RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Spring Breakers, The Host, and More

An Oscar-nominated doc, a middling dramedy, Tyler Perry's latest, and a gem from New Zealand round out the list.

This week on home video, we've got a Harmony Korine film starring James Franco, a Stephenie Meyer adaptation, and a Tina Fey/Paul Rudd dramedy. Then there's also a crime thriller and an Oscar-nominated doc, not to mention a couple of noteworthy rereleases. See below for the full list.

Spring Breakers

65%

James Franco's racked up enough A-list cred to venture into much more experimental territory, so it wasn't surprising to see he'd hooked up with the eccentric and decidedly non-mainstream Harmony Korine for a film about a handful of bikini-clad Spring Breakers who get mixed up in a turf war between dangerous Florida gangsters. In a casting move that garnered some attention, Disney sweethearts Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens (along with Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) play mischievous coeds who engage in petty crime and hook up with rapper Alien (Franco) en route to a fatal showdown at a rival drug dealer's mansion. Spring Breakers is certainly a bit more accessible, relatively speaking, than Harmony Korine's previous efforts; it's made the most money of any of his films, and at 65% on the Tomatometer, it's also his best-reviewed work. It's not without some problems, but critics say it's an effective combination of cult sensibilities and social commentary, with a particularly notable performance from James Franco.

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The Host

8%

The Twilight Saga was a huge success for author Stephanie Meyer, and though the film adaptations weren't critically acclaimed, they made quite a chunk of change themselves. Would Meyer's next effort, The Host, find a similarly enthusiastic audience? Apparently not; critics found the body snatcher-esque sci-fi thriller even less impressive than the Twilight films, and it made only a fraction of the box office take. It's the post-apocalyptic future, and a parasitic alien race has taken over much of humanity. A human girl named Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) is implanted with a soul called "Wanderer," but she seems resistant to the procedure, and as she learns to gain control of her body, she must decide how far she's willing to go to protect her loved ones. At 9% on the Tomatometer, The Host suffers from a clunky, dramatically inert script that sporadically dips into unintentional hilarity, and unless you're a Stephenie Meyer fanatic, there isn't a good chance you'll get much out of this.

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Admission

38%

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are two very funny, very likable actors and their comic credentials are second to none, but give them a clumsy, contrived script, and there's only so much even they can do. Based on the novel of the same name by Jean Hanff Korelitz, Admission stars Fey as Portia, an admissions officer for Princeton University who reconnects with old friend John (Rudd) when she makes a recruiting visit to the kooky alternative school where he teaches. As Princeton's Dean of Admissions prepares to retire and Portia angles for his job, she must also deal with romantic entanglements and an eccentric student she may or may not be related to. Director Paul Weitz's record has been spotty lately, and Admission is unfortunately one of the blemishes; critics say Fey and Rudd are as charming as ever, but the story is so hackneyed that it mutes its stars talents.

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Dead Man Down

38%

Though he scored a major hit when he helmed the original 2009 Swedish adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Danish director Niels Arden Oplev declined to take on the sequels and only returned to the big screen earlier this year for his American debut, reteaming with Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace for Dead Man Down. Colin Farrell stars as Victor, a man out for revenge against criminal kingpin Alphonse (Terrence Howard), who murdered his wife and child. After Victor earns Alphonse's trust, he hatches an elaborate plan with the help of a troubled neighbor (Rapace) that will pit Alphonse against another mob boss and give Victor the opportunity to settle the score. Despite a strong cast that included Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert, and F. Murray Abraham, among others, Dead Man Down's slow pacing and outlandish plot contrivances ultimately brought the film down to a 37% Tomatometer score. It's not the worst of the worst, but it probably won't be very satisfying either.

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The Gatekeepers

93%

Leave it to the one documentary in this week's lineup to be the surefire pleaser. Israeli director Dror Moreh's riveting profile examines the role and impact of Israel's Shin Bet, otherwise known as the ISA (Israel Security Agency), the country's internal security and intelligence service. Moreh interviews six former ISA heads with shockingly candid results, offering their perspectives on the involvement of the agency in matters of national import since the Six-Day War in 1967, and rounds out the film with archival footage and some computer animation. Nominated for Best Documentary Feature earlier this year at the Oscars, The Gatekeepers is Certified Fresh at 93%, with critics calling it a stark but brutally honest documentary, a rare and unprecedented perspective on Israel's national policy that is both fascinating and eye-opening.

