This week, one of the best documentaries in some time and my favorite of the past few years (at least until Life Itself opens…stay tuned for my thoughts on that one closer to its release date) hits Blu-Ray and DVD, along with a very nice variety of other titles to choose from as well. All in all, it’s a quality and quantity sort of day, which is never a bad thing in my book. To be fair, this week only has one outstanding film, but more than that in a given release week is a rare bonus, and anyway, a top notch TV show is hitting shelves as well. There’s something for everyone, more or less, so that’s a reason to rejoice. My top pick today is rather under seen, but that’s hardly new, now is it? For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I went with what would have been my pick for Best Documentary Feature last year, even though it was snubbed entirely. You’ll see what I’m talking about shortly, but first…Vintage picks!
In honor of this week’s release of 22 Jump Street (my review is right here if you missed it), I figured I’d go with the obvious here. Yes, I’m citing 21 Jump Street, mainly because this weekend we have the rare release of a comedy sequel that’s just as good as its predecessor. They’re both hilarious, with the added bonus of watching something fresh and unexpected with the first one. Pop it in this week and enjoy…
The other titles here that I’m about to discuss for a few brief moments aren’t anywhere as good as my top choice, but they’re still certainly worth a bit of discussion, so that’s what I’ll be doing now:
I giggled my way through this one back at last year’s New York Film Festival. In my review (found here), I had this to say: “After the intense but rewarding experience that was Captain Phillips, which premiered as the Opening Night NYFF title, the second screening of that particular day was the much lower key Alan Partridge (or as it was known in the UK during its run there…Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa), the film adaptation of Steve Coogan‘s rather popular character. I was unfamiliar with the title character until that screening, and don’t know too much more about him now, but that’s hardly a big deal considering how appealing Coogan makes it to watch this fool in action”. It’s a very silly comedy, but it’s one worth checking out.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $153,426 (and counting)
Major Awards: None
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
The way I started my review (found right here) of this franchise reboot pretty much says it all: “Decidedly old fashioned, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the type of film that will wind up playing on cable (I’m specifically think of a station like TNT) forever, and I mean that as a compliment. The movie is sleek and well made, if not the sort of action flick that seeks to re-invent the genre”. Yup, I stand by that, plain and simple, so if you like old school action, this could be one to pick up this week…
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted/Extended Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $50,577,412
Major Awards: None
Very few folks saw this Best Foreign Language Feature nominee, but I did back at NYFF. Later on, I wrote this in my review (found here) of the flick: “Back when I saw the foreign drama Omar at the most recent New York Film Festival, it was nothing more than Palestine’s submission for Best Foreign Language Feature, and a long shot at that. A few months later and it wound up with an Oscar nomination in the category. Why? Well, because it was good enough to entice voters, simply put. Omar is a compelling film from filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, the man who brought us the powerful Paradise Lost a few years back”. Oscar completists would do well to grab it.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $356,000
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Foreign Language Feature at the Academy Awards
Other Films Being Released
Here now is just a rather simple list of just what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my own personal recommendation. Behold:
I saw this one back at Tribeca last year and thought it was decent enough, if nothing to particularly recommend. It’s something you could easily enjoy if you come across it though, so don’t avoid it or anything like that…
Box Office: $19,731
What a disappointment this dramatic retelling of the West Memphis Three case is. Four different documentaries made compelling tales out of this material, but Atom Egoyan and company failed miserably here. I go over why in my review here, but suffice to say, this would be awards player is just a pretender, not a contender.
Box Office: N/A
I wasn’t particularly fond of this horror flick, but it’s not ineptly made or anything like that. It’s really for fans of the genre only though, as anyone else will probably find it to be rather lacking…
Box Office: N/A
In hindsight, this thriller probably deserved about a half star more than I gave it, but my thumb still is definitely down. You can read more here in my review, but I wanted better for Liam Neeson than what he got in this one.
Box Office: $91,742,160 (and counting)
I missed this documentary in theaters, but it’s on my to-see list. Had I gotten around to it in time, we might have had one more film to recommend, as I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Alas, you can’t win em all, now can you?
Box Office: $70,367 (and counting)
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Ray Donovan: Season One
Resurrection: The Complete First Season
Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Fourth Season
True Detective (Joey’s Pick)
PICK OF THE WEEK
It’s rare that I get blown away by a documentary, especially one that literally could be described as watching paint dry at times. That being said, this doc from Penn and Teller is enthralling. My full review is right here, but I had this to say in it: “Tim’s Vermeer completely won me over back when I initially saw it back at the New York Film Festival, far more than I was expecting it to. This documentary from Penn and Teller is a tremendous crowd pleaser and I’d even go so far as to say that it was robbed of a Best Documentary Feature nomination. Directed by Teller and narrated by Penn Jillette (yes, that Penn and Teller, as I reference above), this doc functions not just as a primer on Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, a character study of inventor Tim Jenison, a commentary on the relationship that art has with technology, and a little bit of a mystery as well. It all gels rather perfectly, leading to one of the most satisfying 80 minutes of cinema I had at a festival in 2013 and one of my favorite films of 2014 so far”. I highly recommend his one folks, and be sure to check out my interviews with Pen, Teller, and Tim here as well…
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Alternate/Deleted/Extended Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $1,671,377
Major Award: Nominated for Best Documentary at the BAFTA Awards
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!