John Carter (Blu-ray) Criticize This! Pick of the Week – It’s too bad that John Carter failed so miserably at the box office as it really is a solid sci-fi fantasy in the same league as Avatar or the Star Wars Franchise. Based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, the film revolves around John Carter (Taylor Kitsch); a Civil War vet on the hunt for gold when he finds himself transported to Mars. Not knowing exactly where he is or what has happened to him, he soon discovers he can jump very high and is spotted and captured by giant green monsters while messing around with his new “superpower”. While held captive he meets Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) — a princess on the Red Planet. She recruits him to help her people fight in a civil war of their own and soon he’s back in battle. Directed by Pixar alum Andrew Stanton (WALL-E, Finding Nemo), the film sports some decent acting and writing and has great visual style. Hopefully it will be embraced more by viewers over time. The Blu-ray is a definite must-own for home theatre enthusiasts as the 1080p image is stunning to watch and the 7.1 DTS-HD surround sound will give your system a workout. Special features include audio commentary with Andrew Stanton and producers Jim Morris and Lindsey Collins, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, Disney’s interactive “Second Screen”, and more. A regular DVD is also included. Film **** Blu-ray ***** (out of 5 stars).
The Collapsed – We’ve hyped up the indie post-apocalyptic thriller a lot over the last few months and now it’s finally out on DVD for all to see. Directed by Justin McConnell, the film tells the story of a family trying to survive after the end of the world. It’s extremely eerie and the acting and cinematography is surprisingly top-notch given the low budget. If you’re a fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead you need to run out and pick this up today as you’ll love it. Special features on the DVD include a feature length documentary on the making-of the film, two audio commentaries, a music video, and more more. Also available on iTunes. Film **** DVD *** (out of 5 stars).
Safe House (Blu-ray) – Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a young CIA agent assigned as the “housekeeper” of a safe house in South Africa. For the last 12 months he’s been alone with not much to do. He’s bored and eager to get reassigned and spends his days pacing around the house dreaming of bigger things. Then Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), a former CIA agent turned fugitive, is brought to the house for interrogation. The house is compromised and all hell breaks loose. Weston does his job and gets Frost out of the attack and into safety only to find out that things aren’t quite what they seem. Safe House is not going to win any awards or make it on any Top 10 lists next year, but if you’re looking for a wild action-thriller, it’s a fun watch that delivers. Although the film is meant to appear grainy the Blu-ray is crisp and the 5.1 DTS-HD sound mix will get your speakers rocking. Special features include making-of featurettes, U-Control features, and more. A regular DVD and digital download are included as well. Film *** Blu-ray **** (out of 5 stars).
Act of Valor (Blu-ray) – The big gimmick with Act of Valor is that it uses real Navy SEALS, real guns, and real explosions to demonstrate what these soldiers go through to protect their country. Needless to say, the acting is horrendous and the dialogue is weak, but when these guys are in battle you feel like you’re right there with them. You could almost call it the first true war film for the video game generation as fans of games like Call of Duty and Battlefield will get more out of it than the average viewer. The film was shot using different types of video cameras and the quality is all over the place rendering the Blu-ray pointless in the image department. The surround sound mix is stellar though, and if want the best audio you might want to check the Blu-ray out. Special features include deleted scenes, audio commentary, making-of featurettes, and more. A regular DVD and digital copy of the film are included as well. Film *** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars).
What are you watching at home this week? Let us know in the comments below.