New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (02/20/18) – Brooklynn Prince and ‘The Florida Project’

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This week, one of 2017’s best films, as well as one of the current Oscar nominees, comes to Blu-Ray and DVD. That independent drama is “The Florida Project” and it’s joined by some Nicolas Cage insanity as the height of today’s slate. Other than that, it’s slim pickings, as you’ll see below…

PICK OF THE WEEK

The Florida Project

One of last year’s most critically acclaimed films was this drama. “The Florida Project” manages to both be light and dark in equal measure. Brooklynn Prince gives one of the best performances by a kid in some time, while Willem Dafoe was rightly nominated for Best Supporting Actor. By and large, the movie is nearly flawless. Sean Baker was already an up and coming filmmaker, but this brought him to a whole new level. Alison Wilmore’s take at Buzzfeed News sums the movie up very well:

“The sun-washed reality of The Florida Project, which concludes with a touch of poetry that might break you in two. It’s not a happy ending, but it is, like the rest of the film, pretty much perfect.”

“The Florida Project” is an important American film about the way too many of our citizens live. You can listen to our interview with Baker here on the site, but definitely pick this movie up. It’s a must see!

Special Features: Featurettes
Total Box Office: $5,808,556 (and counting)
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Dafoe) at the Academy Awards

RECOMMENDED MOVIE(S)

Mom and Dad

Nicolas Cage is let loose in this fun take off on the zombie genre. Allowing Cage to do his thing sometimes torpedoes a movie, but this one excels because of his wildness. It’s genre work, to be sure, but it’s really enjoyable and knows exactly what it is. That helps set the film apart. Here is a small bit from our rather positive review here on the site:

“The movie is already a riot without him, but Cage’s lunacy just elevates it to a ridiculous level.”

If “The Florida Project” isn’t your thing, “Mom and Dad” might do the trick. Cage fans will be delighted.

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: None yet

VINTAGE VIEWING

In honor of this week’s release of “Annihilation,” the pick today is another ambitious science fiction film. It’s “The Fountain,” one of Darren Aronofsky‘s most divisive works. In the opinion of this writer, however, it’s his best an an absolute masterpiece. Serious sci-fi is harder to do than many realize, and this takes some bold chances. They pay off in spades too. From the Houston Chronicle and their apt rave:

“Exquisitely beautiful and almost unbearably sad… The Fountain is cinema as poetry; romance as revelation; science fiction as prayer.”

Look for more on “Annihilation” soon, but in the meantime, be sure to revisit Aronofsky’s timeless endeavor! Between this and “The Florida Project,” you have options.

OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the recommended duo of “The Florida Project” and “Mom and Dad”:

Daddy’s Home 2

This comedy sequel pairs Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg with parents in Mel Gibson and John Lithgow. That quartet certainly has potential, but reviews for this one were fairly poor. The original was a surprise hit, and this one did well too, so perhaps Ferrell’s fans ignored the consensus? The AV Club had an interesting take:

“Like the passable original, this formulaic comedy can’t stop teasing the possibility of a funnier, smarter movie being made with the exact premise, central conflicts, and stars.”

Fans of the first one are probably the only ones who need apply here.

Box Office: $104,029,443

Same Kind of Different As Me

Another faith based drama, this one actually sat on the shelf for a few years, which is never a good sign. The cast is pretty solid, but the pundits suggested that this one was a big mess. For example, this is some of what The Hollywood Reporter had to say about the movie:

“The very horrible complexities of racism and intolerance are simplified in ways inherent to many a Hollywood and faith-based film, all in the aim of glib uplift that may salve the individual spirit but solves absolutely nothing.”

Pass.

Box Office: $6,423,605

The Star

An animated take on the Nativity Story, this is a family comedy that manages to soft peddle its faith based material. In that way, this makes it far more accessible than it otherwise would have been. Still, it’s thoroughly forgettable and mediocre. In fact, you’ll forget it soon after seeing it. Time Out had this to say in their rather negative take:

“Unless you have tiny, religious children, it’s probably best to avoid it.”

There were worse animated films last year, for sure. There were also far better ones too, so this isn’t anything to go out of your way for.

Box Office: $40,852,824 (and counting)

Special Criterion Collection Section

An Actor’s Revenge

Our first Criterion release today is a Japanese tale from the early 1960’s that is looking for a new set of fans. It’s a look at the world of Kabuki theater from Kon Ichikawa, which should fascinate some of you. This is how the Collection attempts to sell the premise to prospective buyers:

“A uniquely prolific and chameleonic figure of world cinema, Kon Ichikawa delivered a burst of stylistic bravado with this intricate tale of betrayal and retribution.”

Curious viewers should check it out!

The Hero

The other new offering from the Collection this week is an Indian character study, as opposed to last year’s underrated Sam Elliott gem. From the mid 60’s, this one has a premise that seems very much on par with more modern movies. Criterion has this to say about it:

“In this psychologically rich character study, written and directed by Satyajit Ray, Bengali film star Uttam Kumar draws on his real-world celebrity to play Arindam Mukherjee, a matinee idol on the brink of his first flop.”

Give it a shot!

TV RELEASES

“Blood of the Vikings: Last of the Vikings”
“Dropping the Soap”
“The Master: The Complete Series”
“Midnight, Texas: Season One”

THOUGHTS ON WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK ON BLU-RAY OR DVD? SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!