This week we have one of the most surprising films of the year hitting shelves, along with a host of other diverse titles for consideration. There isn’t really a bad one in the bunch that I’ve seen, so this is a nice change of pace from the rather miserable slate of last week’s column. Things are going to be good for a while now, though occasionally there will be down weeks, but we’ll power through them like always! This is a release slate that has something for everybody, and that doesn’t always happen here. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I went with a film that may only have the smallest of Oscar buzz, but it’s been mentioned more than a few times as one of the better flicks of 2011. I don’t quite have it that high, but it’s in my top 25 right now. It’s:
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
I expected nothing from this prequel, but instead got a stunningly effective and surprisingly emotional take on how those damn dirty apes seized control of Earth. James Franco and Frieda Pinto may have been forgettable, but John Lithgow gave a great supporting performance and Andy Serkis did amazing motion capture work as Cesar. I don’t think he’ll wind up with a Best Supporting Actor nod, but there’s a campaign in place for him and I fully support that. More intimate a film than you’d think, this is a real winner. The action works alongside the drama, and few movies this year were more satisfying overall. It’s well worth grabbing on DVD, I assure you of that.
-My #2 choice this week is the little seen indie dramedy Daddy Longlegs. Ronald Bronstein was a surprise awards winner last year, beating out Jennifer Lawrence for the Breakthrough award at Gotham. He’s a struggling parent, and the film is a fine blend of comedy and drama. It’s pretty mumblecore, so take that for what it’s worth, but I quite liked it. Now that it’s finally come out, you all should give it a shot. You’ll be pleased that you did…
-The rest of the week’s releases include the remake of Fright Night which I liked much more than most did (and almost made it my #2 choice this week), the decent Rooney Mara led dramedy Tanner Hall, and the solid Iranian drama Circumstance. There’s also the fair action flick Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, plus the animated sequel Kung Fu Panda 2, which I didn’t see. Nothing is a bad choice as far as I go, so you definitely have some choices ahead of you for what you pick up on DVD. I support whatever you decide!
-My Vintage pick, in honor of this week’s release of Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol, is a collection of underrated Tom Cruise films. They are All the Right Moves, Eyes Wide Shut, Knight and Day, Lions for Lambs, and Vanilla Sky. These just haven’t gotten the respect I feel that they deserve (to varying degrees), so I wanted to highlight them for you. Cruise is quite good in each, so if you’re a fan, there’s some homework for you to do. I think you won’t mind doing it, but that’s just me. over here. See what you think and report back.
-What will you be watching on DVD this week? Discuss on the Forum!