RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Life of Pi and Rise of the Guardians

Plus, a Hitchcock biopic, an alcohol-soaked drama, an acclaimed music doc, and more.

by | March 12, 2013 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got four new releases that are Certified Fresh, including one multiple Oscar-winner, one animated adventure, a music doc, and an indie drama about alcoholism. On top of that, there’s also the relatively well-received biopic about Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho and a quirky Sean Penn-powered road trip drama. Lastly, we have a feature adaptation of the famed Cirque du Soleil troupe’s performances, as well as a handful of notable reissues. See below for the full list!

Life of Pi

86%

Yann Martel’s 2001 novel Life of Pi was a worldwide success, so it’s not surprising that development of a film adaptation began as early as 2003. Many considered the book “unfilmable,” however, so we didn’t get the movie until Ang Lee took up the helm (after several others dropped out) and felt technology was up to snuff to tell the story. The fantasy adventure revolves around Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma), an Indian teen whose parents own a struggling zoo and decide to sell all their animals to a buyer in Canada, where the family will settle. En route to Winnipeg, their freighter encounters a massive storm that wrecks the ship and leaves Pi stranded alone on a lifeboat with a few animals, including a fearsome Bengal tiger. Like its source novel, Life of Pi was met with both critical and commercial success, and was nominated for eleven Academy Awards; it won four Oscars, including Best Director for Ang Lee. Certified Fresh at 88%, it’s a trasportive, beautifully shot, technically impressive film, even if its underlying message may not resonate with everyone.

Rise of the Guardians

75%

Another film based on a book (or series of books, rather, authored by William Joyce), Rise of the Guardians reimagines mythical childhood figures like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Jack Frost as warrior-like protectors of the world’s children — in addition to their regular duties delivering presents and hiding Easter eggs, that is. Voiced by Chris Pine, Jack Frost is a bit of a mischief maker, starting snowball fights and conjuring blizzards, until he’s recruited by the existing guardians to help defeat Pitch (Jude Law), a dark spirit intent on taking over the world. In the process, Jack discovers both his true worth as a guardian and the secrets of his past life. Though critics felt the story itself could have been a little more focused, they also liked the clever premise of the film, as well as its lush animation and brisk pacing. Certified Fresh at 74%, Rise of the Guardians is a fresh take on some familiar characters that most will be able to appreciate.

Hitchcock

60%

Screenwriter Sacha Gervasi’s directorial debut, 2007’s Anvil! The Story of Anvil, earned heaps of praise, so hopes were high for his film about Alfred Hitchcock, especially considering Anthony Hopkins would be filling in the role of the great director and Helen Mirren would be playing his wife and collaborative partner, Alma Reville. Hitchcock specifically chronicles the director’s efforts to finance and produce Psycho and the tumultuous relationship that resulted between him and Reville during the making of the film. Although critics would have liked to see a bit more subtlety and insight, most found the film stylishly directed and worth watching, even if only for the inspired performances from Hopkins and Mirren. At 63% on the Tomatometer, Hitchcock isn’t the be all and end all of biopics on The Master of Suspense, but it’s a well-acted glimpse into his life and old Hollywood.

Sound City

100%

Last year, musician Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) purchased a vintage Neve 8028 mixing console from Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California, where he had taken part in recording the seminal Nirvana album Nevermind in 1991. The purchase inspired him to direct a documentary recounting the history of the influential studio, which oversaw the recording of several rock legends and musical icons ranging from Neil Young, Elton John, and Grateful Dead to Barry Manilow, Weezer, Metallica, and many more before it closed in 2011. Peppered with interviews and performances by many of those artists, Sound City weaves together the complete story of the studio and culminates in the purchase that inspired the film in the first place. The film, which opened in limited release just a month ago, has so far earned a 100% Tomatometer, with critics calling it an affectionately crafted passion project that’s thrilling, nostalgic, and a must-see for music fans.

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D

45%

Cirque du Soleil has been an expanding Las Vegas mainstay for several years now, but they’ve been a touring troupe for even longer, their television specials have won awards, and they’ve adapted their shows into films before. This latest venture, Worlds Away, is unique in that it also offers a 3D perspective for the first time, and what’s more? It’s James Cameron-approved 3D. Though it is, in fact, just another showcase for the talents of its performers, there is a narrative framing device: a young woman named Mia (Erica Linz) visits the local circus and falls into a dreamlike world with an aerialist; in order for the two to reunite, they must traverse the various tents of the circus and navigate through their performances. Critics were fairly split here; while some thought the film incoherently plotted and most conceded it was inferior to its live equivalent, others felt it was still beautiful to look at and entertaining enough. At 46%, Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away won’t compare to the real thing, but it’s not too bad if you can’t make it to one of the live shows.

