RT on DVD

RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Hunger Games and The Raid

Plus, a couple of solid thrillers and a few great reissues.

by | August 14, 2012 | Comments

There have been a few noteworthy selections on home video in recent weeks, but pickings have been decidedly slim. Luckily, this week promises to be a good one (only one Rotten film on our list), from big blockbusters to arthouse winners. See below for the full list!



The Hunger Games

With the Harry Potter series officially over and the Twilight Saga wrapping things up later this year, The Hunger Games has stepped in to take advantage of the rabid young adult fanbase. Similarly based on a series of wildly popular youth novels, The Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, a teen living in a dystopian North America who must represent her district in a battle to the death against teens from other districts. Supported by a cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, and more, The Hunger Games mostly lived up to expectations, earning a Certified Fresh 85% from critics, who found it thrilling, well-acted, and true to its source material.



The Raid: Redemption

87%

Expatriate Welsh director Gareth Evans introduced the world to Iko Uwais and the Indonesian martial art of Silat through his 2009 film Merantau, and he employs both in his follow-up, The Raid: Redemption. Known simply as The Raid in its native Indonesia, the high-powered actioner garnered widespread praise for its ability to draw thrills from an elegantly simple premise: an elite SWAT team attempts to infiltrate an urban highrise occupied entirely by ruthless thugs and murderers in an attempt to reach the top floor and apprehend the crime lord running the show. Certified Fresh at 83% on the Tomatometer, The Raid employs a fast pace to maximize the thrills, and while it may be a bit too intense for some, it should please those looking for bloody fun.



Kill List

78%

Kill List premiered at SXSW back in 2011, blowing more than a few minds en route to a good amount of positive buzz and an eventual US release in February of this year. Neil Maskell and Michael Smiley play Jay and Gal, respectively, former soldiers-turned-hitmen who decide to take on a few more jobs when Jay starts running out of cash. Things take a turn for the chilling and bizarre, however, when they happen upon a mysterious ceremony in the woods and their lives are put in peril. Equal parts horror and psychological thriller, Kill List earned a Certified Fresh 74% from critics, who largely felt the movie was well made and effectively disturbing, if a little too ambitious and a tad on the violent side.



The Snowtown Murders

84%

Australia has produced a few fine crime films in recent years (e.g. Animal Kingdom, Red Hill), and the trend continues with The Snowtown Murders. Based on true events, the film centers on Jamie Vlassakis (Lucas Pittaway), a young boy who becomes attached to an older man named John Bunting (Daniel Henshall), later recognized as the ringleader in a series of 11 murders during the 1990s. Critics called the film bleak and brutal but ultimately deemed it a powerful viewing experience. Certified Fresh at 85%, The Snowtown Murders can be tough to watch, but it’s a fascinating dramatization that’s likely to remain with you after the credits have rolled.



Hick

5%

If you thought Chloe Moretz wasn’t sexualized enough as an 11-year-old in Kick-Ass, wait until you see her as a 13-year-old in Hick. Based on the novel of the same name by Andrea Portes (who also wrote the screenplay), Hick stars Moretz as Luli, a spunky teen from Nebraska who flees her alcoholic parents to hitchhike to Las Vegas, encountering the kinds of quirky side characters one typically expects to find in a road trip movie. The only problem here is that, despite the efforts of a strong cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Alec Baldwin, Blake Lively, and Juliette Lewis, critics found the film’s tone inconsistent, its message muddled, and its story a bit aimless. As such, it’s earned that rarest of RT honors: the 0% Tomatometer.



Jaws

Steven Spielberg’s iconic thriller about a killer shark and the men who set out to hunt it down had a lasting effect on the movie industry, both establishing the summer as the season for blockbusters and changing the way movies in general are marketed to the public. And while that’s important and all, what really mattered to audiences was that Jaws was fun, exciting, thoroughly engaging, and full of surprises; in other words, pretty much the perfect popcorn flick to see on the big screen with your friends. As part of its ongoing 100th Anniversary, Universal is releasing Jaws on Blu-ray for the first time this week, along with extras that include two feature-length docs about the film’s production and its legacy, as well as deleted scenes, a vintage featurette from 1974, and more.



The Royal Tenenbaums – Criterion Collection Blu-Ray

81%

Before Moonrise Kingdom won the hearts of audiences everywhere, Wes Anderson’s most famous work was probably The Royal Tenenbaums, the sad but quite funny chronicle of a troubled family of privilege. Starring Gene Hackman and Anjelica Huston as the elder Tenenbaums and Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Gwyneth Paltrow as their emotionally stunted children, The Royal Tenenbaums is equal parts melancholy and optimism as it depicts the efforts of the estranged patriarch to reconnect with his children. Already available in a Criterion DVD, the film gets a Blu-ray release this week with a behind the scenes featurette, several cast interviews, deleted scenes, and original drawings of the Tenenbaum house.



La promesse / Rosetta – Criterion Collection

95%

Two more films from the Criterion Collection are hitting shelves this week, both the work of Belgian filmmakers the Dardenne brothers. First up is La promesse, the understated arthouse drama about a young man coming to terms with his father’s shady business practices regarding illegal aliens that put the Dardennes on everyone’s radar. Then there’s Rosetta, the story of a 17-year-old struggling to hold on to a job in order to support herself and her mother that not only won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1999, but also helped reshape Belgium’s public policy regarding minimum wage for employed teens. Both films come with interviews of the directors and the cast and are available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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