This week: Find out what happens when humans build massive robots to combat otherworldly monsters in Guillermo del Toro's global sensation "Pacific Rim," which will try to find more kaiju fans on home video than it did in U.S. movie theaters.
Also new this week is Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in the buddy cop comedy "The Heat," Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton in the sci-fi thriller "The Colony" and Elijah Wood playing against type as a serial killer in the horror remake "Maniac."
Box Office: $102 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 72% Fresh
Storyline: Guillermo del Toro directs this epic monsters-vs.-robots sci-fi smackdown set in the near future when giant destructive creatures called Kaiju keep crossing over into our dimension through a rift on the ocean floor. Facing extinction, humans construct massive robots called Jaegers to battle the Kaiju, but the otherworldly beasts keep coming faster and furiouser and threaten to destroy us all. Two unlikely heroes — a washed-up former Jaeger pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi) — team up to pilot a seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past that might be the only thing that stands between humankind and the next wave of Kaiju. Ron Perlman, Idris Elba and Charlie Day also star.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain commentary and a prologue by del Toro, "Five Focus Points," deleted scenes and a blooper reel. A Blu-ray 3D version is also available in the combo pack.
We Say: You can feel the childlike enthusiasm del Toro has for kaiju films in every frame of this expensive labor of love. Although most of the human performances range from lost in translation (Kikuchi) to annoying (the squirrelly Day), it's impossible not to be in awe of the Kaiju and Jaegers when they're throwing each other around and cities crumble while they rumble. Although "Pacific Rim" is a post-conversion 3-D job, the added dimension works best for the monster-and-robots fights and the looks inside the neon-lit Jaeger cockpits during battles. If you're still in touch with that inner child who loved watching "Godzilla" movies on Saturday morning, this is the monster mash you've always wished would happen.
Box Office: $159 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 65% Fresh
Storyline: "Bridesmaids" director Paul Feig returns to the raunchy female comedy well with this buddy-cop picture that teams up uptight, arrogant NYC FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) with foul-mouthed, short-fused Boston police officer Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) to take down a ruthless drug lord. Kaitlin Olson, Ben Falcone, Marlon Wayans and Tony Hale also star.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain bloopers, alternate scenes, a making-of featurette, audio commentaries and featurettes with titles like "Police Brutality," "Let's Get Physical," "Acting Master Class" and "Supporting Cast Cavalcade."
We Say: Like "Bridesmaids," Feig at first seems to shatter expectations of what a female-driven comedy is supposed to be with this R-rated buddy-cop flick punctuated with violence. McCarthy and Bullock have chemistry and have fun with their odd-couple pairing, but again, like "Bridesmaids," it all goes on too long for a goofy comedy (the unrated cut is two hours) and what starts out as a crude, slapstick romp takes a jarring turn into Earnestville in the third act after the two leads girl-bond. In the future when an airline censor decides to bleep out all of McCarthy's F-bombs, what you'll be left with is a hyperactive chick flick that will kill some time on your next flight.
Box Office: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: 14% Rotten
Storyline: After an endless winter engulfs the Earth, mankind survives by living in remote underground outposts. When Colony 7 receives a distress call from a nearby settlement, Sam (Kevin Zegers) and Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) set out into the snow on a dangerous rescue mission, despite the protests of trigger-happy second-in-command Mason (Bill Paxton). What Sam and Briggs find at the desolate base might mean mankind's salvation — if they can keep something monstrous from following them back to Colony 7.
Extras!: Both the DVD and the Blu-ray contain behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew.
We Say: This is a case of a lot of potential for a great story being squandered by a limited budget and the puzzling choice of downplaying the roles of the biggest names in the cast. We would have liked to have seen even more of Paxton in verge-of-panic "Aliens" mode, for example. Instead, this postapocalyptic thriller becomes one long chase scene with a less-than-satisfying ending that is needlessly open-ended, since it's more likely that the world really will freeze over before someone green-lights "The Colony: See What Happens Next."
Box Office: $26,826
Rotten Tomatoes: 47% Rotten
Storyline: In this remake of the 1980 slasher flick of the same name, Elijah Wood stars as Frank, the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store in downtown Los Angeles, who has some serious dead-mother issues that prompt him to stalk and scalp women. When he strikes up a friendship with Nora (Nora Arnezeder), a beautiful photographer who takes an interest in his work, Frank's conflicting feelings cause him to prey on more and more women until he risks losing everything … including the one person with the power to save him.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a making-of featurette and a poster gallery.
We Say: Director Franck Khalfoun takes the original concept to another level with this artfully filmed, twisted exploration of a diseased mind. Most of the movie is shown from Frank's point of view, so it's like you the viewer are experiencing what it's like to be this serial killer, including how others react to him. Wood is probably the last person you'd expect to play a scary scalper of women after playing friendly Frodo in "The Lord of the Rings," but the actor goes to a dark place and pulls out a performance that is quite menacing. The whole experience is disturbing and unsettling — especially due to some gruesomely realistic ultraviolence — but brave viewers will be rewarded with a surprisingly sophisticated interpretation of what was originally just a grind house-type slasher movie.
Also New This Week:
"The Haunting" Blu-ray
"The Fall" Series 1
"Shrek the Musical"
"Weird Science" Blu-ray
"In the Mouth of Madness" Blu-ray
"High Plains Drifter" Blu-ray
"Embrace of the Vampire" Blu-ray
"Defiance" Season One
"Love Actually" Blu-ray
"Notting Hill" Blu-ray
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" Blu-ray