RT on DVD: The Return of Shrek, Miami Vice, and Seagal!

Plus, Fassbinder's 15 hour opus on Criterion DVD!

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It's a week of threequel DVD offerings, as a certain green ogre playing daddy (Shrek the Third) and a group of hipster thieves out for revenge (Ocean's Thirteen) hit shelves. But should your tastes venture to the sublime (Paris Je T'aime), the syndicated (Gilmore Girls: The Complete Series), or the Seagal (Urban Justice), you'll find there are many more treats to take home.

Shrek the Third

Tomatometer: 42%

Years from now, when people look back and ask, "Where did the Shrek series go wrong?" they might finger this third entry as the culprit. (Shrek and Shrek 2 are both Certified Fresh with 89 and 88 percent Tomatometers, respectively.) Critics accused this sequel, in which the lovable green ogre and his bride welcome their first bundle of joy, of being overstuffed with the kind of pop culture jabs that were so fresh and original in the first film; only now, they say, we're treated to even more poop and fart jokes. Splendid! But of course, this release is for the kids, who'll enjoy a bonus feature full of extras like young Arthur's high school yearbook, the "Shrek Smash-up" scene-mixing feature, loads of games, DVD-ROM content, and a feature that teaches them how to "Learn the Donkey Dance."


Ocean's Thirteen

Tomatometer: 69%

Speaking of weary franchises, Steven Soderbergh's second sequel to his hit Ocean's Eleven remake arrives today -- see it just to be able to say "Finally, it's done! No more slick-talking, martini-clinking, wink-wink, too-clever cons, please!" Giving the film a 69 percent on the Tomatometer, critics call Thirteen -- in which Danny Ocean and Co. pull a revenge heist on none other than Al Pacino -- better than Twelve, but not as good as Eleven. We say it's what one might call an "airplane movie." That is, you might not go out of your way to see it, but if it's the in-flight film on a plane trip, why not put on that pair of free earphones, open a bag of complimentary nuts, and give it a go?


La Vie En Rose

Tomatometer: 75%

American audiences have seen French actress Marion Cotillard before (Love Me If You Dare, A Very Long Engagement, A Good Year) but now they should really take note; her star turn here as France's national treasure Edith Piaf is utterly transformative.  The mid-century songbird nicknamed the Little Sparrow lived an emotional rollercoaster of a life -- abandoned as a child, raised by prostitutes, a street performer in her youth with ties to the mob -- even before launching a musical career that made her an international star, continually courting scandal and tragedy until her untimely death at the age of 47. 


Urban Justice

Tomatometer: N/A

Steven Seagal IS BACK! And his latest, in which a former special ops agent goes for revenge against the thugs who killed his son (working title: Once Upon a Time in the Hood) promises to be so action-packed, so full of streetwise banter, that the fine folks at Sony Screen Gems have bypassed a theatrical release altogether. That means, folks, that you don't have to wait another minute to add this title to your DVD collection. Did we mention it co-stars badass character actor Danny Trejo as a local big man AND Eddie Griffin as a crazed mobster (not to mention a fight scene with multiple -- multiple, people -- kicks to the groin)? 


Peruse These Picks

Paris Je T'aime
Tomatometer: 84%

This omnibus ode to the City of Lights melted the chilly hearts of crusty critics on this year's festival circuit, and how could it not? The film's eighteen collected short meditations, each dedicated to a different Parisian neighborhood, explore the theme of love as seen through the eyes of 21 of the world's finest filmmakers.

Berlin Alexanderplatz
Tomatometer: 100%

Fassbinder. 15 hours. 100 percent. Criterion Collection. Need we say more?

Christmas Time in South Park
Tomatometer: N/A

The holidays are approaching, which means it's a perfect time to revisit such South Park favorites as "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo," "Merry Christmas Charlie Manson," and "It's Christmas in Canada." Remember to eat lots of fiber, kids!

It's TV Time!

Gilmore Girls: The Complete Collection
Tomatometer: N/A

We could devote an entire column to why we loved The CW's (nee The WB's) Gilmore Girls so hard -- even though it took forever to get over Rory and Jess' Season Three break up, and towards the end we couldn't bear to watch the series wrap itself up -- but suffice to say, this collection is at the top of our holiday wish list. How could you not love a show that featured rapid-fire mother daughter banter, small town charm, and appearances by the likes of Milo Ventimiglia, Adam Brody, Sebastian Bach, Sonic Youth, Paul Anka, Norman Mailer, The Bangles, and Madeleine Albright? 

Miami Vice: The Complete Series
Tomatometer: N/A

Crockett and Tubbs worked the streets of Miami and the wardrobes of the 1980s harder than anyone else could (that is, until David Caruso started dropping one-liners at crime scenes); get all five seasons in one boss-looking white faux-alligator skin box set today!

Until next week, happy renting!