RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The King's Speech and Rabbit Hole

Plus, more Certified Fresh gems, a martial arts flick, and Jack Black.

by | April 19, 2011 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got quite a few great films to choose from. Four of the new releases are Certified Fresh, and this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner is among them. The others are comprised of a hard-hitting drama that earned Nicole Kidman an Oscar nod of her own, an epic journey through the Siberian wilderness, and Sofia Coppola’s latest melancholic tale of relationships. Then, we’ve got Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen’s sequel to his recent martial arts hit and a Jack Black misfire based on a classic novel, as well as the week’s new Criterion Collection releases. Check out what’s new this week below.



The King’s Speech

94%

Let’s be honest here: Colin Firth was sort of a “that guy” for a long time, until he showed up opposite Renee Zellwegger in Bridget Jones’s Diary. But there was always a certain charisma to his personality, and people witnessed his potential in full blossom when he starred as a troubled gay man on the verge of suicide in last year’s A Single Man. Fast forward to November of the same year, and we have the culmination of more than two decades of acting in Firth’s rousing Best Actor win for portraying King George VI. But let’s not sell the movie short; The King’s Speech was nominated for a whopping 12 Oscars, and it took home four of the five major awards, including Firth’s award, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. For those who have spent the better part of the last six months avoiding mass media, the story revolves around the newly crowned King George VI, who suffers from a speech impediment, and the deep friendship he develops with his Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Critics stamped their approval on the film in the form of a Certified Fresh 95% on the Tomatometer, and though some have complained about some of the historical inaccuracies in the film, it remains an entertaining, superbly acted, and stylishly produced film, and it arrives on home video this week.



Rabbit Hole

87%

Our second pick this week is another Certified Fresh film, one that earned its lead actress, Nicole Kidman, an Oscar nod back in February. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Rabbit Hole centers on grieving couple Becca and Howie Corbett (Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, respectively) who have just lost their only son in a tragic car accident. While Becca tries desperately to move on with life, confiding in her mother (Dianne Wiest) and connecting with the young man (Miles Teller) responsible for her son’s death in an attempt to make sense of things, Howie instead chooses to dwell in the past, finding it difficult to cope and entertaining the temptation to find comfort in the arms of another woman. The film is certainly not a joyful romp, and it’s often painful to watch, but critics praised Rabbit Hole‘s finely written script and standout performances to the tune of 87% on the Tomatometer. This is powerful, evocative drama, and those looking for a deep exploration of grief will find a lot to like here.



Gulliver’s Travels

20%

Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels is a cleverly written satirical look at human nature, a classic piece of literature taught at the highest levels of education to this day. But when you’ve got Jack Black headlining a film adaptation of the work, you can be sure the term “loosely based” applies in spades. In this particular iteration, Black plays Lemuel Gulliver, an aspiring travel writer looking for his first big break who is sent to the Bermuda Triangle to draft an article debunking its myths. Naturally, Gulliver ends up shipwrecked on Liliput, whose inhabitants lock him up as a threat to their safety until he helps rescue both the Liliputian Princess Mary (Emily Blunt) and King (Billy Connolly). Jack Black is, well, Jack Black, and there’s no one else quite like him, but critics overall had some problems with the movie’s reliance on juvenile humor and special effects at the expense of the source material’s brilliant commentary. If your fondness for classic lit isn’t compromised by giant wedgies, pee jokes, and Liliputians utilized in a giant foosball table, then hey, this is right up your alley.



