Though it was mostly ignored in theaters, Johnny Depp's adventure-comedy "The Rum Diary" is one of the biggest new titles hitting DVD and Blu-ray this week, with "The Human Centipede 2" and art house favorite "Take Shelter" also looking to scoop up audiences as well. World War I classic "All Quiet on the Western Front" is also getting a new release on Blu-ray and international cinema lovers can check out the highly acclaimed crime-thriller "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within."
Looking to recapture a bit of the cult magic from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," Johnny Depp again stepped into the world of famous writer Hunter S. Thompson for "The Rum Diary," though reaction was mixed and it struggled to get off the ground at the box office. With a production budget of $45 million, "The Rum Diary" earned just $13 million domestically and $23 million worldwide, making it one of the biggest box office duds of 2011.
Directed by Bruce Robinson, "The Rum Diary" follows a young American journalist living in Puerto Rico with expatriates during the 1950s. Despite splashes of poignant dark humor from the Thompson novel of the same title, "The Rum Diary" was mostly seen as a big step down from cult classic "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," another Thompson adaptation starring Depp. While "Fear and Loathing" would recover from weak box office totals with a very strong presence in the home market, "The Rum Diary" looks like it will have a hard time finding much of an audience even on the small screen.
Competing for a different segment of the adult demographic will be horror-thriller "Human Centipede 2," the sequel to the stunning original that became somewhat of a cult phenomenon just a couple years ago. Much like "Human Centipede," "Human Centipede 2" received almost no theatrical distribution at all, though its grim and perverse subject matter should make it an easier sell in the home market. Even if "Human Centipede 2" isn't likely to see the level of popularity of the original, many horror seekers with strong stomachs will probably at least give it a shot over the next few weeks.
Another movie that proved to be a very difficult movie to show in theaters was "Take Shelter," a psychological thriller featuring an acclaimed performance from character actor Michael Shannon. Shannon plays a seemingly normal man thrust into inner turmoil when he has to deal with a devastating mental illness, threatening his ability to care of his family. Though it didn't get much of a theatrical release and hit just 91 venues at its peak, "Take Shelter" has some solid art house buzz that should help make an impact in the home market.
Art house crowds might also turn to "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within," a widely acclaimed Brazilian film that is trying to crossover to American audiences. Boasting very high critical and user grades, "Elite Squad" takes audiences inside the violent and turbulent world of paramilitary conflicts in Rio de Janeiro, consistently cited as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Both the original "Elite Squad" and "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within" have been big international hits, though they've struggled to find a home in the U.S.
Those not thrilled by the new titles might end up checking out the new Universal edition of "All Quiet on the Western Front," a devastating tale of an uprooted Europe during World War I. Released in 1930, "Western Front" would go on to win Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for its dark look at the life of a young soldier marched off to the trenches. So powerful was "Western Front" that it was banned by the Nazis during World War II, though that didn't slow it down from being considered one of the greatest anti-war movies of all-time.
Next week, the Blu-ray release schedule will pick up again with an impressive set of new titles. Action-comedy "Tower Heist" is one of the most popular titles looking to scoop up mainstream audiences followed by Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar." Warner Brothers will also be releasing a special edition box set of Eastwood's Oscar-winner "Unforgiven," which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Acclaimed drama "Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene" is another title getting its home market release and the seventh season of Showtime's popular series "Weeds" will also be available starting next week.
by RTT Staff Writer
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