This week, one of the most violent films that I’ve ever seen headlines the Blu-Ray/DVD releases. I don’t say that as a positive or a negative, it’s just a fact. Outside of certain horror flicks, nothing has been as brutal as my top pick today. Why pick it though? Well, it’s just so damn well made. Yes, for my PICK OF THE WEEK, I opted to go with an extreme action movie over an extreme sexual drama or a romantic dramedy. Sounds a bit unlike me, right? Well, sometimes I try and throw a curveball out there. We’ll get to those titles shortly, but first…Vintage pick time!
In honor of this week’s release of Boyhood (which I love), I figured I’d go with some Richard Linklater flicks. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but these half dozen are among this his best: Before Midnight, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Bernie, Dazed and Confused, and Slacker. His newest one is as good as any of those, so make it your business to see it. In the meantime though, pop in any of these (hell, go with a different choice if you want…they’re all pretty solid or better) and prepare to enjoy Linklater’s many talents as a filmmaker…
The other titles here that I’m about to discuss here 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:
Jason Bateman’s directorial debut is an odd little comedy. Here’s what I said about Bateman’s flick in my initial review (found here): “Surprisingly mean for most of its running time without ever becoming mean-spirited, the movie is at its funniest when its also at its most politically incorrect. Bateman and (writer Andrew) Dodge get a lot of mileage out of the concept of an angry adult at a children’s spelling bee, even before the plot takes a bit of a turn in the third act. Along with Kathryn Hahn in a main supporting role, Bateman is allowed to just play and bounce off of others, both in front of and behind the camera“. Sounds about right to me. If you’re looking to laugh this week, this is probably your best bet.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $7,779,614
Major Awards: None
Back at the New York Film Festival, I caught this cute little rom com and wrote this review here. In it, I said the following:
“Roger Michell is back on much more solid ground with the romantic comedy Le Week-End. The film in fact reminds me quite a bit of his older works, so if you’re a fan, take note of that. Armed with a trio of enjoyable and winning performances from Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, and Jeff Goldblum, Michell is mostly content to just let his actors go off and do their thing. While there’s not particularly too much to get worked up about from either his direction or the script by Hanif Kureishi, almost everything works in this film in a mild and enjoyable way”.
As long as you don’t expect the wheel to be reinvented here, you should like what you see.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $50,577,412
Major Awards: Won Best Actress for Lindsay Duncan at the British Independent Film Awards
Nymphomaniac Volumes One and Two
Oh boy, this one. When I saw Volume One (my review can be found here), I had this to say:
“I can safely say that it’s both exactly what you expect and unlike anything you can imagine. Frankly, this is both the divisive filmmaker at his most divisive but also at his most in tune with his audience. He’s certainly challenging the viewer, but in a less aggressive way than usual, so that’s something new from him. There also has to be a ton of credit given to discovering Stacy Martin, who’s a newcomer and an absolute revelation”.
When it came to Volume Two (my review is right here), this is what I had to say:
“Well now, that was an unpleasant experience. In all honesty, I feel like that I’m closer to two and a half stars for this second half of Lars von Trier‘s epic Nymphomaniac than three stars, but taking into account that this is basically one long film, I feel like I’m still eager to recommend Nymphomaniac Volume Two so that it gets seen. As one nearly four hour movie (though the thought of all of this at once is mildly overwhelming), it would have been an overall stronger experience, but even as Volume Two is more of a mixed bag, there’s still plenty here to chew on, especially with Charlotte Gainsbourg‘s more front and center performance. Von Trier ventures much more to the darker side here during this section of his story, offering up a bit too much repetition in between some rather compelling sequences”.
While both Volumes are available separately, I really think getting the combined edition is the way to go. It just works better as one long flick. Give it a shot if you think you can handle it.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $785,896 for Volume One and $327,167 for Volume Two
Major Awards: None yet, and don’t hold your breath
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:
10 Rules for Sleeping Around
This tiny romantic comedy wasn’t terrible, but it just didn’t have anything really going for it in order to distinguish itself from the pack. Frankly, it would have been a direct to video release a few years ago. Now, it can perhaps find its audience. I doubt it, but we shall see…
Box Office: N/A
I’d never even heard of this dramedy, so the lack of box office figures doesn’t come as a complete surprise. It happens to tons of flicks, so this is just another one destined for a life mostly via Netflix, I suppose.
Box Office: N/A
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa .5
I thought this comedy was fairly mediocre, so while I’m a bit curious about a new cut, I’m not curious enough to have sought it out. If you’re a fan of Bad Grandpa, then this could be worth checking out. If not, you can safely skip it without losing any sleep.
Box Office: $102,003,019 for the Theatrical Cut
Here’s a documentary that I really wish that I hadn’t missed. I was curious about the subject matter but just never found a screening that worked. As such, I’ll be making it my business to check this one out sooner rather than later, so while I can’t overtly recommend it, I’m sure it’ll be of interest to many of you as well…
Box Office: $641,744 (and counting)
A comedy/horror/musical hybrid with Meat Loaf and Minnie Driver? I have no idea what to make of this one, but I kind of want to see it for myself at some point. Is anyone with me? No? Alright then, moving on.
Box Office: $7,078 (and counting)
Diff’rent Strokes: Seasons 1 & 2
Doctor Who: Series 3, Part Two
Prisoners of War: Season One
Soul Man: Season 1
Vicious: Season One
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Raid 2
A few years ago I thought that The Raid: Redemption almost went too far in how consistently intense and violent it was. I really liked the movie, but it got close to a line of over saturation for me. That being said, it’s nothing compared to this sequel. In my review (here), I struggled with that a bit, as you can see: “Let me start by saying this right up front…it’s possible that The Raid 2 (initially called The Raid 2: Berandal, but that last bit has apparently been excised) is the most violent film that I’ve ever seen. Certainly outside of the horror genre, there’s a distinct possibility that this fact is true. For some of you, that might be akin to recommendation in and of itself, while for others it might be an immediate turn off. For me, I’m caught right smack in the middle. I was a fan of filmmaker Gareth Evans‘ prior movie The Raid: Redemption, and this sequel just ups the ante“. I then went on to say this in a bit of a meta turn for a review, as I quoted my own review of the prior flick in the now franchise: “For context, this is what I wrote in my review of the first flick: “An action film for those who think the modern action film is too talky, The Raid: Redemption is almost one long and sustained action sequence stretched out to feature length. The editing and pacing are terrific, and those who want intensity in their fight scenes will be thrilled, but if you’re looking for anything deeper or a story of any note, keep looking, as this isn’t the flick for you”. This time around, there are even more fights, even more graphic violence, and the stakes are even higher. Evans also attempts to inject a story here too, but he’s less successful in that endeavor. You can’t help but appreciate the directing skills on display in The Raid 2, but at a certain point, all of the fighting and killing nearly got to be too much for me“. If that hasn’t turned you off, definitely give it a shot. If you love action, this is as chock full of action as a film can get…
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $2,627,209 (and counting)
Major Award: None yet, but don’t expect any
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!