RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Twilight Ends and The Master Mesmerizes

Also, an inscrutable Certified Fresh gem and an Oscar-nominated documentary.

This week on home video, we've only got five major releases to talk about in detail, but they certainly run the gamut. From angsty (and ridiculously popular) teen vampires to thrill-seeking surfers, from an exploration of cult dynamics to a cinematic dream, and including a doc with that rare 100% Tomatometer, we think you'll be hard pressed not to find something to watch this week. See below for the full list!

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

49%

The Twilight Saga has endured a lot of criticism for its shortcomings over the past several years, despite the fact that it's been wildly successful with its target audience. If you're a fan of the franchise, you were both excited to see the final chapter brought to big screen life and sad that the journey was coming to an end; otherwise, you were just happy you wouldn't have to tolerate sparkling vampires any more. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner all reprise their roles as the trio of central characters; continuing the arc that began in Breaking Dawn Part 1, Breaking Dawn Part 2 concludes the series with an epic showdown between the Cullen clan and the Volturi, who fear the power of Edward (Pattinson) and Bella's (Stewart) child Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). For what it's worth, critics found this final installment to be about on par with the first film and the third film, earning a not completely terrible 48% on the Tomatometer. Critics unsurprisingly also said, however, that there's little here for anyone who's not already a fan, if that wasn't already obvious.

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The Master

85%

Though it didn't attract quite the Academy attention of his last film, 2007's There Will Be Blood, P.T. Anderson's The Master still garnered Oscar nods for its three principal actors: Joaquin Phoenix (Best Actor), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Best Supporting Actor), and Amy Adams (Best Supporting Actress). Phoenix is Freddie Quell, an unstable, alcoholic World War II vet who struggles to readjust to normal life until he meets charismatic religious leader Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman). Despite his adherence to Dodd's teachings, Freddie fails to improve, and he begins to question whether Dodd is the real thing. P.T. Anderson has yet to direct a Rotten film, and The Master continues his impressive Certified Fresh streak with an 86% on the Tomatometer. Critics say it's smart, engrossing, and bolstered by outstanding performances, so if you're looking for a heady, challenging film, give The Master a watch.

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Chasing Mavericks

31%

Surfers know all about Mavericks, a stretch of ocean near Half Moon Bay on the coast of Northern California that's known for its monster waves, sometimes reaching up to 80 ft. tall. It's treacherous and sometimes deadly, which means it's also an immense adrenaline rush to surf. In Chasing Mavericks, Jonny Weston plays real life surfer Jay Moriarty, who sought to catch the big waves and began training for it with Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler). The film chronicles Moriarty's journey, as well as his budding friendship with mentor Hesson. Critics found Chasing Mavericks to be a sweet, earnest effort that simply fell flat, due to its unconvincing script and surprisingly few thrills. At 33% on the Tomatometer, die hard surfing fanatics might have some fun with it, but don't expect too much.

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How to Survive a Plague

99%

Fresh off its big night as one of the Oscar-nominated documentary features (though it ultimately lost to Searching for Sugar Man), How to Survive a Plague is one of the few movies from last year that can boast a Certified Fresh 100% on the Tomatometer. First-time director (but accomplished nonfiction author) David France examines the early years of the AIDS epidemic and the efforts of two organizations to turn it into a livable, manageable condition. Utilizing never-before-seen footage, the film shows how members of ACT UP and TAG helped push for quicker turnaround on identifying and distributing new medicines -- not always with positive results, but never without passion. Critics called it an angry but stirring portrait of a frightening and heartbreaking era that is powerful and brilliantly assembled. There's good reason why this was nominated for an Academy Award, so if you're looking for a solid doc this week, look no further.

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Holy Motors

91%

The last time we heard from director Leos Carax, he was one of three contributors (along with Michel Gondry and Bong Joon-Ho) in the omnibus film Tokyo!; in Carax's segment, a sewer-dwelling humanoid named Merde (played by Denis Lavant) emerged from underground to wreak havoc on the surface world. In Holy Motors, Carax teams with Lavant once again in a series of vignettes -- including a second visit from the subterranean Merde -- centered around a man named Oscar (Lavant) who rides around Paris in a limousine and reenacts various theatrical sequences, ranging from a sex scene to a gangster film. Little insight is offered into the character of Oscar; he simply moves from one scene to the next as if in a dream. While this may sound like the stuff of film school experimentation, critics roundly applauded Carax's surreal adventure, calling it strange but mesmerizing and full of unforgettable visuals. It will be challenging for those used to more traditional narratives, but Certified Fresh at 90%, Holy Motors is one film you don't necessarily have to "get" to enjoy.

