RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Iron Man 3, Doctor Who, and More

We run down the most notable home video releases in film and television.

by | September 24, 2013 | Comments

We’ve always covered the biggest movies coming out on home video for RT on DVD, but in years past, TV coverage has been limited to just a handful of releases we thought were particularly notable. Now that the Rotten Tomatoes TV Zone is up and running, you can expect to see a lot more television showing up here, and it all begins this week with Iron Man 3, Room 237, Hannibal Season 1, and the complete seventh series of the BBC’s Doctor Who, plus more. Read on for the full list:

Iron Man 3

79%

After two successful outings, Robert Downey Jr. reprised his role as wisecracking billionaire Tony Stark for a third installment of the Iron Man franchise, this time helmed by Shane Black. With the events of the Avengers movie still fresh in his mind, Stark is forced to contend with a new global threat in the form of the Mandarin, a ruthless terrorist who may have ties to Tony’s past. After a direct attack on his homestead, Tony flees to rural Tennessee and begins to uncover the secrets behind the Mandarin. RDJ is as charismatic as ever in the lead role, and reteaming with Black (who directed him in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) provided him with plenty of snappy dialogue to chew on. Thanks to Downey’s performance and a witty script, Iron Man 3 is Certified Fresh at 78% and a worthy addition to Marvel’s increasingly impressive catalog.

Room 237

94%

Stanley Kubrick was widely known to be an obsessive perfectionist, so it’s no surprise that his 1980 horror film The Shining has inspired oodles of theories — some more credible than others — among its fans. Rodney Ascher’s documentary Room 237 digs deep into this peculiar fandom, presenting the various ideas propagated by those who claim to have cracked the hidden code in Kubrick’s masterpiece. The film is a compilation of archival footage and images and scenes from The Shining, with voiceover narration provided by a number of interview subjects whose far-reaching theories on the film range from “Native American genocide allegory” to “evidence that the Apollo 11 moon landing was staged.” Certified Fresh at 93% on the Tomatometer, Room 237 fascinated critics both with its provocative ideas and its indirect profile of obsessive film fandom. Whether you’re a fan of The Shining or not, it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in the fervor on display here.

The Kings of Summer

76%

We’ve seen a number of coming-of-age films hit the big screen this year, and several of them have racked up great reviews (see: Mud, The Way Way Back, The Spectacular Now). One of the earlier entries was The Kings of Summer, starring Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, and Moises Arias as a trio of teens who flee their families and set out to build a house together in the woods; over time, the boys come to realize how important family really is. While it didn’t earn quite the same level of critical acclaim as the other aforementioned films, Kings still impressed critics to the tune of a Certified Fresh 77%, thanks largely to some great performances and a genuine sweetness at its core.

V/H/S/2

71%

Last year’s V/H/S combined found-footage horror with the omnibus film, and by most accounts, the results were about as mixed as one might expect. Back in July of this year, its sequel, V/H/S/2 opened quietly in limited release and, despite far better reviews, slipped just as quietly away. The framing narrative here involves two private investigators who are looking into the disappearance of a college student; when they stumble upon a collection of VHS tapes in his seemingly abandoned home, they slowly uncover the gruesome truth. Critics conceded the filmmaking is a bit uneven, but that’s to be expected with any anthology film. Despite that, V/H/S/2 garnered a 69% on the Tomatometer, promising some gory, satisfying thrills for horror hounds.

Hannibal – Season 1

Cable television has set an impressive new standard in recent years for high concept, high quality programming, and the networks have been trying to keep up. In one such effort, earlier this year NBC premiered their latest [more than just another] police procedural, Hannibal, developed by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies). Serving as a prequel to the Thomas Harris novels and the character that Anthony Hopkins made so famous on the big screen, Hannibal portrays a younger Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) as he serves as a forensic consultant for the FBI and works alongside serial killer profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Critics declared the show’s inaugural season mostly a success at 67% on the Tomatometer, bolstered by strong acting (Laurence Fishburne also co-stars as Graham’s boss) and rich visuals, even if it is a little gory and dips occasionally into implausibility.

Doctor Who – The Complete Seventh Series

There’s probably not a whole lot we could say about Doctor Who except that if you’re a fan, you’ll be happy to know that The Complete Seventh Series is now available on DVD and Blu-ray, and if you’re not a fan, then you’re probably missing out. The adventures of the eponymous Time Lord were a staple of British television from the early 1960s up to 1989, amassing a global cult following that expanded far beyond the UK, and when the series was revived in 2005, it subsequently spawned several spinoffs. In Series 7, which first aired last September and concluded this May, the Doctor fends off a mysterious invasion of Earth, saves a cargo ship full of dinosaurs, defends an Old West town from a cyborg, and more. Only Part 1 currently has a Tomatometer score, but at 90%, it’s a sure bet it’s as good as ever.

Also available this week:

  • The Certified Fresh My Brother the Devil (91%), about two brothers from an Arab family in England who are headed down very different life paths.
  • Another Certified Fresh film, Israeli drama Fill the Void (84%), about a young girl who must decide whether or not to honor her mother’s wishes by marrying her sister’s widowed husband.
  • Canadian drama Laurence Anyways (82%), also Certified Fresh, chronicling the relationship between a French teacher and his fiancee after he confesses to her that he wishes to become a woman.
  • Unfinished Song (64%), starring Gemma Arterton and Terence Stamp in a dramedy about an old curmudgeon who slowly rediscovers joy after he’s introduced to a local singing group.
  • Set 7 of ITV’s Foyle’s War (100%), which stars Michael Kitchen as a detective in World War II-era England.
  • Season 16 of South Park (100%), Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s irreverent and hilarious animated series.
  • Season 4 of Emmy-winning sitcom Modern Family (67%), centered around a gruff patriarch (Ed O’Neill) and the quirky families of his children.
  • Volume 11 of Seth MacFarlane’s animated Fox series Family Guy (100%), which includes the show’s 200th episode.
  • A 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of Halloween (94%) is available, featuring new commentary with John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis, a new featurette, and a number of extras ported over from previous releases.
  • An Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray box set of The Dark Knight Trilogy, which includes extras from the previous Trilogy set, plus Hot Wheels miniatures of the vehicles, a hardcover book, art cards, and about 90 minutes of new special features.
  • And lastly, The Criterion Collection is releasing a collection of three films by Roberto Rossellini: Stromboli (80%), Europe ’51 (N/A), and Journey to Italy (100%).

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