[caption id="attachment_201402" align="alignleft" width="300"] Paramount[/caption]
This week: Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum star in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," the action-packed sequel to "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (2009).
Also new this week is the female-driven "Deliverance"-esque thriller "Black Rock" with Kate Bosworth and Katie Aselton, the long-overdue Blu-ray debut of the John Carpenter ghost story "The Fog" with Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh, and a Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of Guillermo del Toro's "The Devil's Backbone."
'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'
[caption id="attachment_201404" align="alignright" width="220"] Paramount[/caption]
Box Office: $123 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 28% Rotten
Storyline: This sequel to the 2009 guilty pleasure not only has the G.I. Joe team fighting Cobra but the Joes are framed for crimes against the country and are terminated by order of the President. The surviving members of the elite military unit face off against Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) and the world leaders he has under his influence. Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Byung-hun Lee and Jonathan Pryce star in this PG-13 action flick directed by Jon M. Chu.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a commentary track; "The Monastery," an examination of the Himalayan escape sequence; "Fort Sumter," an all-access view of the climax; deleted scenes; "Mission Briefing," a look at pre-production materials; a featurette on the stunts and costumes; a featurette on the Dojo sequence; an in-depth look at the desert attack; "Cobra Strikes," a look at the film's villains; and "The Lone Soldiers," behind the scenes as Roadblock, Flint and Lady Jaye go on the run. The movie is also available on Blu-ray 3D in a combo pack since it played in theaters in an extra dimension.
We Say: This fast-paced sequel is arguably superior to the original and features nonstop bloodless action from characters with cool names like Storm Shadow, Jinx and Snake Eyes that will give teenage boys a charge. It's a flashy spectacle that makes little sense to discerning viewers that prefer some kind of story with their spray of bullets, but there are some impressive sequences like when the Joes battle some ninjas on the side of the mountain. That sequence in particular is especially striking in 3D, which is the preferred way to enjoy "Retaliation."
[caption id="attachment_201399" align="alignright" width="220"] Lionsgate[/caption]
Box Office: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: 49% Rotten
Storyline: Three young women (Kate Bosworth, Katie Aselton and Lake Bell) get together at their childhood private retreat off the coast of Maine to renew their bond of sisterhood only to discover that they are not alone on the island. Three men have come to the island to hunt, and when a misunderstanding turns to tragedy, the three women find themselves targets and must fight to survive.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain commentary by director-actress Aselton and Bell, a behind-the-scenes featurette and "A Thrilling Score: The Music of 'Black Rock.'"
We Say: This tight survival flick aspires to be a female-centric version of "Deliverance" and mostly delivers thanks to believable performances by the three leads and some truly nail-biting sequences. Whether or not you care about the ladies getting off the island alive is the issue, because they come across as whiny women suffering from arrested development.
'The Fog' Collector's Edition Blu-ray
[caption id="attachment_201401" align="alignright" width="220"] Shout! Factory[/caption]
Box Office: $21 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 69% Fresh
Storyline: John Carpenter's chilling 1980 ghost story is set in the sleepy seaside village of Antonio Bay. As the seemingly idyllic town prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, a dark secret is revealed about a clipper ship that wrecked under mysterious circumstances in an eerie fog a century ago. Now the long-dead mariners have returned from their watery grave to exact a bloody revenge on Antonio Bay. Adrienne Barbeau stars as the town's resident DJ who broadcasts from a lighthouse, Jamie Lee Curtis is a drifter who hooks up with a local played by Tom Atkins and Curtis' mother (and "Psycho" scream queen) Janet Leigh stars as the frazzled organizer of Antonio Bay's ill-conceived centennial celebration.
Extras!: This long-awaited Blu-ray debut features a classic commentary by Carpenter and writer-producer Debra Hill; a new commentary with Barbeau, Atkins and production designer Tommy Lee Wallace; a new interview with Curtis; "Tales From the Mist: Inside 'The Fog'" featurette; "Fear on Film: Inside 'The Fog'" featurette; a storyboard-to-film featurette; outtakes; trailers and TV spots; a photo gallery; and "Horror's Hallowed Grounds," a new look at the film's locations in California.
We Say: This sensational cult classic is one of Carpenter's best works and really chills the blood with its eerie ambiance and signature score composed by the director. This Blu-ray debut features a new high-definition transfer supervised by cinematographer Dean Cundey that is far superior to any DVD edition out there and new extras like a recent visit to the shooting locations will delight fans of this horror gem that suffered the indignity of a god-awful remake in 2005. Don't get lost in the wrong "Fog" — this Collector's Edition of the original movie is the one to wade through.
'The Devil's Backbone' Criterion Collection Blu-ray
[caption id="attachment_201400" align="alignright" width="220"] Criterion Collection[/caption]
Box Office: $755,249
Rotten Tomatoes: 91% Fresh
Storyline: Guillermo del Toro's 2001 Spanish-Mexican gothic horror film tells the tell of a 10-year-0ld boy (Fernando Tielve) who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets.
Extras!: This Blu-ray debut features a commentary track by del Toro, a new featurette about the Spanish Civil War as evoked in the film, thumbnail sketches and storyboards, new interviews with del Toro, a 2004 making-of documentary, an interactive director's notebook and four deleted scenes. The Blu-ray also comes packaged with a booklet featuring an essay by critic Mark Kermode.
We Say: This is del Toro's most personal film to date and is also one of his most chilling and emotionally layered works. As with the more successful "Pan's Labyrinth," this cinematic concoction is part ghost story, part murder mystery and part historical drama ... and reminds us that the worst monsters out there are usually human. If you want to see them and peek into del Toro's dark imagination, there is no better way than via this royal treatment by the Criterion Collection.
Also New This Week:
"Teen Beach Movie"
"Peggy Sue Got Married" Blu-ray
"Niagara" 60th Anniversary Blu-ray
"Bus Stop" Blu-ray
"The Incredible Melting Man" Blu-ray
"That Touch of Mink"
"Under the Bed"
"Assault on Wall Street"