This week, we have a somewhat underwhelming slate of Blu-Ray/DVD releases to deal with, though of course it could be worse. Yes, we’ve had some stinkers over the past few months, so today is decent enough by comparison. It just lacks the zip that the best groups of titles tend to have for the column. We’ll press on though, as always. My top pick this time around is going to be the lesser of two evils essentially. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I opted to go with a somewhat underwhelming yet still visually stunning would be awards contender. You’ll see which one I mean shortly, but at the moment, we’ll turn our focus to the Vintage pick for the day!
In honor of this week’s release of 10 Cloverfield Lane, I wanted to cite something pretty obvious. Yes, it’s Cloverfield, and we all remember that trailer when it debuted. The head of the Statue of Liberty flew across the screen and we were hooked. On my end, the film itself lived up to the hype, offering a thrill ride experience that I’ve rarely gotten in a theater. With the cinematic cousin hitting in a few days, now is a perfect time to revisit this found footage monster movie.
Other Films Being Released
With just one thing to pay some level of tribute to today, here now is just a simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my recommendation. Behold:
I’ve been told by our own Jack Moulton that this is a film I would really enjoy. I’m sure I’ll get around to it soon, though had I seen it by now it probably would have been a recommendation worthy title. Most other critics seemed to like it, including Susan Wloszczyna at RogerEbert.com, who wrote “Nothing will break your heart as much as watching this man, desperate to keep this woman in his life, waltzing around the room with a laptop in his arms while staring into her faraway eyes.” If you’re going to go in blind on another movie, this might be one to do it with!
Box Office: N/A
I’m almost always down for a Richard Gere movie. Sadly, this one wasn’t quite up to snuff, as I wrote here in my review:
“As a general rule, when you cast Richard Gere and let him go to town in a movie, you’re going to get something pretty compelling. Gere has been on a solid run of late too, with Time Out of Mind representing perhaps the best performance of his career. With his newest film The Benefactor (previously called Franny on the festival circuit last year) however, the performance isn’t on par with the rest of the work. Writer/director Andrew Renzi has his ideas thrown all over the place in this story of a wealthy oddball trying to throw his influence onto the lives of others, never coalescing into anything firmly satisfying. When the focus is on Gere and Gere alone, there’s compelling acting on display. However, the story, pedestrian directing, and wasting of certain other cast members (cough, Dakota Fanning, cough) leads to this being a movie that just doesn’t really work.”
You could do worse this week, I’m sure, but you can do better as well.
Box Office: N/A
This foreign title is one I also missed the boat on, which is a shame considering the raves that it received. Variety had a really positive take out of last year’s Cannes Film Festival, saying: “Heartbreaking in its depiction of ordinary lives affected by political upheaval, this ode to the fundamental values that survive even under such dire circumstances has an epic gravity that recalls another great historical romance, Doctor Zhivago.” I know I’m sold…perhaps you are as well?
Box Office: $377,607
The Forbidden Room
Despite ample opportunities, including a turn at the New York Film Festival, I failed to catch this in teaters, despite colleagues digging it in a big way. One such colleague was David Ehrlich of Time Out, who said “At a time when everyone is talking about the death of the movies, Guy Maddin proves that we can always bring them back to life.” That’s a big endorsement, so I’ll do my best to catch up to this one soon.
Box Office: $34,043 (and counting)
In the Heart of the Sea
Once thought of as a potential dark horse Oscar contender, this nautical tale fell short of that goal. Lou Lumenick of the New York Post perhaps said it best by stating “Warner Bros. would have been better off sticking with the film’s original March release date and selling it as a horror movie.” Removed from awards trappings, this is a modest success. Poised as a player though, it just couldn’t hit the mark, plain and simple.
Box Office: $25,020,758
The Peanuts Movie
Maybe I’m a monster, but I’ve never been a huge Peanuts fan. I do like the original song by Meghan Trainor, but that’s all I can attest to. James Berardinelli of Reelviews, however, says “To those with even a limited exposure to Peanuts over the years, this will feel like a homecoming. Is that a bad thing? No, but it’s more of a trip down memory lane than something new.” I suppose if you’re interested, this will have some sort of an appeal to you.
Box Office: $130,128,632 (and counting)
A no dialogue gimmick could have overshadowed the power of this movie, but that apparently wasn’t the case. In their take, The New Republic says “The movie features no music, and no words, yet some moments are so powerful and visceral that I still caught myself covering my ears.” That has me pretty interested, so I’ll be checking it out soon. Feel free to do the same!
Box Office: $130,128,632
This new take on the famous horror tale was a disaster, getting roundly panned. One of the kinder reviews came from Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger, who said “It’s got terrific set design, and some striking performances. But like the creature seen all-too-briefly at the end, it’s a rough thing of patches and pieces, crudely stitched together.” That’s not enough to intrigue me, but your mileage may vary.
Box Office: $5,775,076
Community: The Complete Sixth Season
Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series
Manhattan: Season Two
Rookie Blue: The Final Season
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season One *Joey’s Pick*
PICK OF THE WEEK
It’s hard to do Shakespeare right, no matter what your take is, but this visually striking yet stripped down one managed to mostly succeed. I appreciate it more than I like it, but Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender help to effectively execute filmmaker Justin Kurzel’s vision. It can be a tough sit, but if you dig strong cinematography, this may offer up enough to see. As it stands though, this is a fairly lukewarm endorsement. Still, a recommendation is a recommendation.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $1,110,707
Major Award: None
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!