It’s a light week for home video entertainment, but never fear — RT on DVD is here! We’ll kick things off with the biggest title of the week: Frank Miller’s The Spirit, which had fans drooling with anticipation…until the stylized comic strip adaptation hit theaters. Better reviewed, but nonetheless controversial in its own right, is Kate Winslet’s The Reader, which nabbed the British actress her first Academy Award but also drew the ire of critics thanks to its sensitive subject material. Horror fans will get a pleasant surprise with an indie creature feature (Splinter), while ’80s enthusiasts should embrace a new eight-DVD set that combines the star power of Whoopi Goldberg, Drew Barrymore, and Jon Cryer (The Lost Collection). Fans of director Michel Gondry should check out his latest compilation of music videos and short films (Michel Gondry 2: More Videos). Finally, see if an overlooked science fiction flick holds up in High Def (The 13th Floor on Blu-ray).

The Spirit — 14%

Frank Miller‘s first solo effort as a director (after co-directing Sin City with Robert Rodriguez) had fans both curious and hopeful, since the adaptation of the 1940s-era comic strip would mesh the celebrated style of Miller’s mentor, Will Eisner, with his own. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Miller’s treatment of the crime fighter known as The Spirit was widely panned by critics, who blasted its unintelligible plotting and ridiculous dialogue. That’s too bad, since The Spirit — like Sin City and 300 before it — is a daring effort, setting a cast of real-life players against largely computer-generated environments to create a unique world, half-real and half-imagined; sadly, it’s a brave choice that couldn’t quite balance a hammy, atonal script. Give it a chance this week on DVD (or in glorious High Def on Blu-ray), if only to witness Miller’s stylistic flair caress each and every one of his femme fatales (including Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Paz Vega, Sarah Paulson, and Jaime King). Below, watch an exclusive excerpt from the DVD feature “Miller on Miller,” in which Frank Miller explains his attraction to black and white animation and noir storytelling.

Next: Kate Winslet in The Reader

The Reader — 61%

“It’s not a Holocaust movie,” argues director Stephen Daldry, who all but invited controversy with this drama about a German woman named Hanna Schmitz hiding her past as a Nazi prison guard. Hence, critics were split on whether or not the tale, told from the perspective of Hanna’s former lover, Michael Berg (Ralph Fiennes), was told in poor taste. Rife with literary references — Hanna asks her then-15 year old lover to read aloud to her between lovemaking sessions — The Reader is adapted from Bernhard Schlink’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. While the film does curry some sympathy for the culpable Schmitz (thanks in large part to Kate Winslet‘s Oscar-winning performance), the bigger questions are posed to Fiennes’ character, who represents a generation of Germans still dealing with post-war guilt. Deleted scenes and making-of featurettes accompany the DVD, along with segments with director Daldry and actor David Kross, Kate Winslet, and up-and-coming composer Nico Muhly.

Next: Michel Gondry is back with More Videos

If you already own director Michel Gondry‘s Director’s Label compilation of music videos and shorts, then you’re going to want to add this new volume to your DVD collection. Like that previous release, Michel Gondry 2: More Videos assembles an assortment of delightful short films and music videos, all of them Gondrian to the core (read: handcrafted, fresh visuals from Hollywood’s most offbeat and crafty filmmaker). Included in this go-around are music videos for Bjork (“Declare Independence”), Paul McCartney (“Dance Tonight”), Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules (“Mad World”), Stereogram (“Walkie Talkie Man”), The White Stripes (“The Denial Twist”), Beck (“Cellphone’s Dead”) and more, including his “Knives Out” video for Radiohead, which the band notoriously hated and never used.

The single-disc release also includes a handful of shorts, including Gondry’s infamous Rubik’s Cube video (in which he solves the mindbender with his feet), a response video entitled “Jack Black Beats Michel Gondry With His Rubik’s Cube,” and “How To Blow Up A Helicopter (Ayako’s Story),” featuring actress Ayako Fujitani (who starred in Gondry’s segment of the film Tokyo! and who happens to also be the daughter of Steven Seagal). Find Michel Gondry 2: More Videos available at his official site, www.michelgondry.com beginning April 14.

