RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Amazing Spider-Man Swings Home

Plus, a well-received indie, a stale drama, and a couple of holiday treats.

This week on home video, we get the recent reboot of a Marvel icon, a couple of Christmas movies for kids, a drama that should have been better than it was, an indie comedy critics liked, and a Billy Wilder classic on Blu-ray. See below for the full list!

The Amazing Spider-Man

73%

Did it need to be rebooted? Some said Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 was too sour a note on which to end the franchise, while others felt there was no need to rehash Peter Parker's origin story. Surprisingly, The Amazing Spider-Man managed to shrug off most of the criticism and come away with over $750 million at the box office and a Certified Fresh 73% on the Tomatometer. Andrew Garfield stars as the titular webslinger in a story that, while hitting many of the same plot points as Raimi's first film, makes just enough alterations to set it apart. With the likes of Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, and Denis Leary in supporting roles, this is likely one trip back to the Spider-Man well that most will find pleasantly agreeable.

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Arthur Christmas

91%

Around this time last year, holiday moviegoers looking for a fun, warm family film were treated to a little delight from Aardman Animations, the British studio behind Chicken Run and the Wallace & Gromit movies. Arthur Christmas tells the story of one Christmas Eve when Santa (voiced by Jim Broadbent) inadvertently misses one package and his soft-spoken son Arthur (James McAvoy) becomes the unlikely hero, taking it upon himself to deliver the gift. With an impressive voice cast that includes Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Laura Linney, Robbie Coltrane, John Cusack, and more, Arthur Christmas managed to win the hearts of most critics, who called it clever and surprisingly emotional en route to a Certified Fresh 91% on the Tomatometer.

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360

21%

Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles has had mixed success since his breakout hit, 2002's City of God, so teaming up with writer Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) for an ensemble drama starring the likes of Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins, and Ben Foster probably wasn't a bad idea. Unfortunately, critics say the result, 360, which tells several interconnected stories about sex and betrayal set in locations around the world, proved far less than the sum of its parts. Despite its impressive pedigree and some sexy subject matter, 360 inches along with only brief flashes of compelling drama, jumping from one bland story to the next before the plot -- or its significance -- has a chance to settle in. To most, it's a wasted opportunity, but you may choose to find out for yourself.

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Your Sister's Sister

83%

Emily Blunt (Looper, The Five-Year Engagement) and Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed) have both been particularly busy this year, so it's fitting they'd appear opposite each other at some point. In Your Sister's Sister, Duplass plays Jack, best pals with Iris (Blunt), who offers up her family's cabin as a retreat when Jack's brother's death hits him hard. Upon arriving at the cabin, Jack discovers Iris's sister Hannah, setting up an awkward love triangle (kinda, sorta) that the three will eventually have to untangle. Written and directed by Lynn Shelton (Humpday), Your Sister's Sister impressed critics with its strong acting, heartfelt writing, and surprising sensitivity, registering a Certified Fresh 84%.

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The Muppet Christmas Carol - 20th Anniversary Blu-Ray

69%

Who doesn't love a classic holiday story told via musical puppets? The Muppet Christmas Carol, directed by Brian Henson, essentially retells the tale of Bob Cratchit, Ebenezer Scrooge, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Except, you know, with Muppets, who are joined by Michael Caine as Scrooge. The film arrives on Blu-ray for the first time this week, which should be a nice pickup if you weren't able to nab the 2002 DVD before it went out of print, but the only new feature not found on the previous version is an extra audio commentary track that includes Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, and others. It's not the best-reviewed Muppets movie, but it's wacky and fun, it's seasonally appropriate, and it's a great way to introduce the little ones to Jim Henson's marvelous creations.

Sunset Boulevard - Blu-Ray

98%

Pity Norma Desmond. Nowadays, washed-up celebrities get a reality show to remind people they're still alive, but the heroine of Sunset Boulevard was fated to live a lonely existence in her vast mansion, surrounded by reminders of her lost stardom. As played by Gloria Swanson, Norma is one of cinema's greatest eccentrics, with a pull so strong that she ensnares hack screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) and sad-eyed butler Max Von Mayerling (Erich Von Stroheim) into her web of charisma and delusion. Directed by the great Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard is both a darkly funny film noir and a perversely meta look at Hollywood that's as haunting and entertaining today as it was in 1950. And if you're ready for a close-up look at the making of this masterpiece, a sparkling new Blu-ray release includes oodles of featurettes on the production, the stars, the music, and the locations of a Hollywood classic.

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Also available this week:

  • The Akira Kurosawa classic Rashomon gets an updated Criterion Collection edition on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • The acclaimed documentaries about the West Memphis Three are available together on DVD in The Paradise Lost Trilogy Collector's Edition.
  • Michael Winterbottom's Trishna, starring Freida Pinto in an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Ubervilles, hits shelves this week.
  • Cult classic They Live is available in a Collector's Edition Blu-ray.
  • [REC] 3: Genesis, the third installment in the Spanish zombie franchise, is also available this week.

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