RT on DVD: Cloverfield, Charlie Wilson and 2008's Worst-Reviewed Film

You know it's bad when there are zero special features on a DVD release.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a Slusho, whatever that is! Cloverfield stomps its way onto DVD as not only the most exciting new release of the week, but the one most chock-full of special features. Charlie Wilson's War, The Savages, and The Orphanage are also new -- but be on the lookout as the year's worst flick to date, One Missed Call, also shuffles onto shelves.




Cloverfield

Tomatometer: 76%

The best-kept secret of 2007 (look up viral marketing in the dictionary and see J.J. Abram's grinning mug) turned out to be the rebirth of the kaiju -- a Godzilla-esque creature wreaking havoc in Manhattan, as seen through the eyes of Handicam-wielding twenty-somethings. Online campaigns involving Slusho and the mysterious 1-11-08 teaser title made for a gonzo opening weekend take, but significant drop-off suggests that many of you were waiting for DVD.

Bonus Features:

Two alternate endings, deleted scenes, commentary by director Matt Reeves and tons of Easter Eggs make Cloverfield a must-own. Now, figure out where to buy it, since no less than four special store-specific editions will be available, ranging from a Steelbook case (FYE and Suncoast), exclusive ringtone (K-Mart and Sears), "T.J. Miller's Video Diary" bonus DVD (Best Buy) and our recommendation, a "Rob's Goin' to Japan Party Mix" CD (Target).


Charlie Wilson's War

Tomatometer: 83%

If modern, smarmy Tom Hanks doesn't rub you the wrong way (why, oh why, couldn't he have stopped at A League of Their Own??) and you'd like to see him charm the pants off of Julia Roberts' conservative socialite, then perhaps there's nothing stopping you from watching the true story of Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson and how he run the Soviets out of Afghanistan. But if you're paying attention, you already know how that situation panned out.

Bonus Features:

There's not much here, but a "Who Is Charlie Wilson?" featurette brings us up close and personal with not only Hanks, producer Aaron Sorkin, and director Mike Nichols (The Graduate), but also Wilson himself and his lover/benefactor, Joanne Herring.





The Savages

Tomatometer: 90%

After a nine-year absence, Tamara Jenkins (Slums of Beverly Hills) wins us over again. This time, her angsty protagonists are middle-aged siblings (Best Actress nominee Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman) whose perfectly rancorous relationship is tested when they must deal with their increasingly senile, elderly father (Philip Bosco). One of last year's critical darlings, The Savages deserves a wider audience for its bittersweet, acute observations -- you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll see poop on the walls.

Bonus Features:

There's not much to see here: extended scenes, interviews, and a "Behind the Scenes" photo gallery. But don't let that deter you; give The Savages a try and you'll likely end up touched. After all, who doesn't love their parents?




The Orphanage

Tomatometer: 84%

Orphaned by the Oscars (it was Spain's official entry but didn't make the final cut) and at the box office, here your chance to adopt this overlooked flick! In the Guillermo del Toro-produced stab at familial horror, Laura (Belen Rueda) moves into the orphanage she grew up in, but finds the house already occupied by spirits who seemingly kidnap her son. Come for the thrills, stay for the surprisingly tender story.

Bonus Features:

The Orphanage largely takes place in one setting, so location, location, location was undoubtedly a vital adage on set. Two DVD features reveal the efforts taken to bring Laura's nightmarish world to life: the first, "When Laura Grew Up," shows the filmmakers at work building the orphanage set. The second takes us into "Tomas' Secret Room," where the haunting climax of the movie takes place.




Starting Out in the Evening

Tomatometer: 86%

I don't know about you, but nothing gets our blood boiling like a good May-December pairing. Starting Out in the Evening boasts the match-up of sexagenarian Frank Langella and Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) as an aging writer and grad student , respectively, who grow close in Andrew Wagner's film about relational intimacy and alienation.

Bonus Features:

Director Wagner offers in-depth commentary in the disc's only non-trailer offering.





Hannah Takes the Stairs

Tomatometer: 67%

Is the movie movement known as mumblecore (a certain brand of D.I.Y. flicks with ultra-low budgets and nonprofessional actor) all it's cracked up to be? Take the first step in making your call with the latest notable mumblecore effort, a wry, intimate story about a flaky girl and her crush on two goofy co-workers.

Bonus Features:

Those mumblecore kids are majorly hands-on with the filmmaking process and their subsequent DVD releases. Hannah continues the trend with a commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, and a short film by director Joe Swanberg, Thanks for the ADD! And speaking of which, check out Swanberg's MySpace page for even more short films, including the trailer to his next feature, Nights and Weekends.






One Missed Call

Tomatometer: 0%

At last, the worst-reviewed movie of 2008 has arrived on DVD! (Okay, it's only the worst so far, but we're betting it can go the distance.) It takes something special to go 64 reviews without a single fresh rating, but this remake of Takashi Miike's J-horror pic -- in which people like Shannyn Sossamon get phone calls portending their imminent deaths -- manages the feat. Even Uwe Boll's Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King notched a five percent Tomatometer. Bravo, One Missed Call. Bravo.

Bonus Features:

Here's the kicker: there are no bonus features. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Can you blame Warner Bros. or their no-name filmmakers (not to mention Sossaman and co-star Ed Burns, who both seemed listless while promoting the flick at Comic-Con) for washing their hands of the career-killing box office bomb?

Fun fact: One Missed Call's Australian title is Don't Pick Up the Cell Phone! (Note exclamation point.) Rent accordingly.




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