RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Losers and Runaways Are Coming Home

Also, a couple of new Criterion editions from an esteemed duo, a buddy cop comedy, and a foreign thriller.

This week on home video, there were a lot of straight-to-DVD releases. So many, in fact, that you'd have to wade through a sea of them to find anything really notable to mention here. As such, we're limiting our choices to the newest releases that also saw theater time, as well as two brand new Criterion editions from a legendary filmmaking duo (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger). Strap yourselves in for this short ride and see if there's anything this week that might make it into your library.


69%
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Fresh

The Runaways

As much a triumph of marketing as a notch in the headstone of Glam Rock, The Runaways were a girlband of indecent and hardcore proportions. Shepherded by Kim Fowley, a manager people love to call "svengali-like," they rocked this "jailbait" aesthetic for all it was worth, and transformed the idea of girl-power into a marketable, sexable, underaged product. For that reason, among others, the story hadn't received screen treatment sooner. Debut director Floria Sigismondi takes this subject personally and brings the stories of Cherie Currie (lead singer and writer of the biography upon which the film is based), Joan Jett, and manager Fowley into a uniquely nostalgic tale. Stars Dakota Fanning (as Currie) and Kristen Stewart (as Jett) supply as much good-girl-gone-wrong as possible and the impossibly talented Michael Shannon (Shotgun Stories, Revolutionary Road brings the skank. DVD extras include a commentary track with Joan Jett (the real one!), and stars Fanning and Stewart.


49%
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Rotten

The Losers

Near the beginning of this summer, audiences were treated to a loud, explosive action movie about a band of rogue Special Forces soldiers who were forsaken by the government and whose mission it became to track down and confront the villain who set them up. Wait, hold on... It appears that there were actually TWO movies out this summer with this plot, so let's clarify a bit here: we're talking about The Losers, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen), Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Avatar), Chris Evans (The Fantastic Four), and Idris Elba (RocknRolla) -- not exactly star-studded, but not a terrible cast, either. The film was helmed by Sylvain White, who's only other directorial credits have been I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer and Stomp the Yard, so obviously something like The Losers was right up his alley... In all seriousness, though, critics didn't think the film was all bad, citing its humor and strong performances as key strengths, even despite its unrelenting violence and over-the-top action clichés. It's not going to win any Oscars, but if you're looking for a popcorn-popping romp, this'll probably liven up your evening.


19%
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Rotten

Cop Out

Kevin Smith burst upon the indie movie scene in 1994 with the cult hit Clerks and followed up the next year with the similarly themed Mallrats. Folks began to take notice, and Smith treated them to the likes of 1997's Chasing Amy and 1999's Dogma, exploring heady issues like friendship, loyalty, sexuality, and religion (with a poop monster thrown in for good measure, of course). So it makes a lot of sense that this indie darling, known for his knack for witty banter and complex rant-filled dialogue, would hit the big screen hard with... a super silly buddy cop comedy starring Bruce "Yippie-Ki-Yay-Motherf***er" Willis and Tracy "Somebody-Gon-Get-Pregnant" Morgan. Smith has had bombs (Jersey Girl, anyone?) before, to be sure, but Cop Out is his worst-rated effort by far, and it may be the most convincing argument against him taking on a project somewhat outside his wheelhouse, so to speak. Despite its experienced cast, which includes Seann William Scott, Adam Brody, Rashida Jones, and regular Smith collaborator Jason Lee, the film never manages to excel beyond its action-comedy clichés and dismal pacing, which earned it no higher than a 19% on the Tomatometer. If watching John McClane get kicked in the nethers by a child is your kind of fun, though, pick this one up and have yourself a ball.


95%
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Fresh

Mother

Bong-Joon Ho made his name in the States with The Host, a comical family melodrama about a people-stealing monster and the family that it (literally) eats alive. Bong's horror was plenty pointed but always skated towards the absurd-which made for as many belly laughs as shocked screams-and played easily to an international audience. Mother is sly and just as scary as The Host but with in-jokes and inversions that set you (and keep you) on edge. Did I mention it's funny? There's a part when the son (played by Korean action star Bin Won) tries to kick the side view mirror off a car and falls down. It's hilarious...if you know he's an action star; most Americans don't. Mother's protagonist, Hye-Ja Kim (who has no name other than "Mother" in the film) made her acting career playing idealized mothers on Korean TV. Here, she's an overbearing worrywart who's certain she's responsible for her son's "slowness" and, when he's accused of murdering a local girl, stops at nothing to prove his innocence -- or makes him innocent by eliminating evidence. The film does an incredible job managing the comic and the monstrous, and what's family if not a stage for horror that could kill you (if you don't laugh at it)? The DVD includes multiple interview featurettes with actors and crew, including the star, the cinematographer, the composer and the DP, along with a 90 minute making-of.


