The Couch Tomato: This Week's DVD and Blu-ray in Australia

Gervais sees ghosts, Disney Bolts, TV draws True Blood

by | July 2, 2009 | Comments

Whether you are after a lazy, Sunday night rental or are looking to build up your movie collection, Couch Tomato will keep you up to date on the best films and TV released on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia each week. Let’s begin…


Couch Tomato Pick of the Week:


Ghost Town

84%


Consensus: Ricky Gervais’ consistently sharp performance and beautifully dry execution transform this otherwise mainstream comedy into an endearing, funny, and altogether snappy romantic comedy. With ghosts.

Misanthropic dentist, Dr. Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais), is a surly chap with a disdain for the living. His anti-social behaviour crosses the bounds of nature, however, when a near-death experience leaves him with the startling ability to, if not communicate then at least bicker, with the dead. Every ghost in New York seems to be desperate for his help, including Frank (Greg Kinnear) the caddish ex of Pincus’ neighbour and love interest, Gwen (Téa Leoni).

Viewing tip: this could have been stock-standard fare with a saccharine twist of Jennifer Love Hewitt / Ghost Whisperer earnestness. Instead it is a rom-com with lots of rom and com so whip this one out for date night. Dim the lights, hold hands and have a tissue handy in case one of you gets a bit weepy and needs comforting.

DVD and Blu-ray special features include commentary by David Koepp and Ricky Gervais and short featurettes: Making Ghost Town, Ghostly Effects and Some People Can Do It.

Below, watch Ricky Gervais’ acceptance speech for his Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh Award for Ghost Town.


Certified Fresh off the Vine:


Transsiberian

90%

Consensus: Traditional in form yet effective in execution, this taut thriller updates the “danger on a train” scenario with atmospheric sense.

Set deep in the wild wild east on the Trans-Siberian Railway, the twists and turns in director, Brad Anderson’s (Next Stop Wonderland, The Machinist, Session 9), film are driven by genuine surprises rather than big-budget bangs. Woody Harrelson plays the dopey tourist well, right down to his indignant and futile cry of ‘but we’re American’ as things start to go pear-shaped for him and his troubled wife, a flinty Emily Mortimer. Also starring Ben Kinsley, Eduardo Noriega, and Kate Mara.

Viewing tip: you will need a bottle if ice-cold vodka and some shot glasses to get you through this one. For the teetotallers, a plate of potatoes and some sweet, black tea will capture the mood just as well. Do not watch before making the trip yourself. It will scare the tourist right out of you!

Special features include a making-of featurette.


JCVD

85%


Consensus: JCVD is a touching, fascinating piece, with Jean-Claude Van Damme confounding all with his heartfelt performance.

Mickey Rourke isn’t the only 80s star making a comeback these days. Jean-Claude Van Damme is back on our screens in this self-reflective and strangely amusing film. JCVD presents a faded action star at odds with his celebrity, and his life.

Part bank heist, part confessional, this film is a world away from Bloodsport. Not just for the Van Damme fans, it is worth watching for the monologue that punctuates the film in an intriguing way.

Viewing tip: this film must be viewed in conjunction with the Mussels from Brussels’ earlier work. You will find them all in the rotten end of the Tomatometer.


You know, for kids:


Bolt

88%


Consensus: Bolt is a pleasant animated comedy that overcomes the story’s familiarity with strong visuals and likable characters.

Bolt (voice of John Travolta) is a canine television star who believes his own hype. Having been accidentally shipped to New York, he uses his imagined super powers to fight his way back to Hollywood and his person and co-star, Penny (voice of Miley Cyrus).

Viewing tip: this film is great for adults as well as kids, so use them as a beard and then watch it with them. If you share a house with tweens, there is enough Miley Cyrus here to keep them sated before Hannah Montana The Movie is released so use it as a stop-gap before they take over your home entertainment system.

DVD and Blu-ray special features include never before seen bonus short Super Rhino, interviews, deleted scenes and the music video I Thought I Had Lost You!


Consensus: Despite its striking visuals, The Tale of Despereaux as a story feels familiar and unimaginative.

Tale of Despereaux, the Other Rodent Animation, is so exquisite you can almost forgive the laboured storyline. It is a heartfelt tale about courage that delivers its message with all the subtly of a good bludgeoning. It is pretty while it does it, however, so fans of animation will enjoy the Blu-ray version and the little ‘uns will be captivated for the duration.

Viewing tips: watch it for the art and have no expectations about the story-line.

DVD and Blu-ray special features include Despereaux’s Quest video game suitable for DVD Player, PlayStation or PC.


Still Ripe — Pick of the Classics:


Forbidden Games

100%


René Clément’s story of loss and war, as told through the eyes of children, has entered the realm of cult. Its unsentimental gaze at a young child’s preoccupation with death after losing her parents and pet dog to Nazi bombing, has divided audiences for years.

François Truffaut targeted this film in his 1954 diatribe, ‘A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema’, for being a symptom of the staid old-guard of filmmakers he rallied against. It was refused entry to the Cannes Film Festival, yet won the Golden Lion Award for Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival. It also won an Honorary Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Viewing tips: this is not the first time this film has been released on DVD but it holds an important place in French film history and as such belongs in any good DVD collection. It is rather harrowing so while it stars children, for goodness sake don’t let your kids watch it. Or if you do, keep a close eye on the family pets in the days following.


RT on TV:


True Blood


The creator and Executive Producer of True Blood is best known for writing the Academy Award-winning American Beauty and creating the Emmy Award-winning HBO series Six Feet Under. Now from the deep, dark depths of Alan Ball’s mind comes the sexiest vampire series to hit the small screen.

Set deep in the backwoods of Louisiana, True Blood tells the story of Sookie Stackhouse, played by Anna Paquin (The Piano, X-Men). She’s a waitress who can read people’s minds. While it has its uses, this skill that has rendered her a bit of a freak in her small-town world; a world in which vampires just happen to be out of the closest and living amongst us.

The fantasy element of this HBO series is downplayed, with the tensions between humans and vampires being reminiscent more of racism and segregation than Buffy-like demon fighting. It is dark, sweaty and yes…very sexy. It also doesn’t pull any punches on the violence. Not for those with a queasy stomach.

The first season is based on the Sookie Stackhouse book, ‘Dead Until Dark’ by Charlaine Harris.

Viewing tips: don’t watch with your grandma. They like to get it on down there in the deep south! If you watch too many episodes in a row you may find yourself sleeping with the light on.

DVD and Blu-ray each come in a 5 box disc set.


Lost – Season 1 and 2

Yes…yes…these seasons have already been released on DVD but for those of you hard-core fans, this time around you can see the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 in all their glory on Blu-ray. Presented in a widescreen theatrical format with a pristine picture and theatre-quality sound, they will now be stranded in high definition.

And just to prove that J.J. Abram’s mind-bending series really does go on forever, there is an additional 11 hours of bonus material across the two series.

Viewing tips: pack some sandwiches and a thermos. This one will suck you into its time vortex. You will sit down to watch one episode and get off the couch two days later.

Tag Cloud

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