This week, one of the most popular films of 2014 so far (though another title from the same studio probably has dibs on the crown of most popular right now) hits shelves on Blu-Ray and DVD, along with…not much else of note, though we don’t lack for options. There’s quantity, but in my eyes the quality is somewhat iffy. Overall, the crop of movies coming out today isn’t bad, but it’s mostly due to my top pick. That flick saves the day…no pun intended. Anyway, for my PICK OF THE WEEK, I went with a superhero sequel that’s way better than I think many were expecting it to be. I’ll get to that one in a few, but right now…it’s Vintage pick time for us here!
In honor of this week’s release of The Drop (which I saw yesterday and thought was pretty good), I wanted to cite my favorite Tom Hardy performance to date. It’s Warrior, a wonderful sports drama with Hardy absolutely blowing me away. In my review of the film (which you can go back and read here if you wish) I wrote this: “Hardy’s interpretation of Tommy is that of a caged animal, someone who gets in, destroys, and gets out. It’s an intense work that stays with you long after the credits roll.” The words remain true today. If you somehow haven’t seen this one yet, now is a perfect time to rectify that mistake…
(Other) Films Being Released
With nothing to overtly recommend besides my top pick, here now is just a pretty simple list of just what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my personal recommendation. Behold:
I thought this foreign flick was fairly disturbing, but it’s a bit too much of a slow burn for the material on hand. It’s definitely something you shouldn’t avoid, but I couldn’t quite give it a full on recommendation. As a second choice though? It’s a very solid option then…
Box Office: $57,474 (and counting)
This remake sort of came and went, though it obviously has a place in the lexicon due to it being one of the last performances from Paul Walker. I didn’t see it though, so I can’t comment on its quality. If you’re a Walker fan, perhaps you’ll want to check it out as a way to honor him, if nothing else?
Box Office: $20,396,829
A solid enough food related documentary, I refrained from overtly recommending it in a separate section because, in light of last year’s A Place At The Table and Food Inc. from a few years back, it just didn’t seem super necessary. It’s there if you want it, obviously, but I opted to put it here instead of in its own category.
Box Office: $1,538,899 (and counting)
I know some thought this small town flick was a disaster, but I found it to be a mixed bag. In my review (found right here), I wrote: “There’s no such thing as a bad performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman, and that’s true even when the movie surrounding the late actor isn’t up to par. Such is the case with actor John Slattery‘s directorial debut God’s Pocket, an incredibly uneven film that has a few strong moments and some solid performances, but is also tonally inconsistent and completely unsure of itself most of the time. This is supposed to be a gritty look at a small town and its mostly hopeless residents, but you never get the sense that this flick knows exactly how to tell its story. You get melodrama, oddly placed comedy, and just a sense that most of the talent involved here got lost somewhere along the way. The best part of this movie is when we get Richard Jenkins‘ narration about the people of the town. Those moments rung true for me, even when few other things do. Aside from that, along with Hoffman and Christina Hendricks‘ work, there’s not too much to like.” If you seek it out for Hoffman, I won’t blame you, but otherwise it’s not something you really need to concern yourself with.
Box Office: $166,457
The Hornet’s Nest
I knew absolutely nothing about this flick before starting the column and I think that says something. If you’re interested in this one, I won’t stop you at all, but I can’t imagine there’s too much interest around these parts…
Box Office: $312,706
Another barely seen movie, I actually wonder how many of you bother to consider these titles when I mention them. Should I even keep briefly citing them? If you have a strong opinion about that, feel free to let me know, one way or the other!
Box Office: $14,806
A Long Way Down
Man was I disappointed by this adaptation of a novel I dug. In my review (found here), I said: “I remember enjoying Nick Hornby‘s novel A Long Way Down quite a bit (though it’s not his best book by any stretch) back when I read it back in high school or college, I forget which. It’s nothing to go nuts over, but it’s enjoyable for sure. This film adaptation? Not so much. The tone here is just all over the place, the actors are given very little to do, and the filmmakers don’t seem to get the point of it all whatsoever. Scribe Jack Thorne doesn’t translate any of the charm of the novel Hornby wrote at all and director Pascal Chaumeil only muddies the waters more with his less than ideal handling of the material.” That about sums it up, sadly…
Box Office: $13,347
Louder Than Words
A tearjerker that barely got a release, I mainly knew it existed because I’ve been on a David Duchovney kick and I was sent a copy early. It’s not a bad film by any stretch, but it lathers it on a little bit thick, if you know what I mean? The acting is solid, but it’s not the type of thing you need to own…
Box Office: N/A
I’m in the minority with this one. While most liked it back at the Tribeca Film Festival, I wrote the following in my review (here) from the fest: “Another in the seemingly endless supply of projects from the unique (to say the least) mind of multi hyphenate James Franco, Palo Alto is an adaptation of Franco’s short stories, written and directed by Gio Coppola, and it’s a very mixed bag. To be fair, in the environment of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, it’s not a bad film at all, but when you move it to a general release, it probably will come up a bit lacking. Franco has a juicy supporting part, but the ensemble cast is led more by the likes of Emma Roberts and Nat Wolff, along with up and comer Jack Kilmer. They’re all solid, and the visuals are nice from Coppola, but the story itself thinks that it’s more explosive than it is. We’ve seen teens behaving badly in California many times before, and it’s frankly been done better.” You might want to see it for yourself and decided who’s right…hell, I’m even going to revisit it this week.
Box Office: $766,794 (and counting)
This is a found footage Big Foot flick from Bobcat Goldthwait, I was bummed not to have seen it before doing this piece. Who knows, perhaps I would have had a runner up this week if I had. In any event, I’ll be watching it in the next day or so…join me?
Box Office: N/A
Words and Pictures
I didn’t see this romantic dramedy, but I heard decent enough things about it. If you’re inclined to look for something frothy this week, I’d imagine this has to be on the table as an option for you…
Box Office: $2,171,257
Blue Bloods: Seasons 1-4
Doctor Who: Deep Breath
Dynasty: The Seventh Season
The Goldbergs: The Complete First Season
Homeland: The Complete Third Season
Little House On The Prairie: Season Three
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season
Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season
The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Fifth Season
PICK OF THE WEEK
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Even though most of us liked Captain America: The First Avenger, I don’t think anyone was prepared for just how good this sequel would be. Almost more of a throwback to the conspiracy thrillers of the 1970’s than a Marvel superhero sequel, you really can’t discount how effective a film it is. The movie has lost a bit of thunder in the past month due to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, but that shouldn’t matter. This is an insanely satisfying flick, so if you’ve somehow not seen it yet…correct that blunder now!
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted/Extended Scenes, and more…
Total Box Office: $259,766,572
Major Award: None yet, and aside from a possible technical nomination, don’t expect much
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!