RT on DVD

RT on DVD: Exclusive Australia Scene, Beverly Hills Chihuahua and More!

Plus, lots of treasures for direct-to-video (and Stana Katic) lovers this week!

by | March 2, 2009 | Comments

This week on DVD we’ve got a sweeping historical epic from Down Under (Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, plus an exclusive deleted scene), a tale of talking pooches (Beverly Hills Chihuahua), and a Certified Fresh drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long). For those whose interests are piqued by the words “direct to DVD,” we’ve also got two new animated adventures (Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic, Wonder Woman) and a titillating vengeance pic (Stiletto, starring Stana Katic, Tom Berenger, and Michael Biehn), plus a bayou thriller adapted from a James Lee Burke bestseller (In the Electric Mist, starring Tommy Lee Jones). Lastly, we offer the latest from Crow T. Robot and Co. (Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. 14) and a Blu-ray offering that will go well with some fava beans and a nice Chianti (Silence of the Lambs on Blu-ray).


1. Australia — 54%


Baz Luhrmann‘s epic tale of war and love in mid-century Australia was, to say the least, an ambitious undertaking; addressing the nation’s history of class inequality and its people’s can-do spirit against the backdrop of World War II via an opposites-attract romance and a dash of Aborigine mysticism — with an homage to The Wizard of Oz thrown in to boot — sounded complicated enough on paper, let alone brought to life onscreen. And yet, for better or worse, that is precisely what Lurhmann did.

Australia isn’t for everyone; cynics thought it cloying, while fans thought it wondrous, although all agree its nearly three-hour-runtime is an endurance test. But if you’re a fan of stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman (or want to watch young Brandon Walters’ breakthrough debut performance, a child actor debut to rival those in Slumdog Millionaire) then Australia might be your cup of tea.

Unfortunately, your options are limited as Australia is available only as a single-disc DVD (with two deleted scenes and nothing more) or on Blu-ray, with a handful of extra featurettes. Below, watch one of the deleted scenes, in which Lady Ashley (Kidman) is served a rude dinner by her angry household staff.

Next: You know you want it — Beverly Hills Chihuahua

If you, like us, secretly chuckled to yourself when those Taco Bell commercials came on, then you might get another sly kick out of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The dog-out-of-water tale follows a spoiled LA pooch (voiced by Drew Barrymore), who gets lost in Mexico and must find her way home with the help of some canine friends. Photo realistic pups talking with the aid of CG — and, unfortunately, often in stereotypical accents — sound silly, but will no doubt warm over the kiddies (moreso than most adults). A handful of bonus extras will keep fans entertained for an extra hour or so after watching the film, including the darn-catchy “Chihuahua!” song sung by a horde of choreographed Mexican Chihuahuas.

Next: Kristin Scott Thomas in I’ve Loved You So Long

Philippe Claudel’s quiet character study reveals Kristin Scott Thomas as you’ve never seen her before, makeup-free and haggard-looking (but still gorgeous), distant and tortured (and speaking fluent French) in the role that earned her nominations from the BAFTAS, César, and Golden Globe Awards. Thomas plays Juliette, a woman struggling to re-enter society after serving a prison sentence for killing her own child; Elsa Zylberstein plays her sister Lea, a mother herself who is the only friend Juliette has left in the real world. While bonus materials are sparse, you can watch deleted scenes and access an alternate audio track dubbed in English.

Next: Our Direct-to-DVD Pick of the Week — Stiletto!

4. Stiletto — N/A

Stana Katic (The Spirit, Quantum of Solace, and the upcoming ABC show, Castle) stars in this direct-to-video action thriller as Raina, a gorgeous assassin who sets her sights on a former lover, a Greek crime boss (Tom Berenger), and a circle of ill-fated goons. Her weapon of choice? A stiletto knife, naturally. But wait, that’s not all! This R-rated vengeance flick not only hearkens back to the days of the female exploitation tales of the 1970s, it stars a veritable Walk of Fame of bad-ass actors (most of whom have seen better days): Michael Biehn, William Forsythe, Tom Sizemore, D.B. Sweeney, Kelly Hu, and Dominique Swain. Give Stiletto a rental and chalk it up as another guilty pleasure.

