RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Dictator, A Separation, and Some Disney Classics

Plus, a Jack Black-Richard Linklater winner, a nature film, a critical misfire, and more.

This week on home video, we've got one big comedy and a bunch of smaller films that critically fared much better (with the exception of one, which probably should have been better). Then we've got a notable Blu-ray reissue and a few movies from the Disney vault. See below for the full list!

The Dictator

57%

Sacha Baron Cohen teamed up with director Larry Charles for the third time in The Dictator, a silly, satirical look at oppressive third-world governments and the pair's first non-mockumentary film. Cohen plays General Aladeen, the all around evil dictator of a fictional North African country, who loses his position in a political coup and struggles to have his dictatorship restored. Oh, and he also falls in love and changes his ways... a little. Critics found The Dictator uneven overall, but gave it some credit for its provocative themes and some genuinely funny moments. At 58%, it's not the funniest movie of the year, but you could do a lot worse.

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Bernie

90%

Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused) isn't really a director whose name will get folks into theater seats, and Jack Black tends to draw larger audiences when he's fully switched on. As a result, few people went out to see what might be one of the best films either of them have done in recent memory. Black plays the titular funeral director in Bernie, a based-on-true-events dark comedy about a well-liked Texas man (Black) who befriends and begins a relationship with a bitter, unpleasant widow (Shirley MacLaine) that lasts until the woman goes missing. Critics found the film unexpectedly amusing and gently told, with Black's performance stealing the show; as a result, Bernie earned an impressive Certified Fresh 91% on the Tomatometer.

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Chimpanzee

74%

All of Disneynature's theatrical releases thus far have fared relatively well with the critics, and the trend continues with Chimpanzee. Chimpanzee follows a baby chimp named Oscar who is orphaned and seems fated for death until an unlikely male leader, Freddy, begins to care for him. Based on footage taken by the same people who produced the stunning Planet Earth documentary series, Chimpanzee is beautifully filmed with a similar attention to detail, providing a rare and intimate look at primate families. Certified Fresh at 74%, the film is fascinating and educational, even if it anthropomorphizes its subjects a little too overtly.

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A Separation

99%

It won a slew of awards, made tons of critical Top Ten lists, and earned a Certified Fresh 99% on the Tomatometer, but A Separation was not a huge box office hit. This week, however, you'll get your chance to see the powerful Iranian drama about a married couple's struggles to keep things together when the presence of the husband's father, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, takes a toll on the relationship. Well-acted, expertly written, complex, and insightful, A Separation not only earned an Oscar nod for Best Original Screenplay (rare for foreign films) but actually took home the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

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Weekend

95%

Let's continue with another small, independent film that critics loved but audiences barely knew existed: writer/director Andrew Haigh's Weekend. Tom Cullen plays Russell, a man living in Nottingham who picks up an artist named Glen (Chris New) for what begins as a one-night stand and becomes a profound weekend-long examination of love, sex, and contemporary gay living for the both of them. Cullen and New, both newcomers, earned accolades for their naturalistic performances, and Haigh found praise for his honest writing and his ability to make the story just as relevant for a wider audience. At a Certified Fresh 94% on the Tomatometer, Weekend is a uniquely observed romance worth watching.

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Virginia

4%

Dustin Lance Black's breakout film was 2008's Milk, for which he earned a ton of recognition and won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, and he followed that up with the screenplay for Clint Eastwood's high profile biopic J. Edgar. Unfortunately, Black's first narrative directorial effort since 2000, Virginia, largely failed to generate much praise. Starring Ed Harris, Emma Roberts, Harrison Gilbertson, and Jennifer Connelly in the title role, Virginia is a dramedy about a single mother who gets involved with the married local sheriff and soon discovers her small town is full of secrets. Critics found Virginia an erratic misfire with tonal issues and a disjointed plot, leading to a dismal 4% Tomatometer that betrays the film's pedigree.

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Good Will Hunting - 15th Anniversary Blu-Ray

97%

In the fifteen years that have transpired since Good Will Hunting was released, Matt Damon has become a major A-list movie star and Ben Affleck has embarked upon a rather promising directorial career. But without their Oscar-winning script about a working class kid who reluctantly enters therapy in order to avoid jail time and study mathematics, it's possible neither would be where they are now. This week, Miramax and Lionsgate are releasing a 15th Anniversary Blu-ray of Good Will Hunting, which contains many of the special features contained in other releases but also includes two new extras: an hourlong retrospective look at the film with Damon, Affleck, director Gus Van Sant, and Robin Williams; and a shorter video with Damon reflecting on the making of the movie.

