RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Ender's Game, All Is Lost, and More

We've also got a decent comedy, a landmark foreign film, and a couple of acclaimed TV shows.

by | February 11, 2014 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got a blockbuster based on a beloved sci-fi novel, a survival tale featuring a towering performance from Robert Redford, an almost universally praised landmark film from Saudi Arabia, a comedy sequel 14 years in the making, and a bit of a clunker from Ridley Scott and some other talented folks. On the TV side, we’ve got an acclaimed adaptation of an iconic literary character, a Golden Tomato-winning French import, and a TV movie, as well as a bunch of smaller releases. Read on for the full list:

Ender’s Game


Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel Ender’s Game isn’t just another sci-fi epic; it’s taught in college courses, and it’s part of the US Marine Corps’ official reading list. Naturally, there was much anticipation leading up to the release of its feature film adaptation, and while it didn’t blow everyone away, most agreed it was relatively solid. The story centers on Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a gifted young boy in the distant future who, along with other similarly gifted children, is groomed by the military to help defend humanity against an alien threat. Most critics felt the film was true enough to the source material to please fans, but others found that some of the book’s power was lost in translation, resulting in a too-serious tone and a somewhat unearned sense of self-importance. Regardless, almost all agreed the film was well-acted and visually impressive enough to earn it a 61% on the Tomatometer.

All Is Lost


J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, the survival story of one man lost at sea, may have the shortest cast listing of any feature film on IMDB. Though its lone actor, Robert Redford, failed to make it into this year’s crowded Best Actor Oscar field, the film boasts a powerhouse performance by the veteran, who carries the film entirely. Redford plays an unnamed man whose ship collides with a rogue shipping container in the middle of the ocean. With his boat steadily taking on water, the man struggles to patch up the hole and fix his communications equipment, hoping to survive long enough to be rescued. Critics roundly praised All Is Lost as a showcase for Robert Redford’s talent; even Pi had a tiger to talk to from time to time. Certified Fresh at 93% on the Tomatometer, this is an equally thrilling and moving tale of survival that grips the viewer and refuses to let go.



Even before anyone had seen Wadjda, it had already secured two landmark achievements: it was the first feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia — where no movie theaters exist — and it was the first to be made by a female Saudi filmmaker, namely Haifaa Al-Mansour. With that in mind, it’s something else altogether that the film has earned near universal acclaim from critics. The story centers on the titular young Saudi girl, who dreams of owning a green bike and racing her neighborhood friend, Abdullah, something the locals frown upon. With family drama brewing at home, Wadjda sets out to earn her own bike money however she can. Critics engaged with the Wadjda‘s central themes of freedom and change in the face of oppression, calling the film an inspiring critique of Saudi society that somehow manages also to be a charming tale of youthful whimsy. Certified Fresh at 99% on the Tomatometer, Golden Tomato winner Wadjda is both insightful and delightful without overtly moralizing or succumbing to cloying sentimentality.

The Best Man Holiday


Back in 1999, writer/director Malcolm D. Lee scored a surprise hit with The Best Man, an ensemble rom-com about a tight-knit group of friends hashing out their issues. Fourteen years later, Lee reunited the entire cast for The Best Man Holiday, earning the best reviews he’s gotten since 2002. This time around, the gang meets up for a Christmas holiday together at Mia’s (Monica Calhoun) request, only to find that older doesn’t always mean wiser. While Harper (Taye Diggs) surreptitiously attempts to gather info for a biography of retiring football star Lance (Morris Chestnut), Candace (Regina Hall) and Mia hide secrets of their own, and wildcard Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) is looking for love in all the wrong places. Critics conceded that the plot contrivances are fairly standard and familiar, but also that Lee manages to wring some genuine laughs and heartfelt sentiment out of them. It’s a little out of season at this point, but at 68% on the Tomatometer, The Best Man Holiday is a decent dramedy worthy of its predecessor.

The Counselor


When you’ve made as many films as Ridley Scott has, you’re bound to release a stinker every now and then. You just don’t expect that stinker to come from the pen of Cormac McCarthy and star the likes of Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Brad Pitt. Fassbender plays the titular counselor, who, tempted by a huge profit margin, unwisely gets himself wrapped up in a drug deal with a Mexican cartel. When the deal immediately goes wrong, the counselor becomes a target and finds he has few friends he can count on. Past adaptations of Cormac McCarthy’s work have yielded great results, but critics say his first attempt at an original screenplay mostly falls flat; The Counselor is a sloppily plotted thriller that spends too much of its time on clumsy dialogue and too little of it building real tension. At 34% on the Tomatometer, it’s hardly representative of the talented individuals involved.

