RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: An Iron Lady and a Sleeping Beauty

Plus, an alien invasion, a poignant doc, and a couple of Blu-rays.

by | April 10, 2012 | Comments

We’ve got a relatively unremarkable week on home video, so the list will be pretty short. To kick things off, we’ve got Meryl Streep’s latest award-winning effort, an artsy erotic drama, an alien invasion flick that got no love, and Werner Herzog’s latest documentary (he’s so good at those, isn’t he?). Wrapping things up are two reissues: the Elia Kazan film that made Brando a star and the complete box set of a strange daytime soap from the ’60s. See below for the full list!

The Iron Lady

52%

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that will compel critics to say, “It’s worth seeing for the acting alone,” and if ever there was a prime example of this phenomenon, it was last year’s The Iron Lady. In The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep plays former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with the same chameleonic grace she harnessed for her portrayal of Julia Child in 2009’s Julie & Julia. Told primarily in flashback, Phyllida Lloyd’s portrait begins in Thatcher’s youth, then traces her rise to power and chronicles her involvement in certain key historical events. To get a sense of the critical reception to the film, consider the following: Lloyd’s only other feature directorial effort, 2008’s ABBA-themed musical Mamma Mia (which also starred Streep), is actually rated higher on the Tomatometer than The Iron Lady (54% vs. 53%), but for her work on the latter, Streep took home Best Actress honors from the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Academy Awards. In other words, The Iron Lady is worth seeing for the acting alone.

Sleeping Beauty

48%

There were some who initially balked at Sleeping Beauty, what with its explicitly adult themes and the considerably youthful countenance of its star, Emily Browning. And while erotic drama has been somewhat successful recently (see: Lust, Caution and Shame), Sleeping Beauty split critics right down the middle. Based on the 1961 Japanese novella The House of Sleeping Beauties by Yasunari Kawabata, the film stars Browning as Lucy, a troubled yet morose university student who responds to an ad looking for a lingerie-clad server for upscale clients. Before long, she is invited to take things a step further: drink a sedative and lie naked in bed as men of high profile lie next to her — with “no penetration” — and soon the experience begins affecting her daily life. Australian novelist Julia Leigh makes her directorial debut with Sleeping Beauty, and while some critics connected with the film’s underlying feminist themes and praised Leigh’s confident hand, others found it cold, inscrutable, and exploitative. Sitting squarely at 50% on the Tomatometer, it may be exactly what you’re looking for, or it might just creep you out more than you expected.

The Darkest Hour

12%

As far as popular supernatural subgenres of film (vampires, zombies, etc) are concerned, it seems reasonable to expect one or two of every ten to be a decent flick; when it comes to the traditional alien invasion movie, for example, there’s usually at least one Attack the Block to match up against the likes of Battle: Los Angeles, Skyline, and Cowboys & Aliens. Unfortunately, The Darkest Hour, which follows a group of tourists in Russia trying to survive an extraterrestrial attack, falls squarely in the company of the latter. Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella play Sean and Ben, two social networking entrepreneurs looking to market their software in Russia when strange lights in the sky descend up on Moscow and begin vaporizing humans. At 11% on the Tomatometer, it’s probably easy to guess what the problems were with The Darkest Hour: critics found the plot devices trite and contrived, the special effects lazy, and the characters wholly unremarkable. Don’t bet on getting many out-of-this-world kicks from this one.

Into the Abyss

92%

Few directors are as adept at plumbing the depths of humanity as Werner Herzog. Into the Abyss finds the great German director in a contemplative mood, as he explores the issues surrounding the death penalty through the lens of a pair of killers convicted for a particularly brutal murder in Texas. Into the Abyss is a relatively straightforward film for Herzog, though, as usual, he coaxes remarkable anecdotes and personal details out of his interview subjects — some darkly funny, some just plain heartbreaking. Regardless of your opinion on the death penalty, Into the Abyss is powerful, disquieting stuff.

A Streetcar Named Desire – Blu-Ray

97%

It’s considered an American classic, one of the greatest films to come out of Hollywood, and a cultural touchstone for many serious film fans, featuring outstanding, star-making performances — one of the most iconic for Marlon Brando, in fact — and some of the most referenced lines of dialogue. Director Elia Kazan’s adaptation of the Tennesee Williams play, more of a character study than a plot-driven film, centers on the tumultuous marriage between Stanley and Stella Kowalski (Brando and Kim Hunter), which is interrupted by the unannounced arrival of Stella’s sister Blanche (Vivien Leigh), an aging Southern belle whose carefully controlled demeanor conceals a troubled past of her own. Mining provocative themes like domestic abuse, the primal nature of attraction, and even rape, Williams’s original stage production was thought to be too controversial for the screen, but even censored to an extent, Streetcar nevertheless delivered a powerful examination of sexual politics, winning three of the four Acting Oscars (ironically, Brando was the only one not to go home with a trophy). Unfortunately, if you already own the 2-disc Special Edition released back in 2006, then you already own all the special features found on this new Blu-ray, but by all accounts, the hi-def transfer is a good one, so it might be worth picking up anyway.

Dark Shadows – The Complete Original Series

When you can count Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Quentin Tarantino among your hardcore fans, you know you’ve struck a chord with a very specific cult audience, and such is the case for 1960s daytime soap Dark Shadows. Groundbreaking for its time, Dark Shadows was the first dramatic show of its type to rely heavily on supernatural themes, introducing vampires, witches, werewolves, and other creatures into its storyline and playing with ideas of time travel and parallel universes. Though it ended rather abruptly after six seasons, those who grew up watching it or discovered it through reruns have maintained a small, fervent fan base, so much so that Burton and Depp worked together to bring a big-screen adaptation to life (it opens on May 11, which explains why this box set is being released now). Now, this set contains all 1225 episodes of the show on 131 DVDs (you read that right: 131 DVDs!) and a ridiculous amount of extras, all housed within a nifty coffin-shaped box, so its price tag is hefty ($540 on Amazon) and it probably won’t appeal to anyone other than Dark Shadows fanatics with lots of disposable income. But it’s interesting, and it’s timely, so it’s here.

Tag Cloud

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