RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Road, Stagecoach, and Spartacus

Plus, another iconic western, an internet sensation, and crime-solving kids.

It's a new week of releases on home video, and we here at Rotten Tomatoes regret to inform you that the selection of new releases is again rather dismal. With that in mind, we bring you an abbreviated list highlighting the two brand new releases and a handful of reissues we think some of you might find appealing. Leading off the pack is the latest Cormac McCarthy novel to find its way to the big screen, as well as the latest Nicholas Sparks novel to do the same; we'll let you guess which of those is Certified Fresh and which is Rotten. Then, we've got a couple of classic westerns, an internet sensation that won an emmy, a comedy from some of NBC's newest stars, and one of Stanley Kubrick's early masterpieces. Read on for the full list!


75%
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Fresh

The Road

The novels of Cormac McCarthy have recently become prime Hollywood fodder, particularly after the Coen brothers' adaptation of No Country for Old Men took home four of the biggest awards of the 2007 Academy Awards. Following on the heels of No Country's success, The Road, a post-apocalyptic drama about a father and son wandering the American landscape and struggling to survive. Directed by John Hillcoat (The Proposition) and starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road managed to earn a Certified Fresh 75% Tomatometer from critics, despite a handful criticisms that the film was altogether too bleak. You can pick it up on DVD or Blu-Ray this week.


28%
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Rotten

Dear John

Channing Tatum has acted a few notable movies, but unlike his Dear John co-star Amanda Seyfried, he has yet to find his breakout role. Unfortunately for both, Dear John failed to be a positive career milestone for either, and for Seyfried in particular, it's the lowest Tomatometer-rated film she's done. Even with the directorial heft of Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat) and the acting chops of recent Best Actor nominee Richard Jenkins, this adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name about a US soldier who finds the strength to persevere in the letters he receives from his girlfriend back home failed to impress critics. Citing its overly clichéd plot, reviewers only saw fit to award Dear John with a 29% Tomatometer. Still, it's available on DVD and Blu-Ray this week for Sparks fans and those looking for a simple tearjerker.


Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

If you're a fan of Joss Whedon, you're probably already familiar with this little web-mini-series-that-could. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog began as a way for "Whedon and Friends" to circumvent the Hollywood writer's strike of 2008 and produce something inexpensive but interesting, and it wound up winning a series of awards, including a Primtime Emmy. Broadway vet Neil Patrick Harris hams it up as Dr. Horrible himself, an aspiring supervillain who's in love with a girl he met at the laundromat, and Nathan Fillion (from Whedon's own Firefly series) shows up as Dr. Horrible's superhero nemesis, Captain Hammer. But if you've already watched or downloaded the entire 42-minute program, why get the DVD? Try these extras on for size: an audio commentary with Whedon, Harris, Fillion and the other creators; a musical commentary featuring its cast and crew singing songs about each other and the writer's strike; a making-of featurette; and 10 fanmade videos created as applications to the Evil League of Evil. You can pick it up on DVD or Blu-Ray this week.


96%
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Fresh

Spartacus 50th Anniversary Edition - Blu-Ray

Few movies can rally the troops like 1960's Spartacus. A high pedigree production, the film wouldn't exist were it not for the star power and drive of Kirk Douglas who, up to that point, hadn't had as massive a platform as this for his ideas or his talents. Stanley Kubrick directs and the great Dalton Trumbo, just out of his period from the days of the Blacklist (he was one of the original Hollywood ten), loads this epic struggle of liberty and servitude with things the censors couldn't figure out how to argue. See the scene with newly enslaved lover-boy Tony Curtis in which Curtis oils down Sir Lawrence Oliver (the heavy) and is asked, "Slave. Do you like snails or do you like cockles." (Imagine hand gestures for that one and the message comes pretty clear.) This 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray comes with a manifesto's length of extras: interviews with heavy-hitter stars Jean Simmons and Peter Ustinov (always has a lot to offer), behind-the-scenes footage, vintage newsreels, costume art (HOT!), production stills (scandalous!), poster art, and Saul Bass storyboards. In the end, though, the extras are just icing for the film's epic results. This writer's never met a man who doesn't tear up at the announcement: "I am Spartacus." (I get chills even typing it.)


53%
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Rotten

Mystery Team

If you've been watching the recent NBC lineup of hit shows, which includes 30 Rock and The Office, then you're already familiar with many of the actors involved with Mystery Team, a comedy about three high school friends who once ran a kid detective agency and who attempt to solve a double homicide to recapture the glory of their youth. Mystery Team was brought to the screen by the members of Derrick Comedy, a sketch comedy group that amassed a large following via online channels. Some of the cast members you might recognize in this are Donald Glover (of NBC's Community), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), and Ellie Kemper (The Office), as well as other NBC sitcom regulars. Fans of Derrick Comedy will likely get a kick out of the movie, and it'll be available this week.