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Also available this week:

  • Two Criterion Collection titles today: A Blu-ray of Kenji Mizoguchi's 1954 masterpiece Sansho the Bailiff (100%) sees a release, and Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin's influential 1961 documentary film Chronicle of a Summer is newly available on both DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Girls Against Boys (13%), a combination revenge flick/obsession story starring Danielle Panabaker and Nicole LaLiberte.

Comments

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

I'll get a copy of Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 and bury it in the desert with the E.T. Atari games.

Feb 25 - 04:29 PM

Lee Augustus

Lee Augustus

xD

Feb 26 - 01:17 PM

Bazooka Jew

Bazooka Jew

I've had The Master on pre-order from Amazon for a while. Looking forward to getting it this week. Might check out Holy Motors.

Feb 25 - 04:33 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"Master" and "Holy Motors" are two of the very best films from last year, and are certainly must-buys for me as welcome additions to the library. Also "Sansho" is a great film (I'm still more of a Kurosawa man), and that's worth seeking out.

Feb 25 - 05:20 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

You can have HOLY MOTORS: I would never in a billion fucking years name any movie with Eva Mendes in it one of the best of the year. That's me, tho!

Feb 25 - 05:37 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Sucks for you.

Feb 25 - 05:39 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

By the way, can't believe Jerry Benedict wants another round, as you owned him before.

Feb 25 - 05:54 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

He sent me a friend request. Losing at the game of LIFE. And concerning "Motors", it's a very odd film, and I can feel you for not being able to get into it, but at least you gave it a shot. I would be less sympathetic if you just refused to watch it solely because of Mendes. (I'm also one of the few people who didn't hate "The Spirit")

Feb 25 - 06:06 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

We'll see if THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES changes my opinion of her; I thought Cianfrance's BLUE VALENTINE was the best film of 2010 period, so I have to see it. I forgot she was in TRAINING DAY as Denzel's "wife," yet she appears briefly and has little dialogue.

Feb 25 - 09:56 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

But you liked The Spirit? If so, sucks for you.

Feb 26 - 02:49 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

You have to make peace with the fact that "Spirit" isn't taking itself very seriously. After that, it's a lot of fun.

Feb 26 - 10:01 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I couldn't even finish it it was so bad. I can do silly but The Spirit, IMO, was ineptly made.

Feb 26 - 04:07 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I'm with the Dude on this one. There's silly and there's stupid and The Spirit was just stupid.

Feb 26 - 04:12 PM

Bazooka Jew

Bazooka Jew

Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant was one of my favorite films of 2009, and that had Eva Mendes.

Feb 25 - 05:50 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

I missed that one; all of the other films I've seen her in I hated, and she was only part of the problem.

Feb 25 - 05:53 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

How can you hate her. She's beautiful and a competent actor. Much better than Alba, Biel, and Beckinsale. Her choices are just as bad those other hotties though...

Feb 26 - 02:53 AM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Honestly, I could give a shit how "hot" she is, and I don't think she's that competent. I saw her in THE WOMEN and wanted to smack her she was so bad.

Feb 26 - 08:40 AM

James Tracey

James Tracey

I was gonna say Bad Lieutenant: PoCNO, but David Tanny beat me to it.

Feb 26 - 09:16 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Only 56 RT critics reviewed "How To Survive A Plague" in comparison to "Sugar Man" with 120 reviews!

Feb 25 - 05:24 PM

Dave J

Dave J

And "Sansho The Baliff" depresses the living hell out of me- don't need to to see that movie again!

Feb 25 - 05:25 PM

Dave J

Dave J

And "Sansho The Baliff" depresses the living hell out of me- don't need to to see that movie again!

Feb 25 - 05:25 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

The TWILIGHT plague is (hopefully) over once and for all. Time to move on! Now it's going to be fun to see how far the careers of the three leads really last. I'm also going to pass on CHASING MAVERICKS, sounds like something for surfing nuts only; give me POINT BREAK again. PTA's THE MASTER is definitely worth seeing due to its three leads, even though its deliberately ambiguous nature is going to piss off a lot of casual renters. As for HOLY MOTORS, I was so bored by it that by the 45-minute mark I fell asleep and have no intention of revisiting it. It just didn't work for me, thus I'm puzzled as to its high critical reception.

