RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Lee Daniels' The Butler, Riddick, Carrie, and More

Enough Said, Fruitvale Station, 20 Feet From Stardom, Short Term 12, and even more.

by | January 14, 2014 | Comments

It looks like the studios have finally gotten back into the groove, as far as home video releases are concerned. This week, we’ve got a few big releases to talk about, but they’re far overshadowed by the wealth of smaller, critically acclaimed films on the list. We’ve got a total of seven Certified Fresh movies coming out this week, ranging from a clever home invasion thriller to an unconventional coming-of-age story to a music documentary. Read on for the full list:

Lee Daniels’ The Butler


Lee Daniels’ The Butler looked like an awards contender early on, and though much of the buzz has died down since then, it’s still likely a movie worth seeing. Loosely based on the life of longtime White House butler Eugene Allen, the film stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, who recounts his life growing up in Georgia during the 1920s and learning to be a house servant before working under several US presidents. The film follows Gaines as he and his family navigate the tumultuous years of the Civil Rights Era. With Lee Daniels (Precious) at the helm and a remarkable all-star cast that included Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, and Cuba Gooding Jr., as well as folks like Robin Williams, John Cusack, and Alan Rickman standing in as various presidents, The Butler impressed critics mostly with its acting, despite a sometimes uneven narrative. At 73% on the Tomatometer, it’s an interesting and emotional look at American history from a unique perspective.



After a nine-year absence that pretty much had most fans assuming 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick would be the last anyone would see of the series’ sci-fi antihero, David Twohy returned to the world of Richard B. Riddick for a third installment, simply titled Riddick, with Vin Diesel reprising the title role. This time out, Riddick finds himself marooned on a desolate, predator-infested planet with no recourse but to send out a distress beacon, which alerts bounty hunters to his presence. Hoping to flee the planet and travel to his home planet of Furya, Riddick must dispatch the mercenaries and commandeer one of their ships. None of the films in this franchise is a critical winner, but for what it’s worth, Riddick is so far the best-reviewed at 59%, with critics calling it a passable sci-fi actioner that recalls many of the thrills of the first film, which helped inspire a cult fanbase. If you’re a superfan, you might also be interested in the Complete Collection set available on Blu-ray this week.



Did this movie need to be made, especially considering Brian DePalma’s 1976 adaptation of the Stephen King novel is so well regarded? Probably not, but one could possibly argue that, after more than 35 years, it made some sense to update the story with a more contemporary high school setting. Young star Chloe Grace Moretz plays the awkward Carrie White this time, while Julianne Moore takes on the role of her overbearing religious nutcase mother. Carrie isn’t very popular at school, but there’s one thing that sets her apart from other bullied teens: she’s telekinetic. And very upset. Director Kimberly Peirce hits all the proper notes here, but largely fails to find anything new to show or say, and because of that, most critics found Carrie rather superfluous, despite its solid performances. At 49%, it’s not a terrible film, but it’s just not different enough from DePalma’s version to justify its existence.

Enough Said


Contrary to what you may have heard, Enough Said isn’t, in fact, James Gandolfini’s final appearance on film; that comes later this year in Animal Rescue. That said, if this had been his last performance, it would have been a pretty great swan song. Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Eva, a divorced single mother and masseuse who finds a friend in a new client (Catherine Keener) and begins dating a single father (Gandolfini) with a daughter of his own. It’s only later that Eva realizes her two new companions are exes, which complicates both relationships. Certified Fresh at 96% on the Tomatometer, Enough Said earned accolades for its wit and charm, as well as a thoughtfully bittersweet script buoyed by strong performances all around — Julia Louis-Dreyfus was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work here. It’s an understated dramedy for the grown-up set that’s worth seeing for the acting alone.

You’re Next


Home invasion thrillers have become quite popular these past few years, and of the two we got last year involving masked intruders, You’re Next came out squarely on top. Crispian (AJ Bowen) and his girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) travel out to a remote vacation house for Crispian’s family reunion, unaware that a trio of murderers in animal masks lie in wait. As chaos breaks out during dinner, the family members scramble to survive, while one in particular reveals a previously undisclosed knack for survival. Critics mostly agreed that You’re Next succeeded in overcoming typical slasher conventions, injecting a dose of dark humor and some fresh twists to set it apart from the pack. Certified Fresh at 74%, it’s a gory, energetic affair that’s more fun than most.

