This week, one of the better independent films of 2018 highlights the Blu-Ray/DVD options. The slate is a pretty rough one, but a little movie called “Gemini” saves the day. Today you’ll only find a single worthwhile option among newcomers, but it’s good enough to be worth the trouble. Read on!
PICK OF THE WEEK
This indie film noir utilizes Hollywood in a perfect way. Writer/director Aaron Katz ups his game and directing scale here, while star Lola Kirke turns in some amazing work. She’s truly a star here, displaying brilliant chemistry with Zoe Kravitz. It’s small scale yet really effective stuff. Plus, there’s an undercurrent of humor that helps give it a unique personality. Here is a bit from our positive review on the site:
Powered by a brilliant performance by Lola Kirke, Katz follows the beat of his own drummer in telling this story. Occasionally humorous, consistently quirky, and genuinely filled with tension, there’s a lot to like here.
“Gemini” is a great showcase for Katz’s filmmaking, as well as Kirke’s tremendous acting skills. Give it a look!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $200,340
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” the pick today is an obvious one. Of course, it’s “Sicario,” the first installment of the now franchise. While the new one loses amazing star Emily Blunt, there are still effective turns by Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro. The original, however, had some amazing below the line work, including from cinematographer Roger Deakins (who we interviewed here). This bit comes from one of our rave reviews on the site:
There’s an almost indescribable tension coursing through the veins of Sicario from start to finish.
“Gemini” is the best bet this week, but if you want something else to grab on to, “Sicario” more than fits the bill!
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title “Gemini”:
Tyler Perry writes and directs this poorly received Taraji P. Henson vehicle. A suspense/thriller flick, this did not catch on like most other Perry works. It made a few bucks, but the reception was decidedly lacking. The Hollywood Reporter had this to say:
So ridiculously overwrought that it makes the Madea films look subtle by comparison.
Box Office: $43,549,096
An indie science fiction film, this is a bit of a head scratcher, frankly. Wildly ambitious in a lot of ways, it seemed restrained by its budget. In addition, it frustrates quite a bit. At the same time, most critics loved it, as it has one of the higher Rotten Tomato scores of the year so far. Variety had this to say:
While not flashy enough to rival blockbuster science fiction offerings at the box office, “The Endless” ought to delight those who like having their imaginations tickled by projects such as “Another Earth” and “The OA.”
Make of this one what you will.
Box Office: $270,625 (and counting)
“Escape Plan 2: Hades”
The first “Escape Plan” was mediocre but harmless enough. This cheap sequel can’t even match the solid scale of that previous outing. Direct to video quality through and through, it’s a disappointment even with limited expectations. Sylvester Stallone may well blow us away later this year with “Creed II,” but this will be quickly forgotten about. Blu-Ray.com has this pan to share:
Stallone’s here, kind of, but “Escape Plan 2” doesn’t have much interest in his participation, going the easy-peasy B-movie route to cough up an inexpensive, easily marketable sequel that’s led by actor Xiaoming Huang.
Stick with the first one if you have a hankering for something of the sort…
Box Office: N/A
Another of the year’s worst so far, this has the extra disappointing aspect of starring Margot Robbie. One of the most exciting actresses in the business, she’s totally wasted here, fully and thoroughly. Rolling Stone gave it the rare zero star review, stating it bluntly:
Zero stars, you read right! How did Vaughn Stein ever persuade Margot Robbie to star in a script that plays like something Quentin Tarantino upchucked after watching Blade Runner while reading Alice in Wonderland and ingesting too many hallucinogens?
Robbie can’t save it.
Box Office: N/A
Special Criterion Collection Section
Our first new Criterion release this week is one of the notorious filmmaker John Waters‘ works. Waters is a unique talent, and this collaboration with Devine is among his most memorable outings. This is what the Collection has to say about this flick, which understandably won’t be for everyone:
Glamour has never been more grotesque than in Female Trouble, which injects the Hollywood melodrama with anarchic decadence.
Waters fans should certainly check this one out!
“The Virgin Spring”
The other title joining the Collection today is among the most quintessential Ingmar Bergman movies. Plus, the film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Feature, while also inspiring such later endeavors as “Last House on the Left.” Criterion pitches it to you like so:
Winner of the Academy Award for best foreign-language film, Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring is a harrowing tale of faith, revenge, and savagery in medieval Sweden.
Definitely, one to pick up!
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