RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Last Stand and Side Effects

Plus, a couple of Miyazaki films on Blu-ray, and a couple of gangster film collections.

This week on home video, we've got an Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner, Steven Soderbergh's psychological thriller, and the latest Young Adult novel adaptation. Then, we've also got a comedy featuring some screen legends and a crime thriller starring Jason Statham, as well as some reissues that include a couple of Hayao Miyazaki films, an American comedy classic, and a couple of gangster flick collections. See below for the full list.

The Last Stand

60%

For those who nostalgic for the 1980s heyday of action movie stars, The Last Stand provided somewhat of a throwback thrill, with Arnold Schwarzenegger at the center of a boisterous shoot-'em-up. The English language debut of South Korean genre auteur Kim Ji-woon (The Good, the Bad, the Weird, I Saw the Devil), The Last Stand failed to reach the critical highs of his previous work but proved Arnie could still handle a firearm with some panache. Schwarzenegger stars as Ray Owens, the sheriff of a small border town who, along with his ragtag crew of deputies, fortifies the local streets and hunkers down in hopes of stopping a dangerous drug lord from racing through the town and into Mexico. There's little nuance to be found here, and it's all mostly an excuse to see Arnold blow stuff up and beat down some bad guys, but if that's all you ask or expect of the film, you probably won't be disappointed, say critics. At 59% on the Tomatometer, The Last Stand isn't going to change any lives, but it might offer a satisfactory diversion.

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Side Effects

83%

Steven Soderbergh's reportedly penultimate directorial effort, Side Effects continues his impressive streak of Fresh films (currently at eight, beginning with 2008's Che). Rooney Mara plays Emily Taylor, who attempts suicide shortly after her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) returns from a prison stint for insider trading. Emily comes under the supervision of psychiatrist Jonathan (Jude Law), who prescribes a controversial antidepressant with some adverse side effects -- side effects which lead to a tragedy and a possible murder conspiracy. Critics found the film to be an effectively unsettling thriller that employs some clever twists and turns to keep audiences on their toes. Certified Fresh at 85%, Side Effects is another example of Steven Soderbergh's steady directorial hand and his ability to draw engaging performances from his cast.

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Beautiful Creatures

46%

Young Adult (YA) novel adaptations are all the rage these days, and if you were to write a new series, why not sort of combine elements from the two biggest of the past decade? Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl did just that when they wrote Beautiful Creatures, which takes the witchcraft from Harry Potter and fuses it with the star-crossed romance of The Twilight Saga. The story centers around Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a mysterious, outcast new high school student, and Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreigh), the local boy who falls for Lena before discovering that she comes from a long line of "casters" and will soon be faced with a choice that may spell disastrous consequences for those closest to her. Beautiful Creatures features supporting work from such folks as Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Emmy Rossum, and more, and its two leads are charming enough, but a lot of critics just didn't quite feel they had enough meat to chew on here and stuck it with a 45% Tomatometer. It's still too early to say whether or not the later novels in the "Caster Chronicles" series will also be adapted, but Beautiful Creatures failed to draw the audience it was hoping for.

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Parker

41%

The critics haven't been particularly kind to Jason Statham's starring vehicles, but that hasn't stopped the action star from churning out thrillers. In Parker, Statham teams up with Jennifer Lopez and director Taylor Hackford (Ray, The Devil's Advocate) in a revenge story about an "honorable" thief (Statham) who is double crossed and left for dead. When he travels to Palm Beach in search of his targets, he joins with a real-estate agent (Lopez) to track and take down his betrayers. Statham has charisma to spare, but sometimes that's just not enough; such is the case with Parker, which only earned a 40% Tomatometer score from the critics. There's nothing here you haven't seen before, and if anything, the film's narrative is probably more convoluted than it needs to be. Parker is based on a series of crime novels by Donald Westlake, but it doesn't look like this will pan out as the next Jason Statham franchise.

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Stand Up Guys

37%

When you cast Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, and Christopher Walken as the three leads in your film and it still flops, both commercially and critically, who can you blame? The writer, maybe, whose script plods along aimlessly for too long before getting to the point? The director (in this case, Fisher Stevens, whose only other feature film was 2002's poorly received Just A Kiss), who can't seem to decide on the proper tone for the film and settles for an ambiguous combination of old-timer humor and forced schmaltz? Certainly not the cast, who at least imbue this story -- about old friends with crooked pasts reuniting for a night of revelry and reminiscing, until one of them reveals an ulterior motive -- with the hefty screen presence they're each known for. Whatever it was, Stand Up Guys did not, in fact, stand up to scrutiny, and at 37% on the Tomatometer, it's simply a missed opportunity for all involved.