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Also available this week:

  • Certified Fresh New Zealand coming-of-age dramedy Boy (88%), about a boy (of course) who loves Michael Jackson and fantasizes about what his estranged father was like.
  • Criterion is releasing Kenji Mizoguchi's 1952 drama The Life of Oharu (100%), co-starring Toshiro Mifune in a story about a prostitute in feudal Japan who reflects upon her fall from grace, on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Tyler Perry's Temptation (16%), a drama about a restless woman coming to grips with her marital infidelity.

Comments

J.D Dean

J.D Dean

Wow they didn't even put Tyler Perry's new release up at the top, ouch.

Jul 8 - 06:51 PM

George V.

George Voulcan

lol. funny.

Jul 9 - 08:15 PM

Kristen Schaal

Kristen Schaal

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Jul 12 - 12:46 PM

vinsig0011

vincent Signorile

Saw Spring Breakers really enjoyed it also saw Admission and thought it was decent nothing special
I gotta see the Host just to see how bad it really is and I want to see Dead Man Down also might check out Temptation

Jul 8 - 08:08 PM

SecondBest

This Guy

Want to see Admission, the others...eh.

Jul 8 - 08:30 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I was gonna see Spring Breakers but I was told by my bud that since I watched MTV's Spring Break as a kid I've pretty much all ready seen it...so thats a downer.

The Gatekeepers seems like a riveting documentary.

Anybody know if the Host is so bad its good?

Jul 8 - 09:04 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I have not seen Spring Breakers yet (should be catching it in the next few days), but based on the writer/director, the reviews, and the trailer, it seems like it is the exact opposite of MTV's Spring Break, in that the partying is presented as a cheap and hollow escape instead of something truly enjoyable.

Jul 9 - 01:17 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I don't really like to delve into the film beyond the surface in my statement. What I meant was there is literally 10 to 20 minutes scenes of non stop "WOOO, ALLRIGHT, YEAH...SPRING BREAK YEAH WOOO!" like literally this is all you see for several minutes at a time. I think it's awesome some critics can see this as art but most all my buddies said "sooo he stole spring break MTV footage and is pretending its art? How much longer do I have to watch this before something happens?"

Jul 9 - 10:48 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I think the monotony of those scenes was intended by Korine. He is well known to go out of his way alienate an audience by presenting something in all its ugly glory, so I have no doubts he was trying to beat people over the head with how ludicrous and pointless the partying was, and that this is what most young people see as living it up these days. In my view, it was a scathing critique of modern norms for the current generation. I respect your opinion, though, and Korine is most definitely one of the most uncommercial filmmakers working today.

Jul 9 - 05:37 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

I laughed twice at the dialogue of THE HOST, but for the most part, it's boring. The pacing is really bad.

Jul 9 - 02:13 PM

Sionnach Oghma

Sionnach Oghma

Spring Breakers is worth seeing for James Franco's performance alone. He's fantastic.

The Host unfortunately doesn't even qualify for the 'hilarious trainwreck' status enjoyed by the Twilight movies. It's just plain dull.

Jul 10 - 05:23 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Been waiting on Spring Breakers for a hot minute now, definitely going to be picking it up. The Gatekeepers looks great, too.

Jul 9 - 01:15 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I have not seen Spring Breakers yet (should be catching it in the next few days), but based on the writer/director, the reviews, and the trailer, it seems like it is the exact opposite of MTV's Spring Break, in that the partying is presented as a cheap and hollow escape instead of something truly enjoyable.

Jul 9 - 01:17 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I don't really like to delve into the film beyond the surface in my statement. What I meant was there is literally 10 to 20 minutes scenes of non stop "WOOO, ALLRIGHT, YEAH...SPRING BREAK YEAH WOOO!" like literally this is all you see for several minutes at a time. I think it's awesome some critics can see this as art but most all my buddies said "sooo he stole spring break MTV footage and is pretending its art? How much longer do I have to watch this before something happens?"

Jul 9 - 10:48 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I think the monotony of those scenes was intended by Korine. He is well known to go out of his way alienate an audience by presenting something in all its ugly glory, so I have no doubts he was trying to beat people over the head with how ludicrous and pointless the partying was, and that this is what most young people see as living it up these days. In my view, it was a scathing critique of modern norms for the current generation. I respect your opinion, though, and Korine is most definitely one of the most uncommercial filmmakers working today.

