RT on DVD: Invite Let the Right One In

Plus, Richard Curtis struggles to rock The Boat and there's nothing New In Town for Renee Zellweger

by | August 13, 2009 | Comments


This is a love story, a coming-of age tale and a vampire movie all in one, and each strand of the film is more beautiful and delicate than the last. It is a quiet film, muffled by the seemingly endless Swedish winter and somehow quite sweet, in a still and sinister kind of way.

Oskar is a shy, bullied boy who befriends his mysterious new neighbour, Eli. They are both 12 years old, the only difference between the two being that one of them has been 12 for some time. John Ajvide Lindqvist adapted the film from his novel of the same name.

Let the Right One In is why DVD was invented. While many may have skipped this small Swedish vampire flick when it was at the cinema, this is an opportunity to appreciate how wonderful intelligent filmmaking can be. Genre- and cliché-defying, the film raises the monster genre to something quite extraordinary.

For those of you who have been waiting anxiously for this to be released on DVD, you may have read about the subtitle fracas connected to the original DVD release. The subtitles in the US release were so dumbed down that they removed all humour and subtlety from the story. We’re thrilled to announce that the Australian release, brought to you by Madman Entertainment, contains the subtitles as they appeared in the theatrical release.

On a final note, be sure to see this before the 2010 American remake — to be directed by Matt Reeves, the man who brought us Felicity and Cloverfield. At the risk of sounding cynical, enjoy this sublime piece of cinema before it is… ahem… re-imagined.

Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.

Next: Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Boat That Rocked


This movie has a knockout cast: Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Emma Thompson. It has a stellar soundtrack, including some of the all-time greats: The Kinks, The Turtles, The Beach Boys, The Who, The Troggs, The Box Tops, The Hollies, The Easybeats, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, The Supremes, Cat Stevens, Dusty Springfield and David Bowie. It’s set during one of the coolest periods in recent British history — the days of pirate radio ships in 1966. To top it all off, was written and directed by Richard Curtis, the man who had a hand in British hits Love, Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and Funeral. And yet, miraculously, it’s still kind of dull.

This was Curtis’s great passion project and it shows. When someone dreams of making a film like this for as long as he has, chances are it will be a little indulgent, corny and too long.

Expect the worst and you will be satisfied with what you get. It is obvious when watching this film that the cast are having an absolute ball and if you can accept the twee plotting, you will too. Anyone who is a fan of this great period of rock and roll will find the soundtrack alone worthy of the experience.

Consensus: The good cast and rollicking soundtrack eventually drown when this comic homage to pirate radio loses its quippy steam.

Renee Zellweger is New In Town.

New In Town



Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr star in this predictable fish-out-of-water flick. She plays a tough big-city type who comes to a small town determined to shut down the local food processing plant. He plays the union rep ready to do whatever it takes to save said plant in said small town. Gee golly gosh, who’d have thought that would lead to love?

Every genre check-box is ticked before the film is over but at least the stars have the decency to look a bit sheepish. If this is your kind of movie, and you are looking for a bit of brainless fun, this will do the trick. You will get a laugh or two and it won’t matter if you have a bit of a natter to your movie-watching companions throughout. You’ll pick it up. After all, you have seen it all before.

Consensus: Cliched and short on charm, New In Town is a pat genre exercise that fails to bring the necessary heat to its Minnesota setting.

Next: RT on TV, with Bones and The Unit.

Bones: Seasons 1 — 3

While there was always a risk this forensic crime drama would blend in with the same old dross that can be found any night of the week, this series stands out due to its charismatic stars, dark humour and extensive characterisation.

A large part of Bones‘ success is that tried-and-true gem: the sparring-yet-loyal, sexually-charged-yet-stoically-platonic double act in the form of Emily Deschanel as forensic scientist/genius Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan and David Boreanaz (Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth.

Based very loosely on the life of forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs (who is also a producer and consultant to the show) and that of the protagonist in the crime series she writes, each episode revolves around a different FBI case that is solved via the examination of human remains.

The satellite characters are also strong and the over-reaching narrative arc of their lives and relationships means that they become the focus of the show, rather than the weekly murder. Sometimes the humour of the show will pass black and head on into farcical but such is the strong following of Bones that the ratings remain high and the show has been signed for two seasons past this box set.

The Unit: Seasons 1 — 3

The Unit is an adaptation of producer Eric Haney’s book, Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit. Like Bones, this show was born of real-life experience, with Haney being a retired Command Sergent Major from the US Army’s Delta Force. With its much snappier title, The Unit was created for television by the legendary David Mamet, who is also an executive producer and writer of many episodes, in conjunction with Shawn Ryan (The Shield).

The focus of the show is divided between the high-action adventure of the men’s military manoeuvres and their wives’ home-fire sacrifices as they struggle with the secrecy surrounding their husbands’ lives. It is a little like the television equivalent of a 1970s Aussie barbecque — with the men turning the sausages while the wives cluster in the kitchen tossing salad.

While there are moments when the show steers to shrill melodrama, the overall effect is saved by Mamet’s trademark quick-fire dialogue. No one puts words in other people’s mouths better than Mamet.

Strictly for fans of the military genre, this show does it much better than most.

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