RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Ambitious, Time-Jumping Epic Cloud Atlas

Plus, a horror sequel and a failed indie comedy.

This week on home video, we've only got a few choices to talk about, and only one of them seems really worthy of any discussion. That one is Cloud Atlas, a big movie with big ideas that may or may not have succeeded in conveying its heavy message. Then we've got a quirky little something from Roman Coppola, and the latest attempt to revitalize a classic horror franchise. See below for the full list.

Cloud Atlas

66%

What happens when the makers of The Matrix get together with the director of Run Lola Run? You get an epic, sprawling tale (adapted from an eponymous 2004 novel) that spans centuries, utilizing a talented cast to assume multiple roles across time periods ranging from the Victorian era to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. In other words, you get Cloud Atlas, which stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, and many more in a complex story ostensibly about fate and interconnectedness. The plot, as it were, is difficult to summarize, as it jumps forwards and backwards in time, slowly revealing elements of a grand mystery involving a forgotten piece of orchestral music, a nuclear conspiracy, a rebellion fueled by the systematic genocide of genetically engineered clones, and a desperate mission to contact an Earth colony on another planet. Yeah, it's pretty wild. Critics found Cloud Atlas ambitious and visually impressive, though they conceded its length (three hours) and unconventional narrative might be a bit much for general audiences to swallow. Still, it's Fresh at 68% on the Tomatometer, so it might make for an interesting viewing.

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A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

15%

The Coppola family tree has yielded some prolific and successful fruit (Nicolas Cage, Sofia Coppola, lots of wine), but fame and fortune continue to elude Roman Coppola, brother to Sofia and son to Francis Ford, at least as a director (he cowrote Moonrise Kingdom). His first film, 2001's CQ, received fairly positive reviews, but his latest, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, impressed far fewer critics. Charlie Sheen stars as the title character, a 1970s graphic designer who is unexpectedly dumped by his girlfriend and struggles to put his life back together in the aftermath. With help from family and friends, Charles suffers through bizarre fantasies and nightmares of his past in hopes of bouncing back. The cast here, which includes supporting turns from Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Patricia Arquette, among others, is up to the task, but most critics found the film too indulgent, saying it felt more like an excuse for Coppola to hang out with his famous buddies. At 16% on the Tomatometer, Charles Swan is a bit of a turkey, but you can check it out if you're curious.

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Texas Chainsaw 3D

19%

After two attempts at rebooting and revitalizing the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, Platinum Dunes gave up the rights, and Lions Gate swooped in to keep it going. The film they decided to make, however, was not another reboot, but a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper's original 1979 horror classic. It was a risky move, and unfortunately, according to most critics, Texas Chainsaw 3D failed to breathe adequate new life into the series. The story centers on Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario), a young woman with ties to the original Sawyer family who receives notice that she's come into an inheritance and travels back to Newt, Texas with some friends to collect. Grisly deaths ensue, of course. The majority of critics who saw Texas Chainsaw 3D weren't fooled by its loose ties to the original film; despite its efforts to add some depth to Leatherface, the film is largely another by-the-numbers slasher with little new to offer, and at a meager 19%, it's likely only to satisfy die hard fans.

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Also available this week:

  • Two Glenn Ford westerns emerge from the Criterion Collection's closet: The original 1957 3:10 to Yuma (95%), co-starring Van Heflin; and 1956's Jubal, co-starring Rod Steiger and Ernest Borgnine.
  • Beware of Mr. Baker (97%), a documentary about Ginger Baker, legendary drummer of Cream.

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