RT on DVD: LaBeouf It Up With An Eagle Eye Christmas!

Plus Burn After Reading, Death Race, and more.

by | December 22, 2008 | Comments

‘Tis the season for gift-giving, which means home video distributers are making the most of the holiday spirit by adding a few irregular release dates to the shopping week. Therefore, look for new releases to hit shelves on Sunday (Burn After Reading), Tuesday (Death Race), and next Saturday (Eagle Eye)! We begin this festive week’s RT on DVD with an exclusive look at Shia LaBeouf’s techno-thriller, and wish you the very LaBeouf-iest Christmas (or your Labeouf-iest non-denominational holiday of choice). See what else is new and coming your way below!

1. Eagle Eye (Dec. 27) — 27%

Shia LaBeouf continued his rise through the ranks of Young Hollywood this year by following May’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with his own starring vehicle, the techno-thriller Eagle Eye. While critics went “pshaw” at Eagle Eye‘s preposterous, derivative plot — in which a young loser (LaBeouf) finds himself a pawn at the beck and call of a mysterious, omniscient terrorist — the DJ Caruso flick performed decently at the box office. But hey, it’s Shia!

The 2-Disc Special Edition DVD is stuffed with making-of featurettes, an alternate ending, filmmaker interviews, and more.

Next: Burn After Reading

2. Burn After Reading (Dec. 21) — 79%, Certified Fresh

Delight in the latest Coen brothers’ comedy (and watch Brad Pitt and George Clooney act — on purpose — like fools) with Burn After Reading, a black comedy-caper of sorts set on the periphery of Washington D.C.’s political scene. John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and an unforgettable homemade sex contraption co-star in the tale of a bumbling meathead (Pitt) and his middle-aged, cosmetic surgery-obsessed co-worker (McDormand) who stumble upon what may or may not be sensitive documents belonging to a former CIA operative (Malkovich), whose estranged wife (Swinton) is involved with a philandering Treasury agent (Clooney).

The film, nominated for two Golden Globes (Best Comedy and Best Actress, Frances McDormand) comes to DVD with only three featurettes — not a theatrical trailer or commentary to be seen. (At least, not in this first issue.)

Next: The Women

3. The Women (Dec. 21) – 13%

During the year of 2008 there were certainly a handful of bona fide stinkers (One Missed Call, Disaster Movie, I’m looking at you) and yet I reserve my own personal wrath for this insulting clunker of a remake of the far superior film of the same name: The Women. Just saying the title makes me shudder; ditto my lingering contempt for all parties responsible, beginning with director Diane English, continuing on to the plasticized Meg Ryan-bot that we’ve come to see in recent years, and even trickling down to the film’s A-list roster of supporting actresses (in a gimmick borrowed from the 1939 film, not a single male actor appears onscreen): Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, Carrie Fisher, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Debi Mazar, Bette Midler, and even the incomparable Cloris Leachman, who somehow got herself mixed up in this mess.

What’s The Women about? Ryan plays society maven and housewife Mary Haines (who, since it’s 2008, must be given some measure of independent means and is therefore a fashion designer), who learns (thanks to the age old female practice of gossip) that her husband is cheating on her with a department store perfume girl (who, like young and attractive women are wont to do, is willfully gold-digging her way into marriage). Cat-fighting, moping, and more gossiping ensue in this critically-lambasted tale of womanhood and friendship that belies its own “woman power” message. Even with its handful of featurettes and deleted scenes, anyone who gifts The Women to the females in their family this holiday season will be doing their mother/daughter/girlfriend/wife/platonic female friend a huge disservice; stick with George Cukor’s original version instead.

Next: American Teen

4. American Teen – 71% (Dec. 21)

In the grand tradition of archetypal teen flicks like The Breakfast Club, Nanette Burstein’s American Teen introduces us to five high school seniors on the brink of adulthood and independence: the jock, the queen bee, the artsy girl, the heartthrob, and the geek. The difference here is that these kids are real — American Teen‘s a documentary — and yet their experiences, their angst, and their relationships are as rife with drama-rama as any fictional film.