100%
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Black Narcissus - Criterion Collection

Cinephiles are in for a double bill from movie heaven this week, as Criterion unveils its brand new DVD and Blu-ray editions of two Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger classics that capture the filmmaking team at the peak of their Technicolor form. Adapted from Rumer Godden's novel, 1947's Black Narcissus tells the story of a group of Anglican nuns -- led by Deborah Kerr's Sister Clodagh -- who establish a convent in the remote Himalayas to set up a school. Forbidden desires are conjured, however, with the arrival of the swarthy British liaison Mr. Dean (David Farrar), leading to much repressed swooning and one epic nun flight atop a precarious mountain. Fans of old-school filmmaking technique will relish Powell and Pressburger's use of matte paintings and miniatures -- the Himalayan ranges were in fact exquisitely constructed models --- that give the movie a look unlike anything you'd see today (and which CGI could never quite replicate). The hyper-real backdrops and Technicolor saturation help heighten the story's melodrama, while Kerr gives a superb performance as Sister Superior. "Powell's equally extravagant visual style transforms it into a landscape of the mind," noted the Chicago Reader's Dave Kehr, "grand and terrible in its thorough abstraction." The restored Criterion edition has an audio commentary and three documentaries, plus extensive liner notes.


98%
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Fresh

The Red Shoes - Criterion Collection

When Martin Scorsese labels a film one of his all-time favorites, it's time to sit up and take notice. The director was personally involved in overseeing the restoration of Powell and Pressburger's The Red Shoes for its 2009 showing at Cannes, and the love that has gone into the retouching of the film is palpable. Arguably Powell and Pressburger's -- if not post-war cinema's -- high water mark, The Red Shoes is loosely adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen story, which serves as the basis for the ballet being performed in the film. Fledgling dancer Vicki (Moira Shearer) is taken under the wing of arch choreographer Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook, magnificently camp), but she must choose between her destiny to dance the ballet or fall in love -- the latter scorned by Lermontov, to whom the dance is everything. Put simply, The Red Shoes is a masterpiece: it's both dramatic and whimsical, moving and completely surreal. The film's centerpiece, a 20-odd-minute ballet turned dreamscape, is something to behold; in its movement you can see half a century of cinematic inspiration. As the Independent's Anthony Quinn put it: "It has a quicksilver grace and variation of mood unlike anything else you've seen." This edition, featuring the restored print, is introduced by Scorsese and features a gallery of his collection from the film, plus audio commentary, documentaries and liner notes.

Written by Luke Goodsell, Sara Vizcarrondo, and Ryan Fujitani

Comments

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

Pass. I'll wait till next week which brings us Batman: Under the Red Hood.

Jul 19 - 05:01 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

That Batman 75 minute movie does look quite good. . . it's in my Netflix Queue way up top.

Jul 19 - 05:50 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Well I hope you can wait 4 weeks, it's WB.

Jul 19 - 08:42 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

That Batman 75 minute movie does look quite good. . . it's in my Netflix Queue way up top.

Jul 19 - 05:50 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Well I hope you can wait 4 weeks, it's WB.

Jul 19 - 08:42 PM

Matt J.

Matt Jordan

Everyone should give MOTHER a chance, it's a really funny movie.

I liked The Runaways...but then i'm a fan of the band. It was much better than I expected.

Black Narcissus has always been one of my favorites...if you are a movie lover you should check it.

Jul 19 - 06:24 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I'm interested in seeing "Mother"- I got no problem reading subtitles!

Jul 20 - 11:36 AM

waggaga1

noel noel

I'll probably only rent Runaways, and everything else can pretty much suck it.

Jul 19 - 06:31 PM

Cory

Cory B

The Runaways? Pass, maybe I'll check it out on TV a few months from now.

The Losers? See above.

Cop Out? HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Like I'd even bother with that garbage.

Only two more weeks until Kick-Ass, folks! Now THAT'S something I'll actually pick up.

Jul 19 - 08:19 PM

tobias1237

Adam Tobias

Cory,

I dismissed The Runaways, but I was actually quite surprised when I watched it. It's nothing mindblowing, but it's definitely worth renting.

Jul 19 - 08:55 PM

Cory

Cory B

Oh yeah, I'll check it out when I get the chance because I heard it was well-acted and good overall, but there are a lot of other movies that are higher priorities for me.

Jul 19 - 09:40 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

The Runaways is great!! I've always been a fan of the band, and the movie did not disappoint, great movie!!

