RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Muppets and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Plus an acclaimed espionage thriller, a little-seen doc, and a timely Japanese cult hit.

by | March 20, 2012 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve again got a pretty decent collection of Oscar-nominated films, as well as a couple that barely anyone liked, a great documentary barely anyone saw, and the Blu-ray release of a certain Japanese film that many have compared to this week’s biggest movie opening in theaters. See below for the full list!

The Muppets

95%

It’s time to play the music! It’s time to light the lights! The Muppets hits Blu-ray shelves this week, after thrilling the critics and injecting new life into the moribund franchise. Jason Segel stars as a Muppet fanatic who teams with his little brother Walter to track down Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and the rest of his heroes. Their mission takes on a greater urgency when evil oil baron Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to demolish the old Muppet Studios and drill for black gold. The solution? Why, get the gang back together and put on a show, of course! The Muppets Blu-ray comes loaded with special features, including an extra-long blooper reel, eight deleted scenes, audio commentaries, the complete soundtrack, and more.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

86%

Lately, it seems, if you’re looking for remake fodder, Scandinavian cinema is where it’s at. Christopher Nolan mined Norway for Insomnia, and Matt Reeves went to Sweden for Let Me In, both of which turned out to be rousing successes. Enter David Fincher, who last year helmed the American version of another Swedish property, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, an adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s global bestseller of the same name, and came out with a Certified Fresh hit of his own. The story, for those unfamiliar, revolves around a disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) who enlists the help of a rebellious young hacker (Rooney Mara) in hopes of unraveling the mystery behind a decades-old missing persons case; as they dig deeper, they uncover a vast conspiracy with far-reaching implications. With material here that fits squarely within his wheelhouse, Fincher succeeds in translating the Swedish hit for American audiences, complete with all the lurid details, the unabashed brutality, and the wholly committed performance from his lead actress (Mara).

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

84%

Former intelligence officer and British author John le Carre (born David John Moore Cornwell) has seen seven of his novels brought to the big screen; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, based on his 1974 novel of the same name, is merely the latest adaptation of his work. In a brilliant, critically-acclaimed performance, Gary Oldman plays a British Intelligence officer who is brought out of retirement to investigate allegations that a mole exists within the organizations upper ranks. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy received numerous accolades, most notably for its screenplay, its score, and what many consider to be Gary Oldman’s finest performance to date. Though some critics felt the plot was a tad difficult to follow, with its myriad twists and turns, most felt the film was a rewarding experience, filled with nuanced performances and an engrossing premise. At a Certified Fresh 83% on the Tomatometer, it’s certainly worth a watch for anyone into high-stakes espionage stories.

Hop

24%

If you were sad that the world had yet to see an animated/live-action hybrid film catering specifically to crowds anticipating the secular aspects of Easter, chin up! In the grand tradition of films like The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks (but proudly brought to you by “the creators of Despicable Me“) comes Hop, the tale of a CGI rabbit (voiced by Russell Brand) who dreams of becoming a drummer and instead crosses paths with a slacker human (James Marsden) with a surprising knack for delivering Easter candy to kids the world over. Let’s be honest here: Alvin and the Chipmunks (incidentally, also helmed by Hop director Tim Hill) made over $350 million worldwide at the box office and spawned two sequels, and Hop made over $180 million itself. In other words, even if the critics slapped a Rotten 26% on it, it’s pretty clear they were not the target demographic. Want something silly and formulaic to babysit the kids while you tend the barbecue? Here you go.

Carnage

70%

Here’s a recipe for tension: put Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz, and Kate Winslet in a room, add a pinch of disagreement, simmer, and serve. Roman Polanski’s Carnage (based upon the critically acclaimed play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza) sticks to those particulars throughout its 80-minute runtime, and though some critics found it a bit too stage-bound to truly take flight as a film, most simply enjoyed watching these four fine actors rip each other to shreds. A pair of married couples meets for a polite chat after a playground dispute between their respective children. However, it isn’t long before any veneer of civility is stripped away, and the situation devolves into an out-and-out cage match of verbal sparring and bitterness. The Carnage Blu-ray features short interviews with the four stars, plus a longer Q and A session featuring Reilly and Waltz .

The Sitter

22%

Jonah Hill is currently riding high on his recent Best Support Actor nomination at the Academy Awards (for Moneyball) and the surprise success of his ’80s reboot 21 Jump Street, but if we go back just a few months, we’ll find The Sitter. The latest raunchy comedy from David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), The Sitter stars Hill as a layabout who reluctantly takes a babysitting gig, only then to be lured to a party by the promise of sex from his girlfriend. A wild evening full of drugs, car theft, robbery, and more ensues, all with three young children in tow. As one might imagine, critics found little to like about the film, with its recycled plot contrivances, inappropriate (and not in a good way) humor, and what seems like a phoned-in performance from Hill himself. At 22% on the Tomatometer, it’s one of two David Gordon Green films from last year to rate in the twenties (the other being Your Highness).

Louder Than A Bomb

100%

It never opened in more than four theaters, and it didn’t receive a whole lot of press, so there’s a good chance you never heard of this engrossing documentary. Louder Than A Bomb depicts the journeys of four high school slam poetry teams in the Chicago area as they prepare for the largest youth slam in the world, profiling individual backstories and attempting to capture the creative processes that drive the students. While it’s a bit of a niche subject, and while the overarching themes are somewhat familiar, critics agreed that the talent on display and the heartwarming stories portrayed succeed in lifting the spirits so effectively that the film currently sits with a unanimous 100% Tomatometer score, based on 24 reviews. If you’re looking for an engaging and inspirational film peppered with charming personalities and stunningly delivered poetry, definitely give Louder Than A Bomb a chance.

Battle Royale – The Complete Collection Blu-Ray

88%

Hmm… What possible reason could there be to release both the individual Blu-ray of cult Japanese hit Battle Royale as well as Battle Royale: The Complete Collection specifically this week? Could it be that the story, adapted from the Koushun Takami novel of the same name, takes place in a dystopian future ruled by a totalitarian state and centers around a group of teens who are thrown into the wilderness with explicit orders to murder each other until only one survives? Yes, we know there have been plenty of comparisons between Kinji Fukasaku’s controversial film and The Hunger Games, which opens this week, and there certainly are similarities. But Battle Royale is its own beast, as most will tell you, and those who are fans of the two Battle Royale films will be thrilled to know that the Complete Collection set comes with a wealth of bonus features, like making-of featurettes, special effects comparisons, audition and rehearsal footage, film festival coverage, and more. A rather timely pick up for anyone interested.

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