Burstein’s focus lands on the students of Warsaw, Indiana — a Midwestern town chosen for its remarkable unremarkableness — and her camera gains intimate (some critics call it suspiciously-staged) access to her subjects. MTV-style editing gives the doc a fresh feel, while a smattering of bonus features (deleted scenes and video blogs by “artsy loner” Hannah) enhance your voyeuristic glimpse into the kids’ lives.

Next: Death Race

5. Death Race (Dec. 23) – 42%

For many of you, the words “Death Race remake” and “Jason Statham” were enough to send you into a frenzy of anticipation; unfortunately, according to critics it would seem that Death Race (42 percent on the Tomatometer) is no Death Race 2000 (82 percent). The R-rated demolition derby-prison survival tale begins in the near future, where a corrupt prison warden (Joan Allen) coerces framed inmate Jensen Ames (Statham) to drive in a pay-per-view auto race where freedom is the ultimate prize; directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil), Death Race is naturally short on character development but long on explosive, violent action — which might just be enough for a certain kind of viewer.

We recommend picking up Death Race on Blu-ray, where the mindless action will be most enjoyable, a plethora of special features (director commentary, Picture-in-Picture, make your own commentary and scene sharing) are available, and you can opt for watching an Unrated, extended version of the film.

Next: Hamlet 2

6. Hamlet 2 (Dec. 23) – 63%

Although Hamlet 2 came to rest just a few shades north of rotten (at 63 percent on the Tomatometer), those who loved it really, really loved it. So let this be your guide; if you find Steve Coogan’s brand of zesty, hangdog comedy hilarious, you should enjoy watching his manic high school theater teacher tear Shakespeare a new one. [Supplemental question: Does the idea of a song entitled “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” (which is eligible to be nominated for an Oscar) make you titter, or gasp in horror?]

Next: The Duchess

7. The Duchess (Dec. 27) – 61%

Keira Knightley’s agent is sure of at least one thing: she looks good in a corset. See Knightley in yet another handsomely-shot period piece in The Duchess, based on the true story of Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire. A natural fashionista, Georgiana enthralled the social circles of 18th century England with her audacious outfits, her charm, and her hobby of dabbling in local politics (and with one handsome politico in particular). Yet Georgiana’s domestic life was a women’s rights nightmare, locked in a loveless marriage with her strict, controlling husband (Ralph Fiennes, who earned a Golden Globes nomination for his role) and forced to bear the humiliation of having his mistress move in with them.

A DVD-special documentary about the real Duchess sheds additional light onto her fascinating life and struggles, while Georgiana of Devonshire biographer Amanda Foreman leads a roundtable discussion of her non-fiction book about the woman herself. And for those who’d prefer to look at all the pretty costumes, there’s a featurette on the film’s Oscar-baiting designs.

Next: Ghost Town

8. Ghost Town (Dec. 27) — 84%, Certified Fresh

Brit comedian Ricky Gervais continues to teach America that he’s got more up his sleeve than the original version of The Office with his first starring Hollywood vehicle, in which he plays a man whose near-death experience leaves him with a lingering side-effect: he can see (and hear) dead people. As the uptight dentist Bertram Pincus, Gervais puts his brand of deadpan British humor to good use, and contrasts pleasantly with on-screen foil Greg Kinnear. (We’re not as sold on any palpable chemistry between Gervais and Tea Leoni, who plays Bertram’s anthropologist love interest, though the two share nary a single kiss on screen. Phew.) Ghost Town is recommended especially for the commentary track by director David Koepp and Gervais himself, whose riffs on any subject we’d listen to any time.

Next: Baghead

9. Baghead (Dec. 27) — 77%, Certified Fresh

You may not have seen or heard about it, but this little indie is one of the best horror pics of the year. Well, horror-comedy, to be specific; the Duplass brothers film (The Puffy Chair) follows four aspiring actors on a weekend trip to the woods, where they hope to write a starring vehicle for themselves that will help launch their careers. When the bag-wearing killer from their script begins showing up for real, terror and hilarity ensue in equal measure. The mumblecore movement could gain a wider audience thanks to this Certified Fresh film, and genre fans finally get that elusive prize: a horror movie that isn’t rotten.

Until next week, happy renting (and happy holidays)!

Tag Cloud

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