Didn't get to see The Losers, so I will check that one out.

Cop Out looks atrocious, will never, ever, ever, ever, ever be seeing that. The commercials were cringe-worthy

Mother intrigued me, and I really wanted to see it, but it left my art-house that was showing it before I got to see it so I'm definitely checking that one out. Good week overall.

Jul 19 - 08:25 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Well I hope you can wait 4 weeks, it's WB.

Jul 19 - 08:42 PM

tobias1237

Adam Tobias

Cory,

I dismissed The Runaways, but I was actually quite surprised when I watched it. It's nothing mindblowing, but it's definitely worth renting.

Jul 19 - 08:55 PM

Cory

Cory B

Oh yeah, I'll check it out when I get the chance because I heard it was well-acted and good overall, but there are a lot of other movies that are higher priorities for me.

Jul 19 - 09:40 PM

EllenPageIsMyArchitect.

Joshua Medicoff

Losers was not a bad movie, but they pretty much summed it up.

Jul 19 - 09:29 PM

Cory

Cory B

Oh yeah, I'll check it out when I get the chance because I heard it was well-acted and good overall, but there are a lot of other movies that are higher priorities for me.

Jul 19 - 09:40 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

So I'm supposed to take Dakota Fanning seriously as an actress because she plays a glorified porn star rock goddess? Pass. I'll stick with the lovely Grace Kelly thank you very much.

Jul 19 - 09:53 PM

Matt J.

Matt Jordan

You should take Dakota Fanning seriously for not being afraid of taking on a vareity of roles and not let herself get type cast. So far..from her films I have seen, she takes on the roles she wants to play. And she is doing it better than some female actresses twice her age.

Jul 20 - 07:04 AM

Bye bye

Steven Bailey

Wow, did you seriously just doubt Dakota Fanning's acting credentials? How long have you been a fan of cinema?

Jul 20 - 10:13 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I have nightmares about her coming to my window asking to be let in because "She's hungry", but even I find her one of the better young actors/actresses in Hollywood.

Jul 20 - 10:58 AM

Dave J

Dave J

No matter how many films Dakota Fanning is in- I'll always prefer Grace Kelly films over Dakota Fanning films no matter how many positive films she's in!

Jul 20 - 11:40 AM

Bye bye

Steven Bailey

Dave J., comparing a little 16 year old girl to a legendary actress who's already won awards, gone through her entire career, and has already passed away is just about the dumbest thing you can do.

Jul 20 - 12:51 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

I know Fanning is a good actress I never said she wasn't. I'm just pointing out that young girls playing "adult" roles so they won't be typecast in kid's movies is ridiculous. If anything they lose my respect because of their "mature" films.

Jul 20 - 12:30 PM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

A lot of good rental opportunities this week. Missed Runaways and Losers in theaters and I've always wanted to see The Red Shoes.

Jul 20 - 05:04 AM

Matt J.

Matt Jordan

You should take Dakota Fanning seriously for not being afraid of taking on a vareity of roles and not let herself get type cast. So far..from her films I have seen, she takes on the roles she wants to play. And she is doing it better than some female actresses twice her age.

Jul 20 - 07:04 AM

Jon C.

Jon Cox

Runaways is definitely worth checking out more so than the rest of the other titles this week

Jul 20 - 09:38 AM

Bye bye

Steven Bailey

Wow, did you seriously just doubt Dakota Fanning's acting credentials? How long have you been a fan of cinema?

Jul 20 - 10:13 AM

LukC

Lucas Chlosta

The Runaways is a fantastic movie. Fanning was just mind blowing as Currie!!

Jul 20 - 10:51 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

I have nightmares about her coming to my window asking to be let in because "She's hungry", but even I find her one of the better young actors/actresses in Hollywood.

Jul 20 - 10:58 AM

Dave J

Dave J

I'm interested in seeing "Mother"- I got no problem reading subtitles!

Jul 20 - 11:36 AM

Dave J

Dave J

No matter how many films Dakota Fanning is in- I'll always prefer Grace Kelly films over Dakota Fanning films no matter how many positive films she's in!

Jul 20 - 11:40 AM

Bye bye

Steven Bailey

Dave J., comparing a little 16 year old girl to a legendary actress who's already won awards, gone through her entire career, and has already passed away is just about the dumbest thing you can do.

Jul 20 - 12:51 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

I know Fanning is a good actress I never said she wasn't. I'm just pointing out that young girls playing "adult" roles so they won't be typecast in kid's movies is ridiculous. If anything they lose my respect because of their "mature" films.

Jul 20 - 12:30 PM

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