This Week In Discs: What to Expect Beyond the Black Rainbow With The Loved Ones, Goats, Snow White…

By  · Published on September 11th, 2012

This Week In Discs: What to Expect Beyond the Black Rainbow With The Loved Ones, Goats, Snow White & the Huntsman

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! Lots of new releases hitting shelves today, but only two of them are worth buying!

Which ones are they? Keep reading to find out along with the skinny on sixteen other titles including Andy Garcia’s epic For Greater Glory, Fox’s Terra Nova series, Greta Geriwg’s Lola Versus, the unfinished horrors of Munger Road and more.

As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it.

The Loved Ones

Months after a teenager (Xavier Samuel) loses his father in a car accident his efforts to put the past behind him are interrupted by madness. It seems Lola (Robin McLeavy), a quiet and unassuming classmate, has developed a crush on him and she won’t take no for an answer. What follows is a brutal, suspenseful and unpredictable thriller as he’s forced to find a strength he didn’t know he possessed if he wants to survive. This Australian thriller from writer/director Sean Byrne gets just about everything right including a wonderful cast, sharp editing and wonderfully twisted narrative. Good on Paramount for releasing it unrated, but they suck for the lack of Blu-ray. If you have a region-free Blu-ray player skip this edition and pick up the import Blu from AmazonUK instead. If not, buy this now and enjoy the hell out of it. [Extras: Interviews]

Beyond the Black Rainbow

Pitch: You don’t want to taste this rainbow. Seriously…

Why Buy? A young girl finds herself trapped in a strange laboratory held captive by an even stranger scientist. Most horrifying of all, it appears to be 1983. To say more would be to say too much, but suffice to say that the feature debut from Panos Cosmatos (son of George) is a fever dream of synth music, artistically creepy visuals and a loose narrative. Definitely not for everyone, or even most people, this is one of those movies viewers experience and ingest rather than simply watch. Part horror, part science fiction and all weird as hell. Also available on Blu-ray.

Titanic 3D

Pitch: The edition where Celine Dion shows up and punches you in the face.

Why Buy? Lets not make a big thing out of this, okay? There are people out there who loved this movie ‐ to the tune of about two billion dollars in worldwide grosses in not one, but two theatrical releases. And while I’ve never been one of the Friends of Jack and Rose, there’s no denying that James Cameron’s retelling of the sinking of the RMS Titanic is a technical marvel. One of those films that was made to be displayed on a large, bright screen with the sound turned up (so that you can hear all of the meticulously placed screams from people dying in the water). The 3D Blu-ray offers you such an opportunity. Not only is the 3D remastering one of the better post-conversion jobs in the Post-Conversion Era, but the 2D Blu-ray is nothing short of spectacular, as well. And guess what… You get both in this Limited Edition package. And if you’re a fan of the filmmaking process or the way Leo DiCaprio shouts “Rose!” you’ll also find comfort in the several extra hours of brand new bonus content, including a new retrospective interview with Mr. Cameron himself. You won’t find that on your double VHS set from the late 90s. — Neil Miller

30 Rock: Season Six

Pitch: Smart comedy. Usually…

Why Rent? Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), Jack Donaghy (Alex Baldwin) and the rest of the TGS gang are back for more rollicking adventures centered around their Saturday Night Live-like show on NBC. Between Donaghy’s Korean troubles, Tracy Jordan’s (Tracy Morgan) certifiably crazy antics and Jenna Maroney’s (Jane Krakowski) vanity-inspired outbursts Lemon has her hands filled. With laughs! But seriously, the show continues to be a beacon of comedy on the network’s still somewhat strong Thursday night lineup. It looks like season seven will be its last, so catch up on the various storylines here before the new one starts.

Bad Karma

Pitch: Goodfellas Down Under

Why Rent? An ex-con (Ray Liotta) attempting to put his life in order is confronted by a past accomplice (Dominic Purcell) who forces him back into a life of crime. The plot sounds generic, and while that’s usually the kiss of death for direct to DVD fare this Australia-set feature from director Suri Krishnamma is actually an engaging and entertaining affair. Much of the credit goes to Liotta playing a far more subdued character than viewers are used to seeing. It’s rare to see him playing a sympathetic protagonist, or a lead protagonist period, and it’s a refreshing change of pace. [Extras: None]

Blue Bloods: Season 2

Pitch: Imagine the skeletons in Tom Selleck’s mustache…

Why Rent? The Reagan family loves the law, and they show it by insisting every adult member get a job in the system. Frank (Selleck) is police commissioner, his wife Erin (Bridget Moynahan) is an Assistant District Attorney and their two sons (Mark Wahlberg, Will Estes) are cops. The series follows their individual adventures, but we also see how their lives and careers interact and conflict with each other on a regular basis. This is a solid enough show, but it benefits from a cast of charismatic performers. Selleck in particular remains a star of the small screen. [Extras: Featurettes, commentaries, gag reel, deleted scenes]