As for HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, while I do recommend it, I also have several major qualms: they attack the Presidents way too much FOR THEIR OWN CONDITIONS. Not that I'm trying to stand by Reagan & Bush (both of them were real assholes as far as I'm concerned), but it's interesting when many of these AIDS victims did nothing but blame the entire US government for their own illnesses. I can understand demanding change and access to better medicine, but come on: Reagan and Bush didn't give you guys AIDS, seriously! So why the personal attack? My other issue is the fact that 90% of the film is comprised of archival footage; that's fine, but it seems to me that David France's only job behind-the-scenes was editing it all together, none of which he actually shot. France does cite all the cameramen at the end, but I don't understand why he deserves an Oscar nomination...doesn't seem altogether deserved. I also felt the ending was unsatisfying: no concrete updates on the AIDS epidemic today, just a bit of reflection from those involved in the movement. Still worth watching, but not nearly as great as SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN, THE INVISIBLE WAR, THE HOUSE I LIVE IN and many other great docs released in the past year.

Feb 25 - 05:34 PM

Jameson B.

Jameson Bradford

If the AIDS epidemic had initially affected heterosexuals, and the government did nothing but spread more fear, would your response be the same - well, they gave it to themselves?

And when a President doesn't support scientific research but instead aligns with the religious right who see it as God's punishment on gays, prevents his Surgeon General from speaking out about it, has a Communications Director who states that AIDS is "nature's revenge on gay men," and waits until 1987 - when over 20,000 are dead and thousands more are infected - to actually utter the word AIDS in public, well, tell me people aren't going to take it "personally."

Feb 26 - 06:02 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

C Everett Koop was actually one of the most vocal voices early on against the AIDS epidemic, so if the President was trying to silence him he didn't do a very good job.

Feb 26 - 04:14 PM

Jameson B.

Jameson Bradford

He finally wore the President down. Just read any of the recent retrospectives on Koop.

"[Koop] spent several years trying to get the administration to go public with advice, with direction, with something to let the country know it cared even if it didn't...but it wasn't easy, even for the surgeon general. He was excluded from the high-level meetings the Reagan Administration was having on AIDS until at least 1983; the inner circle saw AIDS as a punishment for misbehavior and wasn't interested in scientific explanation. Then finally, under tremendous public pressure, Reagan green-lighted his surgeon general in 1986 to actually say something - or rather, write something (he was forbidden to answer questions posed by the press)."

Feb 27 - 05:52 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

OMG, he didn't respond well to a completely unprecedented epidemic in under 3 years, let's keelhaul him. Bottom line I'm making is you can't blame one man for the handling of the AIDS epidemic no matter how politically convenient it would be to do so. AIDS actually came around during the 70's why is Jimmy Carter's name not brought up? I don't remember Good Ol Jimmy Jack doing much. Trust me I'd be saying the same thing if this was some Democrat favoring issue. There's clearly a political element at work here and I think that's sad. The govt has a long and proud history of ignoring all manner of issues until they blow up in our face. Look at the recent Sequestration issue, do we think that's all on Obama? Nope it's taken many years to get to this point and several administrations Democrat and Republican, Obama just gets to be the one whose face it blows up in.

Feb 27 - 04:13 PM

Jameson B.

Jameson Bradford

Really - "OMG, he didn't respond well to a completely unprecedented epidemic in under 3 years"? Aside from your lousy math (5 years, 1981 to 86; the 83 year meant nothing to the public), that is a big damn OMG unless you are THAT nonchalant about 20,000 lost lives and 15,000 more suffering. I take it you weren't born or were a child at the time. I lost a number of friends, and MANY lives could have been saved had his administration stepped up and addressed the situation. Also, the first case wasn't recognized until '81. Sure, they've retroactively looked back and realized there were earlier cases, but the deaths were attributed to something else at the time.

Feb 28 - 07:00 AM

Jameson B.

Jameson Bradford

One final thing, what's sad is you thinking I'm politicizing the deaths of these people and some of my own friends. You really think I'd give this a pass if if a Democrat had been in the house at the time and handled the situation in the same manner?

Feb 28 - 07:33 AM

Typhon

Typhon Q

And now that Twilight's over, there can be much rejoicing.

Feb 25 - 05:35 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yaaaaay!!!!!

Feb 25 - 07:02 PM

Matthew R.

Matthew Reimer

Yippie!!!

Feb 25 - 07:31 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Boo-Yah!

Feb 25 - 09:27 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

You can have HOLY MOTORS: I would never in a billion fucking years name any movie with Eva Mendes in it one of the best of the year. That's me, tho!

Feb 25 - 05:37 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Sucks for you.

Feb 25 - 05:39 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

By the way, can't believe Jerry Benedict wants another round, as you owned him before.