Somewhere

70%

Looking at the films that Sofia Coppola has directed over the years, one gets the sense that the auteur, whose work is infused with meditative ennui, could do with a trip to Disneyland or a girls’ night out with her BFFs. But whatever deep seated melancholy Coppola may be tapping into, her films are largely well-received, and this is no different for her latest effort, Somewhere, starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning. Dorff plays Johnny Marco, a Hollywood star coasting through celebrity on a steady diet of pills and easy women, feeling precious little and socializing only occasionally. When his pre-teen daughter Cleo (Fanning) suddenly shows up on his doorstep to announce she’ll be staying with him full-time, the two of them begin to bond, and Cleo lends meaning to Johnny’s otherwise meaningless life. Somewhere is Coppola’s third Certified Fresh film at 72%, and critics felt that while the movie touches on familiar territory for the director, it’s nevertheless a seductively pensive meditation on the nature of celebrity and features charming performances from its two leads. Fans of Coppola and her storytelling style will undoubtedly enjoy it.



Kes – Criterion Collection

100%

One of the most celebrated of all British films, Kes is an achingly poignant and honest coming-of-age tale. Made at the tail end of the British “kitchen sink” era of cinematic realism, Ken Loach’s first theatrical feature is the tale of a bullied, mischievous boy who finds solace by caring for a falcon. Loach’s leftist sensibilities are evident here, and he’s aided by remarkably naturalistic performances from nonprofessional actors. The result is a devastating portrait of blue-collar malaise. A swanky new Criterion disc features a new transfer of the film supervised by Loach, as well as several interviews with the director and Cathy Come Home, Loach’s 1966 made-for-television docudrama.



The Way Back

74%

Our last Certified Fresh pick this week is another well-received, based-on-true-events story, inspired by a memoir written by Sławomir Rawicz, a polish POW who allegedly escaped from a Siberian gulag. Starring an impressive cast that includes Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Mark Strong, and Saoirse Ronan, the film follows roughly the same plot, as seven inmates together break free from the gulag in the midst of a blizzard and make way towards Mongolia. The ensuing story depicts the group’s struggle for survival as they battle not only the harsh wilderness that surrounds them on their journey, but also the sense of impending doom that threatens to swallow them whole and destroy their morale. Directed by Peter Weir (Witness, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), the film impressed critics, who felt that its sweeping ambition, strong performances, and grand visual spectacle deserved a Certified Fresh 75% on the Tomatometer, even if the film wasn’t as emotionally involving as it could have been. A good choice for those who enjoy epic journeys in distant lands and themes of man vs. nature, and it’s available this week.



Sweetie – Criterion Collection

89%

After a successful career making TV movies, Jane Campion burst onto the international cinema scene with Sweetie in 1989. The auteur who would go on to make such arthouse hits as The Piano and Bright Star displayed stylistic panache and an observant eye in this portrait of a dysfunctional family that is often blind to its own internal problems. Sisters Kay and Sweetie are polar opposites in many ways ? the former is a mousy factory worker, the latter a wild child with unrealistic showbiz aspirations. This quirky character study is both sweet and sour ? and offers proof of Campion’s nascent skill. The new director-approved Criterion disc offers a commentary track from Campion, some of her early shorts, interviews, and behind-the scenes images.



Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster

97%

In recent years, as old kung fu favorites Jackie Chan and Jet Li have started to wind down their careers a bit, Donnie Yen has stepped into the spotlight as a true force to be reckoned with. There are a few of us here in the RT office who are big martial arts fans, and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of Yen’s Ip Man, released Stateside in 2010 in all its speed-punching, face-flattening glory. Just a few months later, Yen reprised his role as the titular master of Wing Chun in Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster, but few saw it, and this week it arrives on home video. The sequel focuses on Ip Man’s struggle to teach Wing Chun in the face of corrupt Hong Kong martial artists and an oppressive British colonial regime, culminating in visceral fight sequences between Yen and Jackie Chan contemporary Sammo Hung, as well as an East vs. West duel in a boxing ring. Now, these themes are fairly common in Hong Kong martial arts flicks, but Yen has proven himself to be capable of standing with the best in the business, and by most accounts, the action in Ip Man 2 goes a long way towards making up for any dramatic inadequacies the film may have. Fans of Donnie Yen, or high octane martial arts films in general, should get a proper kick out of this one.

Tag Cloud

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