This week, Nicolas Cage offers up two of his better performances to highlight the Blu-Ray and DVD new releases. Cage has, with good reason, become a bit of a laughingstock in recent years. He more resembles a cartoon character than an Academy Award winner. Well, now he officially is both! His pair of titles lead the way today, but there’s actually plenty of other quality films hitting shelves. So, let us get right down to it!

PICK OF THE WEEK

Mandy

Too often, Nicolas Cage is let off the reservation in fare that isn’t worthy of any notice at all. This revenge tale is completely different. It’s the rare time where the film itself matches Cage’s insanity. Filmmaker Panos Cosmatos finds emotional reasons to have Cage do the craziest things. The result is something totally out there and sometimes even too bizarre for its own good. That being said, it’s consistently compelling and you just have to see what wild thing happens next. This review from indieWire agrees:

For years, [Nicolas Cage] has swung wildly in search of gonzo material; at long last, he’s found a movie willing to match his crazed intentions.

Cage helps make “Mandy” the ludicrous experience that it is. It’s not just outburst after outburst by the actor. It offers up something distinct. Pick it up and find out exactly how far it goes!

Special Features: Deleted and Extended Scenes
Total Box Office: $1,170,185 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet

RECOMMENDED MOVIES

Never Goin’ Back

Girls can be just as irresponsible and wild as guys. This raunchy comedy proves it, with some welcome indie style thrown in for good measure. Filmmaker Augustine Frizzell spares no indignity here, showcasing her stars Maia Mitchell and Camila Morrone in an amusing and compelling yet clearly unflattering light. It’s really something to behold. Our positive take found here on the site had this to say at the start:

Comedies about dumb pals, be they stoners or whatnot, are almost exclusively the realm of guys onscreen. Buffoonery made actors like Seth Rogen into stars. Now, as a breath of fresh air, comes “Never Goin’ Back,” a buddy comedy where the numskulls are a couple of teenage girls. They drink, they do drugs, they swear, they get into all sorts of trouble, and it’s utterly refreshing to see.

Never Goin’ Back” mixes girl power with low art in a deeply enjoyable way. If you like raunchy comedies, this female twist on the genre is well worth giving a shot to.

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $61,271
Major Awards: None yet

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies

The other Nic Cage featured offering is this animated lark. Amazingly fun and surprisingly meta, this cartoon would be a brilliant dark horse Best Animated Feature nominee at the Oscars. The way it takes down the DC Universe in good natured yet biting ways is something to behold. Our very amused take right here on the site says as much:

A solid third of the jokes are making fun of live-action DC flicks, and that’s part of why this is such a delightful success.

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies” sneaks up on your with its meta take on superhero cinema. Anyone with a fondness for comic book movies will enjoy the gentle ribbing. It’s fun for the whole family!

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $29,562,341
Major Awards: None yet

VINTAGE VIEWING

In honor of this week’s release of “Boy Erased,” the pick today happens to be another Nicole Kidman project. The recommendation is one of her more underrated ones in “Margot at the Wedding.” Kidman is top notch in this admittedly divisive effort from Noah Baumbach. Fans love it while detractors despise it. Roger Ebert was more in the former category, saying why in this gentle take:

The characters are into emotional laceration for fun. They are verbal, articulate, self-absorbed, selfish, egotistical, cold and fascinating. They’ve never felt an emotion they couldn’t laugh at.

Clayton loves Kidman in “Boy Erased,” so prep for that by doubling back to this one today!

OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides “Mandy,” “Never Goin’ Back,” and “Teen Titans Go! To The Movies”:

The Darkest Minds

A would be YA franchise starter, this teen superhero tale will probably not be spawning any sequels. Clayton was not a fan of this one. Here on the site he offered his negative take, giving credit to the casting of Amandla Stenberg but bashing most other aspects. Take a look:

We can only assume that Hollywood was in a desperate search for the next great YA adaptation that would bring them that hefty “Hunger Games” money. That’s the only explanation on why the underdeveloped adaptation of “The Darkest Minds” is as lazy as it is presented.

Sounds like an easy one to pass on.

Box Office: $12,695,691

Death of a Nation

Dinesh D’Souza strikes again. The conservative propagandist and convicted felon has another “documentary” to stoke right wingers with. This time around, he’s taking aim at the Democratic party on the whole. Go figure, it’s apparently ineptly made. Currently, it sports a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Hollywood Reporter calls it out as the trash that it is:

No one expects, of course, that D’Souza would make a thoughtful, balanced or historically accurate documentary. But is it unreasonable to hope that he make one that doesn’t bore the pants off us?

Avoid this at all costs.

Box Office: $5,885,881

Slender Man

This long delayed horror outing sat on the shelf forever. Once it escaped into theaters, it became clear why it hadn’t been released until now. It’s utter garbage. Apparently, in taking an internet favorite urban legend and turning it into a PG-13 boogeyman, something is lost in translation. The AV Club dismissed it as such:

It turns its boogeyman into a generic figure of menace who doesn’t feel ready for his moment in the horror movie spotlight.

You must have something better to watch than this?

Box Office: $30,564,825 (and counting)

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Pairing Mila Kunis with Kate McKinnon is a stroke of comedic genius. Who wouldn’t want to watch them do just about anything? Even without strong reviews, one point of praise was the chemistry between the two. In fact, in our positive review here on the site, that’s one of the first points made. Take a look:

Their bond feels real and natural because they play off of each other the way women really do.

With lowered expectations, this should offer a solid chuckle or two…

Box Office: $33,562,069

Thunder Road

Any movie that shares its title with a Bruce Springsteen song can’t be bad, right? Luckily, this indie even involves the Springsteen tune as an early plot point. Dramedies with this small a scale can easily fall through the cracks. It’s a statement about its quality that this one, at least on a critical level, did not. For example, indieWire praises it like so:

Thunder Road lands on a tragic development, but upends it with a single teary-eyed moment that hints – with no real evidence – that better things may be around the corner.

Something else to consider this week!

Box Office: N/A

Special Criterion Collection Section

The Princess Bride

This is sure to be a popular one. Our only new Criterion release to discuss this week is a true classic. Rob Reiner‘s fairy tale is immensely quotable, beloved by the masses, and one of his very best films. This may be one of the easiest sales pitches that the Collection has ever made. After all, who doesn’t love “The Princess Bride?” They sum this one up with a simple and factual statement:

Directed by Rob Reiner from an endlessly quotable script by William Goldman, The Princess Bride reigns as a fairy-tale classic.

It’s a must own Criterion title, plain and simple!

TV RELEASES

“The 100: Complete Fifth Season”
“Charmed: The Complete First Season”
“MacGyver: The Complete First Season”

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