Feb 25 - 05:54 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

He sent me a friend request. Losing at the game of LIFE. And concerning "Motors", it's a very odd film, and I can feel you for not being able to get into it, but at least you gave it a shot. I would be less sympathetic if you just refused to watch it solely because of Mendes. (I'm also one of the few people who didn't hate "The Spirit")

Feb 25 - 06:06 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

We'll see if THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES changes my opinion of her; I thought Cianfrance's BLUE VALENTINE was the best film of 2010 period, so I have to see it. I forgot she was in TRAINING DAY as Denzel's "wife," yet she appears briefly and has little dialogue.

Feb 25 - 09:56 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

But you liked The Spirit? If so, sucks for you.

Feb 26 - 02:49 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

You have to make peace with the fact that "Spirit" isn't taking itself very seriously. After that, it's a lot of fun.

Feb 26 - 10:01 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I couldn't even finish it it was so bad. I can do silly but The Spirit, IMO, was ineptly made.

Feb 26 - 04:07 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I'm with the Dude on this one. There's silly and there's stupid and The Spirit was just stupid.

Feb 26 - 04:12 PM

Bazooka Jew

Bazooka Jew

Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant was one of my favorite films of 2009, and that had Eva Mendes.

Feb 25 - 05:50 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

I missed that one; all of the other films I've seen her in I hated, and she was only part of the problem.

Feb 25 - 05:53 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

How can you hate her. She's beautiful and a competent actor. Much better than Alba, Biel, and Beckinsale. Her choices are just as bad those other hotties though...

Feb 26 - 02:53 AM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Honestly, I could give a shit how "hot" she is, and I don't think she's that competent. I saw her in THE WOMEN and wanted to smack her she was so bad.

Feb 26 - 08:40 AM

James Tracey

James Tracey

I was gonna say Bad Lieutenant: PoCNO, but David Tanny beat me to it.

Feb 26 - 09:16 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Sucks for you.

Feb 25 - 05:39 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

By the way, can't believe Jerry Benedict wants another round, as you owned him before.

Feb 25 - 05:54 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

He sent me a friend request. Losing at the game of LIFE. And concerning "Motors", it's a very odd film, and I can feel you for not being able to get into it, but at least you gave it a shot. I would be less sympathetic if you just refused to watch it solely because of Mendes. (I'm also one of the few people who didn't hate "The Spirit")

Feb 25 - 06:06 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

We'll see if THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES changes my opinion of her; I thought Cianfrance's BLUE VALENTINE was the best film of 2010 period, so I have to see it. I forgot she was in TRAINING DAY as Denzel's "wife," yet she appears briefly and has little dialogue.

Feb 25 - 09:56 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

But you liked The Spirit? If so, sucks for you.

Feb 26 - 02:49 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

You have to make peace with the fact that "Spirit" isn't taking itself very seriously. After that, it's a lot of fun.

Feb 26 - 10:01 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I couldn't even finish it it was so bad. I can do silly but The Spirit, IMO, was ineptly made.

Feb 26 - 04:07 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I'm with the Dude on this one. There's silly and there's stupid and The Spirit was just stupid.

Feb 26 - 04:12 PM

Bazooka Jew

Bazooka Jew

Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant was one of my favorite films of 2009, and that had Eva Mendes.

Feb 25 - 05:50 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

I missed that one; all of the other films I've seen her in I hated, and she was only part of the problem.

Feb 25 - 05:53 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

How can you hate her. She's beautiful and a competent actor. Much better than Alba, Biel, and Beckinsale. Her choices are just as bad those other hotties though...

Feb 26 - 02:53 AM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

Honestly, I could give a shit how "hot" she is, and I don't think she's that competent. I saw her in THE WOMEN and wanted to smack her she was so bad.

Feb 26 - 08:40 AM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

I missed that one; all of the other films I've seen her in I hated, and she was only part of the problem.

Feb 25 - 05:53 PM

Dick Travis

Mick Travis

By the way, can't believe Jerry Benedict wants another round, as you owned him before.

Feb 25 - 05:54 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

How to Survive a plague is an excellent documentary that is also available on instant stream Netflix.

Feb 25 - 06:04 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

He sent me a friend request. Losing at the game of LIFE. And concerning "Motors", it's a very odd film, and I can feel you for not being able to get into it, but at least you gave it a shot. I would be less sympathetic if you just refused to watch it solely because of Mendes. (I'm also one of the few people who didn't hate "The Spirit")

Feb 25 - 06:06 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yaaaaay!!!!!

Feb 25 - 07:02 PM

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