RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Moneyball Slides into (Your) Home

Plus, a Jason Statham actioner, Vera Farmiga's directorial debut, and Jean-Luc Godard's latest.

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Alright, now that we've got that terrible baseball pun out of the way, let's get down to business. Before we get into this week's new releases, however, we do need to mention that Universal Studios is celebrating its 100th anniversary with new DVD editions and/or Blu-rays of some of their best films, such as Do the Right Thing, Apollo 13, Babe, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Schindler's List, and more, so be on the lookout for those at your local stores. As for the new stuff, we've got the baseball film featuring a Brad Pitt performance that some have said evokes memories of Robert Redford at his prime, a new action flick starring Jason Statham and Clive Owen, and an Anna Faris rom-com. Then, in the limited release department, there's Jackie Chan's latest film, Vera Farmiga's directorial debut, and a typically auteurist vision of European culture from Jean-Luc Godard. See below for the full list!



A baseball movie that mostly eschews game sequences for scenes of guys sitting around and talking about obscure statistics -- sounds like a winner, right? Well, yes, in the case of Moneyball. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the general manager of the small market Oakland Athletics; his mission is to find a way to field a winning team with a fraction of the money that the Yankees and Red Sox have to snag big time players. With the help of stat geek Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane acquires a ragtag group of castoffs and old timers who share a common trait: they have abilities that the entrenched scouting establishment has ignored. Based upon Michael Lewis' bestseller, Moneyball got a standing ovation from the critics, and while baseball obsessives will find a couple things to quibble about -- the movie barely mentions the contributions of stars like Miguel Tejada, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, or Eric Chavez -- this is an intelligent, witty piece of moviemaking. A new Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet combo pack comes with several making-of featurettes and bloopers.

Killer Elite


Jason Statham quickly went from witty Guy Ritchie discovery to fully fledged action star, so much so that he even earned a spot in the distinguished, testosterone-fueled lineup of Sylvester Stallone's Expendables franchise. Unfortunately, it's no secret that few of Statham's starring vehicles have hit it big with the critics. Enter Killer Elite, which teamed Statham with the legendary Robert De Niro and "why isn't he a bigger star" Clive Owen. That should help, right? Apparently, no, not really. Critics found Killer Elite, which had a De Niro-mentored Statham, a special ops vet, squaring off against Owen's militant crime leader, to be utterly by-the-books and disposable. Expendable, even. While there were a few who admitted to having a reasonably good time, most felt the proceedings were all too familiar, and with little to set Killer Elite apart from any other actioner, it managed a mere 25% on the Tomatometer. If you don't mind a bit of "been there, done that" in your shoot-em-ups, feel free to give this one a spin.

What's Your Number?


There was a moment -- albeit a very brief moment -- when it seemed like Anna Faris might have had the potential to join the elite ranks of successful comediennes in Hollywood. Unfortunately things haven't quite yet panned out for the bubbly Scary Movie alum, who's lately spent most of her time in Rotten films, including her latest, What's Your Number?. Here, Faris plays Ally Darling, a recently unemployed woman who comes to the realization she's slept with a lot more men than other women have. Hoping to put a cap on that number, Ally revisits her old boyfriends to see if any of them have grown into permanent relationship material. Co-starring Chris Evans, Joel McHale, Andy Samberg, and Zachary Quinto, What's Your Number? could have possibly been better with a stronger script and a better director; as it stands, while critics found Faris sharp as ever, the film around her earned just a 24% on the Tomatometer.

Higher Ground


Having established herself as an actress of considerable talent, Vera Farmiga turned her sights on the director's chair last year and tackled a fairly weighty subject for her directorial debut. Higher Ground. Based on a memoir by Carolyn Briggs (who co-wrote the script), Higher Ground also stars Farmiga as Corinne (and Farmiga's own daughter Taissa as the young Corinne), a woman who enters a radical church upon getting married and pregnant at eighteen, only then to question her faith several years later as her marriage begins to fall apart. Like her Up in the Air co-star, George Clooney, it seems Farmiga's transition to behind-the-camera work was a successful one, as Higher Ground is Certified Fresh at 81%, with critics calling it a challenging first film with some strong performances, including, of course, Farmiga in the lead role. It's a quiet, thoughtful drama that touches on some philosophical dilemmas, so let that guide whether or not it's your type of Friday rental.



Historical epics have been a part of Chinese cinema for a long time, and now that Jackie Chan has grown just a tad too old to pull the insane stunts of his youth, it makes sense that his latest film, his first directorial effort since 1998's Who Am I?, is 1911, a historical drama about the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew China's last imperial dynasty. Released on the 100th anniversary of the revolution and marking Chan's 100th film, 1911 was unfortunately a failure here in the States, where it took home just over $135,000 at the box office and earned Chan some of the worst reviews of his career. The problem, according to critics, was that the film relied too heavily on title cards to explain already convoluted plot points, rendering the proceedings more akin to a history lesson than a piece of entertainment. If you aren't already familiar with the story taking place, you may find 1911 tedious, overlong, and dry, three words you'd never have thought to associate with a Jackie Chan movie.

Film Socialisme


As one of the biggest names associated with the influential French New Wave of the 1960s, Jean-Luc Godard has been in the business for a long time, and he's one of the few who has remained steadily busy over the course of his entire career. His latest film, Film Socialisme, first screened in 2010 at the Cannes Film Festival, but opened here in the States during the Summer of the following year to very little fanfare, leaving theaters as quietly as it had entered them. The film, Godard's first to be shot entirely in a digital format, is broken into three "movements:" the first follows conversations on a cruise ship, the second features two young children putting their parents on trial for the answers to some big questions, and the third visits six world sites of historical importance. Critics are fairly split on Film Socialisme, but even those who endorse it concede that the film is likely to please mostly only ardent Godard fans, as it lacks a traditional narrative and serves as more of a visual essay on European culture and politics. At 55%, this one's a gamble for anyone not already familiar with Jean-Luc Godard.