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“Hot Tub Time Machine” DVD is dated; “Creation” needs another look

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: HollywoodNews.com stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we review:

“Hot Tub Time Machine”
I can’t help but believe that Steve Pink’s “Hot Tub Time Machine” missed a golden opportunity to truly lampoon the excessive ’80s decade — and probably left a little money on the table as a result.

By sending John Cusack back to the magical era of such ribald comedies as “Better Off Dead,” “Sixteen Candles” or “The Sure Thing,” “Time Machine” should have riffed on an established comedic formula to capture the reasons why a certain generation cherishes those films. Instead, Pink unleashes co-stars Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson for a tasteless string of vomit, piss, and dog crap jokes. Ugh. We traveled back in time for this?

Now on DVD, the unrated “Hot Tub” comes with 90 seconds of additional footage (!!), deleted or extended scenes, and a series of trailers. Sadly, it’s about as disappointing as the actual movie.

The movie – *1/2 out of 4
The DVD – *

What went wrong with “Creation,” a handsomely crafted period biopic of the educational studies and emotional loses of Charles Darwin (played, with wit and wisdom, by the underrated Paul Bettany)?

After enjoying a ballyhooed premiere at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival — it was part of the esteemed Gala presentations — Jon Amiel’s historical drama about the life’s work of the British naturalist slipped off the radar. It received a limited release in January, was met with lukewarm reviews (and reception), and now arrives on DVD.

It deserves a look. Amiel deftly splits his narrative into two gripping halves, focusing evenly on Darwin’s penning of the controversial “The Origin of Species” and on the gradual death of his eldest daughter, Annie (Martha West, who is fantastic). Amiel’s reliance on easy clichés cripples the film’s impact, though Bettany’s terrific and his performance inspires competence from Connelly, his real-life spouse.

Extras on the “Creation” DVD also are worth a look. Lionsgate includes an audio commentary track, a “Making of” documentary, more than 10 featurettes on Darwin’s research and the filmmaking process, and the informative “Pollard on Film” reel that dives into Amiel’s movie.

The movie – **1/2 out of 4
The DVD – ***

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