RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Jackass 3D and Morning Glory

Plus, a few imports, a Paul Haggis thriller, and two acclaimed docs.

by | March 8, 2011 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve again got a wide variety of choices for you discriminating movie lovers out there. The highest profile films are comprised of the latest Jackass antics, a Paul Haggis thriller with Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks, and a news satire featuring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton. Then, we’ve got a rollicking satire of Islamic terrorism (you read that right) from the UK, a couple of Asian imports, two critically acclaimed documentaries from 2010, and the latest volume of Mystery Science Theater 3000. So read on and see if there’s anything worth picking up for you.

Jackass 3-D

66%

The Jackass 3D experience this editor had was in D-Box, a theater seat technology that makes it possible for viewers to be kicked around in sync with Steve-O as he goes hurtling through the air in a full port-o-john. The grandeur of it all was even too much to blog about (I’ve tried), so the DVD release of this film can only ever seem like a postcard reminder of a great vacation — but perhaps it can be more to you. You know what the worst part of the experience was? The drunkenness, a hobby more safely practiced in chairs that don’t kick you around; this would seem a big benefit of at-home viewing. Also, the rewind features. One could watch Steve-O get kicked by that donkey a thousand times and still want more. Additionally, the Blu-Ray features offer dubbing in three languages that aren’t English. Those are the makings of a big night in, if you ask us.

Morning Glory

55%

With a cast that includes Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, and Jeff Goldblum, a relatively solid director in Roger Michell (six of his eight films are Fresh), and a timely subject (news sensationalism), one would be inclined to think Morning Glory would be pretty successful. Unfortunately, critics were merely lukewarm on the movie, giving it a middling 54% on the Tomatometer. The story revolves around a young TV news producer (McAdams) who is fired and reluctantly takes a job with a struggling morning news show, where she dukes it out with a curmudgeonly anchor (Ford) and his combative co-host (Keaton). Though the film bears some resemblance to the James L. Brooks classic Broadcast News, and the cast is, in fact, worth watching, Morning Glory ultimately falls flat because its tone is inconsistent and its storyline too familiar. For better or worse, it’s available on DVD and Blu-Ray this week.

Inside Job

98%

The 2011 Best Documentary Oscar winner, Inside Job is a sleek, infuriating, and meticulously detailed examination of the current economic crisis. Director Charles Ferguson interviews (and sometimes interrogates) politicians, bank managers, economists, and others who predicted the financial crash ? or had a hand in it. It might sound like a snooze, but Inside Job is beautifully photographed, convincingly argued (thanks in part to Matt Damon’s assured narration), and briskly edited; it would also be absurdly funny if it weren’t so infuriating. If you’re in the mood for additional outrage, he DVD features even more interviews, as well as a commentary track with Ferguson and producer Audrey Marrs and a short making-of doc.

The Next Three Days

50%

Despite the fact that 2004’s Crash has become one of the more hotly debated Best Picture winners in recent memory, Paul Haggis’s track record for films he?s both written and directed (which, frankly, only includes Crash and In the Valley of Elah) is relatively good. Enter The Next Three Days, a thriller starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks about a woman (Banks) who’s accused of a murder she says she didn’t commit, and her husband’s (Crowe) efforts both to prove her innocence and, ultimately, to break her out of jail. Unfortunately for Haggis, the film didn’t resonate so well with critics, who felt that, despite the best efforts of its two star leads, Three Days lacked both a consistent pace and a believable plot. Currently at 50% on the Tomatometer, this could work for you if you don’t mind suspending your disbelief for a bit, and you’re a fan of Crowe or Banks.

