RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Expendables 2 Brings Home the Action

Plus, a heartbreaking anime, a famously flawed film, and a Tarantino collection.

by | November 19, 2012 | Comments

This may be the week of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but it looks like home video distributors didn’t much care. There is so little coming out tomorrow that we’re limiting our selection to just four entries. Thankfully, they’re all fairly notable items, so see below for the full list!

The Expendables 2


The Avengers weren’t the only team of larger-than-life heroes duking it out on the big screen this year; we also had another classic action star royal rumble in the form of The Expendables 2. Stallone relinquished directorial duties to Simon West to this follow-up to his 2010 hit, and he added a few notable names to lineup, like Liam Hemsworth, Chuck Norris, and Jean-Claude Van Damme, the latter two of whom were quite conspicuously absent from the first film. This time around, the team is commissioned by CIA man Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) for a simple salvage mission in Albania; of course, it’s never that simple, and soon the Expendables find themselves pitted against an arms dealer (JCVD) over some hidden plutonium. Critics overall enjoyed this second outing more than the first, despite the fact that proceedings felt a bit familiar. At 66%, you could probably do worse if you?re looking for an action-packed shoot-’em-up.

Grave of the Fireflies – Blu-Ray


Studio Ghibli is best known for the fantastical animated films of Hayao Miyazaki, but one of its first features was a somber anti-war film set in Japan during the tail end of World War II. Grave of the Fireflies tells the story of orphaned teen Seita and his 4-year-old sister Setsuko who, having lost their mother to a bombing, first move in with a resentful aunt and then strike out on their own in an abandoned bomb shelter. As Setsuko begins to suffer from malnutrition, Seita resorts to desperate measures to try and provide for her. Achingly sad but haunting and powerful, Grave of the Fireflies is perhaps one of Ghibli’s most beautiful and touching films, even if its themes might be too heavy for very young viewers. At 96%, it’s a brilliant example of animated cinema equally capable of touching hearts both young and old, and it’s available on Blu-ray for the first time. Unfortunately, no extras.

Heaven’s Gate – Criterion Collection


Michael Cimino’s epic, loosely based on the Johnson County War, was famous for several negative reasons: the production quickly and almost immediately fell behind schedule, it far exceeded its initial budget, Cimino himself was reportedly unreasonably obsessive and controlling, and the film bombed both with critics and at the box-office. All that said, however, it remains a beautifully shot and brutally unflinching take on the Western, and it has enjoyed some critical reassessment since its initial release. This week, the Criterion Collection releases a full director?s cut of the film, supervised by Cimino himself, on DVD and Blu-ray, including bonus features like an illustrated audio interview with Cimino and producer Joann Carelli, as well as new interviews with star Kris Kristofferson and others. It wasn’t the most ideal follow-up to the Oscar-winning The Deer Hunter, but viewers at least will be treated to Cimino’s original vision.

Tarantino XX – 8-Film Collection

Quentin Tarantino’s fans tend to be pretty devout followers, so it’s difficult to imagine many of them haven’t picked up a copy of most of his films at one time or another, but for those who haven’t, there’s Tarantino XX, an 8-film Blu-ray collection of his work to date. The only title included here that Tarantino didn’t direct is True Romance, which he wrote, but otherwise all of his films, from Reservoir Dogs to Inglourious Basterds is included here, along with two extra discs of new bonus content. Since we’ll assume most of you are familiar with his movies, let’s get into the extras: the first disc includes an almost-five-hour roundtable discussion, moderated by Elvis Mitchell, between critics about each of QT’s films. The second disc contains a terrific 2+ hour career retrospective featuring lots of talking heads, a Jackie Brown Q&A session, and a handful of trailers for Django Unchained. Sure, there’ll probably be another all-encompassing set somewhere down the line, but for now, this is a pretty good deal for any QT fan.