RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Fighter and Hereafter

Also, another acclaimed documentary, a winning indie, and a couple of new Criterions.

This week on home video, we're limited in our selection, but we've managed somehow to narrow it down to some really excellent choices. While Clint Eastwood's latest and the Jason Bateman-Jennifer Aniston rom-com didn't fare so well on the Tomatometer, the rest of the films featured this week have all gotten high praise from the critics. So delve into the list, and hopefully you'll be willing to try out a movie or two you might have otherwise.

The Fighter

91%

It would be easy to say that all boxing movies are alike; they're typically underdog stories about pugilists who have endured hard lives or tragic setbacks, only to return bigger, better, stronger, more resilient, and more determined than before. In that sense, The Fighter doesn't deviate much from the formula. What sets this Oscar-nominated flick apart is the performances, two of which (Christian Bale and Melissa Leo in powerful supporting roles) indeed picked up Academy Awards. Directed by David O. Russell (Three Kings), The Fighter chronicles the early years of professional boxer-to-be "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), focusing on his relationship with his troubled brother Dicky (Bale). With the cast filled out by such outstanding talent as Amy Adams and Mellisa Leo, the film is a solidly entertaining sports drama thanks largely to its stars. If you didn't get a chance to see this when it was in theaters, you can pick it up this week and see what all the hubbub was about in the comfort of your own home.

Hereafter

46%

After a pretty impressive string of seven straight Fresh films, including Best Picture winner Million Dollar Baby and Certified Fresh hits like Mystic River and Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood's hot streak came to an end with Hereafter. Starring Matt Damon, Cecile de France, and Bryce Dallas Howard, the film focuses on three unrelated people who each have unique experiences with death; a gifted psychic (Damon) trying to forget his past, a young boy grieving for the loss of his twin brother, and a woman (France) who has a near-death experience during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis (which makes this release timely in the freakiest of ways). So what was the problem? Critics felt that, despite an intriguing premise, Hereafter failed to be as compelling as it could have been, and its drama too often veered into oversentimentality. Still, considering what happened in Japan over the weekend, this may be the meditation on the afterlife that many may be craving this week.

The Switch

51%

Even if Jennifer Aniston can't seem to find proper footing on the big screen, landing roles in one stinker after another, she's at least pretty likable as a star, and the same is true for Jason Bateman. Unfortunately, critics say that's all The Switch has going for it: the charms of its two leading actors. Based on a short story, the film centers on best friends Kassie (Aniston) and Wally (Bateman) ; when Kassie decides it's time to have a baby ? through artificial insemination ? Wally, who's always had a crush on Kassie, gets drunk and replaces her sperm sample with some of his own specimen. Seven years later, the couple must deal with the consequences. Critics thought that The Switch had an interesting, if potentially crude, premise, and that both Aniston and Bateman gave it their all. Unfortunately, the film's trite script and reliance on rom-com clichés prevent it from becoming anything great. We can be thankful, at least, that they didn't go with the original title (taken from the title of the short story): The Baster. To quote Cate Blanchett at the Oscars, "That's gross."

Waste Land

100%

Last week, home video shelves were freshly stocked with two of the most highly acclaimed documentaries of 2010, one of which actually won the Best Documentary Oscar. This week, discriminating doc-lovers get another winner in Waste Land, one of the Best Documentary runners up. Directed by Lucy Walker (Countdown to Zero, Blindsight), Waste Land follows artist Vik Muniz from Brooklyn back home to Brazil, where he creates art with the local "catadores" ? people who sift through garbage in Rio de Janeiro's landfill looking for recyclable materials. The film holds an impressive, Certified Fresh 100% on RT with 62 reviews, and critics say its transformation into an uplifting portrait of the power of art makes it more than worth the time. If you're into powerful, humanistic documenataries, Waste Land will likely move you and make you think; it's a solid film that, by all accounts, deserves it's Oscar nod, and it's available this week on home video.

No One Knows About Persian Cats

95%

Every week here in RT on DVD, we try to shed light on at least one lesser known release for all of you conscientious movie lovers out there who might want something other than the blockbusters, fanboy favorites, and high profile pet projects. This week, that movie is an Iranian film somewhat appropriately called No One Knows About Persian Cats, a story about the country's underground rock music scene. After two young musicians (Ashkan Kooshanejad and Negar Shaghaghi, real life members of Iranian band Take It Easy Hospital) are released from prison and forbidden from performing in Iran, the pair form a band and begin scouring Tehran for other musicians to join them, ultimately planning an escape from the country and its oppressive policies against them. Praising the film to the tune of a Certified Fresh 95% Tomatometer score, critics felt that it successfully incorporated humor and a fresh perspective on a serious, sometimes touchy subject, resulting in an exhilarating, powerful tribute to Iran's underground musicians. And in a strange case of life imitating art, the story parallels that of its two stars, who have had to relocate to London since the film was released, and have not been allowed to return since.

Au Revoir Les Enfants - Criterion Collection Blu-Ray

96%

One of the great Louis Malle's last masterpieces, the Oscar-nominated Au Revoir, Les Enfants is a haunting tale of innocence lost, based upon one of the director's childhood memories. Set in 1943 in Vichy-era France, Au Revoir is the story of Julien and Jean, two boys at a Catholic boarding school, who bond over their status as outcasts. But Jean has a secret: he's Jewish, and has been granted asylum by a kindly old priest. Soon, the outside world intrudes upon the school, and the Gestapo comes looking for Jews ? leading to an achingly sad act of unconscious betrayal. (It's especially ironic, given the film's somber tone, that Quentin Tarantino's mispronunciation of the title was slyly appropriated into the moniker of his first feature, the raucous Reservoir Dogs.) A spiffy new Criterion blu-ray features interviews with Malle, featurettes, and The Immigrant, a 1917 Charlie Chaplin short that's featured in the film.

