RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Katy Perry and The Cabin in the Woods

Plus, a wide variety of releases and an Indiana Jones collection.

This week on home video, we've got a lot of new releases to discuss, including some very well-received movies and a couple of outright flops, as well as a collection of movies some of us have been waiting quite a while to get on Blu-ray. See below for the full list!

The Cabin in the Woods

92%

Before unleashing the blockbuster behemoth that was The Avengers upon the world, Joss Whedon collaborated with former Buffy the Vampire Slayer colleague Drew Goddard on The Cabin in the Woods. Intended as a satire of traditional horror movie tropes, Cabin centered on a stereotypical group of teens (headlined by Chris "Thor" Hemsworth) who decide to head to the woods for a vacay, only to discover their cabin is no ordinary cabin. We don't want to give away much more than that, because, as anyone who's seen the movie will tell you, the less you know about it going in, the better. Suffice it to say that most critics found The Cabin in the Woods funny, strange, subversive, and thrilling enough to give it a Certified Fresh 90%.

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Katy Perry: Part of Me

78%

Look how far Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (aka Katy Perry) has come in just the four years since she "kissed a girl" and "liked it." This California gurl's star has risen high and quickly, like fireworks, and one might say she's living the teenage dream; a concert biopic seemed like a foregone conclusion. Luckily, critics largely felt that Katy Perry: Part of Me, which blends concert footage with personal testimony from Perry herself to depict her career trajectory, was a success, partially due to Perry's genuine likability, but also because of her inspiring work ethic, her dazzling stage show, and a few moments of raw emotion. It might feel a bit self-congratulatory to some, but it's decently made and Certified Fresh at 77%.

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

78%

Coming off the strong reception for his 2011 thriller The Debt, director John Madden went with a decidedly gentler story in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Based on the Deborah Moggach novel These Foolish Things, Best Exotic focuses on a group of aging British retirees who decide to move to India for various personal reasons after seeing an ad for the newly restored Marigold Hotel there. Cultures clash, of course, but the experience ultimately proves rewarding. Lead by an impressive cast of veterans that includes Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy, The Best Exotic Marigold hotel overcomes its somewhat familiar themes with genuine tenderness and some top-notch acting, earning it a Certified Fresh 77% on the Tomatometer.

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The Magic of Bell Isle

29%

Morgan Freeman's voice is like hot butter on your breakfast toast, but how does it sound when he plays a crotchety old grump with alcoholic tendencies? Freeman here plays Monte Wildhorn, a down-on-his-luck novelist who decides to spend a summer in a lakeside cabin and ends up finding inspiration in the young family next door. Despite his best efforts to bring menace to the character, Freeman simply can't outperform the predictability of the narrative, which was too shamelessly sentimental for critics, even if earnestly so. Virginia Madsen, Fred Willard, and Kenan Thompson all have decent supporting turns, but in the end, most critics simply found the whole affair a bit corny, veering into made-for-TV territory. Also, did we forget to mention Rob Reiner directed this?

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Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

92%

There have been lots of films that have attempted to relate the history of rap music, but we'd argue that few of them could offer the kind of insight and access available to Ice-T, one of the genre's early superstars. In The Art of Rap, co-directed by Ice-T and Andy Baybutt, the former gangster rapper/hard rocker-turned-actor engages in intimate conversations with rap icons ranging from Afrika Bambaataa and Marley Marl to Common and Eminem, capturing both candid revelations and even some impromptu freestyles. What emerges is a collection of unfiltered thoughts on the progression of rap, and while it may not offer the most comprehensive portrait of its history, The Art of Rap is vibrant, engaging, and enlightening. At 96%, it certainly deserves a watch, especially if you're a fan of the music.

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Chico & Rita

86%

Nominated earlier this year for Best Animated Feature Film at the Oscars, the Spanish film Chico & Rita is that rare animated movie aimed squarely at adults, particularly those with an affinity for jazz. Initially set in 1940s Cuba, the story chronicles the complicated romance between Chico, a talented songwriter and pianist, and Rita, a beautiful and equally gifted singer, as they meet, fall in love, travel the world, and navigate the path of heartache down which their love affair so often takes them. Critics were largely smitten with Chico & Rita, calling it a lavish production full of sensuality, rich colors, and impeccable music choices; though a few pined for stronger characterizations and dialogue, most were content to let the film wash over them, and for that, it's earned a Certified Fresh 86%.

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The Babymakers

8%

The good people of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe have brought us a couple of poorly reviewed but widely beloved cult classics (Super Troopers, Beerfest), but their latest outing looked as though it fit, even superficially, among the slew of relationship-based indie comedies out these days. The Babymakers stars Olivia Munn and Paul Schneider as married couple Audrey and Tommy, who are having fertility problems due to Tommy's low sperm count. The obvious solution? Rob the sperm bank, as hilarity presumably ensues all around. Sadly enough, critics felt the film too often mistook raunch for humor and essentially wasted the talents of its otherwise capable cast. The result was the lowest-rated Broken Lizard production at a dismal 10% Tomatometer score, which makes it only slightly worse than either of the two aforementioned comedies, at least according to critics.

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Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures

Sure, there are lots of people who like to pretend the Indiana Jones saga ended with the initial trilogy, but we can't simply remove The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull from cinematic history, and besides, even that final installment has its fair share of defenders. With that in mind, this week brings us "The Complete Adventures" 5-disc Blu-ray set, which contains all four Indiana Jones movies on individual discs and about seven hours of extras on the fifth. While almost all of the bonus content is ported over from previous releases, aside from an hourlong 2-part doc with lots of behind-the-scenes goodness, the real draw here is getting the classic Indy movies on Blu-ray for the first time, so if you've been waiting, here's your first chance to grab all of them at once.

Also available this week:

  • David Fincher's paranoid thriller The Game arrives in a brand new Criterion Collection Edition.
  • Marcel Carné's 1945 classic Children of Paradise, which was previously available in a Criterion Collection edition, also gets a shiny new update, including a Blu-ray release.
  • Japanese director Sion Sono's (probably best known for 2002's Suicide Club) campy, manic take on love and sexuality, Love Exposure, arrives this week.

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