Smashed

83%

Aaron Paul has already built up a considerable fanbase from his role in Breaking Bad, but while Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s star is slowly rising, she hadn’t quite landed the starring role that showcases her talents properly… until Smashed came along. In this low key indie, Paul and Winstead play Charlie and Kate, a young married couple who both decide to come to terms with their alcoholism. When Kate, an elementary schoolteacher, vomits in the middle of class, then drunkenly succumbs to smoking crack later that same night, she consequently joins group therapy and resolves to change her life. Critics roundly applauded Winstead’s performance, as well as director James Ponsoldt’s sensitive direction and the film’s melodrama-free script, en route to a Certified Fresh 84% on the Tomatometer. Costarring Nick Offerman, Octavia Spencer, and Mary Kay Place, Smashed failed to generate much heat at the box office, but here’s hoping it leads to more substantial roles for Winstead.

This Must Be the Place

67%

At first glance, This Must Be the Place might seem simply like the latest in a long line of quirky indie comedy-dramas: Sean Penn, looking like a cross between Bono and Edward Scissorhands, is aging former rock star Cheyenne, who travels home to New York from Ireland in order to reconcile with his estranged father as he lies on his deathbed. Though his father dies before he arrives, Cheyenne soon discovers that he was an Auschwitz survivor whose lifelong mission was to track down the man who abused him there; Cheyenne takes up his father’s quest and sets out across the US to find his father’s persecutor. It’s a strange tale, to be sure, but critics mostly found it surprisingly touching, buoyed by Penn’s oddly charismatic performance. At 68%, This Must Be the Place might be a little too off-kilter for some, but if you give it a chance, it might surprise you.

Also available this week:

  • A 25th Anniversary Blu-ray release of Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit (98%), with a collection of extras ported over from previous releases and an in-depth commentary track.
  • Two choices from the Criterion Collection: The original 1958 The Blob (69%), now on Blu-ray; and Fritz Lang’s Ministry of Fear on both DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Some animated Disney films, paired with their direct-to-DVD sequels: Mulan (86%), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (74%), and Brother Bear (38%).
  • Ron Howard’s 1988 fantasy flick Willow (46%) on Blu-ray.

