RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Monsters University and R.I.P.D.

We run down the most notable home video releases in film and television.

There are only three big releases to talk about this week, but a lot of smaller releases that might be worth a watch. We've also got a couple of notable releases in TV and a pair of rereleases of interest. Read on for the full list:

Monsters University

78%

2001's Monsters, Inc. was Pixar's fourth hit in a row, helping to further establish the animation studio as a filmmaking powerhouse. The easy chemistry between Billy Crystal's Mike Wazowski and John Goodman's "Sulley" Sullivan was a big factor in its success, and it took 12 years to bring them back together. Monsters University, Pixar's first prequel, takes audiences back to Mike and Sulley?s college days, where the two first met and initially became rivals. After an accident results in the expulsion of both of them from the school's Scaring program, they're forced to team up in a last ditch effort to win reentry in a competition between the scariest fraternities and sororities. Critics agree that Monsters U is a fun, funny family movie -- especially for fans of the first movie ? even if it doesn't quit measure up to Pixar's finest work.

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R.I.P.D.

13%

Robert Schwentke proved with 2010's Red that he was capable of handling a comic-based action-comedy, and so he was brought in to helm R.I.P.D., an adaptation of the Dark Horse comic Rest in Peace Department; it didn't work out so well this time. Ryan Reynolds plays Boston cop Nick Walker, who's gunned down during a drug raid and finds himself immediately recruited by the R.I.P.D., an afterlife police force tasked with apprehending rogue spirits hiding out on Earth. Along with his gruff Old West partner Roy (Jeff Bridges), Nick sniffs out a conspiracy that could end the world and races to prevent the apocalypse. On paper, R.I.P.D. might have made for a nice, cheeky mix of Men in Black and Ghost, with a little bit of the True Grit remake thrown in, but critics mostly felt only the latter offered any amusement, what with Jeff Bridges grumbling and snarling about. As it turned out, R.I.P.D. wasn't funny or original enough to offer much satisfaction, and it earned a 13% for its efforts.

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Byzantium

63%

Whether or not the world is starting to fall out of love with vampires is up to you, but Neil Jordan decided to take another crack at the genre this year, almost two decades after he directed Interview with the Vampire. In Byzantium, Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan play Clara and Eleanor Webb, a 200-year-old mother-daughter pair of vampires seeking their next place of refuge; they end up at the run down Byzantium Hotel, which Clara proceeds to transform into a brothel. When Eleanor falls in love with an unsuspecting waiter (Caleb Landry Jones), however, she reveals a little too much, putting both her and her mother's lives in jeopardy. Critics say that Byzantium succeeds in maintaining a chilly atmosphere, but also that it doesn't quite pack the narrative punch to take full advantage of its mood. At 61% on the Tomatometer, it's a decent bit of dark storytelling, but it might be a little unsatisfying.

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Also available this week:

  • Johnny To's Drug War (95%), a crime thriller about a meth manufacturer who is caught and forced to turn informant in order to help an undercover police operation take down a cartel.
  • Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (89%), a documentary chronicling the life of the famous actor-magician and his influences.
  • Springsteen & I (88%), the crowdsourced documentary on Bruce Springsteen.
  • Portugese import Tabu (86%), a drama about a woman on her deathbed recalling a former affair with her husband's best friend.
  • Out in the Dark (73%), a drama about a gay Palestinian man's love affair with an Israeli lawyer, and all the cultural implications therein.
  • Season 1 of Family Tree (75%), a comedy starring Chris O'Dowd as a newly single man tracing his lineage.
  • The complete series collection of Damages, starring Glenn Close and Rose Byrne in a legal thriller centered around a New York law firm.
  • Pixar's Cars gets an Ultimate Collector's Edition 3D Blu-ray release.
  • And lastly, a selection from The Criterion Collection: Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte (73%) is newly available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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