There were a bunch of movies that came out in 2013—some of them were pretty good! it was a good year for movies!—which means that a bunch of them slipped through the cracks, either not doing so great at the box office or getting pushed aside when other stuff came out. Here's a long-delayed roundup of some stuff that's come out (fairly) recently on Blu-ray and DVD that's worth checking out if you missed 'em the first time.
DREDD (out now on Blu-ray and DVD)—Vince Mancini liked it alright when it came out. I liked it a bit more: Like The Raid (a film that has more or less an identical plot), it's an exceedingly solid action flick that's just clever enough to remind you that action flicks don't have to be synonymous with brain death. Karl Urban's performance is tongue-in-cheek and badass, the gleefully gratuitous violence is gloopy, and the sci-fi dystopia adds just enough edge to keep it from feeling overly familiar. Special features aren't too great on the Blu-ray, with the exception of "Mega-City Masters: 35 Years of Dredd" featurette that does a solid job summing up the history of the character and the comic book. ERIK HENRIKSEN
THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE (out now on DVD, and the first two seasons of the show are available on Netflix Instant)—The Inbetweeners Movie really deserves two reviews: One for people who’ve seen British TV show The Inbetweeners, and one for people who haven’t. If I had never seen the TV show, not only would my life be two shades dimmer, but I’d probably dismiss the movie as a British take on gross-out American Pie-style American teen comedies: It’s about four high school friends who go to Greece on vacation, where they drink alarming amounts of booze and desperately try to get laid. Purely on its own merits, it’s an unexceptional entry in the genre. As a cap to the show, however, it’s totally enjoyable. The British TV show follows high schoolers Will, Simon, Neil, and Jay, four friends who stick together as much out of social necessity as genuine affection. They’re not quite at the bottom of the social ladder, but they’re nowhere near the top, and the show’s action is driven by the boys’ endless striving to elevate their status—via girls, drugs, clothes, bands, and other benchmarks of high school coolness.
Season three gets a little too cringe-y for my taste—the characters veer toward cartoonishness for the sake of increasingly outlandish gags—but the first two seasons of the show are notable for how accurate their depiction of what teenaged friendships feels: Constant insults, an ever-shifting hierarchy, and commitment to never letting a joke die:
In other words, watch the show before you watch the movie, or don’t watch it at all. ALISON HALLETT
HIT & RUN (out now on Blu-ray and DVD)—Alison did a great interview with stars Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard when this came out, and then the movie bombed fantastically, which I have decided to blame on Alison. Maybe her interview wasn't great enough? I don't know. Anyway: Hit & Run is totally underrated and likeable, and deserved to do way, way better than it did. A riff on every romantic comedy ever—as well as stuff like Smokey and the Bandit and Vanishing Point, Hit & Run features a whole lot of car chasin', a good amount of both sweet nothings and prickly bickerings between real-life couple Bell and Shepard, and Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper with dreadlocks. Also Tom Arnold? Tom Arnold is in this. This thing's funny and earnest and sweet, and as good of a date movie as came out last year, and it has car chases, so I don't know what else you could possibly need. ERIK HENRIKSEN
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD & CHROME (out now on Blu-ray and DVD)—I'm just kind of tossing this one in here at the end: It's not a movie so much as a failed TV pilot that then got turned into a web series that then got smooshed back together into a direct-to-DVD movie... annnnd it's pretty terrible. Anyway, if you still like Battlestar Galactica—even after that much-grumbled-about finale, and even after whatever Caprica was—here's another attempt at a spinoff, and hey... at least it's better than Caprica? But not by much. Following young, unrecognizable Bill Adama (Luke Pasqualino) as an obnoxious fighter pilot, it basically plays like Battlestar Galactica Babies—what could have felt like an alright military sci-fi show instead feels like its bending over backwards to serve as a prequel for Battlestar, a show that didn't really need a prequel. The fact Syfy skimped on the production—shooting everything against green screen rather than building sets—is readily apparent in how cheap and shiny everything looks; even when the effects artists smother everything in lens flares and overexposed backgrounds to hide the greenscreen, it still looks like all the actors' outlines were cut out with X-Acto knives. Maybe just rewatch Battlestar again? It's all on Netflix Instant. ERIK HENRIKSEN