RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Fear and Loathing on Criterion Blu-Ray

Plus, a couple of acclaimed animes, a BBC series, and a Bob Dylan doc.

by | April 27, 2011 | Comments

It’s finally happened: this week on home video, we don’t have any notable DVDs of recent films that saw a theatrical release. Sure, there are plenty of standard reissues of movies, like The Crow, Cinema Paradiso, Shakespeare in Love, Amelie, and the Scream movies, but there’s nothing particularly special about them. So this week, we’ve chosen just a handful of the more interesting ones, including Criterion Blu-Ray releases of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Blow Out, as well as a couple of Jodorowsky cult favorites, a couple of recent anime films, an old Bob Dylan documentary on Blu-Ray, and a new BBC nature series. So have a look, and if nothing suits your fancy, you’ll just have to wait until next week.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Criterion Collection Blu-Ray


Earlier this year, Johnny Depp portrayed a neurotic, Hawaiian-shirt sporting chameleon trapped in the desert in Rango, and it was clear to many that the character was an outright reference to one Depp played in Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Based on the semi-autobiographical Hunter S. Thompson novel of the same name, Fear and Loathing recounts the drug-fueled misadventures of a writer named Raoul Duke (Depp) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo(Benicio Del Toro), who travel to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race. The film is filled with cameo appearances by the likes of Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Gary Busey, and Harry Dean Stanton, but they more or less wander in and out of Raoul’s constant hallucinations. Though it only managed a 47% on the Tomatometer, Fear and Loathing is something of a cult classic, with its casual handling of rampant drug use and manic montage of wild scenes. The film’s already gotten the Criterion treatment, but this week it arrives on Criterion Blu-Ray for the first time in a director-approved special edition with all the goodies, so fans of Thompson, Gilliam, and the film should find plenty to love.

Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back – Blu-Ray


Bob Dylan is undoubtedly one of rock’s greatest songwriters, but his filmography veers wildly from the sublime (Martin Scorsese’s brilliant documentary No Direction Home) to the bewildering (the four-hour concert doc/home movie Renaldo and Clara, directed by Mr. Tambourine Man himself). Considered by many to be the first great rockumentary, Don’t Look Back captures Dylan at a point when the times really were a’changin’ ? specifically his 1965 tour of
England, just before the young folkie and “voice of a generation” went electric and transformed rock ‘n’ roll forever. Don’t Look Back is revolutionary as cinema ? its cinema verite style influenced virtually all backstage docs to come ? but Dylan is (famously) a bore, talking smack to journalists and generally acting too cool for school while a gaggle of 1960s royalty (including Joan Baez and Donovan) pop in and out of the frame. A sparking new Blu-Ray features the film (which opens with the proto-video of “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” in which Dylan holds up, and then tosses, a series of cue cards with the lyrics to the song), and also features audio tracks, audio commentary from director D.A. Pennebaker and Dylan road manager Bob Neuwirth, and a bonus disc, 65 Revisited, featuring even more footage and performances from the tour.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Blu-Ray


Anime director Mamoru Hosoda had modest success (a relative term for the few Japanese animation films that actually see a US theatrical release) last year with his sci-fi romance Summer Wars, but he really turned heads with his prior film, 2006’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Though the film was the anime equivalent of a limited-release indie, word began to spread and soon theatergoers in Japan were even standing in the aisles to watch it. The story revolves around a high school girl who discovers she has the ability to leap backwards in time and begins to use her power frivolously, often with unintended results. When she later learns that she can only activate the power a limited number of times, she attempts to correct all the problems she inadvertently caused. After its success in Japan, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time traveled the festival circuit and got a very limited release in the US, but it was never a box office success. This week, it arrives on Blu-Ray for the first time, and as it currently enjoys a healthy 87% Tomatometer (admittedly based on just 15 reviews), it should be a solid pickup for any fan of the genre.