A Film Unfinished

98%

If you took a detailed look at our Golden Tomato Awards earlier this year, you probably came across A Film Unfinished in the top ten Limited Release films of the year. Written and directed by first-timer Yael Hersonski, the documentary focuses on the making of an unfinished (natch) Nazi propaganda film about the Warsaw Ghetto just two months before the ghetto was overrun by German forces in 1942. Utilizing footage from the film itself (which had no soundtrack and featured many staged sequences masquerading as documentary footage), interviews with former residents, and even testimony from the film’s cinematographer, Hersonski presents a haunting, heartbreaking historical document that provides a revealing glimpse into the Nazi propaganda machine. A Film Unfinished comes highly recommended with a whopping Certified Fresh 96% on the Tomatometer, though it certainly isn’t something you’d watch if you’re looking for an upbeat movie.

The Man From Nowhere

Just this past weekend, South Korea’s I Saw the Devil hit US theaters in limited release, but it’s only the most recent in a string of brutal (and often effective) revenge flicks that have come out of Korea recently. Just last year, The Man From Nowhere opened in just a handful of theaters across the country, and only for a few days, but the few who did see the film (mostly on the festival circuit) had lots of praise for it. Won Bin (Mother) plays Tae-Sik, a quiet ex-con pawn shop owner who befriends the young daughter of a junkie stripper; when the deadbeat mom steals product from some local gangsters and they kidnap both her and her daughter, Tae-Sik hunts them down to exact justice. While there is certainly a fair share of graphic violence and hiney-kicking going on, Man From Nowhere is also infused with a bit of the same subtle humor found punctuating other South Korean thrillers. If you’re looking for a visceral punch to the gut, this movie will give it to you.

Four Lions

83%

No one will argue that it was more than a little audacious for Christopher Morris to tackle the subject of terrorism in a black comedy, but the actor-turned-director was no stranger to controversy, having tackled some touchy issues as an anchor on the UK parody news show The Day Today and as a faux undercover reporter on spoof documentary show Brass Eye. Four Lions, Morris’s debut feature, follows four bumbling Islamic terrorists in their efforts to undertake a successful suicide bombing. While the premise might suggest the presence of tasteless and offensive humor, the film actually manages to navigate those controversial waters and emerge with a smart and funny satire that touches on some uncomfortable truths. Critics praised the film to the tune of a Certified Fresh 80% Tomatometer, which promises a worthy watch if you’re willing to check your preconceived notions at the door.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

89%

Back before Japanese animator extraordinaire Hayao Miyazaki released films like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, he made a film called Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, based on a manga he also wrote. Many consider this to be the unofficial birth of the famed Studio Ghibli, which has produced all of his films since. Originally released in Japan in 1984 and rereleased in the US in 2005 (featuring voice dubbing by Alison Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Patrick Stewart, and Uma Thurman, among others), Nausicaa is a post-apocalyptic fantasy film about an environmentally conscious warrior princess who inserts herself in the middle of a war in an effort to stop the destruction of the land. With themes that mirror those of Princess Mononoke, Nausicaa is considered by Miyazaki fans to be one of his classics, and this week, Disney DVD is bringing it home on Blu-Ray. The special features, though sparse, are engaging: two doc on Studio Ghibli, a making-of featurette, a feature-length storyboard presentation, and more. This is a great pickup for Miyazaki fans. (For those who are curious, another Studio Ghibli anime, Tales from Earthsea, by Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro Miyazaki, is also available this week on home video.)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XX

The latest collection from MST3K has arrived, once again featuring the wacky riffs of Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, and Joel. For those unfamiliar, Mystery Science Theater was a long-running (11 years, to be exact) TV program that screened some of the worst cinema to hit celluloid, while the aforementioned cast cracked jokes throughout each movie. This most recent offering features the MST3K team’s takes on such renowned classics as Project Moonbase, The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, Master Ninja, and, of course, Master Ninja II. Also included in the set are extras like an interview with Bill McKinney, star of Master Ninja; a featurette exploring the look of < em>MST3K with the show’s DP, Jeff Stonehouse; and a Dragon-Con Panel featuring “Tom Servo Vs. Tom Servo.”

Written by Ryan Fujitani, Sara Vizcarrondo, and Tim Ryan