92%
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Fresh

Django - Blu-Ray

A contemporary of Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci left his own stamp on the "Spaghetti Western" with 1966's Django, which arrived just on the heels of Leone's Dollars Trilogy. Starring Franco Nero as the titular antihero, Django focuses on a wandering gunslinger (Nero) with a grudge who aligns himself with a gang of Mexican revolutionaries against the colonel who murdered his wife. At the time of its release, it was considered one of the most violent films ever made, and countries like Sweden simply banned it. However, the film was so popular that it spawned a reported 100 unofficial sequels, none of which have much to do with Corbucci's film. In addition, Django has inspired countless references over the decades in several mediums, the most recent of which might be Japanese cult director Takashi Miike's 2007 film Sukiyaki Western Django, which borrows a lot from the original. This week, Django is available in Blu-Ray for the first time, and it comes with some intriguing extras, like cast interviews and a 1968 documentary about Spaghetti Westerns.


100%
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Stagecoach - Criterion Collection

Though Westerns were quite popular during cinema's Silent Film era, when sound entered the picture (no pun intended), Westerns fell by the wayside, relegated to B-movie status. Then, in 1939, the stars aligned just right, and veteran director John Ford paired up with a young John Wayne for his first Western with sound, the first proper Western since the silent era, and the first of many successful Ford-Wayne collaborations to come. Stagecoach was a success even back in its day; it's still considered by many to be the greatest of its genre, and even those who disagree still count it among the most influential films ever made. Not only did it set the bar for Westerns as we now know them, it also launched the career of John Wayne and paved the way of some of Ford's other masterpieces. This week, Criterion has adopted Stagecoach into its collection, adding a TON of impressive special features like Bucking Broadway, a Ford silent feature; a 1968 interview with Ford; a video homage to legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt; a 1949 radio dramatization of Stagecoach featuring the original cast; and more! You can pick it up on DVD or Blu-Ray this week.

Written by Ryan Fujitani and Sara Maria Vizcarrondo

Comments

waggaga1

noel noel

The Road looks interesting... I'll have to check it out.

May 24 - 06:55 PM

tgibfo

Matt Ritchey

I am Django!


...wait.... am I confusing my movie quotes?

May 24 - 07:12 PM

Chaotic

Chris Burge

The Road is amazing. Viggo gives one hell of a performance that shouldve been nominated for an oscar.

May 24 - 08:07 PM

Spirit Bear

Martin Tam

The Road was a good movie, that said I don't think I would ever watch it again. It is long, tiresome, and gives a extremely bleak and depressing outlook on humanity. And from what I've heard you don't get the wonderful descriptions from Cormac McCarthy's novel.

May 24 - 08:30 PM

Nine Oh Two

Nine Oh Two .

W/O Mccarthy's poetic touches, the movie rarely elevates itself over dystopian porn. As much as I like Hillcoat as a director (thought The Proposiion was seriously underrated), I didn't think this movie was awards worthy. It was a decent effort considering it wasn't an easy book to adapt.

May 25 - 02:36 PM

Rash Hunt

Rash Hunt

I've been waiting on the Mystery Team release for over a year now, Derrick Comedy is fantastic.

May 24 - 09:02 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

The Road totally got snubbed at the Oscars. Screw Avatar, Viggo and Hillcoat deserved some credit for their brilliant work.

And finally I'd just like to remind everyone that these.... are not the hammer.

May 24 - 09:09 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

Thought The Road was great! Well played and impeccably crafted overall (direction and production design) and I am actually on the opposite end of what everyone says, and yes I thought it was bleak, but not hopelessly, and depressively bleak, in fact I left the theatre with a strange sense of hope, for me the movie left a hopeful ending despite all the grim(albeit impeccable) imagery. I enjoyed Dear John, nothing special, but a good time-waster, and I found it well-acted by Tatum, Seyfried (who I am a Huge fan of) and Richard Jenkins. Two good movies, The Road recommended first, then Dear John

May 24 - 09:12 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

The Road is a brilliant movie, I loved every second of it.
Gonna pick up Spartacus, Django, Stagecoach and Horrible too.
Dear John can burn in hell.

May 24 - 09:45 PM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

Not a good week for DVD releases. I can live without seeing The Road or Dear John.

Not to take away from Stagecoach or Spartacus' status as classics, but I have them both on DVD already.

May 24 - 10:03 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Dr. Horrible was fantastic. Single handedly got me thru the writers strike.

