RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Hotel Transylvania and Seven Psychopaths

Plus, a couple of scary movies and a frighteningly bad action flick.

This week on home video, Adam Sandler plays an animated Dracula, and Colin Farrell reunites with his In Bruges director for another Certified Fresh winner. Then we've got a couple of horror movies -- one bad and one decent -- and an action dud from the guy who made JCVD. Plus, there are a few noteworthy reissues to talk about, so see below for the full list!

Hotel Transylvania

45%

Of the three spooky animated family films that opened last fall, two were stop-motion creations, and two were critically acclaimed. Hotel Transylvania, unfortunately, was neither, but lo and behold, it made more money than the other two combined. Playing off familiar horror movie monsters made famous by Universal's classic lineup, the film stars Adam Sandler as the voice of Dracula, who runs the titular hotel as a sort of resort getaway for his freaky friends. On the occasion of his daughter Mavis's (Selena Gomez) 18th birthday, he invites the whole gang -- Frankenstein (Kevin James), the Mummy (CeeLo Green), etc. -- to celebrate, but complications ensue when a normal guy named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) wanders in unexpectedly and falls in love with Mavis. Hotel Transylvania didn?t fare too terribly with critics -- at 43%, it's still the highest rated film Adam Sandler's made since 2009's Funny People -- but most found it a bit too loud and underwritten for older audiences. If you need something bubbly and forgettable to occupy the kids while you tend to trick-or-treaters, this'll probably work.

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Seven Psychopaths

83%

Martin McDonagh's first feature, 2008's In Bruges, was an underseen sleeper hit that enjoyed some long tail success on home video; it would appear that reteaming with star Colin Farrell for Seven Psychopaths was a good idea. Utilizing an impressive supporting cast -- including Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Abbie Cornish, Harry Dean Stanton, and more -- Seven Psychopaths tells the story of a struggling writer (Farrell) whose actor buddy (Rockwell) unwittingly steals the pet pup of a violent gangster (Harrelson) in hopes of inspiring him to finish his latest screenplay. Critics largely found the film a rollicking good time, with sharp dialogue, clever storytelling, and just enough violence to keep audiences on their toes. Though it might be a little absurd and over-the-top for some, it's Certified Fresh at 82% (like In Bruges) and promises a pretty fun and funny ride.

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Paranormal Activity 4

24%

The Paranormal Activity films have always relied more on atmosphere, the eerie quiet and subtle noises that build to a jump scare or shocking climax. Unfortunately, this tactic becomes quickly formulaic, and that's part of the reason critics were none too impressed with the fourth installment. Paranormal Activity 4 is a sequel set five years after the events of the second film, focusing on teenage girl Alex (Kathryn Newton) and her family as they deal with what appears to be a supernatural presence in their house; the unseen force seems to be connected to Alex's next door neighbors, who may or may not be Katie and her nephew Hunter from the previous films. Critics say PA4 still manages a handful of creepy moments, but also that the film's themes are now so overdone that they feel formulaic, and that its attempts to make up for this with a beefed up mythology largely fall flat.

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The Awakening

61%

Ready for another ghost story? Rebecca Hall, Imelda Staunton, and Dominic West star in a period haunted house flick set in 1920s London, and critics say their performances help to elevate the relatively familiar material. An author and skeptic (Hall) who has recently lost her fiancé is asked by an instructor at an all boys boarding school to look into the death and subsequent sightings of a student there. Predisposed not to believe in the supernatural, she takes the job and begins to question everything she knows as she witnesses more and more evidence of the inexplicable. The doubting skeptic, the mansion full of children, the period setting -- these are not new elements in the genre, but what sets The Awakening apart from the pack, say critics, is the old-fashioned horror storytelling, the transformation of Hall's character (and her ability to sell that transformation), and competent direction from Nick Murphy. At 60%, it may not scare the pants off you or blow your mind, but it's probably one of the better atmospheric chillers.