The Rescuers, The Aristocats, and Pocahontas - Blu-Ray

83%

Every few years, the good people over at Disney see fit to release the Blu-ray versions of their most beloved animated classics, and this week, we get a whopping three of them. The Aristocats (1970, 68%), The Rescuers (1977, 85%), and Pocahontas (1996, 57%) are all getting the high definition treatment this week, but wait -- there's more! The 35th Anniversary Edition of The Rescuers is also available in a 3-disc combo pack with the sequel The Rescuers Down Under, and Pocahontas is likewise available in a combo pack with its own sequel, Pocahontas II. Granted, these aren't the studio's most iconic stories, but you'll certainly find a fair share of people who have fond memories of all three, so if you know of any Disney enthusiasts, these could be great pickups.

Comments

Bradley J.

Bradley J

There are some great choices this week!!

Aug 20 - 06:41 PM

Sandy L.

Sandy Lewis

I am a single biker woman, ride a Harley motorcycle and like feel the machine at my fingertips. Now I am seeking someone who can love me and share the passion for speed, so I joined~~~~~Seekingbikers.com~~~~ under the name of RidingFree. It is the largest dating site for motorcycle enthusiasta and the admirers. Have a try and you'll find your biker soul mate to ride and travel together. :)

Aug 24 - 08:06 AM

JC Martel

JC Martel

I love you, let's tweet each other silly.

Aug 24 - 01:57 PM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

Good mix of rentals this week. Only real buy for me would be Rescuers.

Aug 20 - 06:50 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Most interested in "Bernie" and seeing "A Separation" again. I'll still rent "Dictator", and I have a strange compulsion to see how bad "Virginia" really is. I wish "Chimpanzee" featured more face-biting and reconstructive surgery, and "Weekend" featured more car pile-ups and cannibalism. I actually have always had a soft spot for "Aristocats" and "Rescuers", but "Pocahontas" sinks the deal. I'll stick with "New World" instead.

Aug 20 - 07:10 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

(For those who got the joke, Godard's "Weekend" is coming out on Criterion this fall!)

Aug 20 - 07:13 PM

Sean D.

Sean D

The November releases look fan-freakin-tastic!

Aug 21 - 04:26 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yeah! And "Rashomon" too, and a bunch of Pasolini I haven't seen.

Aug 21 - 04:40 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I have always thought that both of The Rescuers films were very underrated.

Aug 21 - 12:30 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Especially the opening panarama of "Down Under", which was very impressive for its time.

Aug 21 - 01:43 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

(For those who got the joke, Godard's "Weekend" is coming out on Criterion this fall!)

Aug 20 - 07:13 PM

Sean D.

Sean D

The November releases look fan-freakin-tastic!

Aug 21 - 04:26 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yeah! And "Rashomon" too, and a bunch of Pasolini I haven't seen.

Aug 21 - 04:40 PM

Jacob H.

Jacob Holmes

I'll definitely get The Rescuers collection somewhere down the road. I'm still on the fence with Aristocats and Pocahontas seeing as they're much lesser Disney films. Note to the editor: Rescuers and Pocahontas are only available in their respective collections. You can't get just one of the films(yet). Which means those of you who get Pocahontas are forced to also buy the craptastic sequel like with The Fox and the Hound collection. Thanks Disney. Thanks.

Aug 20 - 08:36 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

"A Seperation" is an instant-buy for me. Just rented it and I was engrossed the whole time. Great characters, great story, great movie!

Also rented "Bernie" and while it was enjoyable it's one of those movies you only need to see once.

Already own the previous Blu-ray release of "Good Will Hunting", and it doesnt seem worth the upgrade.

And the new Disney Blu-rays seem to be a haphazard deal. Pocahontas is basically missing it's finale song and "The Rescuers" is receiving the "Fox and the Hound" treatment with hardly any attention put towards any sort of real restoration. "Aristocats" on the other hand seems to actually be worth the money with newer restoration and even new song.