Castle: The Complete Fourth Season

Pitch: Who knew a series about the man who played The Shape in Halloween and went on to direct The Last Starfighter would last four seasons…

Why Rent? A bestselling mystery writer (Nathan Fillion) teams up with a NYC detective (Stana Katic) to solve crimes using his educated guesses and deductive reasoning. This ABC series is a lot of fun, but it’s also the most casually ridiculous mystery show on TV by a landslide. It’s so lightweight that episodes disappear from your memory as soon as the credits roll (including the long past its prime “Kate’s mother” storyline), but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. Fillion is a fun, playful actor who makes for a lively leading man and makes up for the show’s formulaic approach to mystery writing. Step one, accuse someone of the crime. Step two, repeat step one. Step three, repeat step two. Step four, arrest first suspect after all. [Extras: Featurettes, commentaries, deleted scenes, bloopers]

For Greater Glory

Pitch: Andy Garcia kicks ass for the lord in this historical epic…

Why Rent? The Mexican government passed laws against the Catholic Church in the early 20th century that led to public executions of priests and the slaughter of parishioners. Standing against them were the Cristeros, a ragtag group of revolutionaries determined to fight for their god-given freedoms against the tyrannical Mexican President and his army. Garcia gives a respectable performance as the leader of the Cristiada, and while most of the cast are equally strong there are two duds… Eva Longoria is bland and Peter O’Toole is just depressing to watch here. The film gets a bit preachy at times in the godliest meaning of the word, but it manages a pretty good pace for its two and a half hour run time. [Extras: Featurette]

Ghosts of the Abyss 3D

Pitch: Sorry conspiracy theorists, James Cameron and Bill Paxton have an alibi for their whereabouts on 9/11…

Why Rent? back in 2001, Cameron and Paxton visited the real Titanic on the ocean floor using mini-subs and remote control camera units, and they returned with impressively dreamy and beautiful footage available in 2D and 3D flavors. The desolate ship’s remains aren’t necessarily as awe-inspiring as they were when the wreck was first discovered, but the action surrounding the exploration makes up for it. Remote units get trapped in the giant, metal carcass and Zodiac Cowboys ride subs in choppy waters, and both of these sequences bring new excitement to an old story. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Extended and original versions, featurette]


Pitch: Whatever you do, don’t let David Duchovny near the goa ‐ — oh hell…

Why Rent? Ellis (Graham Phillips) is a teenager in flux. He lives with his selfish hippie mother (Vera Farmiga), her new boy toy (Justin Kirk) and the goat man (Duchovny), but when he gets into an exclusive private school dramas soon arise. The cast here is pretty fantastic (and also includes Ty Burrell and Keri Russell), but the script by Mark Jude Pourier doesn’t really give them much to do. It’s meant to be a coming of age type film, but is seemingly already the most mature one here. The performances are good, there are some fun exchanges and Duchovny is almost always entertaining, so it’s worth a watch anyway. Also available on Blu-ray. [Extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes]

Karate Robo Zaborgar

Pitch: Gives new meaning to the term pocket-rocket…

Why Rent? Yutaka Daimon is a top cop who fights crime with the aid of his trusty robot friend Zaborgar. The mechanized black-belt doubles as Daimon’s motorcycle thanks to transforming abilities, and together they may be all that stands between humanity and a growing evil. This is a fun, action-filled flick that’s almost guaranteed to be free of director Noboru Iguchi’s usual anal affections. The effects are a mix of the very cool and the very homemade, but they’re all entertaining in a deliriously goofy way, and it’s hard not to get caught up in things when robots start battling. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Short films]

Lola Versus

Pitch: The third act really could have used a volcano…

Why Rent? Lola (Greta Gerwig) thinks she has her life figured out as she approaches her wedding day, but when her fiance dumps her that organized life goes out the window. Free to date but confused as to why she steps out into the world totally unprepared. This is a challenging dramatic comedy in the sense that the lead character is unlikeable and often uninteresting in her artificial dramas. Thankfully the script by Zoe Lister-Jones and director Daryl Wein finds some winners in the supporting characters who offer up real laughs and honest conflict. Watch it, but be prepared to risk that Gerwig crush you may or may not be harboring. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Deleted scenes, alternate ending, outtakes, featurettes, commentary]

Snow White and the Huntsman

Pitch: Includes an extended version with more dialogue, drama and infidelity…

Why Rent? The legend of Snow White gets a gritty(ish) retelling with Kristen Stewart in the title role and a beautifully vicious Charlize Theron playing the evil queen. Chris Hemsworth is the huntsman sent to kill the young princess, but he instead falls for her feminine charms and boyish figure and together they set out to bring down the queen. Director Rupert Sanders has crafted a darkly entertaining fairy tale complete with humor, action and some impressive visuals. Sure the Snow White character is a bit of an afterthought here, but the others make up for the lapse. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Extended and theatrical versions, featurettes, commentary]

