RT on DVD: Rachel Getting Married, Milk Lead Super Fresh New Releases

Let the Right One In, Batman Anthology also hit shelves.

by | March 9, 2009 | Comments

Home video enthusiasts, prepare yourself for what may be the best week ever! This week you’ll have to choose between Academy Award flicks Rachel Getting Married (Best Actress Nominee, Anne Hathaway) and Milk (Best Actor, Sean Penn), plus a few films that should have been honored at this year’s Oscars (Happy-Go-Lucky, Let the Right One In). Next, consider a Certified Fresh comedy (Role Models), a Charlie Kaufman original (Synecdoche, New York), and a pair of period pics (Cadillac Records, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas). We won’t judge if you give Jason Statham’s latest a spin (Transporter 3), but we do insist that Blu-ray viewers pay attention to a few key re-mastered releases (Pinocchio 70th Anniversary Edition, The Batman Anthology). Dig in to RT on DVD for more!

Anne Hathaway put those Princess Diaries days behind her with an excellent (and Oscar-nominated) performance as Kym, a recovering drug addict who powers her way through her sister’s wedding like a locomotive in Jonathan Demme‘s Rachel Getting Married. Director Demme, best known for making films like The Silence of the Lambs (and in recent years, the acclaimed documentaries Neil Young: Heart of Gold and Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains), lends the proceedings the feel of a verité film, his viewer another guest at the weekend nuptials; the script from Jenny Lumet (Sidney’s daughter) stings and warms in equal measure.

One notable DVD featurette examines the film’s eclectic soundtrack, which includes songs from Robyn Hitchcock (who performs on-screen during the wedding), and TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adembimpe (who in a key role, plays Rachel’s fiancé). Deleted scenes, a cast and crew Q&A, and two commentary tracks highlight the remainder of the bonus menu. Watch an exclusive clip below.

Next: Watch Sean Penn’s Oscar-winning performance in Milk

Milk — 93%

Two weeks ago on Oscar night, a pair of acceptance speeches reminded us that sometimes movies are about more than just entertainment. Both Sean Penn (who won the Academy Award for Best Actor) and Dustin Lance Black (who won for Best Original Screenplay) honored slain San Francisco politician and gay rights advocate Harvey Milk, whose life and work became the basis for Gus Van Sant’s moving biopic, Milk. Penn, no stranger to politics, and Black, a Mormon-raised gay writer who thanked Milk for helping him overcome his own struggles, are just two reasons to pick up the triumphant, bittersweet period drama this week. (Need another reason? It’s among the best-reviewed films of 2008.)

Bonus features include deleted scenes and three featurettes on the real-life Harvey Milk and the intersection of Hollywood and gay rights.

Next: The best movie you didn’t see in 2008, Let the Right One In

A piece of future advice for 2010: don’t get caught buying a ticket to the American remake of Let the Right One In without having seen the original. This Swedish vampire tale, adapted by writer John Ajvide Lindqvist from his own novel and directed by Tomas Alfredson, is a quiet miracle of a film that, in this writer’s opinion, deserved a shot at the Foreign Oscar race (it went un-nominated by its home country). Part fang horror, part coming-of-age romance, Let the Right One In tells the story of young, bullied Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) and his new neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), a girl who appears to be Oskar’s age but in fact is a blood-drinking vampire who must keep her secret from the public eye; when her older human caretaker leaves (was he once, like Oskar, young and in love with Eli?) the pair turn to one another for help and companionship, captured poetically by Alfredson. It’s one of the most beautiful — and dark, and darkly humorous — films of last year, and a much-needed jumpstart to a genre that’s become reliant on mediocrity and gore.

Deleted scenes and a making-of documentary comprise a disappointingly light special features menu, but if sales do well don’t be surprised to get a commentary track on an eventual double dip.

Next: Catch Sally Hawkins’ infectious cheer in Happy-Go-Lucky!

Should British actress Sally Hawkins have earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a supremely cheerful school teacher in Mike Leigh‘s Happy-Go-Lucky? We say yes, but judge for yourself this week as the intimate, infectious film makes its way to home video. Through a series of real-life trials that might test the patience of any normal person, the effervescent Poppy (Hawkins, who workshopped the role with Leigh) maintains a smile no matter how rough life gets — to the consternation of her grumpy driving instructor, Scott (a hilariously on-edge Eddie Marsan), and perhaps, also to viewers. Only a few extra features are to be found here, including a commentary track by director Leigh, although one behind-the-scenes featurette in particular provides insight into the creation of the film and of the Poppy character, whose bliss is anything but ignorant.

Next: Raunchy laughs with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott in Role Models

Role Models — 76%

Director David Wain has had a hit-or-miss career with his comedies (I blame that Stella sense of humor) but his latest flick, Role Models, is a solid combination of crass humor, strong characterizations, and dorkiness of the RPG-playing kind. Which is to say, I was sold. The Certified Fresh comedy — a rarity these days, unless your name is Judd Apatow — follows energy drink-selling buddies Danny and Wheeler (Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott) sentenced to mentor a pair of troubled kids as community service: sword-wielding LARP devotee (that’s Live Action Role Playing game to you non-nerds), Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, AKA Superbad‘s McLovin’) and foul-mouthed troublemaker Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson, who steals the show).