Yi Yi - Criterion Collection Blu-Ray

96%

Unless you paid a lot of attention to the film festival circuit in 2000, or you tend to gobble up foreign movies like potato chips, there's a pretty good chance you missed this gem from late Taiwanese director Edward Yang. Told from the perspective of three characters within the story, Yi Yi centers around one middle-class family in Taipei, utilizing the families trials and triumphs as an epic exploration of life itself. The film clocks in at just a hair under three hours, so it's a long ride, but one that's worth taking, according to its multiple international awards and the critics who awarded it a Certified Fresh 96%. This week, Criterion is releasing a brand new Blu-Ray edition of the film, which includes commentary with Yang and critic Tony Rayns, as well as an interview with Rayns about Yang himself and the New Taiwan Cinema movement.

Comments

August M.

Agustin Macias

Nothing this week.

Hereafter: Pretty boring
The Fighter: Another cliched boxing movie. Would rather watch Rocky and Raging Bull.

Mar 14 - 06:16 PM

Noah S.

Noah Simon

Rocky? r u kidding? that is the ten times worse than the fighter!

Mar 15 - 08:35 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Nope. The fighter has elements from Rocky but none of the charm.

Mar 16 - 05:07 AM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

The Fighter was amazing. My personal pick for Best Picture. So I'll try to get that as soon as I can.

Might see Hereafter through Netflix. Otherwise I'll save my money for Paul this weekend.

Mar 14 - 06:20 PM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

It's all about The Fighter this week. I'll rent Hereafter as soon as the irony factor cools down.

Mar 14 - 06:24 PM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

Oh my goodness! Why is no one giving praise to The Switch? It was the greatest movie ever!... Just kidding, I've learned never to trust a movie with Jennifer Aniston in it after Bruce Almighty, go Fighter!

Mar 14 - 06:49 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

I didn't think Bruce was a bad movie, certainly better than what Carrey has been shitting out over these last years.

Mar 14 - 07:42 PM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

My fault, I liked it too, I meant every movie after that.

Mar 14 - 09:02 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

With I Love You, Phillip Morris being the exception. I thought that movie was fantastic!

Mar 14 - 09:52 PM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

Never saw that movie.

Mar 15 - 08:22 PM

The Dude

Gene Arnold

Gonna buy The Fighter on Blu-ray tomorrow man. I'll might get The Switch and Hereafter on Netflix.

Mar 14 - 06:50 PM

Noah S.

Noah Simon

@ The Dude:
nice decision about the fighter.
but don't waste your time with the switch or hereafter.
the switch is up there with the worst of anniston and hereafter is a clunky, poorly made, mess.

Mar 15 - 08:38 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

The Fighter was a good movie, not as good as Social Network, True Grit or Black Swan, but still very good. I'll pick it up on Blu-Ray but nothing else interests me.

Mar 14 - 07:41 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

I didn't think Bruce was a bad movie, certainly better than what Carrey has been shitting out over these last years.

Mar 14 - 07:42 PM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

My fault, I liked it too, I meant every movie after that.

Mar 14 - 09:02 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

With I Love You, Phillip Morris being the exception. I thought that movie was fantastic!

Mar 14 - 09:52 PM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

Never saw that movie.

Mar 15 - 08:22 PM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

My fault, I liked it too, I meant every movie after that.

Mar 14 - 09:02 PM

thisdisplayname

Jason Gersztyn

Aw yeah! I never got a chance to see The Fighter in theaters, so I am definitely going to rent it ASP.

Nothing else particular excites me.

Mar 14 - 09:44 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

With I Love You, Phillip Morris being the exception. I thought that movie was fantastic!

Mar 14 - 09:52 PM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

Never saw that movie.

Mar 15 - 08:22 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

The Fighter was fantastic! My third favorite of 2010, behind Black Swan and The King's Speech. Thoroughly enjoyable film, well-acted by all, and very well made. I liked The Switch OK, I laughed quite a bit, and I like Jennifer Aniston and don't get all the flak she gets. Do people just like to pick on her for no reason? I'll check out Hereafter down the road, didn't get around to seeing that one.

Mar 14 - 09:55 PM

Dakota -Kapodaco- Gordon

Dakota Gordon

Yes, people like to pick on her for no reason, that and because a lot of people don't particularly like her choice in sitcoms.

Mar 15 - 06:47 AM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

If by "no reason" you mean because she is "hella annoying and can only pick good projects to star in by accident", then yes, there's no reason, whatsoever.

Mar 15 - 06:14 PM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

The Fighter is easily one of the best boxing films ever made. What Mickey Ward lacked in skill he made up for in heart, the movie captures this perfectly.

Mar 14 - 10:39 PM

CoreyG

Corey Gallagher

Yi Yi is good, had got it from netflix some time ago.

Mar 14 - 10:47 PM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

I'm going to finally see The Fighter now that its on DVD. Can't say much for anything else, except maybe for Waste Land. Watching The switch would be like watching grass grow.

Mar 14 - 11:44 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Watching grass is pretty fun when you're stoned out of your mind...you can hear it grow.

Mar 15 - 12:48 AM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

Haha

Mar 15 - 04:24 PM

anDy

Andreas Babs

Ahaha what does it sound like

The Fighter is brilliant, one of the best of 2010. I'll pass on the others though.

Mar 16 - 06:55 AM

anDy

Andreas Babs

Bale was just something else in that movie. That's all there is to it.

Mar 16 - 06:56 AM

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