Tag Cloud

Paramount Mary Tyler Moore documentaries spinoff 007 interviews dramedy FX FXX GoT crime Indigenous canceled TV shows Amazon space talk show scene in color series nature TIFF halloween tv ID Photos E! RT21 DC Universe theme song Winter TV Pixar PaleyFest 45 video 21st Century Fox Focus Features BAFTA biography Nickelodeon basketball finale Showtime target scene in color miniseries Film Festival GLAAD witnail HBO Go psycho Paramount Plus Syfy robots art house versus crime drama Watching Series Hallmark Christmas movies DirecTV TV Spring TV Comics on TV FOX documentary Oscar thriller stand-up comedy quibi 2018 mcc rt labs crossover A24 Wes Anderson deadpool prank Neflix Rock USA Network aapi saw Netflix AMC Plus mockumentary scary Warner Bros. SXSW zero dark thirty discovery casting 24 frames Schedule Star Wars Celebration harry potter Apple TV+ Best Actress 94th Oscars Chernobyl Family elevated horror Rom-Com Women's History Month aliens golden globe awards Hollywood Foreign Press Association new york james bond The CW Dark Horse Comics YA blaxploitation OneApp hispanic romantic comedy series Comedy Central Adult Swim MCU 20th Century Fox TCM rom-coms Pop archives mutant San Diego Comic-Con ITV king arthur hist Cannes Alien 79th Golden Globes Awards VICE Star Wars children's TV 2021 WarnerMedia dc Reality Extras AMC cancelled TV series unscripted Western true crime disaster Marvel Studios TV movies A&E marvel cinematic universe Trivia American Society of Cinematographers olympics Exclusive Video Superheroes cars DC streaming service Best Actor Paramount Network toy story Mary poppins TNT king kong comic books Amazon Prime Video NBC CMT comic Thanksgiving twilight Super Bowl Broadway TV Land Marvel Television free movies Disney Plus History LGBTQ ABC Signature Freeform dceu The Arrangement ViacomCBS scorecard batman young adult historical drama TruTV telelvision chucky 71st Emmy Awards rotten movies we love halloween child's play Lionsgate legend Spike Emmys El Rey Pacific Islander VOD superhero name the review Pirates SundanceTV comic book movie BBC One rt labs critics edition IFC Films 90s pirates of the caribbean Infographic spy thriller HBO Max 73rd Emmy Awards Baby Yoda award winner dexter live action Peacock reviews Avengers game of thrones gangster First Look spider-man Legendary Netflix Christmas movies Country Nat Geo FX on Hulu composers high school Mystery remakes BET Awards criterion Rocky Countdown NYCC Universal docudrama satire black comedy Sundance TV Lifetime Christmas movies PBS cats stoner Captain marvel Elton John Food Network cops Certified Fresh TBS TCA Winter 2020 Discovery Channel target 2015 Interview nbcuniversal technology razzies spanish Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Sci-Fi best indie MGM TLC Amazon Prime movies festivals Character Guide mission: impossible Film Fantasy psychological thriller TV renewals kaiju MSNBC Tumblr parents spanish language renewed TV shows Biopics Emmy Nominations Lifetime obi wan PlayStation Trailer Best Director Black Mirror CBS All Access international jamie lee curtis Epix 2016 Creative Arts Emmys fresh doctor who vs. GIFs Geeked Week Action YouTube Red Black History Month toronto Sony Cosplay South by Southwest Film Festival kids SDCC Turner Toys Podcast boxoffice rotten Arrowverse APB X-Men Christmas romance Tomatazos comiccon diversity Reality Competition period drama Best and Worst LGBT comedies Anna Paquin justice league Binge Guide franchise Holidays Box Office Apple werewolf Apple TV Plus TCA Awards football Disney+ Disney Plus mob Set visit screenings New York Comic Con Lucasfilm medical drama Vudu scene in color sag awards streaming movies BET latino Ovation IMDb TV blockbusters ratings Walt Disney Pictures lord of the rings Ghostbusters sequel Musicals screen actors guild Mary Poppins Returns Columbia Pictures trailers Amazon Studios hidden camera 2019 Pride Month obituary french venice Comedy Hulu cancelled television Tokyo Olympics TCA 2017 Opinion Mudbound facebook Grammys Teen MTV concert Sundance trophy sopranos CNN hollywood Shudder scene in color film series Polls and Games news cancelled TV shows See It Skip It italian Fargo The Walt Disney Company Hallmark cartoon Trophy Talk independent Marathons cooking royal family genre biopic Instagram Live Election jurassic park comics Awards Tour adventure sports summer preview directors Song of Ice and Fire Pop TV canceled Fox News Sneak Peek animated zombies Paramount Pictures Tubi japanese foreign cinemax science fiction tv talk action-comedy Acorn TV Red Carpet Academy Awards cancelled Masterpiece OWN Nominations Best Picture Crunchyroll worst movies CW Seed Writers Guild of America popular hispanic heritage month Sony Pictures debate universal monsters IFC Disney Channel dragons spider-verse Oscars Tags: Comedy Shondaland Bravo vampires television worst new star wars movies suspense south america Mindy Kaling streamig Funimation feel good book adaptation natural history leaderboard RT History Drama festival YouTube Premium ghosts Travel Channel Native cults dark green book Heroines rt archives joker Classic Film political drama revenge transformers The Walking Dead zombie Quiz travel WGN Hear Us Out Britbox boxing Disney streaming service Musical docuseries 93rd Oscars First Reviews DC Comics 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards critic resources Comic Book spain nfl Awards Kids & Family blockbuster based on movie politics Logo TCA movie Universal Pictures classics die hard Fox Searchlight christmas movies kong strong female leads 4/20 VH1 CBS what to watch supernatural Rocketman 72 Emmy Awards SXSW 2022 sitcom crime thriller indiana jones Star Trek monster movies breaking bad adenture HBO National Geographic Comic-Con@Home 2021 live event ESPN summer TV preview reboot new zealand 1990s Premiere Dates women scary movies all-time slasher 2020 Music ABC Spectrum Originals laika Image Comics Turner Classic Movies video on demand wonder woman Stephen King BBC a nightmare on elm street godzilla anime fast and furious golden globes Horror ABC Family sequels Endgame know your critic binge TV One The Witch Year in Review war Sundance Now australia Cartoon Network BBC America dreamworks Brie Larson YouTube E3 superman richard e. Grant Tarantino black singing competition Esquire Superheroe Valentine's Day japan Starz Animation Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt NBA Television Critics Association critics slashers Prime Video Crackle asian-american police drama social media book USA summer TV 99% teaser Martial Arts Disney Winners Summer Calendar game show Marvel streaming anthology Holiday DGA Television Academy stop motion comic book movies Video Games heist movie HFPA dogs marvel comics broadcast emmy awards Pet Sematary posters The Purge adaptation Ellie Kemper serial killer films The Academy President Fall TV 2017