Next: Tommy Lee Jones Goes Direct To Video With In the Electric Mist

Joining Stiletto in direct-to-video land is In the Electric Mist, a fantasy- thriller that boasts a decidedly stellar cast led by Tommy Lee Jones. Adapted from James Lee Burke’s bestselling novel of the same name and directed by European auteur Bertrand Tavernier (‘Round Midnight), In the Electric Mist is born of impressive pedigrees, yet missed out on a theatrical release after screening at the Berlin Film Festival. In it, Detective Dave Robicheaux (Jones) is on the hunt for a serial killer in the Deep South, an investigation complicated by encounters with a band of Confederate soldiers…

Next: Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic

6. Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic — N/A

Like a visual version of a book on tape, Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic serves up the landmark Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel as a page-by-page story, enhanced with Flash animation and narrated by actor/veteran audio book narrator Tom Stechschulte, who even does the female voices. While the appeal of this 2-disc set might extend only to Watchmen diehards — probably the only people willing to sit through this 5-hour-plus version of Watchmen — it also comes with a sneak peek at this week’s Wonder Woman and $7.50 towards a ticket for Friday’s Watchmen.

Next: DC’s Animated, Feature Length, and Feminist Wonder Woman

7. Wonder Woman — N/A

A host of Hollywood all-stars (Rosario Dawson, Virginia Madsen, and…Vicki Lewis) lend their voices to this direct-to-video animated film, which tells the origin story of DC Comics’ super-heroine, Wonder Woman, and gives her a modern-day adventure to boot. Keri Russell voices Princess Diana (AKA Wonder Woman), the heir to a race of Amazon women who is charged with returning a wayward pilot (Nathan Fillion) to New York City while defeating the evil god Ares (Alfred Molina); violent enough to earn a PG-13 rating, Wonder Woman also serves as a devoutly feminist diatribe (and is directed by a woman, Superman: Doomsday co-director Lauren Montgomery), for better or worse. Bonus episodes of Justice League, a commentary track, two feature-length documentaries and a sneak peek at DC’s next animated flick, Green Lantern, highlight the special features.

Next: Mystery Science Theater 3000 is Back!

8. Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. 14 — N/A

Joel, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot are back in the latest installment of the adventures in movie watching known as Mystery Science Theater 3000. Volume 14 comprises episodes with four MSTK3K classics, each with its own case: Mad Monster (the 1942 mad scientist-werewolf flick), Manhunt in Space (a multi-episode feature from the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger television series), Soultaker (starring Joe Estevez, who also gives a new interview on the disc), and Final Justice (a Joe Don Baker vehicle directed by Greydon Clark, who also graces this set with an interview).

Next: Wong Kar-Wai’s Ashes of Time Redux

Unlike many of his peers in Asian cinema, Wong Kar-Wai is not a director known for action spectacles or historical epics. But in 1994, he made just that: Ashes of Time, the story of an embittered ex-swordsman and the people who come in and out of his life, all adrift and consumed with their memories, lost loves, and their own selfishness — like an emo wuxia film, if such a hybrid could exist. A box office failure during its initial release, Ashes of Time got a shiny new redo from Wong himself in 2008, resulting in a much shorter, remastered version of the flick, also bolstered with new music from Yo-Yo Ma. Retrospective making-of interviews with Wong, longtime DP Christopher Doyle, and cast members like Tony Leung Ka-Fai highlight the DVD, along with an extensive Q&A session between Wong and Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman.

Next: Silence of the Lambs Blu-ray

9. Silence of the Lambs Blu-ray — 96%

We close this RT on DVD by recommending one of the standout Blu-ray releases of the week: MGM’s Silence of the Lambs Blu-ray, which has been delayed numerous times so far. Was it worth the wait? If you’re a Hannibal Lecter fan ravenous for tons of bonus materials and behind-the-scenes stories about the making of Jonathan Demme’s serial killer thriller, you’ll enjoy the assortment of deleted scenes (count ’em — 22 total!), featurettes, outtakes and making-of documentaries included here. Add to that the film’s lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and 1080p visual presentation, and you’ve got the perfect way to revisit this chilling classic — along with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Until next week, happy renting!

