Joey’s DVD Picks of the Week (12/18/2012)

liberal_arts_ver2This week, there’s literally about as many films coming out on Blu-Ray and DVD as I’ve ever seen in one shot to date. Luckily for all of us, it’s also a really good slate in terms of quality, besides the exceptional quantity. I have a half dozen movies that I’m recommending, and two flicks fighting it out for top honors today. There’s something for everyone, and that’s always a plus for the column. The film that’s my PICK OF THE WEEK is an incredibly underrated little movie, but still an exceptional one. It’s also a movie strongly in contention for my year end Top 10 list. The flick I’m so high on? Well, it’s:

Liberal Arts

Josh Radnor’s exceptional sophomore feature is an absolute joy on every level. From the writing to the directing to the acting, everyone is working on a high level, and it shows. This is a love letter to the college experience and deserved a far wider audience than it got. In a perfect world, Radnor would be in play for a Best Original Screenplay nomination and co-star Elizabeth Olsen would be talked about for a Best Supporting Actress nod. Those aren’t happening, but now that the film is out and available to own, you can see what I was talking about here when I first reviewed it. This one comes highly recommended…

-Coming in second place we have comedian Mike Birbiglia’s directorial debut Sleepwalk with Me. An incredibly accomplished and satisfying interpretation of his one man show, Birbiglia proves that he’s a cinematic threat. Definitely pick this one up too, it’s another hidden gem!

-The other films getting a recommendation from me today include the insane NC-17 rated crime drama Killer Joe, the silly but fun action flick Premium Rush, the reunion dramedy 10 Years, and the oscar hopeful drama Arbitrage. These are pretty much in preferential order for me, but each has enough for a thumbs up and an encouragement to pick up and own from me. They’re not perfect, but they could easily make solid holiday gifts for a special someone.

-Filling out the roster this week we have the flawed but well acted Spike Lee flick Red Hook Summer, the forgettable musical comedy Pitch Perfect, the mediocre sci-fi remake Total Recall, the disappointing Clint Eastwood sports flick Trouble with the Curve, and the disposable Orlando Bloom medical drama The Good Doctor. Also hitting shelves is Resident Evil: Retribution and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, but I skipped those sequels. The aforementioned titles are nothing special at all, but none are atrocious either. Still, in a week as filled with quality as this one, why settle for less?

hurt-locker-funny-people-My Vintage pick is going to be a little bit different today, considering the seasons we’re in. Since so many Oscar contenders are hitting in limited or wide release, I figured I’d give multiple picks in honor of two new releases. The flicks opening this week are This is 40 and Zero Dark Thirty, and I have a trio of of titles for one and a pair for the other. For the former I’m choosing all of Judd Apatow’s previous directorial outings, which are The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Funny People. For the latter I’m choosing Kathryn Bigelow’s prior film The Hurt Locker, as well as a similarly gritty and realistic war movie in The Battle of Algiers. All are classics in my mind (and I’m not alone) and 100% worth watching again, assuming you’ve already seen them. If somehow you haven’t then, well..what are you waiting for? Consider them essential viewings…

What will you be watching on Blu-Ray and DVD this week? Discuss in the comments?