The Cold Light of Day

5%

Tunisian director Mabrouk El Mechri surprised a lot of folks with his poignant meta-thriller JCVD back in 2008, so how would he handle an international spy thriller starring the next Superman (Henry Cavill), Bruce Willis, and Sigourney Weaver? Not very well at all, apparently. Cavill plays Will Shaw, a government advisor who reluctantly travels to Spain for a family holiday. When a boating accident leads to the mysterious disappearance of his family, Will becomes embroiled in a CIA scandal involving his agent father (Willis), the Mossad, and a valuable briefcase. The main offender here is one we've seen sink many an action film: cliché. From generic spy lingo to predictable plot twists, The Cold Light of Day never emerges from its genre trappings to offer the same kind of freshness El Mechri displayed in his earlier film. As such, this one sits at a truly dismal 5% on the Tomatometer, so consider yourself warned.

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Also available this week:

  • Ridley Scott's 1977 debut The Duellists (90%), starring Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel in a stylish historical drama about two men in Napoleon's army who engage in a series of duels over several years, on Blu-ray.
  • A 25th Anniversary Die Hard collection that includes all four released films, as well as a brand new bonus disc entitled "Decoding Die Hard," on Blu-ray.
  • A new Blu-ray of Luis Buñuel's final film, That Obscure Object of Desire (100%). (NOTE: This film was previously available in a Criterion Collection edition; this is a separate, unaffiliated release.)

Comments

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"Seven Psychopaths" is the clear priority here, although I'd like to check out "Awakening" as well. I don't really feel the need to upgrade the blu-rays, but "Duellists" is a great film for anyone who hasn't caught it yet.

Jan 28 - 05:11 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

back on the BIG SCREEN IN 35MM -Sean Connery is BACK as JAMES BOND on THE BIG SCREEN (waaaaaay better than any BluRay or DVD experience) : DR. NO (April 5th), FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (April 12th) , GOLDFINGER (April 19th), DONNIE DARKO- THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (March 9th and March 14th) ---ONLY AT CORNELL CINEMAS. you can sit around at home watching DVDs and BLURAYS or you can come see GREAT MOVIES IN 35MM . . .

Jan 28 - 06:44 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

We have one theater here that shows independent movies and sometimes, in 35mm, classics like DR. No. The next one is 2,000 miles away. I envy your NY amenities.

Jan 28 - 11:47 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

You mean I was a junior in high school . . . 25 YEARS AGO!!!!!! no way --Die Hard felt like the first of its kind. I saw it three times- Twice at the Granite Run Mall in Media, Pennsylvania and the third time at the City Line Theater on on the border of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. with Die Hard it felt like the bullets were exploding right at me, the sound quality was very good.

Hotel Transylvania is by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro why COLUMBIA DESTROYED it is beyond me. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA synopsis: The classic tale that introduced the legendary Le Comte de Saint-Germain, first published in 1978 and spawning 14 titles in the Saint-Germain epic, is now available in paperback. A fixture in 1740s Parisian society, Saint-Germain is a perfect gentleman--and a vampire. When the fiery young Madeline falls in love with him, a group of evil sorcerers targets her for their black mass--and only Saint-Germain can save her soul.

Leave it to Columbia Studios to Wreck a movie -- Ms. Yarbro's novel serves as excellent source material and some studio executive at Columbia decides to make it an Adam Sandler vehicle. Let's pour gasoline on Columbia DVDs and Blu Rays and set them on fire to "send a message" and "make a statement"

Jan 28 - 05:59 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

Hotel Transylvania is not like Le Comte de Saint-Germain, Hotel Transylvania is about a young vampire named Mavis who's tired of living in a old hotel and wants to escape despite her father, Dracula's rule. However when a young HUMAN named Johnathan shows up at the hotel, Dracula must prevent him from falling in love with his daughter. See the difference?

