RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The King's Speech and Rabbit Hole

Plus, more Certified Fresh gems, a martial arts flick, and Jack Black.

by | April 19, 2011 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got quite a few great films to choose from. Four of the new releases are Certified Fresh, and this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner is among them. The others are comprised of a hard-hitting drama that earned Nicole Kidman an Oscar nod of her own, an epic journey through the Siberian wilderness, and Sofia Coppola’s latest melancholic tale of relationships. Then, we’ve got Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen’s sequel to his recent martial arts hit and a Jack Black misfire based on a classic novel, as well as the week’s new Criterion Collection releases. Check out what’s new this week below.

The King’s Speech


Let’s be honest here: Colin Firth was sort of a “that guy” for a long time, until he showed up opposite Renee Zellwegger in Bridget Jones’s Diary. But there was always a certain charisma to his personality, and people witnessed his potential in full blossom when he starred as a troubled gay man on the verge of suicide in last year’s A Single Man. Fast forward to November of the same year, and we have the culmination of more than two decades of acting in Firth’s rousing Best Actor win for portraying King George VI. But let’s not sell the movie short; The King’s Speech was nominated for a whopping 12 Oscars, and it took home four of the five major awards, including Firth’s award, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. For those who have spent the better part of the last six months avoiding mass media, the story revolves around the newly crowned King George VI, who suffers from a speech impediment, and the deep friendship he develops with his Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Critics stamped their approval on the film in the form of a Certified Fresh 95% on the Tomatometer, and though some have complained about some of the historical inaccuracies in the film, it remains an entertaining, superbly acted, and stylishly produced film, and it arrives on home video this week.

Rabbit Hole


Our second pick this week is another Certified Fresh film, one that earned its lead actress, Nicole Kidman, an Oscar nod back in February. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Rabbit Hole centers on grieving couple Becca and Howie Corbett (Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, respectively) who have just lost their only son in a tragic car accident. While Becca tries desperately to move on with life, confiding in her mother (Dianne Wiest) and connecting with the young man (Miles Teller) responsible for her son’s death in an attempt to make sense of things, Howie instead chooses to dwell in the past, finding it difficult to cope and entertaining the temptation to find comfort in the arms of another woman. The film is certainly not a joyful romp, and it’s often painful to watch, but critics praised Rabbit Hole‘s finely written script and standout performances to the tune of 87% on the Tomatometer. This is powerful, evocative drama, and those looking for a deep exploration of grief will find a lot to like here.

Gulliver’s Travels


Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels is a cleverly written satirical look at human nature, a classic piece of literature taught at the highest levels of education to this day. But when you’ve got Jack Black headlining a film adaptation of the work, you can be sure the term “loosely based” applies in spades. In this particular iteration, Black plays Lemuel Gulliver, an aspiring travel writer looking for his first big break who is sent to the Bermuda Triangle to draft an article debunking its myths. Naturally, Gulliver ends up shipwrecked on Liliput, whose inhabitants lock him up as a threat to their safety until he helps rescue both the Liliputian Princess Mary (Emily Blunt) and King (Billy Connolly). Jack Black is, well, Jack Black, and there’s no one else quite like him, but critics overall had some problems with the movie’s reliance on juvenile humor and special effects at the expense of the source material’s brilliant commentary. If your fondness for classic lit isn’t compromised by giant wedgies, pee jokes, and Liliputians utilized in a giant foosball table, then hey, this is right up your alley.



Looking at the films that Sofia Coppola has directed over the years, one gets the sense that the auteur, whose work is infused with meditative ennui, could do with a trip to Disneyland or a girls’ night out with her BFFs. But whatever deep seated melancholy Coppola may be tapping into, her films are largely well-received, and this is no different for her latest effort, Somewhere, starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning. Dorff plays Johnny Marco, a Hollywood star coasting through celebrity on a steady diet of pills and easy women, feeling precious little and socializing only occasionally. When his pre-teen daughter Cleo (Fanning) suddenly shows up on his doorstep to announce she’ll be staying with him full-time, the two of them begin to bond, and Cleo lends meaning to Johnny’s otherwise meaningless life. Somewhere is Coppola’s third Certified Fresh film at 72%, and critics felt that while the movie touches on familiar territory for the director, it’s nevertheless a seductively pensive meditation on the nature of celebrity and features charming performances from its two leads. Fans of Coppola and her storytelling style will undoubtedly enjoy it.

Kes – Criterion Collection


One of the most celebrated of all British films, Kes is an achingly poignant and honest coming-of-age tale. Made at the tail end of the British “kitchen sink” era of cinematic realism, Ken Loach’s first theatrical feature is the tale of a bullied, mischievous boy who finds solace by caring for a falcon. Loach’s leftist sensibilities are evident here, and he’s aided by remarkably naturalistic performances from nonprofessional actors. The result is a devastating portrait of blue-collar malaise. A swanky new Criterion disc features a new transfer of the film supervised by Loach, as well as several interviews with the director and Cathy Come Home, Loach’s 1966 made-for-television docudrama.

The Way Back


Our last Certified Fresh pick this week is another well-received, based-on-true-events story, inspired by a memoir written by Sławomir Rawicz, a polish POW who allegedly escaped from a Siberian gulag. Starring an impressive cast that includes Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Mark Strong, and Saoirse Ronan, the film follows roughly the same plot, as seven inmates together break free from the gulag in the midst of a blizzard and make way towards Mongolia. The ensuing story depicts the group’s struggle for survival as they battle not only the harsh wilderness that surrounds them on their journey, but also the sense of impending doom that threatens to swallow them whole and destroy their morale. Directed by Peter Weir (Witness, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), the film impressed critics, who felt that its sweeping ambition, strong performances, and grand visual spectacle deserved a Certified Fresh 75% on the Tomatometer, even if the film wasn’t as emotionally involving as it could have been. A good choice for those who enjoy epic journeys in distant lands and themes of man vs. nature, and it’s available this week.

Sweetie – Criterion Collection


After a successful career making TV movies, Jane Campion burst onto the international cinema scene with Sweetie in 1989. The auteur who would go on to make such arthouse hits as The Piano and Bright Star displayed stylistic panache and an observant eye in this portrait of a dysfunctional family that is often blind to its own internal problems. Sisters Kay and Sweetie are polar opposites in many ways ? the former is a mousy factory worker, the latter a wild child with unrealistic showbiz aspirations. This quirky character study is both sweet and sour ? and offers proof of Campion’s nascent skill. The new director-approved Criterion disc offers a commentary track from Campion, some of her early shorts, interviews, and behind-the scenes images.

Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster


In recent years, as old kung fu favorites Jackie Chan and Jet Li have started to wind down their careers a bit, Donnie Yen has stepped into the spotlight as a true force to be reckoned with. There are a few of us here in the RT office who are big martial arts fans, and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of Yen’s Ip Man, released Stateside in 2010 in all its speed-punching, face-flattening glory. Just a few months later, Yen reprised his role as the titular master of Wing Chun in Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster, but few saw it, and this week it arrives on home video. The sequel focuses on Ip Man’s struggle to teach Wing Chun in the face of corrupt Hong Kong martial artists and an oppressive British colonial regime, culminating in visceral fight sequences between Yen and Jackie Chan contemporary Sammo Hung, as well as an East vs. West duel in a boxing ring. Now, these themes are fairly common in Hong Kong martial arts flicks, but Yen has proven himself to be capable of standing with the best in the business, and by most accounts, the action in Ip Man 2 goes a long way towards making up for any dramatic inadequacies the film may have. Fans of Donnie Yen, or high octane martial arts films in general, should get a proper kick out of this one.

Tag Cloud

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