RT on DVD and Blu-ray: Todd Solondz returns, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and more

We also look at Chloe, the Nanny McPhee sequel and a Harryhausen classic on Blu-ray

by | July 16, 2010 | Comments

This week on DVD and Blu-ray, American provocateur Todd Solondz returns with a sequel to his infamous indie hit Happiness, we have the (most likely) unrelated return of Nanny McPhee, this year’s hit Swedish thriller soon to become a David Fincher movie… and a UWE BOLL DIRECTOR’S CUT. Wait, who asked for that one?


Life During Wartime

It’s been more than a decade since American director Todd Solondz delivered what may be his high-water mark in 1998’s uneasy-brilliant Happiness, a comedy-drama centred around the lives of three sisters that found unlikely humour in sexual deviancy, depression and abnormal psyches. Life During Wartime is the director’s sequel, though not as you’d expect: following the same characters’ lives a decade on, Solondz has replaced the original cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dylan Baker, Lara Flynn Boyle, et al) with an entirely new troupe of actors (including Shirley Henderson, Ciaran Hinds, Alison Janney and Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman.) The effect is both disorientating and oddly familiar — as the opening scene, which replicates the beginning of Happiness, demonstrates — imbuing the film with a strong sense of deja vu. (The casting trick also recalls Solondz’s Palindromes, which used different actors to portray the one character.) Wartime is perhaps less sensational than its predecessor, with the characters now existing in a kind of peculiar purgatory as they attempt to move on with their lives, yet it’s no less original in tone or humour. In this way it almost feels like the middle chapter of a trilogy for Solondz — you can see him picking up the thread in another decade, again with a new set of players. Thus far, critical reaction has been positive. “Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime is a genuine, all-enveloping bad-dream movie,” says the New York magazine’s David Edelstein, who calls the movie a masterpiece, “and I’m still wrestling with its squirmy mix of grotesquerie and humanism, stylized camp and acid realism.”


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Stieg Larsson was a Swedish journalist and writer who died in 2004 of a heart attack, but three novels he wrote were posthumously published, beginning with 2005’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The first part of a trilogy, Dragon Tattoo became an instant bestseller, and based on the popularity of the book, a film adaptation was made and released in 2009. The film was also a great success, and proved a sleeper hit internationally this year. The story revolves around a forty-year-old unsolved murder, and the uncle of its victim who is convinced the murder was perpetrated by someone within the family. In order to help research his hunch, he joins forces with a disgraced journalist and a tattooed computer hacker to discover the truth behind the crime. Though the film’s length and brutal violence might turn some viewers off, critics felt that actress Noomi Rapace’s performance as the titular character was gripping enough to make the film worth checking out, and at 87% on the Tomatometer, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is Certified Fresh. David Fincher seems to agree — he’s picked up the rights to the film for a remake, his possible next directing project.



Amanda Seyfried first caught the public’s eye as the naive and dim-witted member of Rachel McAdams’s Mean Girls posse, continuing on to play similarly sweet roles in films like Mamma Mia! and Letters to Juliet. Even in the horror-comedy Jennifer’s Body, Seyfried played the innocent foil to Megan Fox’s evil seductress. But earlier this year, Seyfried shed her good-girl image — and her clothes — to play the title role in the erotic thriller Chloe. Co-starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore, Chloe centers around a woman named Catherine (Moore) who suspects her husband David (Neeson) of cheating on her; in a dangerous and ill-advised ploy to test his faithfulness, she hires a prostitute (Seyfried) to make advances on David. As Chloe offers Catherine the sordid details of her encounters with David in regular meetings, something else begins to awaken within Catherine, and soon all three are embroiled in a complex web of deceit. Unfortunately, critics were lukewarm on Chloe, criticizing the film for failing to capitalize on its strong cast and titillating premise; somehow the film falls flat. However, if you’re looking for a psychological thriller with a star playing against her type, then this might work for you.


Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

From adulterous thrillers to family-friendly entertainment — that’s just the way we mix things up around here — next we have the ever-so charming return of Emma Thompson’s Nanny McPhee in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, a sequel to the surprise hit kids film from 2005. In this installment, the knobbly-nosed one arrives to help a young mother who’s working on a farm while her husband is away at war. Magic, naturally, ensues, as do appearances by Ewan McGregor, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Quite the cast. Like the original, this was another hit with the critics. “With acrobatic pigs, homespun wisdom and cross-generation humour,” wrote Little White Lies, “Nanny McPhee is a hugely entertaining family film to melt the stoniest of hearts and tickle the most callous toes.”


In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Now, in case you were fearing you’d woken up in a parallel dimension again, rest assured we’re still living in a world where Uwe Boll films get… director’s cuts?! Hurgh? Either fans demanded it or this is the definitive edition that reveals the cinematic masterpiece buried within the theatrical cut — whichever the case, here comes the Director’s Cut of Boll’s 2007 flop In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, based on the video game and looking like a not-too-subtle attempt to riff on The Lord of the Rings. Still, with a cast that includes Jason Statham, Matthew Lillard and Burt Reynolds (!), this will have fans of so-bad-it’s-good, or just plain old bad, moviemaking in heaven.


Jason and the Argonauts

Now here’s something for those of you into old school special effects. For those unfamiliar with Ray Harryhausen, he’s the special effects guru who put the “clash” in the original Clash of the Titans, the one who animated the swordfight between Kali and Sinbad in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, the one who brought the dinosaurs to life that would chase Raquel Welch throughout One Million Years B.C.. Harryhausen isn’t the father of stop-motion animation, but he certainly made sure the technique was utilized for several decades in some of the most memorable epics on film. One such film was 1963’s Jason and the Argonauts, a retelling of the story of the mythical Greek hero and his quest for the Golden Fleece. Of particular note here are the sequences that Harryhausen oversaw, which include a battle with a six-headed Hydra and a swordfight with seven animated skeletons. This was before the era of CGI, but there is a definite charm to effects seen here, and Argonauts is a bona fide cult classic because of them. This week, it arrives for the first time on Blu-Ray, and you can pick it up and enjoy those effects in high definition, even it sort of takes away from the atmosphere a little bit.

Written by Ryan Fujitani and Luke Goodsell

Tag Cloud

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