for somewhat younger audiences, it should be quite a treat for those who appreciate a good bit of British humor.



Pride

92%

Rounding out this week’s trio of Certified Fresh new releases is another British film and the highest rated of the lot. Based on the true story of a group of gay and lesbian activists in 1984 London rallying to raise money in support of National Union of Mineworkers members on strike, this feelgood drama stars veteran actors Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine and more. Critics praised the film’s ability to handle sensitive issues without being didactic and its smart avoidance of overt sentimentality, leading to a 94 percent Tomatometer score. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up this week, this one isn’t holiday-related, but it will probably result in some warm fuzzies nonetheless.

Also available this week:

  • Season three of SyFy’s mystery drama Continuum, starring Rachel Nichols as a time-traveling detective from the future, is available this week on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season one of another SyFy series, Dominion (38 percent), a supernatural drama based on characters in the film Legion, is also available on DVD and Blu-ray.
This week in TV news, we learned that Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell are confirmed for True Detective season two, but who will join them? Also, SyFy renews Defiance and Dominion, Starz announces Outlander‘s return date, NBC develops a Real Genius reboot, and CBS, Fox, Amazon, and ABC debut Certified Fresh TV shows!

Gotham, black-ish, How to Get Away With Murder, The Good Wife, and Transparent are Certified Fresh.

It’s a big week for TV, as many networks roll out their new shows and bring back popular series. Rotten Tomatoes, which is collecting reviews for all of the new and returning shows this fall, gave its Certified Fresh rating to four new series this week: Gotham (Mondays on Fox), black-ish (Wednesdays on ABC), How to Get Away With Murder (Thursdays on ABC), and Transparent (Amazon Prime). The sixth season of The Good Wife, which returned to CBS on Sunday night, is also Certified Fresh at 100 percent.

SyFy Renews Dominion and Defiance.

SyFy announced Thursday a third-season order of 13 episodes for its sci-fi action series Defiance. Set in the near future, Defiance portrays Earth after the arrival of seven unique alien races. Syfy also announced 13 more episodes of Dominion, a supernatural drama set in Vega (formerly Las Vegas), about a power struggle between angels and humans. Both series are produced by Universal Cable Productions and are slated to return with all-new episodes in 2015.

Starz sets date for Outlander return.

Ahead of its mid-season finale, Starz confirmed that the remaining eight episodes of season one of Outlander will return to TV on Saturday, April 4, 2015. The hit series, which has averaged more than five million viewers for each of the first four episodes, was renewed for a second season back in August. Outlander is based on a popular book series by Diana Gabaldon and season one is currently Certified Fresh at 90 percent. The mid-season finale, “Both Sides Now,” airs this Saturday on Starz at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

True Detective‘s female lead remains a mystery after Farrell-Vaughn casting.

For months, HBO’s True Detective‘s biggest mystery has been not about catching a psycho but casting a lead. This week, HBO confirmed that Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell will join the cast (both choices had been rumored this summer) and the blogosphere would have you believe that confirmation of Taylor Kitsch is imminent. Meanwhile, just as fans settle down over the Vaughn-Farrell news, in comes the question of the female lead. Deadline reported that eight actresses were invited to read for show creator Nic Pizzolatto: Rosario Dawson, Kelly Reilly (who didn’t make it on account of being in New York), Jessica Biel, Malin Akerman, Abigail Spencer, Oona Chaplin, Jaimie Alexander and Brit Marling. In the same report, Deadline also casually mentioned Keira Knightley as a possibility, a movie star whose credits have been devoid of TV work (aside from voiceovers) for over a decade. Season One of True Detective is Certified Fresh at 84 percent. Filming of season two is set to begin in California this fall.

NBC and Happy Madison are developing a Real Genius reboot.

NBC is developing a single-camera comedy based on the 1985 cult film Real Genius which starred Val Kilmer (casting of the TV version is unknown at this time). The project will be developed by Sony TV, Adam Sandler‘s production company Happy Madison, and 3 Arts Entertainment. Craig DiGregorio (Workaholics) and David King (Parks and Recreation) will pen the present-day reboot, a workplace comedy about the relationship between a genius and his naive co-worker. The ’85 movie Real Genius is Fresh on the Tomatometer at 74 percent.

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Ep. 022 – Jersey Boys, Think Like A Man Too, The Rover
Tim shares the critics’ consensus on new movies Jersey Boys, Think Like A Man Too, and The Rover. Beki comes on to share the TV critics’ reactions to Dominion, Rectify, and The Last Ship, and then Ryan covers new DVD/Blu-ray releases of The LEGO Movie and The Grand Budapest Hotel. After that, Grae shares a brief interview with Jersey Boys stars Erich Bergen and Michael Lomenda, and an extended interview with The Signal writer/director William Eubank and star Lin Shaye.

Jason Statham in "Transporter 2" was the go-to guy over the holiday weekend, hauling in an estimated $20.2 million from 3,300 screens. This is a marked improvement over the debut of the original "Transporter," which opened to $9.1 million, eventually snagged a grand total of $25.2 million, and then became a bona-fide hit once the DVD was released.

With a budget of approximately $32 million, "Trans2" looks to turn a tidy profit well before Fox releases the double-dip Special Edition in eight months. The film also broke the record for a Labor Day debut, knocking "Jeepers Creepers 2" and its $18.3 million opening into second place.

Stepping graciously into second place was the two-week champion known as "The 40 Year-Old Virgin," which added about $16.5 million to its total of $71.9 million. Debuting in third place was Focus Features’ "The Constant Gardener," which tallied nearly $11 million from only 1,346 theaters. (An indicator that moviegoers are perhaps looking for some more grown-up material? One can only hope so.)

Rounding out the top five were Wes Craven‘s "Red Eye" ($9.3m holiday weekend, $45.4 million total) and Terry Gilliam‘s "The Brothers Grimm," which added nearly $8 million to its $27.6 million total haul. A pair of late-season holdovers, Miramax’s "Underclassman," and WB’s "A Sound of Thunder," debuted in rather terrible form. The cop-in-school comedy made $3 million from over 1,100 screens, while the ill-fated Ray Bradbury adaptation yielded only $1.1 million from just over 800 theaters.

Next Friday sees a pair of latecoming hopefuls: Screen Gems’ courtroom-occult flick "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" will debut on over 2,900 screens, while the Samuel Jackson / Eugene Levy buddy comedy "The Man" will appear on about 1,800. For a closer look at the weekend numbers, have a peek at the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page.

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