RT on DVD

RT on DVD: Haunting in Connecticut, Grey Gardens, The State

Plus, an exclusive look at Kristin Cavallari in Van Wilder: Freshman Year

by | July 13, 2009 | Comments

This week in horror, we’ve got good news and bad news. Here’s the bad news first: The Haunting in Connecticut, a much ballyhooed flick “based on a true story,” didn’t really happen. The good news? You can find much fresher scares in a newly released Spanish import (2007’s REC, which was remade into last year’s Quarantine). Also new to shelves is a long-awaited comedy show (The State: The Complete Series), HBO’s fabulous, fictionalized Grey Gardens (starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange), Mark Webber’s directorial debut (Explicit Ills), and a Sienna Miller-Keira Knightley love triangle (The Edge of Love). And to top it off, a direct-to-DVD bonanza (National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: Freshman Year, the Dennis Quaid vehicle Horsemen, and more)!



Who among us believes the phrase, “based on a true story,” anymore? The minds behind this clichéd horror tale seem to, since they emphasize the heck out of the idea that a family (Martin Donovan and Virginia Madsen as the parents of a cancer-stricken teen) in 1980s Connecticut actually encountered ghosts and lived to tell about it. Critics slammed this paranormal tale for its easy scares, derivative nature (Amityville Horror, anyone?), and general inconsistencies; then again, if jump scares, creepy hallucinations, and a box of human eyelids are the sort of terrors you like to see in a horror flick, then perhaps this is the type of horror flick you deserve. Audio commentaries, making-of features, and a look at the “real life” case that inspired the film are included on the DVD.

Next: Spanish scares in the critically acclaimed REC


REC

95%



If clichéd hauntings can’t quite satisfy your hunger for horror, here’s a better option. REC, a 2007 Spanish horror film (remade as 2008’s Quarantine), follows a horrifying outbreak one night in Barcelona, as captured on film by a television reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her camera man. As the camera rolls, an entire apartment building full of residents and emergency crews fall victim to a mysterious infection that turns all who are bitten into bloodthirsty savages, leaving survivors scrambling for a way out. Inventive film techniques helped make REC‘s familiar horror tricks fresh, resulting in a riveting, first-person faux documentary-style experience in the vein of The Blair Witch Project. A making-of feature accompanies the film, which was not previously released stateside.

Next: The State comes to DVD!


The State: The Complete Series

N/A



When it comes to sketch comedy, everyone has their favorites. One of ours here at the RT offices was MTV’s The State, the early ’90s sketch show that gave us such memorable one-liners as “I’m outta heeeerrre.” Various members of The State would go on to create such beloved comedy properties as Reno 911! (Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant, and Keri Kenney), Stella (Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and David Wain), and films like Wet Hot American Summer; watch them way back when in this five disc collection that includes cast commentaries, unaired sketches, interviews, and more.

Next: Drew Barrymore is Little Edie in Grey Gardens



Based on the celebrated 1975 documentary of the same name, Grey Gardens tells a fictionalized version of the lives of “Big Edie” (mother, Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale) and “Little Edie” (daughter, Edith Bouvier Beale), the mother-daughter spinster pair who served as fascinating subjects for documentarians Albert and Davis Maysles. Famously related to Jacqueline Onassis, the Beales lived in squalor in a formerly glorious Hampton mansion, musing back to their younger lives as East Coast debutantes for the Maysles’ camera. HBO Films’ Grey Gardens intertwines the pair’s lives circa 1975, recreating parts of the documentary, with flashbacks to Little Edie’s youth and the Beales’ once-flourishing social life. Watch for critically lauded performances by Jessica Lange (as Big Edie) and Drew Barrymore (as Little Edie); a commentary, featurette, and interviews are also included.

Next: Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller fight over Dylan Thomas in The Edge of Love



World War II is the backdrop for this character drama, based loosely on the life and loves of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (Matthew Rhys) who reconnects with childhood love, Vera (Keira Knightley) in war torn London. Complicating things are Dylan’s wife, Caitlin (Sienna Miller) and then, Vera’s newly shipped-out soldier husband (Cillian Murphy); longing, jealousy, and friendship clash as the threesome play out relationship dramas against director John Maybury’s lush, gorgeous scenes. Alas, beauty isn’t quite enough to save the film from critics, who cite a muddled script and apathy for the characters involved among The Edge of Love‘s disappointments.

Next: A Kristin Cavallari direct-to-DVD twofer!


Van Wilder: Freshman Year — N/A



Another week, another direct-to-DVD flick starring Kristin Cavallari of Laguna Beach fame. The former Lauren Conrad foil continues building her acting resume with this week’s Van Wilder prequel, Van Wilder: Freshman Year, in which a young Van (Jonathan Bennett) desperately tries to land the school hottie at his conservative new college…a school hottie played by Cavallari, natch!

