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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

by Ethan Alter July 30, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Are these really the best Real American Heroes we've got?

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Moved from its original Summer 2012 berth to a less auspicious March 2013 release date, the sequel to the junky, toy-derived 2009 blockbuster adventure replaced much of the original cast (including Marlon Wayans, Rachel Nichols and Channing Tatum, who gets phased out roughly twenty minutes in to Retaliation despite what the cover promises) for a new squad headed up by Dwayne Johnson and including Adrianne Palicki, D.J. Cotrona, who are the sole survivors of a Cobra attack that decimates the entire Joe team just as the organization launches its primary mission: taking over the White House. Teaming up with a founding Joe, General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis, still in his Die Hard 5 phoning-it-in mode), the remaining highly trained, elaborately-nicknamed soldiers set out to restore the rightful President to the Oval Office. As mindless as the first G.I. Joe was, at least it had a certain sense of cartoonish style. Directed by Jon M. Chu, a filmmaker whose biggest credits to date are two Step Up movies, Retaliation's action movie sensibility is profoundly generic. Only one set-piece -- a cliffside battle between ninja warrior Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and a squad of sword-wielding killers -- has any zest. (This scene is also so completely divorced from the main storyline, it feels like the trailer for a much better movie.) Yo, Joe? Hell no.
Extras: A commentary track with Chu, deleted scenes and an hour's worth of making-of featurettes.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to see other franchise sequels we think The Rock should star in

Black Rock
Writer/director/actress and mumblecore royalty Katie Aselton helms her sophomore feature, an all-female variation on Deliverance written by her husband, Mark Duplass. Unwittingly reunited by their mutual pal Sarah (Kate Bosworth), former friends Abby (Aselton) and Lou (Lake Bell) agree to accompany their buddy on a weekend camping trip on a remote island -- without cell phone access, natch -- like they used to do back in the good ol' days. The trip starts out well enough, but intrigue sets in when the women discover they're sharing the island with a trio of recently-returned frontline soldiers on a hunting trip, including one suffering from PTSD. Unfortunately for her, that's the guy that the insecure Abby decides to hit on -- a decision with predictably unfortunate results. Soon Abby and her friends are on the run from the guy's buddies, trying to stay alive with few resources and even fewer options for escape. An agreeably tight and taut thriller that clocks in at a swift 82 minutes, Black Rock's plot suffers from some significant gaps in logic, but the three leads form a cohesive, compelling unit (it's particularly nice to see Bosworth displaying some personality for once) of unlikely warriors and while Aselton's direction doesn't possess the visual poetry of Deliverance, it gets the job done in functional B-movie fashion.
Extras: A commentary track with Aselton and Bell and two featurettes.

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
DC is still struggling to get its live-action comic book movie universe off the ground, but its animated world is doing just fine as evidenced by its latest direct-to-DVD feature, a Flash-centric Justice League adventure set in a dystopian alternate timeline. Based on the "Flashpoint" story arc written by Geoff Johns, the film takes place on a world where Batman is Thomas Wayne, rather than Bruce Wayne; Wonder Woman is a bloodthirsty conqueror who used to knock boots with Aquaman before they decided to go to war against each other instead; and Superman is completely MIA. If you thought Man of Steel was grim, best prepare yourself for even more violence, depression and death in Flashpoint, which is definitely for the 13 and over crowd only, despite its cartoony appearance. Overall, Flashpoint falls squarely into the middle of the pack for DC cartoon movies (the best of them remain The New Frontier, All-Star Superman and The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2), but if you like your comic book movies dark... have at it.
Extras: A sneak peek at the next DC animated production, a featurette about the Scarlet Speedster's best rogues and another featurette questioning the science (or lack thereof) of dimension-hopping.

Peggy Sue Got Married
Francis Ford Coppola's last great studio movie (though some might award that title to his earnest biopic Tucker: A Man and His Dream or even the super-stylish Bram Stoker's Dracula), Peggy Sue Got Married is something of an anomaly in his drama-heavy filmography: a time-travel comedy that sends its titular fortysomething heroine (wonderfully played by Kathleen Turner) on a Marty McFly-like trip back to 1960 when she was an optimistic teenager wholly in love with her high school sweetheart Charlie (Nicolas Cage) -- the man who, back in the present, has cheated on her, ending their storybook romance. Instead of taking a tricked-out DeLorean, though, Peggy Sue's journey to the past comes courtesy of a fainting spell, which offers her the chance to potentially make different choices that could change her future for the better. Though the scope of the film obviously isn't as grand as say, The Godfather or Apocalypse Now, Peggy Sue is an incisive character portrait and meditation on past regrets in the guise of a funny high school comedy. A '50s teen himself, Coppola recreates that era with a rich eye for detail and spreads the comic wealth amongst the cast, which includes such now-familiar faces as Joan Allen, Helen Hunt and Jim Carrey. After years in limbo, it's nice to have this too-often overlooked film in Coppola's canon available on Blu-ray.
Extras: None.

Also on DVD:
Warning! Despite appearing on the DVD cover, Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin a.k.a. Kid 'n Play don't actually appear in House Party: Tonight's the Night, the fifth entry in the franchise they started, until the closing credits. The rest of the movie is a by-the-numbers teen comedy with direct-to-DVD level production values. Marvel at Marilyn Monroe's beauteous presence in high-definition courtesy of the new-to-Blu releases, Bus Stop and Niagra, while Elvis croons his way through his first feature film, Love Me Tender. After premiering at the 2012 edition of Sundance, Filly Brown, a surprisingly good drama about an aspiring female rapper growing up in the hood, bypasses theaters for a DVD release. Finally, one of Guillermo Del Toro's finest features, the chilling, emotional ghost story The Devil's Backbone, gets the Criterion treatment in a set that includes a commentary track and video introduction with the Pacific Rim director, deleted scenes, sketches and storyboards and a making-of documentary.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

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