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Also available this week:

  • The Criterion Collection's release of Haskell Wexler's inventive 1968 political drama Medium Cool (94%) is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • A new 30th Anniversary Blu-ray of National Lampoon's Vacation (94%) is available.
  • Two Hayao Miyazaki movies are available on Blu-ray for the first time: My Neighbor Totoro (91%) and Howl's Moving Castle (86%), both with a combination of new HD extras and some content ported over from previous releases.
  • Warner Bros. releases two Ultimate Gangsters Collections on Blu-ray: The Classics collection includes Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, The Petrified Forest, and White Heat, while the Contemporary collection includes Mean Streets, The Untouchables, Goodfellas, Heat, and The Departed. Both collections include extras for each film, plus an extra disc of bonus features.

Comments

Killer Jay

Jay Catler

As much as I loved Arny, Last Stand sucked. Side Effects was a typical Soderbergh movie, and Beautiful Creatures looks like a Twilight rip off.

May 20 - 04:46 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Still have to see "Side Effects".

VERY intrigued by the extras on the Miyazaki and Warner Gangsters releases. "Medium Cool" is a classic, but damn you Criterion. You can't get blood from a stone.

May 20 - 06:09 PM

w@velength

In Your Dreams

Last Stand is already out on video? When the hell was it in theaters? Must not have been more than a microsecond, because I remember those trailers being shoved in our face before every movie pretty recently.

May 20 - 06:09 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

What a coincidence! I'm planning on seeing SIDE EFFECTS at the cinema (I'm Chilean) tomorrow. I hope I like it.

If it hadn't been for some minor details that grew into big flaws, THE LAST STAND would've been a cool throwback, but it's just a mediocre movie. I disagree about STAND UP GUYS. No, it DOES have a plot with no direction (and a lot of heart), but I also didn't like the performances. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is worse than all of the TWILIGHT movies combined. Except for Thompson and Rossum (and MAYBE Irons), the acting is bad, and the chemistry isn't special enough for the plot to be LESS boring, clichéd and repetitive.

May 20 - 06:14 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Last Stand may be worth renting.

May 20 - 07:16 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

I'm only gonna buy 'Beautiful Creatures' on Blu-Ray and True Blood Season 5
skipping everything else

May 21 - 12:27 AM

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Mohd Syafiq Bin Jabaruddin

Beautiful Creatures have some of the most realistic portrayal of teenagers in recent films other than 21 Jump Street and The Amazing Spider-Man. The plot kinda meanders but ends with a very mature take on the fight between good and evil. I kinda wish Star Wars could learn from it when doing that whole Light vs Dark thing (the game Knights of The Old Republic 2 actually handled this maturely too).

May 21 - 01:40 AM

Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman

I'm awful at detecting sarcasm, but I'm guessing this is it.

May 21 - 01:18 PM

Hugo Emanuel Melo

Hugo Emanuel Melo

I have had my fill with Steven Soderbergh. Every movie he puts out add to little more than overrated, poorly scripted big names ensemble. I have not seen Side Effects but I am fairly certain that will be yet another faulty movie with a plot whose holes you could drive a truck through riddled with poorly constructed dialogues. I'll pass on that and every other movie listed here.

May 21 - 04:57 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I've heard Side Effects is a real fun Thriller that will keep you guessing. I saw 20 seconds of the preview and have a general idea of exactly where it's going but hey I could be wrong. Looking forward to that one.

May 21 - 06:06 AM

Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman

I will have to rent Side Effects, the Contemporary collection ispretty amazing (but I already own most of them) , and the Miyazaki films would be a great addition to my own personal collection.

May 21 - 01:16 PM

Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman

I'm awful at detecting sarcasm, but I'm guessing this is it.

May 21 - 01:18 PM

Dave J

Dave J

"The Last Stand" for it's action scenes without CGI, and "Side Effects" for it's mystery concept!

May 21 - 01:37 PM

Nick Ackernecht

Nick Ackernecht

I loved The Last Stand, and I want to see Stand Up Guys

May 21 - 05:31 PM

Ralph Pleczkowski Jr.

Ralph Pleczkowski Jr.

I read a news article parody, possibly from The Onion, that read "Kristen Stewart was originally interested in joining Steven Soderbergh for his new movie 'Side Effects'. She was immediately denied the role when producers realized they didn't have to pay her to act as a rock when they could just find one laying on the ground and use that one instead."

Quite hilarious.

May 21 - 05:55 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

Side Effects is another great Channing Tatum movie and a big one for Steven Soderbergh. The movie was well done, gotta rent it this week.

Iknow both Parker and The Last Stand were big flops last January, but that doesn't mean we still love action movies. I gotta rent them also.

Beautiful Creatures, on the other hand, just not gonna cut it for me. Just like The Host, it's a Twilight rip-off. I'll pass.

May 21 - 06:40 PM

David Tanny

Big Fat Jewish Guy

Some good releases this week: I'll rent Last Stand(WHOOO! Ji-Woon Kim!) and Side Effects(WHOOO! Rooney Mara!). I might buy Howl's Moving Castle and Totoro. That contemporary gangster collection sounds nice too.

May 21 - 10:21 PM

Spencer S.

Spencer Saunders

Just bought Last Stand on DVD. I loved the humor and action and how well it was balanced in this film.

May 22 - 12:11 PM

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