Watch an exclusive DVD clip below:

But wait, there’s more! Cavallari’s been super busy, and appears this week in the direct-to-DVD beach volleyball flick, Beach Kings, about a 30-year-old former athlete (played by the 37-year-old Baywatch hunk, David Charvet) who reclaims his manhood…via beach volleyball!


Next: Dennis Quaid and Zhang Ziyi in Horsemen


Horsemen — N/A



We’re willing to wager that former metal drummer-turned-prolific music video director Jonas Akerlund is not going to be best-remembered for this clunky horror-thriller, which goes direct-to-DVD this week. Dennis Quaid stars as a forensic dental expert — what a specialty! — who discovers that a serial killer may be molding his kills on the Biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. So why is Zhang Ziyi (in stilted English) co-starring as the adopted daughter of a murder victim? And how did Akerlund manage to nab every working indie film actor in the business to fill supporting roles (Lou Taylor Pucci, Eric Balfour, Patrick Fugit, Peter Stormare, Clifton Collins, Jr.)? Perhaps you’ll find the answers within, littered alongside gruesome tortures and plot holes…

Next: Actor Mark Webber makes his directorial debut!



Actor Mark Webber (Bomb the System, Good Dick) makes his directorial debut with this indie drama, about disparate strangers living in the same working class Philadelphia neighborhood. A Philly native himself, Webber (who also wrote the script) inserts his viewer into the lives of artists (Frankie Shaw and Lou Taylor Pucci), a struggling mother (Rosario Dawson), a bohemian couple (Naomie Harris and Tariq Trotter of The Roots), an aspiring actor (Paul Dano) and more, before blending the threads together — a familiar genre ploy that split critics between supporting the film’s social message and resenting its heavy-handed delivery.

Next: A Certified Fresh Foreign Oscar nominee remake of 12 Angry Men!



In remaking Sidney Lumet’s film 12 Angry Men, Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov (who won the Academy Award for 1994’s Burnt by the Sun) posits the classic set-up within the current Russian social climate. During the trial of a young Chechen boy on trial for murder, a lone juror is less convinced than his peers; deliberation ensues, revealing prejudices within each jury member, in this overly talky but well-acted drama. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, the Certified Fresh 12 is one of the week’s best reviewed new releases (but comes at a hefty run time of 160 minutes).

Next: Criterion celebrates the lunar landing with For All Mankind



Before the Discovery Channel, and before such excellent recent films as In the Shadow of the Moon, there was Al Reinart’s 1989 documentary, For All Mankind. Forget the fussy, analytical talking heads that pepper modern accounts of America’s history in space; this experiential doc focuses on actual NASA flight footage, cobbled together from interviews and recordings made between 1968 and 1972. Edited together to look like a single mission, For All Mankind actually depicts parts of six different Apollo flights; know this, and approach the film as a time capsule ode to the moon of sorts. Roughly 40 years after the 1969 moon landing, Criterion is reissuing this doc in high definition along with a wealth of supplemental materials that include astronaut interviews, moon-inspired art, a making-of feature, and more.

Until next week, happy renting!

