This week, a fascinating documentary and the worst film of 2018 so far highlight an incredibly thin slate of Blu-Ray and DVD titles. The doc “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” is the only thing worth highlighting today, but that sort of thing happens. It is what it is. We press on, regardless.
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”
This documentary might have been available on Blu-Ray at one point, but it’s out again as a DVD, and in a thin week like this, it counts. In any event, this is a fascinating doc about Scientology. The term “going clear” is a term within the religion, which is part of what Alex Gibney‘s film gets into. As much as anything, it’s a disturbing movie about the dangers of unchecked power. Entertainment Weekly raved about it like so:
If Going Clear were a Hollywood thriller, I’d complain that it’s too over-the-top. But this is real life, which is mind-blowing, and as a documentary, it’s disturbingly good.
“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” may not be among the best docs of Gibney’s career, but it’s still quite a good one. This is well worth picking up.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: Won Best Documentary Screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards
In honor of this week’s release of “Life of the Party,” the pick today is going to be a similarly themed comedy. It’s “Back to School,” which basically set up this formula. Rodney Dangerfield‘s best cinematic hour is this fish out of water tale. His comedic persona mixes with a genuinely fun story to create a classic film, plain and simple. None other than Roger Ebert contributed this positive take back in the day:
This is exactly the sort of plot Marx or Fields could have appeared in. Dangerfield brings it something they might also have brought along: a certain pathos.
Before checking out the similar sounding Melissa McCarthy vehicle, be sure to see how Dangerfield tackled the material!
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”:
“Fifty Shades Freed”
The worst movie of the year so far brings the terrible trilogy to a close. As always, this would be erotic tale has no idea what’s actually sexy. It just goes through the motions, causing nothing but boredom and pain along the way. At least now we’re done with it all. That’s the only positive to take out of it. Our pan right here on the website included the following:
Like an inattentive lover thrusting away ineffectively, this franchise has finally finished, despite its audience being done a long time ago. “Fifty Shades Freed” so misunderstands us as its partner, neglecting even the most basic of needs.
Avoid this one at all costs. Even for this franchise, it’s a low point.
Box Office: $100,407,760
“Puppet Master: Legacy”
Another installment in this B movie horror series, this one does have the odd distinction of having a connection to “The Room.” Yes, this flick has none other than Greg Sestero in the cast. The only review posted on Rotten Tomatoes is this negative one from Cinema Crazed, which puts forth the following:
A fairly nonsensical compilation of Puppet Master clips and nothing more…
Sounds like fans only need apply.
Box Office: N/A
Special Criterion Collection Section
The only new Criterion release this week is quite the curiosity from back in 1948. It’s the last work from filmmaker Frank Borzage, who is far less known than he deserves to be. At least, if you ask the decision makers here, that’s the case with Borzage. Additionally, that makes for an intriguing new release from the company. The Collection pitches the film to us as such, with quite the claim:
A small-town fable about violence and redemption, Moonrise is the final triumph of Frank Borzage, one of Hollywood’s most neglected masters.
Sounds like a movie worth investigating!
“Dear White People: Season One”
“A Man Called Shenandoah: The Complete Series”
“Police Woman: The Complete Final Season”
“Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Fourth Season”