Fruitvale Station


Ryan Coogler’s debut feature premiered at Sundance last year, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, and the film and its up-and-coming star, Michael B. Jordan, have earned numerous accolades since. Another based-on-real-events tale, Fruitvale follows Oscar Grant (Jordan) as he spends December 31, 2008, with his loved ones, including his mother, his girlfriend, and his daughter, before the tragic and widely publicized events of the following morning. It’s a deeply felt slice-of-life narrative bolstered by a star making performance from Jordan, who some might remember as Wallace from HBO’s The Wire, as well as strong supporting turns from Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz, and it’s Certified Fresh at 94% on the Tomatometer. Yeah, it’s probably worth a watch.

Short Term 12


Speaking of powerful dramas with outstanding lead performances, here’s another one that was almost completely overlooked last year by anyone outside of the critical community. Brie Larson, who’s had a solid run of supporting roles in the past few years, shines bright here as Grace, a committed supervisor at a foster care home for at-risk teens. With the help of her coworker boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), Grace is focused on transitioning one sensitive young man out of the facility when a gifted teenage girl named Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) arrives and forms a unique bond with her. Critics were near-universal in their praise for Short Term 12, which they found to be a revealing drama that effectively communicated the plights of neglected youths with great empathy. This is another strong Certified Fresh choice this week at 99% on the Tomatometer.

20 Feet From Stardom


We might as well keep the streak going, right? 20 Feet From Stardom very narrowly missed winning the Golden Tomato Award for best-reviewed documentary of 2013. The film focuses on a particular group of unsung (no pun intended) heroes in the music industry: the backup singers. While interviews with stars such as Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, and Mick Jagger help round out the narrative, the strength of the doc resides in the personal stories of the backup singers themselves, phenomenally talented artists who, in many cases, simply never got the recognition they deserved for making everyone else sound so good. Certified Fresh at 99% on the Tomatometer, 20 Feet From Stardom is a rich, fascinating, and eye-opening documentary with a killer soundtrack.

The Spectacular Now


As we’ve written before, 2013 was a pretty good year for coming-of-age films, and The Spectacular Now is arguably the best of the bunch. That’s perhaps not so surprising when you consider the film was directed by James Ponsoldt, who displayed a knack for delicate relationship drama in 2012’s Smashed, and written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, who showed similar prowess when they penned (500) Days of Summer. Miles Teller plays Sutter Keely, a charming party boy who spends little time considering his future, and Shailene Woodley is Aimee Finecky, the geeky “good girl” Sutter eventually develops a crush on. As the two grow closer and begin a relationship, Sutter’s flighty ways and increasing alcoholism become obstacles, and he must finally decide what his future will hold. Critics praised The Spectacular Now for its earnest portrayals of young romance and its refusal to rely on its genre’s all-too-familiar themes. Certified Fresh at 92%, it’s a poignant, sensitive look at growing up featuring fine performances.

Blue Caprice


Finally, we cap our long list of Certified Fresh films with Blue Caprice, a dark drama inspired by the infamous Beltway sniper attacks in Washington D.C. back in 2002. Isaiah Washington is John Allen Muhammad, a native Louisianan with a grudge against his country, and Tequan Richmond plays Lee Malvo, the Jamaican-American teen who sees a father figure in Muhammad and soon finds himself swept up into John’s murderous ambitions. First timer Alexandre Moors directs with an unbiased hand, allowing the events to unfold without really skewing the narrative one way or the other, but critics found this method powerful and chilling. Add in a couple of terrific performances from its leads and a smart script, and you’ve got yet another based-on-true-events story effectively translated to the big screen.

Also available this week:

  • +1 (64%), a sci-fi thriller about three friends at a college party who encounter a supernatural phenomenon that creates doppelgangers.
  • A.C.O.D. (51%), starring Adam Scott and Richard Jenkins in a comedy about a grown man who learns he was part of a study on divorce when he was young, and promptly loses control of his life.
  • A Single Shot (51%), starring Sam Rockwell and William H. Macy in a thriller about a hunter who accidentally kills a woman, then makes off with the box of cash he found on her.

Tag Cloud

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