May 25 - 05:13 AM

69BUCK

JIM GRONEFELD

I've been waiting years to see the Road. First the release was delayed, and then it was extremely limited. Mortensen is always good, and if the movie is half of what the book was, it is something rare.

May 25 - 05:21 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

I've been waiting for The Road for a while now. After I read the book, I gave my kid a big long hug (well, longer that usual.)

The Road is one of those bizarre human nature things... I'm completely dreading watching it, but I totally HAVE to see it.

Methinks I'll be hugging my kid tonight...

May 25 - 06:03 AM

BMS1234

brandon sideleau

John Hillcoat did a magnificent job of transferring the novel to the screen....probably the most faithful adaptation I have ever seen....and that, in turn, is what is probably most criticized by some people. I personally loved the film- the attention to detail, the long quiet stretches dripping with intensity -but some people may grow tired with the lack of action and low amount of dialogue. You really need an attention span to watch and enjoy it...thankfully I do. And yes, Viggo was completely robbed of an Oscar nomination. I never saw Crazy Heart and I absolutely love Jeff Bridges...but Viggo should have at least been nominated. Other than that...I have no desire to ever see 'Dear John.' I haven't seen 'Spartacus' in a long while so I might rent it....and I have no desire to see 'Stagecoach' since I find John Wayne ridiculously lame and corny...give me Clint Eastwood any day over that moron.

May 25 - 08:21 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

What did you say about John Wayne? I swear a man dies and 30 years later people start to get brave and uppity. John Wayne's corpse is winging it's way to your house to kick your ass as we speak. Clint Eastwood does rock though. Different era's

May 25 - 09:26 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree- Clint Eastwood westerns are different with John Wayne's and are not the same!! I like them both in their own unique kind of way!!

May 25 - 01:13 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

I respect your opinion but realize that if I ever see you I won't hesitate to kidnap you, turn on some John Wayne flicks, and Clockwork Orange you to a chair until you realize the error of your ways.

Also I agree with you on The Road. It wasn't a flick for everyone but even still Viggo obviously deserved a nomination.

May 25 - 01:39 PM

J R R Milton

james ferrera

Wow having a different opinion is one thing but John Wayne a moron. He is one of the most loved actors and Americans ever. Dude don't like a movie but give The Duke his due respect.

May 25 - 08:21 PM

basscount

First Last

Yes, The Road is an excellent book and they did a great job bringing it to the big screen.

May 25 - 09:05 AM

69BUCK

JIM GRONEFELD

I've read hundreds of books, and many have brought a tear to my eye, but The Road is the only one that had me sobbing, out loud. I read it a second time after my daugthter was born a few years ago, and it affected me even more. I'm with you, CFM. I want to see it, but I know what I'm in for, so in a way I'm dreading it.

May 25 - 09:49 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

What did you say about John Wayne? I swear a man dies and 30 years later people start to get brave and uppity. John Wayne's corpse is winging it's way to your house to kick your ass as we speak. Clint Eastwood does rock though. Different era's

May 25 - 09:26 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree- Clint Eastwood westerns are different with John Wayne's and are not the same!! I like them both in their own unique kind of way!!

May 25 - 01:13 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

I respect your opinion but realize that if I ever see you I won't hesitate to kidnap you, turn on some John Wayne flicks, and Clockwork Orange you to a chair until you realize the error of your ways.

Also I agree with you on The Road. It wasn't a flick for everyone but even still Viggo obviously deserved a nomination.

May 25 - 01:39 PM

69BUCK

JIM GRONEFELD

I've read hundreds of books, and many have brought a tear to my eye, but The Road is the only one that had me sobbing, out loud. I read it a second time after my daugthter was born a few years ago, and it affected me even more. I'm with you, CFM. I want to see it, but I know what I'm in for, so in a way I'm dreading it.

May 25 - 09:49 AM

nate2709

Nate 2709

Getting True Blood Season 2 , The Road and Stagecoach on Blu. That is all.

May 25 - 09:53 AM

frogleg

Josh Quarles

The Road was the best movie I saw last year. Totally robbed at the Oscars.

May 25 - 10:44 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

Methinks after I watch The Road this week, I'll be Pissed at the Dissed it got at the nominations, similar to Moon.

Film awards blow. All of them.

May 25 - 12:20 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree- Clint Eastwood westerns are different with John Wayne's and are not the same!! I like them both in their own unique kind of way!!

May 25 - 01:13 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

I respect your opinion but realize that if I ever see you I won't hesitate to kidnap you, turn on some John Wayne flicks, and Clockwork Orange you to a chair until you realize the error of your ways.

Also I agree with you on The Road. It wasn't a flick for everyone but even still Viggo obviously deserved a nomination.

May 25 - 01:39 PM

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