Human Planet

Back in 2006, the BBC produced what might be called a blockbuster nature documentary series called Planet Earth, which explored several of the planet’s most exotic habitats and their indigenous animal populations. After following that up with another similar nature series, Life, the good people of the BBC decided to focus on the human side of things, and this brought forth Human Planet. Human Planet is an equally astounding 8-part miniseries that, naturally, focuses on various peoples found around the world and the ingenious ways in which they’ve learned to adapt to their environments. Narrated by John Hurt (in lieu of BBC legend David Attenborough), the series explores various habitats, ranging from life in the mountains to survival in the arctic, and documents fascinating events like narwhal hunting in Greenland to discovering prefiously uncontacted tribes in Brazil. It’s a noteworthy addition to the BBC documentary canon, fascinating to nature enthusiasts and those interested in eclectic cultures, and it arrives on home video this week.

Blow Out – Criterion Collection


With nods to Hitchcock, Antonioni’s Blow Up, and Coppola’s The Conversation, Brian De Palma’s Blow Out is both an expert homage and a bracing, paranoid thriller. In one his finest post-Saturday Night Fever performances, John Travolta stars as an audio engineer who’s recording atmospheric audio for a low budget horror film when he witnesses a horrific car crash. Soon, he discovers that the car was driven by a presidential hopeful, and a prostitute (Nancy Allen) was also in the car. He also finds that the audio he recorded at the crash site sounds a lot like a gunshot; was the crash induced by an assassination attempt? This underrated suspense-fest finds De Palma on top of his game, and a new director-approved Criterion disc makes the case that Blow Out is worthy of another look; special features include an hour-long interview with De Palma by Noah Baumbach, an early De Palma feature, Murder à la Mod, and on-set photographs from the making of the film.

El Topo & The Holy MountainBlu-Ray


For the unfamiliar, Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of the godfathers of cult cinema, having directed some of the most bizarre and heavily allegorical avant-garde films of the 1970s. It’s said that his experimental western El Topo was the birth of the “midnight movie,” as it was initially only shown in the US at late night screenings, and his work has been admired by the likes of David Lynch, Marilyn Manson, Peter Gabriel, and John Lennon, just to name a few. The latter on that list, in fact, loved El Topo so much he even convinced The Beatles’ company president to donate $1 million to Jodorowsky for his next film, which ended up being The Holy Mountain. Now, to summarize either El Topo or The Holy Mountain in one paragraph would be futile, as anyone who’s seen either of them knows. Suffice it to say that Jodorowsky intended both to be the equivalent of a cinematic acid trip (and he indeed was no stranger to LSD), and they accordingly feature all kinds of bizarre themes and surrealist imagery in service of epic plots woven from the fabrics of various philosophies and religions. Jodorowsky’s films aren’t for everyone, but those with open minds may just find themselves rewarded for the experience. Both El Topo and The Holy Mountain arrive on Blu-Ray for the first time this week, and the special features include commentaries and interviews, as well as deleted scenes (for The Holy Mountain) and some photos and trailers. Good stuff for Jodorowsky fans.

5 Centimeters Per Second

Another anime film in the weekly home video roundup? You could argue that our choices were just that limited, but you would be wrong. Keeping in mind that the animation industry in Japan is just as robust, if not more so, than its film industry, there are always anime auteurs wiling to push the boundaries of what we’ve come to expect from our “cartoons.” It’s true, Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli is the Japanese equivalent of Pixar in its success and popularity, but Makoto Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters Per Second is a contemplative, beautifully crafted melodrama that touches on some of the same human emotions that make Miyazaki’s works so accessible. The story is broken into three segments, each chronicling a period in the life of a boy/man named Takaki Tono, who first falls in love with a childhood friend, then moves far away and reminisces about her, then nearly experiences a breakdown as an adult, due to his lifelong love for the same girl. Since its release, 5 Centimeters Per Second has earned tons of critical accolades from those who have seen it, and though some may find it to be a bit on the sentimental side, it’s also a lush, visual treat to behold, and fans of anime will appreciate its attention to detail.

Tag Cloud

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