This week, my number one film of last year is coming to Blu-Ray/DVD, and while that would be enough for me to declare this slate a success, the rest of the pack isn’t terrible either. To be sure, today is a day with one really noteworthy title, but I know at least one or two of the other releases has their fans. As such, while my top pick was an easy choice, it’s not a barren week otherwise. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I immediately latched on to my favorite movie of 2015, which is currently up for Best Picture at the Oscars. More on that contender in a quick bit, though I’m sure you know the film I’m talking about, but for now, we move on to the Vintage section of the column!
In honor of this week’s release of Triple Nine (which I’ve seen and will be reviewing tomorrow), I wanted to cite a crime drama as well, and hint hint, a better one at that. It’s The Town, which is the sophomore feature from Ben Affleck. It’s a top notch thriller, with tremendous dramatic and even romantic beats to it. I was majorly impressed with Affleck both as an actor and a filmmaker here, establishing him as one of my favorite talents in Hollywood. I’ve written about this one plenty of times before, so I’ll just say that this is a great opportunity to pop it in again.
The other title I’m going to discuss here today isn’t anywhere near the same quality as my top pick, as usual, but it’s no slouch either. Behold:
The “other” Pixar release last year paled in comparison to Inside Out, but still charmed quite a bit in its own right. As fearless leader Clayton Davis said here: “Pixar offers another base hit for its already stunning performance as a well-oiled studio with Peter Sohn’s “The Good Dinosaur.” Standing tall as one of the Pixar’s most beautiful creations to date. A lusciously crafted piece that stands as another key example of cinematography executed brilliantly in animated features. While the story hawks too much back to past Disney films like “The Lion King,” there’s no denying the emotional and cautiously executed impact the story and its characters possess. It also assembles an impressive cast of voice work that should surprise no one as each one excels in their own way.” I agree with him, and while it’s probably middle of the road Pixar, that’s still pretty damn good.
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $121,862,742 (and counting)
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globe Awards
Other Films Being Released
Here now is just a simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my recommendation. Behold:
This is one odd duck of a film. As I wrote here in my review: “You can’t deny that filmmaker Rick Alverson is setting out to make movies that no one else is making right now. After The Comedy a few years back, you’d expect nothing less, in fact. Well, Alverson has doubled down on his singular cinematic vision with Entertainment, another ironically named indie comedy that will make you fairly uncomfortable. Along with star and co-writer Gregg Turkington, Alverson documents the life of an insult comic as well as depicts the road trip genre with some biting satire, but also a dark minutia that will test your patience. Honestly, I’m still not fully sure what to make of this one, as Entertainment is full of ideas, but those ideas sometimes struggle to coherently make it up on to the screen. A lot of it is left up to you for interpretation, but it’s no doubt more challenging than some will accept”. I can’t quite recommend it, but it’s actually worth seeing. I spoke to Rick Alverson and Gregg Turkington about it here, so check that out as well.
Box Office: $55,506
Well now, this action flick was basically universally panned. One of the kinder reviews came from Glenn Kenny, who wrote here: “It takes confidence to put out a movie whose single-word title is also the procedure by which a dentist gets rid of a rotten tooth.” Yep, that was the best I could find. Alas.
Box Office: $16,775
The Girl in the Book
I didn’t see this drama, but it managed some pretty solid reviews, including this one from Sara Stewart in the New York Post that said “Though its resolution is a bit pat, most of “The Girl in the Book” is a smart and pointed look at abuses of power and roles women too often play in the literary world.” Perhaps this is an under the radar indie to give a shot to?
Box Office: $8,245
My All American
I rarely miss out on sports movies, but I missed this one. Apparently, I didn’t miss much, according to Dan Callahan of The Wrap, who said here that: “Even those who love inspirational sports films might have to flinch from “My All American” is a movie so square, conservative and humorless that it winds up playing like a brutally straight-faced “South Park” parody of gridiron schmaltz.” Oof.
Box Office: $2,246,000
This remake was a real let down to me. From my review (found here) at the time: “Talk about an English language remake that has its meaning get lost in translation. Secret in their Eyes, an update of the Academy Award winning film The Secret in their Eyes, is a pointless thriller that neglects almost all of the original’s subtext. The end result is a bland investigative procedural that’s well acted but desperate to feel important and only in existence because audiences reject subtitles. Writer/director Billy Ray has made what amounts to a classy CSI episode here, and that’s not quite acceptable to me, particularly when you can clearly see that this was originally an R rated film neutered down to get a PG-13 rating. To be fair, Julia Roberts is very good here, with Chiwetel Ejiofor pretty solid as well, but it’s not nearly enough to overcome the sense that there’s just no reason for this version of the movie to exist.” I stand by that, which is to say that this is basically a waste of your time.
Box Office: $20,180,155
Blue Bloods: Seasons 1-5
Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song
Fargo: Year Two
The Goldbergs: The Complete Second Season
Ray Donovan: Season Two
Shaun the Sheep: Season 2
PICK OF THE WEEK
Without question, my favorite film of 2015, this is just cinematic perfection. Clayton echoes that in his review here, which says: “Seconds after the credits for Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” roll, an overwhelming feeling of changing your career takes over. Is film criticism really where I belong? What important, life-changing story am I not writing about? Truth is, quite a bit of classic films give off that same feeling. “Rocky” made a bunch of our fathers and older brothers go for a morning run and drink raw eggs. “Rudy” made us want to go out and play Notre Dame football. “Spotlight” makes you want to go down to your local courthouse and search the public records for clues. Then, get on the phone, with a pen and a pad, and start asking some really tough questions. Honestly speaking, “Spotlight” is the best investigative news drama this century. Matter of fact, behind “All the President’s Men” and maybe “The Insider,” it’s among the best ever made.” In a just world, this would walk away with the Oscar for Best Picture, but regardless of that, this is a modern masterpiece and a must own.
Special Features: Featurettes
Total Box Office: $38,102,424 (and counting)
Major Award: Nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!