Sherlock – Season 3

Benedict Cumberbatch is fast becoming a household name (and oh what a name it is), and though he’d previously appeared in a handful of notable roles, it was BBC’s 2010 series Sherlock that first brought him international recognition. Paired with Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, Cumberbatch plays a contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective, a brash, socially oblivious genius who gets off on solving seemingly unsolvable mysteries and utilizes modern technology to its fullest. The series, written by Doctor Who veterans Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, adapts several of Sherlock Holmes’s classic characters and storylines, seamlessly integrating them into present-day settings and infusing them with razor sharp dialogue and crisp, inventive cinematography. Here in the US, the third and final 90-minute episode of the third season — Certified Fresh at 97% — aired just last week, and tomorrow, it will be available on DVD and Blu-ray. [NOTE: Beware of spoilers in the trailer below if you haven’t seen the first two seasons.]

Killing Kennedy


National Geographic enjoyed a strong response to their adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Lincoln, so they decided to do the same for the controversial television personality’s similarly titled JFK book, Killing Kennedy. The film, which aired on the National Geographic Channel on November 10 of last year, stars Rob Lowe as JFK, Ginnifer Goodwin as Jackie O, and Will Rothhaar as Lee Harvey Oswald, focusing both on Kennedy’ rise to power and Oswald’s growing disillusionment. While critics were somewhat split on the film, with some calling it another unnecessary — and somewhat underwhelming — portrait of an all too familiar event while others praised the performances and the somewhat novel approach to the story, Killing Kennedy did earn nominations from the Writers, Directors, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. At 59% on the Tomatometer, it’s an acceptable biopic that could have been better but nevertheless hits most of the right notes.

The Returned – Season 1

In this modern era of Hollywood remakes and reboots, it’s kind of remarkable for a foreign-language television series to be imported wholesale for the US market, but that’s exactly what happened with French supernatural drama The Returned (aka Les Revenants). Originally aired in 2012, the series was picked up by SundanceTV, who premiered it on Halloween last year. The story takes place in a small town in the mountains, where the recently deceased suddenly begin reappearing as if nothing had ever happened. As they attempt to reintegrate themselves into normal life, the mystery is compounded by strange occurrences and puzzling discoveries that seem to coincide with the phenomenon. Back in September, The Returned won the International Emmy Award for Best Drama, and its first season not only boasts a Certified Fresh 100% on the Tomatometer, but it also won our Golden Tomato Award for Best New Show of 2013.

Also available this week:

  • The Armstrong Lie (84%), a Certified Fresh Alex Gibney documentary chronicling the controversy surrounding former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal.
  • G.B.F. (80%), a teen comedy about a newly outed gay teen whose “arm-candy” potential becomes the object of every popular girl’s affections.
  • How I Live Now (67%), starring Saoirse Ronan in a post-apocalyptic YA novel adaptation about an American girl living overseas and struggling to survive when warfare in Europe prompts martial law in the UK.
  • Austenland (30%), starring Keri Russell in a comedy about a woman trying to make the most of her limited budget on a visit to a Jane Austen theme park.
  • Diana (8%) starring Naomi Watts in a biopic focusing on the relationships Princess Di maintained during the last two years of her life.
  • Disney is releasing a Diamond Edition of the 1967 animated film The Jungle Book (87%).
  • Season one of The Americans (89%), the FX drama starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as KGB spies posing as a married American couple in 1980s Washington D.C.
  • Season two of Dallas (94%), TNT’s revival of the classic soap revolving around the oil-rich Ewing family.