The rest really don't interest me.

Aug 20 - 10:09 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

Jack Black is the kind of actor whose movies are better than you'd expect from him: Dead Man Walking, School of Rock, Muppets, and now Bernie.

He's so energetic!

Aug 20 - 10:18 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Not that I wish ill on the man, but energetic fat guys don't have a great history in Hollywood.

Aug 20 - 10:28 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

To be fair, he's not Chris Farley fat. Just a little pudgy.

Aug 21 - 06:17 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

True, but you also had John's Candy and Belushi. Hopefully Black can break the funny man jinx.

Aug 22 - 04:34 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

Did I mention Bob Roberts and High Fidelity? No? PUNCH ME!!

Aug 21 - 03:54 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Not that I wish ill on the man, but energetic fat guys don't have a great history in Hollywood.

Aug 20 - 10:28 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

To be fair, he's not Chris Farley fat. Just a little pudgy.

Aug 21 - 06:17 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

True, but you also had John's Candy and Belushi. Hopefully Black can break the funny man jinx.

Aug 22 - 04:34 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

Did I mention Bob Roberts and High Fidelity? No? PUNCH ME!!

Aug 21 - 03:54 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I have always thought that both of The Rescuers films were very underrated.

Aug 21 - 12:30 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Especially the opening panarama of "Down Under", which was very impressive for its time.

Aug 21 - 01:43 PM

Blockbuster Diva

Blockbuster Diva

The weekend looks intriguing, but might also be boring. Should I or should I not? hmm...

Aug 21 - 01:25 AM

Susan Sykes

Susan Sykes

I am Susan Sykes aka Busty Heart. I played Etra the head virgin guard in the Dicator DVD/Blu-ray Paramount release. I am in tit fight scene which was banned from theater audiences. I don't think Hollywood has ever done a scene like it before. I hope you find it outrageous and funny. Enjoy!! Breast wishes Busty

Aug 21 - 04:17 AM

Gavin Miller

Gavin Miller

I already have Good Will Hunting on blu-ray... so nothing here really interests me..

Aug 21 - 04:47 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

To be fair, he's not Chris Farley fat. Just a little pudgy.

Aug 21 - 06:17 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

True, but you also had John's Candy and Belushi. Hopefully Black can break the funny man jinx.

Aug 22 - 04:34 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I would like to see Virginia. an Oscar winning writer getting 4% fascinates me. I remember when he won for Milk and I thought, Maybe it was good writing and not just the outstanding performances of Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and James Franco.

Also would like to see A Separation to find out if it's critically acclaimed for the right reasons and not just for the sake of gimmick and politics.

Aug 21 - 07:58 AM

manwithoutfear19

Daniel Raimondi

pocahontas and he rescuers havent seen them in a long time

Aug 21 - 08:33 AM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

I got the first Pocahontas movie, but I didn't have the sequel. Looking forward to get it this week.

Good Will Hunting = Great film, I can't believe iit's been 15 years before Robin Williams nabs his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. I better buy it this week.

The Dictator is kinda a disappointment and can't outmatch Borat or Bruno, but I'll rent it on Amazon or Netflix.

Aug 21 - 10:53 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Especially the opening panarama of "Down Under", which was very impressive for its time.

Aug 21 - 01:43 PM

Tyler S.

Tyler Schwab

"A Separation" was without a doubt the best film of 2011. I don't really think it's fair to bring up its "poor" box office performance because I think you aren't giving it enough credit. It made more than 7 million dollars and never opened to more than 300 theaters. Your standard indie movie makes about 3-5 million dollars (Beginners, Safety Not Guaranteed...etc), so "A Separation" actually made a bit more than so many. Plus, Iranian films (and non-english films in general) often have a harder time breaking out in America. So relatively (and I guess in my opinion) "A Separation" did pretty well for itself. Also "Weekend" is incredible. Great week!

Aug 21 - 02:21 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

Did I mention Bob Roberts and High Fidelity? No? PUNCH ME!!

Aug 21 - 03:54 PM

Sean D.

Sean D

The November releases look fan-freakin-tastic!

Aug 21 - 04:26 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Yeah! And "Rashomon" too, and a bunch of Pasolini I haven't seen.

Aug 21 - 04:40 PM

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