Jan 28 - 08:58 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

Nothing new this week, but I'll buy Hotel Transylvania. Still, one of the best animated movies of 2012.

Paranormal Activity 4 = I'd wish, but I hope they don't screw up the 5th film. This Activity franchise needs to be retired. Pass.

I can't wait for the new Die Hard film, I'll buy the original version. Does it have digital copy?

Jan 28 - 06:34 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

back on the BIG SCREEN IN 35MM -Sean Connery is BACK as JAMES BOND on THE BIG SCREEN (waaaaaay better than any BluRay or DVD experience) : DR. NO (April 5th), FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (April 12th) , GOLDFINGER (April 19th), DONNIE DARKO- THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (March 9th and March 14th) ---ONLY AT CORNELL CINEMAS. you can sit around at home watching DVDs and BLURAYS or you can come see GREAT MOVIES IN 35MM . . .

Jan 28 - 06:44 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

We have one theater here that shows independent movies and sometimes, in 35mm, classics like DR. No. The next one is 2,000 miles away. I envy your NY amenities.

Jan 28 - 11:47 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

Don't hate me for saying this, but I liked Hotel Transylvania. It was fine for a kiddie animated monster movie (though no where near as good as ParaNorman or Frankenweenie). I think I'll pick up Transylvania on DVD only. Seven Psychopaths sounds interesting but I'll take a pass or rent (no award buzz on it that I've heard of). The Cold Light of Day and PA4 sound like garbage.

Jan 28 - 08:28 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Just watched PARANORMAN and loved it, although I will never, ever again pay money for anything Adam Scamdler is involved in.

Jan 28 - 08:50 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

I hate Adam Sandler's films in general. Anything staring Adam Sandler in a live action role (even EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS was awful and he was just voicing) is complete crap and I will NEVER pay to see one of his films again. Hotel Transylvania on the other hand, is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky who's a master at cartooning and Adam Sandler's accent for his role doesn't even sound like him so this is one of my only exceptions.

Jan 28 - 09:06 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I really enjoyed Sandler's early work, unfortunately ever since Little Nicky and the odd attempt at an Indie film he's never grown as a performer. That said, he still has about the same success rate as Nicholas Cage, without the financial hardships.

Jan 28 - 09:26 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

That's funny: I didn't recognize Hugh Grant's voice AT ALL for THE PIRATES.

Jan 28 - 09:50 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Unless Paul Thomas Anderson directs Sandler again, right?

Jan 29 - 12:27 AM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Even PDL I didn't care for, certainly not as much as MAGNOLIA or BOOGIE NIGHTS.

Jan 29 - 07:32 AM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

Hotel Transylvania didn't look that good to me but a lot of my friends saw it and told me that they enjoyed it. It looks entertaining so I'll rent it. Seven Psychopaths looks great so I'd like to see that. I tempted to watch Paranormal Activity 4 just for that cute-as-hell girl but I'll pass.

Jan 28 - 08:32 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Just watched PARANORMAN and loved it, although I will never, ever again pay money for anything Adam Scamdler is involved in.

Jan 28 - 08:50 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

I hate Adam Sandler's films in general. Anything staring Adam Sandler in a live action role (even EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS was awful and he was just voicing) is complete crap and I will NEVER pay to see one of his films again. Hotel Transylvania on the other hand, is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky who's a master at cartooning and Adam Sandler's accent for his role doesn't even sound like him so this is one of my only exceptions.

Jan 28 - 09:06 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I really enjoyed Sandler's early work, unfortunately ever since Little Nicky and the odd attempt at an Indie film he's never grown as a performer. That said, he still has about the same success rate as Nicholas Cage, without the financial hardships.

Jan 28 - 09:26 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

That's funny: I didn't recognize Hugh Grant's voice AT ALL for THE PIRATES.

Jan 28 - 09:50 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Unless Paul Thomas Anderson directs Sandler again, right?