Tag Cloud

ABC Family travel elevated horror GoT Paramount Network BBC America NYCC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Western documentary aliens Holidays Cannes Superheroe DirecTV A24 werewolf Avengers Reality Competition Podcast dceu TCA 2017 Fox News romance PaleyFest Writers Guild of America finale Disney+ Disney Plus Mary poppins zombie WarnerMedia ghosts Oscars what to watch spider-man Trophy Talk GLAAD 21st Century Fox TV renewals Rocky Pet Sematary slashers Sneak Peek Kids & Family ITV movie Anna Paquin The Witch period drama unscripted Emmys Comics on TV FXX Countdown indie Calendar blockbuster Winter TV Comedy Central Chilling Adventures of Sabrina American Society of Cinematographers The CW GIFs screen actors guild 20th Century Fox justice league Baby Yoda 2017 independent Nickelodeon Election serial killer 2016 kids Columbia Pictures cars supernatural dragons Reality Cartoon Network Sundance TV Holiday Black Mirror 45 Film Festival robots Music E! science fiction Vudu TBS Stephen King 2018 Dark Horse Comics President Tubi El Rey sports WGN The Arrangement 2015 CNN crossover technology adventure cooking Country social media foreign theme song Elton John Mary Poppins Returns Tomatazos CBS All Access latino TLC Pixar AMC Travel Channel historical drama CW Seed CBS VICE Trivia reviews comics Quiz Spectrum Originals miniseries natural history nature Academy Awards Red Carpet Warner Bros. Awards richard e. Grant Family anthology Comic Book SundanceTV BBC Peacock SDCC See It Skip It Shondaland Spike Bravo halloween Video Games canceled TV shows Heroines Arrowverse renewed TV shows Crunchyroll Shudder IFC Films Fall TV YouTube Red mutant SXSW binge Hallmark Christmas movies dogs Lionsgate Biopics Thanksgiving Opinion Ellie Kemper Starz RT21 golden globes south america IFC BET Food Network facebook FX on Hulu adaptation Disney Channel Watching Series spain psycho Winners E3 strong female leads cancelled TV shows series Certified Fresh Syfy Turner Classic Movies Freeform YA movies USA APB comiccon A&E game of thrones Nominations OWN true crime MCU stand-up comedy franchise name the review LGBT sitcom award winner TV MTV Animation RT History festivals Fantasy VH1 DC streaming service Cosplay cats Classic Film TCA Winter 2020 Star Wars FOX blaxploitation Musicals Year in Review Sony Pictures zombies Marvel Television ratings TV Land Crackle Hulu revenge National Geographic television PBS Schedule tv talk Mindy Kaling Action dramedy DC Comics HBO Max TIFF Lifetime Binge Guide TNT Paramount X-Men video cops crime thriller Polls and Games Pride Month Logo New York Comic Con Grammys The Purge OneApp cancelled crime doctor who Endgame space YouTube Marvel Studios Premiere Dates Showtime Star Trek game show MSNBC Sundance Apple Marathons spanish language ABC Teen Rocketman Photos Esquire Epix Lucasfilm Mystery Spring TV Amazon Studios Martial Arts Amazon Prime Video 007 political drama Chernobyl spy thriller christmas movies Mary Tyler Moore casting Masterpiece Apple TV+ dc Acorn TV hispanic Sci-Fi Black History Month Universal Comedy medical drama police drama anime cinemax universal monsters thriller Amazon cartoon ESPN psychological thriller comic Trailer vampires First Reviews Toys transformers Disney Plus TruTV Adult Swim 24 frames screenings Best and Worst Netflix Christmas movies streaming Amazon Prime Song of Ice and Fire spinoff NBC toy story sag awards Musical First Look jamie lee curtis Rom-Com Awards Tour Lifetime Christmas movies Extras docudrama Netflix breaking bad cults LGBTQ boxoffice 2020 war Ghostbusters YouTube Premium HBO biography History Christmas zero dark thirty free movies book Turner TCA Captain marvel The Walking Dead Super Bowl Sundance Now scary movies quibi Apple TV Plus Pop reboot Disney directors CMT versus Mudbound Interview witnail FX 2019 batman Discovery Channel DC Universe Tarantino San Diego Comic-Con sequel Film rotten movies we love harry potter green book composers DGA politics Disney streaming service mockumentary canceled Walt Disney Pictures talk show Marvel Valentine's Day Women's History Month discovery 71st Emmy Awards Pop TV Character Guide Horror Nat Geo based on movie Box Office Infographic cancelled television Summer disaster animated Superheroes Emmy Nominations Tumblr Rock Hallmark teaser USA Network romantic comedy TCM Brie Larson crime drama singing competition Television Academy diversity Drama Britbox Creative Arts Emmys Pirates Funimation joker hist Set visit Ovation children's TV cancelled TV series