Tag Cloud

Election ABC cancelled TV shows SDCC Drama critic resources halloween ABC Family scary 2020 Fox Searchlight Sundance trailers Nat Geo a nightmare on elm street 94th Oscars international Anna Paquin Paramount Network LGBT Holiday harry potter HBO Max football Pop TV Character Guide spanish Britbox Focus Features obituary live event suspense nfl comic book movie sopranos Classic Film mcc 007 Freeform hist YouTube Red batman comic slasher Fargo cooking Comics on TV Marvel Television Pride Month ViacomCBS rom-coms golden globes crossover diversity indiana jones Teen Comedy CMT australia Red Carpet marvel cinematic universe video A&E zombies mob Baby Yoda 90s art house Pixar Song of Ice and Fire heist movie Marvel 2019 new zealand scene in color film series saw A24 women Fantasy renewed TV shows reboot scary movies blockbusters robots American Society of Cinematographers Trivia broadcast Disney First Look Hollywood Foreign Press Association screenings comic books revenge hidden camera comiccon Sony TCA 2017 science fiction OneApp Video Games 93rd Oscars italian feel good Star Wars Best Actress zombie Instagram Live french See It Skip It RT History new york animated Tags: Comedy criterion genre streaming hollywood 73rd Emmy Awards Action spider-verse Fall TV independent TNT CNN movies Image Comics Disney Plus BBC America FOX parents binge VH1 Extras Lifetime Christmas movies royal family HBO Go BBC One The Purge Hallmark Christmas movies Wes Anderson television ABC Signature Endgame hispanic heritage month Holidays Set visit Winners japanese leaderboard rotten Biopics APB TV Land summer TV Awards Tour Film 2018 dreamworks romantic comedy TCA Awards Ovation Arrowverse Trailer IFC Films Shudder TV renewals Superheroe video on demand remakes Logo Tokyo Olympics gangster New York Comic Con strong female leads Apple Quiz psycho MCU supernatural Box Office dexter TV boxoffice Stephen King SXSW cinemax Turner Marathons sitcom laika CW Seed screen actors guild Legendary Star Trek The Walking Dead Ellie Kemper festival NBC Rom-Com YouTube marvel comics Amazon disaster twilight Sci-Fi Black History Month Christmas Comic-Con@Home 2021 Lionsgate Oscars anthology dceu Netflix finale Pet Sematary book adaptation Food Network Native crime drama Hulu singing competition social media what to watch IMDb TV all-time scene in color Peacock toronto directors 2017 new star wars movies Bravo HBO Dark Horse Comics Music E3 BET X-Men IFC Sundance Now stop motion cartoon films telelvision Awards live action emmy awards latino elevated horror biography RT21 Oscar Women's History Month WarnerMedia Thanksgiving 2015 aliens Spring TV nbcuniversal Mudbound Pacific Islander USA Network FXX versus 21st Century Fox 24 frames kong theme song Universal docudrama Shondaland Summer universal monsters Sneak Peek mission: impossible Sony Pictures cancelled based on movie Cannes canceled Fox News miniseries king arthur 20th Century Fox Kids & Family adaptation casting VOD Adult Swim documentaries 4/20 king kong Apple TV+ reviews zero dark thirty 45 romance YouTube Premium Creative Arts Emmys Watching Series prank Film Festival unscripted breaking bad superhero Disney+ Disney Plus Premiere Dates Western black comedy rt labs critics edition Mary poppins Captain marvel Ghostbusters Travel Channel The Witch Elton John Neflix Star Wars Celebration ESPN HFPA Schedule news free movies TV movies rt archives Spectrum Originals medical drama MSNBC CBS All Access FX dark Apple TV Plus BAFTA Indigenous Mystery Tomatazos TV One Winter TV Best Actor pirates of the caribbean spider-man venice Writers Guild of America james bond The Academy comedies spanish language Comic Book tv talk adventure high school cancelled television San Diego Comic-Con 79th Golden Globes Awards 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards period drama streaming movies TBS National Geographic Martial Arts AMC Plus Podcast stand-up comedy toy story Amazon Prime Comedy Central Best Director cats godzilla sag awards popular rt labs dc cars trophy President TCA crime Mary Tyler Moore adenture Animation technology NYCC teaser action-comedy fresh Funimation dramedy MTV posters Family Hear Us Out Certified Fresh Emmy Nominations razzies Mindy Kaling asian-american deadpool WGN know your critic movie historical drama black richard e. Grant Brie Larson young adult child's play rotten movies we love DC Comics Nickelodeon Academy Awards debate politics sequels Chernobyl mutant History facebook blockbuster biopic Esquire Lifetime PlayStation cancelled TV series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Heroines obi wan Country vampires Opinion South by Southwest Film Festival Epix classics witnail legend aapi justice league book dragons worst Toys joker composers LGBTQ concert wonder woman thriller Horror FX on Hulu USA best Mary Poppins Returns talk show archives 99% ID GLAAD die hard Sundance TV Trophy Talk critics transformers psychological thriller monster movies halloween tv Photos The CW Infographic Tubi docuseries Acorn TV Paramount Pictures Lucasfilm slashers ITV satire werewolf Binge Guide Amazon Prime Video war Discovery Channel Best Picture Showtime olympics Musical First Reviews Starz Superheroes Crackle true crime OWN name the review streamig nature Reality Competition TruTV Pop foreign ratings hispanic Tumblr indie basketball DirecTV quibi stoner series Netflix Christmas movies SXSW 2022 scorecard Rock kaiju Avengers Broadway award winner Prime Video Rocketman interviews MGM GIFs franchise Vudu japan El Rey worst movies Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Masterpiece Geeked Week green book DC streaming service south america space vs. Warner Bros. game of thrones golden globe awards AMC Turner Classic Movies 72 Emmy Awards Best and Worst spy thriller kids Countdown Super Bowl DGA travel ghosts TCM Disney Channel Grammys Spike YA 1990s serial killer Polls and Games mockumentary political drama The Arrangement Valentine's Day doctor who TLC VICE blaxploitation CBS jurassic park Amazon Studios 71st Emmy Awards Pirates Universal Pictures Tarantino Calendar sports documentary Year in Review E! Paramount Plus Television Academy discovery Exclusive Video spain Interview sequel DC Universe Cartoon Network dogs fast and furious Crunchyroll Reality Disney streaming service canceled TV shows festivals police drama Syfy Musicals NBA TIFF PaleyFest target scene in color SundanceTV GoT Paramount summer TV preview summer preview PBS cults cops lord of the rings comics TCA Winter 2020 crime thriller Columbia Pictures 2016 Alien target scene in color series Nominations Cosplay BBC christmas movies BET Awards anime Walt Disney Pictures Rocky Black Mirror Marvel Studios spinoff jamie lee curtis game show chucky natural history superman Hallmark comic book movies Television Critics Association The Walt Disney Company boxing Emmys 2021 children's TV