Sorry all for the small delay in posting the column…my apologies, and it shouldn’t happen again. Anyway, this week (not unlike last week), two of the top 20 films of 2011 are out on Blu-Ray and DVD for your purchasing and viewing pleasure. None cracked my top 10 list, but both of the prime selections made strong plays for a spot. Joining them are a variety of other titles, including one surprisingly strong Oscar player. Overall, there’s very little to complain about this week, and it’s a trend that has been a few weeks old now (to my utter pleasure)…and one I wish would continue for the next few as well, but we’ll cross that crumbling bridge when we come to it in the columns to come (it won’t be pretty sometimes, but we’ll get through it, like we always do). As for the top choice this week, it was actually a rather tough decision. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, it came down to basically the best adult mystery of the year against the best family film of the year. I may still be a child at heart, but in the end I went with the more mature option…plus, it’s directed by David Fincher, which is always a plus. The title I chose? It’s:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I was never worried about Fincher tackling this project, but I did think he had better things to do with his time and wondered if this would just be a commercial project and nothing more. Boy was I wrong. It still may be arguable that Fincher should have pursued a more original project, but he took on this one instead, and it wound up being one of the best remakes ever put out. His technical mastery is as good as ever, and he got a performance for the ages out of Rooney Mara. As someone who wasn’t thrilled with the original trilogy and doesn’t worship the initial performance by Noomi Rapace (though I liked her quite a bit), I found this take on the serial killer tale to be superior in every single way. It just barely missed my top 10 list last year, but now that it’s out on DVD (and especially on Blu-Ray), it’s well worth adding to your collection!
-Coming in a close second place here was the relaunch of another franchise, this one a bit more family friendly. It’s The Muppets, and somehow the cast and crew managed to capture the Jim Henson magic with this movie and make the best Muppet flick since the first one. It’s unabashedly light-hearted and cheesy at times, but it provided some of the most pure joy of any 2011 release for me. If it touched your heart like it did mine, you’re obviously going to be getting this one as well. I fully encourage that decision…
-Also out today are a few prestige titles, though I don’t count myself as a fan of either. They are the adaptations Carnage and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The former was an overall light and mildly disappointing effort from Roman Polanski, and the latter was a very disappointing spy drama (though I know I’m in the minority there and will actually be giving it another chance in the near future). Neither did much for me, but if you count yourself as a fan of either, they’re out now for your acquiring needs.
-The rest of the titles this week aren’t much to write home about. There’s the mild Jonah Hill comedy The Sitter, the indie drama Roadie, the kids flick Hop, and the Z grade horror flick Creature. None are especially awful, but I can’t say that any are worth the effort to actually own. If you disagree, however, don’t let me get in your way. Pick them up and enjoy if you feel inclined to do so.
-My Vintage pick, in honor of this week’s release of The Raid: Redemption, is my absolute favorite film of all time that just happens to have part of the same title (I know I’m stretching it, but any excuse to again mention this pick works for me…plus, I hear that The Raid is pretty amazing as well). It’s The Shawshank Redemption, and in my eyes no better film has ever been made. It makes your spirit absolutely soar. I’ve cited it before, but when it comes to something as good as this, exceptions can be made. I’m far from the only one, but I know that I always stop when I find it playing on TV (what seems like almost once a month at this point). Frank Darabont’s film is just that good. I know you all have a copy at home (I think I might have three at this point), so break it out and give it a spin!
–What will you be watching on Blu-Ray/DVD this week? Discuss on the Forum!