Jul 9 - 05:37 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I don't really like to delve into the film beyond the surface in my statement. What I meant was there is literally 10 to 20 minutes scenes of non stop "WOOO, ALLRIGHT, YEAH...SPRING BREAK YEAH WOOO!" like literally this is all you see for several minutes at a time. I think it's awesome some critics can see this as art but most all my buddies said "sooo he stole spring break MTV footage and is pretending its art? How much longer do I have to watch this before something happens?"

Jul 9 - 10:48 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I think the monotony of those scenes was intended by Korine. He is well known to go out of his way alienate an audience by presenting something in all its ugly glory, so I have no doubts he was trying to beat people over the head with how ludicrous and pointless the partying was, and that this is what most young people see as living it up these days. In my view, it was a scathing critique of modern norms for the current generation. I respect your opinion, though, and Korine is most definitely one of the most uncommercial filmmakers working today.

Jul 9 - 05:37 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

As someone who actually liked 2 of the TWILIGHT movies (the 1st and 3rd), I still feel that THE HOST is one of the worst movies of the year. The fact that even the talented Saoirse Ronan gave a bad performance shows the level of the material. Although, I put most of the blame on the director.

I admit that SPRING BREAKERS caught my attention because of the girls in bikinis. I'm not ashamed; a lot of the marketing emphazised on that. As long as it's more like the excellent KIDS than the awful TRASH-HUMPERS, I'll probably enjoy it.

Tyler Perry's dramas are so well-intentioned that they're hard to hate. But TEMPTATION has such an uncreative premise (and from what I've heard, a ridiculous plot twist) that I'll skip it. Same with the generic-looking DEAD MAN DOWN (I didn't even like DRAGON TATTOO) and ADMISSION (Fey and Rudd can't keep being asked to carry bad movies anymore).

Jul 9 - 02:12 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

I laughed twice at the dialogue of THE HOST, but for the most part, it's boring. The pacing is really bad.

Jul 9 - 02:13 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

just picked up 'Spring Breakers' on Blu-Ray
everything else is disposable

Jul 9 - 02:56 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

What a lousy week.

Jul 9 - 04:18 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

Spring Breakers is one of my favorite movies of 2013, but I gotta say James Franco...give that man another Oscar nomination next year. I gotta buy it this week.

The rest of the pack are total duds (Temptation, The Host, and Dead Man Down) Admission, however, not a good Tina Fey movie, but it's a rent for me.

Jul 9 - 05:17 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I think the monotony of those scenes was intended by Korine. He is well known to go out of his way alienate an audience by presenting something in all its ugly glory, so I have no doubts he was trying to beat people over the head with how ludicrous and pointless the partying was, and that this is what most young people see as living it up these days. In my view, it was a scathing critique of modern norms for the current generation. I respect your opinion, though, and Korine is most definitely one of the most uncommercial filmmakers working today.

Jul 9 - 05:37 PM

George V.

George Voulcan

lol. funny.

Jul 9 - 08:15 PM

ram b.

ram bond

dead man down is underrated, i personally found it as a great film noir with great music building an atmospheric film, while i found spring breakers real fun

Jul 10 - 03:17 AM

Sionnach Oghma

Sionnach Oghma

Spring Breakers is worth seeing for James Franco's performance alone. He's fantastic.

The Host unfortunately doesn't even qualify for the 'hilarious trainwreck' status enjoyed by the Twilight movies. It's just plain dull.

Jul 10 - 05:23 AM

Premo Beat

John Noto

I too got sucked into watching spring breakers, at the beach with a gang of friends no less. It is not worthwhile unless you're a real fan of James Franco or Disney sl00tz. Yes there is gratuitous nudity, and it's enjoyable to some degree. If you can stomach 120 minutes of three characters repeating the same lines over and over with a plot more ridiculous than a Uwe Boll film, by all means have at it. The film teeters between making fun of youth party-drug zeitgeist and glorifying it and it makes for an unenjoyable movie. Gucci Mane acting is a plus though.

Jul 10 - 03:50 PM

Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott

Spring Breakers is only 92 minutes, and while I will agree that there were a few lines in the movie that were unneccisarily repeated, it was still an enjoyable film.

Jul 11 - 06:23 PM

Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott

Spring Breakers is only 92 minutes, and while I will agree that there were a few lines in the movie that were unneccisarily repeated, it was still an enjoyable film.

Jul 11 - 06:23 PM

Kristen Schaal

Kristen Schaal

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Jul 12 - 12:46 PM

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