Tag Cloud

TV renewals ratings toy story RT21 Country Ellie Kemper twilight south america Mary poppins OneApp canceled Bravo Syfy spain Rocketman Marvel Oscars SundanceTV Travel Channel Premiere Dates Lucasfilm Musicals DC streaming service Opinion Star Trek cancelled television children's TV Academy Awards Trivia indiana jones DGA Arrowverse teaser Turner Classic Movies BBC PlayStation BAFTA series Netflix ITV Funimation Disney theme song Marvel Studios comiccon classics casting stand-up comedy dc Stephen King BBC One Comedy Central zombies hist 2019 Writers Guild of America zero dark thirty MCU YA critics NYCC TCA Awards Set visit cars nature scary movies AMC mutant ABC foreign finale game show Biopics 72 Emmy Awards animated adaptation Reality werewolf Masterpiece justice league kids Pet Sematary boxoffice FX Rock technology San Diego Comic-Con Comics on TV fast and furious Endgame Fantasy sequel TBS Epix Cannes green book Reality Competition Lionsgate HBO TruTV Pride Month Awards Tour 4/20 Ghostbusters Pirates ESPN SXSW Action Amazon CW Seed video on demand Marvel Television Thanksgiving Universal cats Avengers Starz spinoff Infographic Red Carpet Tomatazos FXX Trophy Talk Apple TV+ cooking Kids & Family franchise 21st Century Fox cults Family TV tv talk RT History DC Universe Spike Brie Larson Mary Poppins Returns Certified Fresh Super Bowl nbcuniversal Baby Yoda films free movies Cosplay batman President Television Critics Association talk show Awards Rom-Com YouTube Premium true crime The CW game of thrones dragons dramedy sports period drama Disney Plus Comedy hispanic IFC Films Adult Swim reviews Spring TV FX on Hulu all-time Black Mirror Schedule dark travel Interview comic Mystery stoner universal monsters Black History Month YouTube Red transformers Mindy Kaling stop motion 2015 die hard Hear Us Out Chernobyl Toys Tarantino TCA Winter 2020 war ghosts facebook child's play psychological thriller Pixar quibi asian-american TNT harry potter independent political drama BBC America Western Tumblr Tubi A&E Superheroe WarnerMedia Dark Horse Comics Food Network Shondaland Disney streaming service Character Guide Rocky CMT Heroines TCA 2017 Shudder aliens cartoon serial killer Warner Bros. comics natural history Holidays Chilling Adventures of Sabrina video Netflix Christmas movies Nominations Amazon Prime YouTube Sundance Amazon Studios PBS parents anime 71st Emmy Awards documentary spider-man miniseries Anna Paquin Watching Series discovery Calendar Emmys Captain marvel Britbox composers HBO Go based on movie obituary USA Network Creative Arts Emmys Film Festival IFC BET screen actors guild 2016 CBS Discovery Channel spy thriller science fiction Binge Guide Extras Walt Disney Pictures Winners 24 frames streaming Hallmark Christmas movies Valentine's Day Summer Musical renewed TV shows Pop superhero social media Podcast 2017 Horror Year in Review Marathons Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt mission: impossible latino Countdown Best and Worst Esquire Martial Arts psycho Spectrum Originals History Showtime criterion documentaries X-Men hollywood supernatural witnail Nat Geo 007 VH1 VOD DirecTV diversity rotten movies we love blockbuster richard e. Grant doctor who space Apple TV Plus spanish language cancelled TV shows zombie cancelled TV series Peacock anthology jamie lee curtis blaxploitation Film GIFs Box Office CNN Paramount concert cancelled indie screenings TLC Crackle VICE ABC Family thriller APB unscripted Freeform Superheroes A24 dogs comedies Television Academy crossover The Purge SDCC Mary Tyler Moore LGBTQ vampires First Look Lifetime cops politics Sundance Now Disney Channel chucky Animation television news dceu Photos Disney+ Disney Plus DC Comics Women's History Month E3 Sci-Fi American Society of Cinematographers Drama police drama romance Sneak Peek historical drama revenge mockumentary GLAAD satire Ovation sag awards binge MSNBC Turner TV Land what to watch See It Skip It First Reviews crime thriller Amazon Prime Video a nightmare on elm street CBS All Access USA E! MTV Crunchyroll Pop TV biography The Walking Dead sitcom Fox News laika GoT movies robots singing competition Classic Film Paramount Network Fall TV Election golden globes The Witch medical drama movie elevated horror Hulu reboot National Geographic Vudu adventure Trailer 2018 Columbia Pictures Lifetime Christmas movies El Rey joker Song of Ice and Fire Emmy Nominations NBC name the review FOX directors Logo 45 breaking bad Holiday halloween New York Comic Con strong female leads romantic comedy WGN Mudbound Christmas Apple Teen disaster versus Acorn TV crime Cartoon Network BET Awards Quiz festivals TIFF PaleyFest The Arrangement slashers OWN Grammys Nickelodeon docudrama Winter TV book Elton John 20th Century Fox HBO Max rotten Comic Book LGBT Video Games Hallmark canceled TV shows Sony Pictures TCM Music worst emmy awards crime drama TCA 2020 christmas movies cinemax Star Wars best Sundance TV award winner Polls and Games