Next: Spiky horrors in Splinter

“Sharply-directed” and “amusing” aren’t the words one might expect from low-budget horror these days, but the critics agree that Splinter, which debuted on HDNet and in limited release last October, delivers. The plot: a couple and their carjackers become trapped in an abandoned gas station by a parasite that turns animals (and people) into porcupine-like flesh eaters. Director Toby Wilkins paces his creature feature well, drawing comparisons to such classic monster flicks as The Thing and Tremors; hear all about how Wilkins pulled it off in two audio commentaries (one with him and the cast, the other with him and his crew), making-of featurettes, and more.

Next: Science, tragedy, and Meryl Streep in Dark Matter

Dark Matter — 38%

The crossroads between genius and insanity have been addressed before in films like A Beautiful Mind, but in Dark Matter, that theme takes a, well, darker turn. Helmed by Chinese opera director Chen Shi-zheng, the drama — based loosely on a 1991 campus tragedy at the University of Iowa — follows brilliant Chinese doctoral student Liu Xing (Ye Liu), who comes to America to study physics and pursue the American Dream. But when his dissertation on dark matter, the unseen elements of the universe, contradicts the theories of his advisor (Aidan Quinn), Xing loses everything, and is set on a path toward a violent mental breakdown. Critics praised Dark Matter for its sensitive portrayal of the American immigrant experience, but bemoaned the inert journey it takes to get to its shocking conclusion. Meryl Streep co-stars.

Next: HBO’s The House of Saddam

BBC and HBO Films teamed up to produce this four-hour mini-series about the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein, the notorious Iraqi dictator who was executed in 2006. Spread over two discs, The House of Saddam chronicles the 27-year reign of Iraq’s fifth President (Munich‘s Yigal Naor) in spectacularly terrifying fashion; part soap opera, part historical document, the series has drawn comparisons to The Sopranos in part because it not only weaves together Hussein’s personal and political lives, but peels back the layers on members of his inner circle.

Next: Pillow Talk 50th Anniversary Edition

Bring home this romantic comedy classic about the epic battle of the sexes between an independent Manhattan gal (Doris Day) and a songwriting playboy who lives in her building (Rock Hudson). Nominated for five Oscars (it won for Best Screenplay), Pillow Talk marked the beginning of a fruitful on-screen partnership between singer-turned-studio starlet Day and Hudson, who would go on to star together in the lesser known rom-coms Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers. The 50th Anniversary edition, however, leaves something to be desired, as it includes only three bonus features (commentary by film historians, a feature on the Day-Hudson partnership, and one on the success of the 1959 film) and trailers.

Next: Turn back to the ’80s with The Lost Collection

The Lost Collection: My Best Friend Is A Vampire, Slaughter High, Irreconcilable Differences, The Night Before, Homer & Eddie, Morgan Stewart’s Coming Home, Hiding Out, Repossessed!

When it comes to nostalgia for the ’80s, perhaps some things are better left in the past… Not! Lionsgate certainly doesn’t think so, as they’re releasing eight films under the banner “The Lost Collection,” which run the gamut from horror to high school comedies to, yes, the saddest comedy of the entire decade: Irreconcilable Differences. Within the set you’ll also find the teen slasher Slaughter High, the Leslie Nielsen spoof Repossessed! (which co-stars Linda Blair in a parody of her Exorcist role), and the Keanu Reeves vehicle The Night Before, which plays like an ’80s version of Dude, Where’s My Car? Also included in the Lost Collection are the Robert Sean Leonard bloodsucker comedy, My Best Friend is a Vampire, and the unforgettable buddy pic Homer & Eddie, in which James Belushi endures a road trip with BFF Whoopi Goldberg! We can’t quite decide what’s worse, between that match up and the inclusion of not one, but two Jon Cryer flicks (the back to school yukfest Hiding Out and Morgan Stewart’s Coming Home). Naturally, each film comes with its own “I Love the ’80s”-style pop up trivia.

Next: The Thirteenth Floor hits Blu-ray

The Thirteenth Floor Blu-ray — 29%

By the time The 13th Floor debuted in the summer of 1999, Hollywood was jam-packed with science-fiction films about virtual reality and technology (see Dark City, eXistenZ, and the mother of them all, The Matrix). Now that it’s gotten some distance from those comparisons, The 13th Floor might finally get a fair shake on Blu-ray. The time-jumping story of virtual reality tech Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko) begins in the 1990s and travels (via simulation game) to 1937 Los Angeles, where Hall learns that an artificially-created character within the game has figured out the truth — and may be killing other people. Gretchen Mol co-stars in this existential thriller, which looks sumptuous on Blu-Ray but lacks substantial bonus features.

Until next week, happy renting!

Tag Cloud

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