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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, October 30, 2012

by Ethan Alter October 30, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No October surprise here... The Campaign is a big disappointment.

The Campaign
Political satires don't come any more toothless than The Campaign, which strands two seasoned comic talents (Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis) in a scenario that has the potential to really skewer the country's electoral process, but settles for the usual broad, goofy shtick. Granted, some of that stuff is amusing, like when Ferrell's buffoonish incumbent Congressman punches a baby in the face or the moment that Galifianakis's equally buffoonish challenger denounces his opponent for wanting the U.S. to be more like "Rainbow Land" -- the magical universe Ferrell created in a second grade writing assignment. But throughout the movie, it's hard to escape the feeling that the stars and director Jay Roach (whose two HBO movies Recount and Game Change are more pointed political critiques than this one) are holding back, especially in the second half when the movie has its heroes realize the error of their ways and team up to take down the true enemies of the political process: multibillionaire siblings, the Motch Brothers (pronounced "Marx Brothers" because... why not?). Maybe a smarter, funnier, more daring version of the movie exists on the cutting room floor... although the unrated extended cut that's included here definitely isn't it.
Extras: A gag reel, deleted scenes and a lengthy collection of improvised outtakes.
Click here to read our original review
Click here to see which of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis' past characters we'd like to see elected to higher office

Safety Not Guaranteed
Aubrey Plaza scores her first big-screen star vehicle with this Sundance-approved indie about a magazine intern who accompanies a cynical journalist (New Girl's Jake Johnson) on a story assignment to find and interview the mystery man behind a cryptic classified ad looking for volunteers to make a trip to the past in a homemade time machine. The ad turns out to be the work of Kenneth (Mark Duplass), an eccentric recluse who believes he's being watched by the FBI. Plaza goes undercover, so to speak, to get close to Kenneth and, in the process, she winds up believing that time travel may actually be possible. Safety Not Guaranteed won raves in Park City, but from our perspective it's a slight, forgettable film that's mainly enlivened by Plaza's considerable charisma. (Johnson isn't bad either, but the movie doesn't really know what to do with him.) At least she can use this as an audition reel to land roles in better movies.
Extras: Two making-of featurettes.
Click here to read our original review

Rosemary's Baby
Just in time for Halloween, Roman Polanski's horror classic arrives from Criterion Collection in a remastered Blu-ray edition. Even if you haven't seen the movie, you probably know the plot: Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes play a married couple who move on up into a beautiful New York high-rise populated by seemingly sweet older residents, who take a strong interest in her fertility. Not long after their move-in date, she promptly gets knocked up... with the devil's baby! Or is it? (Not-Spoiler: It totally is.) Four decades on, the movie's sustained atmosphere of psychological terror remains potent, particularly in that hallucinatory conception sequence that serves as its centerpiece. Watch it on a double bill with Polanski's Repulsion and you'll never want to go out of (or, for that matter, in to) your apartment again.
Extras: A new making-of documentary with fresh interviews from Polanski and Farrow, a radio interview with the author of the original novel, Ira Levin, a feature-length doc about the score's composer, Krzysztof Komeda, and a booklet with an essay and rare character sketches.

Also on DVD:
Paul Dano plays an author whose creation (his real-life gal pal, Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the film) comes to life in the meta-comedy Ruby Sparks, from the Little Miss Sunshine team. The French drama Americano may prominently feature a lingerie-clad Salma Hayek on the cover, but it's actually the story of a guy who turns up in L.A. after his mom dies to settle her affairs. Hayek does turn up playing a stripper, so at least the box art isn't a complete case of false advertising. In more highbrow releases, Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection includes 15 of the Master of Suspense's finest works, including Rear Window, Vertigo and... um Family Plot. Each remastered-in-high-def movie comes with extras ranging from vintage trailers, to featurettes to deleted scenes. Speaking of classics that are finally scoring a Blu-ray release, Max Fleischer's Superman Collector's Edition packages all 17 cartoon shorts produced by Max Fleischer in the early '40s. Beautifully animated and packed with action (as well as more than a few unfortunate stereotypes... be prepared to explain a few things to your kids) this release also comes with a bonus Fleisher cartoon and a demonstration of the high-def restoration.

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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