Jan 29 - 12:27 AM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Even PDL I didn't care for, certainly not as much as MAGNOLIA or BOOGIE NIGHTS.

Jan 29 - 07:32 AM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

Hotel Transylvania is not like Le Comte de Saint-Germain, Hotel Transylvania is about a young vampire named Mavis who's tired of living in a old hotel and wants to escape despite her father, Dracula's rule. However when a young HUMAN named Johnathan shows up at the hotel, Dracula must prevent him from falling in love with his daughter. See the difference?

Jan 28 - 08:58 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

My rentals this week will be for SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS & THE AWAKENING, as they both have real actors in their casts. Adam Scamdler can kiss my ass: I refuse to pay to see any of his films, yet I refuse to see HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA even for free; I've been telling people to just re-rent Mel Brooks' YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN instead.

As for PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4, all you have to do is watch the Half in the Bag review (http://redlettermedia.com/half-in-the-bag-sinister-and-paranormal-activity/) and watch Jay & Mike rip this retarded series a new asshole. I laugh at anyone who actually paid to watch rich white people homes in Southern California for 90 minutes with minimal dialogue and pathetic "jump scares." Of course, thanks to those idiots we now have to deal with PA5.

Jan 28 - 09:04 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is classic my man.

Jan 28 - 09:08 PM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

The key to enjoying PA4 is to think of it as a comedy. Then, it suddenly becomes one of 2012's funniest films. Although in a year with That's My Boy, it's not hard.

21 Jump Street is still the pinnacle of 2012 comedies, though.

Jan 29 - 12:29 AM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Negative: GOON is the best comedy of 2012, hands down!

Jan 29 - 07:31 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

GOON! FANTASTIC! Also I disagree about PA4 as a comedy. IT was waaaay to borring and all the jokes fell flat. Seriously for someone that has enjoyed Paranormal Activity movies this one was so awful and bland. So Disappointed. I just wish they weren't making it up as they go along but still trying to create a coherent story. You can't have both!! Make it up as you go along or have a story!

Jan 30 - 05:40 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

I hate Adam Sandler's films in general. Anything staring Adam Sandler in a live action role (even EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS was awful and he was just voicing) is complete crap and I will NEVER pay to see one of his films again. Hotel Transylvania on the other hand, is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky who's a master at cartooning and Adam Sandler's accent for his role doesn't even sound like him so this is one of my only exceptions.

Jan 28 - 09:06 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I really enjoyed Sandler's early work, unfortunately ever since Little Nicky and the odd attempt at an Indie film he's never grown as a performer. That said, he still has about the same success rate as Nicholas Cage, without the financial hardships.

Jan 28 - 09:26 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

That's funny: I didn't recognize Hugh Grant's voice AT ALL for THE PIRATES.

Jan 28 - 09:50 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is classic my man.

Jan 28 - 09:08 PM

Gene Bodyl

Gene Bodyl

Hotel Transylvania actually looks decent so most likely I'll buy that. Definitely buying Seven Psychopaths. I heard it was one of the better films released this year. I'll pass on Paranormal Activity 4 since it looks like crap and I have no interest in the franchise.

Jan 28 - 09:17 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I really enjoyed Sandler's early work, unfortunately ever since Little Nicky and the odd attempt at an Indie film he's never grown as a performer. That said, he still has about the same success rate as Nicholas Cage, without the financial hardships.

Jan 28 - 09:26 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

That's funny: I didn't recognize Hugh Grant's voice AT ALL for THE PIRATES.

Jan 28 - 09:50 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

No mention of "White Zombie" coming out on BR?
Definitely gonna pic up "Seven Psychopaths". One of my faves of the year.
Might also pick up the Die Hard collection because I still haven't upgraded them.

Jan 28 - 09:52 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

White Zombie!! Terribly good classic.

Jan 28 - 11:51 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

This.

Jan 31 - 11:19 PM

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