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

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