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

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