The DVD includes both the theatrical cut and an uncut version that runs three minutes longer, as well as a host of featurettes/deleted scenes/alternate takes. Look for Knocked Up OB-GYN Ken Jeong in a scene-stealing role as the king of Augie’s role-playing realm.

Next: Charlie Kaufman’s challenging Synecdoche, New York

If you’re a fan of Charlie Kaufman, chances are you’re enamored of the signature complexities of his screenplays for films like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Well, if you like those Kaufman flicks, just try to wrap your mind around his latest, which also marks his directorial debut. Synecdoche, New York tells the story of a struggling playwright (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who decides to mount his life’s greatest work — an autobiographical play with no ending — in a giant warehouse, casting actors to play himself and his loved ones until the whole thing takes on a meta-quality that will have you scratching your head well past the end credits. It’s impressive stuff, if fairly impenetrable; as Roger Ebert advises, see it twice. Four DVD featurettes, including a Blogger’s Roundtable discussion of the film with Glenn Kenny, Walter Chaw, Andrew Grant, Karina Longworth, and Chris Beaubien, should help you filter Kaufman’s opus.

Next: Transporter 3 the worst of the franchise, but hey — it’s Jason Statham!

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who actually want to see Transporter 3, and those who wouldn’t do it for a million bucks. (There’s also my kind — people who had to see it and wish they didn’t.) While the first Transporter (53%) is a straight-up pleasure, and the second (51%) is more of a guilty one, this third flick — directed by Olivier Megaton, who named himself after Hiroshima — is a slim imitation of a Transporter movie, and features the worst actress of the entire franchise (newcomer Natalya Rudakova, who was apparently discovered by Luc Besson on the street). But if you like the idea of watching Jason Statham fight baddies using a dress shirt as a weapon (all the while getting increasingly unclothed), then Transporter 3 might not feel like a complete waste of time.

Next: Beyonce, Mos Def sing the blues in Cadillac Records

If soul music is your bag, then Cadillac Records should be worth a rental; the biographical tale of Chess Records, the studio that brought musicians like Etta James (Beyonce Knowles) and Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright) to the masses in the 1960s, earned decent enough reviews but critics agreed the light drama coasted on the strength of its music. Adrien Brody stars as Leonard Chess, the R&B-loving businessman who made it all happen; Beyonce, Wright, and Mos Def (as Chuck Berry) hit all the right notes in performing their own songs. Featurettes, deleted scenes, and a commentary by director Darnell Martin supplement the disc.

Next: Holocaust dramatics in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

A German boy befriends a Jewish prisoner and begins to question the Nazi way of life in this Holocaust drama, which drew mixed reviews from critics. While some thought it among the best films of the year, others criticized its execution and the decision to turn an event as horrific as the Holocaust into a parable. Deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and a commentary track by writer/director Mark Herman and author John Boyne, who wrote the original book of the same name.

Next: Pinocchio celebrates his 70th birthday on Blu-ray

Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray — 100%

It’s hard to believe that Disney’s classic adventure Pinocchio is already celebrating its 70th birthday, but what’s even more incredible is how good a job the Mouse House has done with this Blu-ray release; every single scene is a dazzling work of art. Disney’s remastering process has burnished the film with an amazing clarity and richness, so much so that watching Pinocchio again this way is like watching it for the first time. You’ll be swept away by the painterly details that the Blu-ray cut reveals — the way something as simple as an ocean wave laps against another in the background, or how the camera turns to follow Pinocchio walk up and down a street despite the medium’s two-dimensional constraints.

Fans of the wooden hero (or of Disney animation history in general) should employ either the new pop up trivia track or the “Cine-Explore” track featuring film critic Leonard Maltin, animator Eric Goldberg, and J.B. Kaufman. In addition to behind-the-scenes documentary features that cover all things Pinocchio, Disney has included deleted scenes (told via storyboards), production galleries, archival trailers from every one of Pinocchio‘s theatrical releases, games, alternate viewing options (including the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio), and, as with Disney’s Blu-ray titles, a standard DVD of the film. Wish upon a star for this stellar (and limited edition!) Blu-ray release.

Next: Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology on Blu-ray

It’s that Bat-time, people: time to sit down with all four pre-Nolan Batman flicks and revisit the franchise before the franchise, from Batman (69%) to Batman Returns (77%) to Batman Forever (44%) to Batman & Robin (12%)! Warner Bros. is releasing all four films to DVD and Blu-ray (each in their own 2-disc Special Edition), and though the set does not include either Batman Begins (84%) or The Dark Knight (94%) (or the camp-tastic 1966 version), keep in mind that a double and triple dip is inevitable. That said, if you’re a Batman completist and love the high def format, you’ll find that these remastered flicks look and sound good even one to two decades after initial release. Just watch out for those Blu-ray-enhanced codpieces.

A host of commentary tracks, deleted scenes, featurettes, and even a four-film spanning “Shadows of the Bat” documentary come within the box set, though there are no added materials beyond what has already appeared in the anthology on standard DVD.

Until next week, happy renting!

Tag Cloud

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