Spartacus: Vengeance ‐ Complete Second Season

Pitch: Fatty slaves would never rebel…

Why Rent? After season one’s (Blood & Sand) epic slave revolt led by Spartacus succeeded in bloody and brutal fashion the survivors are struggling to avoid Roman retribution while on the run. The bloody, sexy and visually dazzling Starz series returns to continue Spartacus’ story, but sadly it does so without original star, Andy Whitfield, who succumbed to cancer a year ago today. The new season is still over the top entertainment (complete with excess CGI blood), but it lacks the heart that Whitfield’s performance brought. Lucy Lawless does return though, and that’s actually the only misstep as her character often feels more annoying than threatening. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Featurettes, bloopers, commentaries]

Terra Nova: The Complete Series

Pitch: Welcome to the land that audiences forgot…

Why Rent? The world is an overpopulated nightmare filled with unbreathable air and a totalitarian government, and the only hope for mankind is found millions of years in the past. A family of five joins hundreds of people sent back in time to start again, but the troubles of the future may be nothing compared to the troubles of the past which include rebel factions, jungle mysteries and carnivorous dinosaurs. This Fox series only lasted thirteen episodes, and that’s kind of a shame. Sure the teenage son is annoying as hell, but the show is a fun adventure filled with solid dinosaur effects, entertaining action sequences and a fierce Stephen Lang. [Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes, commentary, gag reel]

Munger Road

Pitch: It’s a dead end…

Why Avoid? A quartet of teens head out to the local fright spot to tempt ghosts on the same night a maniacal madman escapes from custody and heads back to the town and townspeople he loathes. Here’s the deal (possible spoiler ahead, but I don’t think so)… this is basically half of a good movie trapped inside half of a movie period. The teen storyline starts strong and quickly devolves into stupidity, but the second narrative following two cops (including Bruce Davison) racing to find the escaped convict before the bloodshed starts again is actually exciting, suspenseful fun. But then the goddamn movie ends with a “To be continued” on the screen. That’s a rip off of the highest order when it wasn’t made clear in advance, and more importantly, the film doesn’t stand on its own as a complete story. Quality wise this would be a rental, but that ending is unforgivable. [Extras: Featurettes]

A Night In the Woods (UK)

Pitch: Is rarely a good idea…

Why Avoid? A couple and a conspicuous third wheel head into the English countryside for a night of camping fun, but as the trio fractures over relationship issues and lies revealed they discover all is not right in the dark. The wonderfully named Scoot McNairy is the only recognizable face of the three, but he’s not enough to distract from the flimsy setup and script behind this found footage flick. The first half’s focus on drama over horror works well enough as a character piece, but once the horror actually arrives the film falls apart in a pile of nonsensical happenings. Filmmakers need to remember that the found footage format isn’t a replacement for a tight script and legitimate scares. NOTE: This is an import DVD from the UK. Be sure your player is capable of reading region 2 DVDs before ordering.

Stealing Las Vegas

Pitch: “When they roll the dice they roll to win” is the tagline, which separates them from everyone else how exactly…

Why Avoid? A group of casino employees in Las Vegas discover the hotel’s owner (Eric Roberts) is about to fire half the staff even as he’s preparing to give away a massive cash prize to entice in more visitors. They rent one of the many available copies of Tower Heist from Blockbuster and are struck with inspiration. This direct to DVD heist flick isn’t trying to be a comedy, but it also doesn’t really try to be a thriller. The characters are all a bit bland, and the plan lacks even a quarter the pizazz of any of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s heists. Roberts shows some spark, but it’s not enough to warrant a watch. [Extras: Commentary, deleted scenes]

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Pitch: Hell. Hell is the answer apparently…

Why Avoid? A quintet of women (Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Brooklyn Decker, Anna Kendrick) deal with their motherly urges as they find themselves expecting the pitter patter of little feet sometime in the next nine months. Not all of them will give birth, and one isn’t even pregnant, but almost none of them will do anything of interest here. The onslaught of ensemble romantic comedies from Hollywood continues, and like most of them this one crashes and burns with a paper thin concept and a weak script. The only entertainment to be found comes (ironically) from the brief all-male scenes as the fathers walk their kids and induct new dads into the group. Also available on Blu-ray. [Extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes]

Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show, review material was unavailable, and I have no blind opinion:

6 Bullets
Adopting Terror
The Big Bang Theory: Complete Fifth Season
The Hammer House of Horror: The Complete Series
Person of Interest: Season One
Produced By George Martin
Rosewood Lane
Up All Night: Season One

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.