This week, a really solid indie flick leads the charge of new Blu-Ray/DVD releases that are coming to your store shelves. Sadly though, there isn’t a whole lot else hitting today of any real notable quality, which is at least a bit of a bummer since I’m not head over heels for my top pick either, but hey…it’s still pretty good and life in this column goes on anyway for us. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I pretty much had no choice but to cite an easy to enjoy character study/dramedy that has plenty of charm on its side. You’ll see what I’m talking about momentarily, but I do want to get to the Vintage pick that I have to give you this week, so we can start there right now…
In honor of this week’s release of Foxcatcher (which I saw at NYFF and really liked), I wanted to cite Bennett Miller’s last film once again. It’s Moneyball, a movie that I come back to in this section fairly often, and for good reason…it’s highly re-watchable. I’ve revisited it a number of times and it remains just as enjoyable to this day. From the performances of Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Chris Pratt, and the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman to the script that Aaron Sorkin co-wrote, it all combines with Miller’s proficiency behind the camera to create something memorable and unique. It’s an easy film to love and one that’s perfect to pop in again. By the by, my interview with Steve Carell for Foxcatcher can be found here if you haven’t had a chance to look at it yet.
Other Films Being Released
With only the one film to really recommend, here now is a simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this day, sans my own personal recommendation or anything of that sort. Behold:
This B level action flick has some entertaining moments to it and a John Cusack performance that’s enjoyable enough, but it’s still the sort of thing that you’ve seen done a dozen times before, with only mild changes in the formula. This is the kind of movie that you come across on cable late at night and stick with for a few minutes. It’s not something to run out and get, but if you’re hard up for a B movie, you could definitely do worse than this one.
Box Office: N/A
How to Train Your Dragon 2
I missed the screenings of this one, and honestly, I didn’t lose any sleep. I’m not as in love with the first one as most, so this can easily wait for me to get around to before the end of the year. Those of you who are fans though, feel free to pick it up and enjoy to your heart’s content…
Box Office: $176,802,960 (and counting)
I Am Ali
You’d think that a documentary about the legendary boxer would have had a longer reach (no pun intended), but apparently that wasn’t the case here. I’m going to check it out for myself soon, so perhaps you’ll want to join in with me and do the same?
Box Office: $7,205
This foreign flick sadly is, like too many others that go all but direct to home video, one that I’ve barely even heard of. As is the norm in this sort of a situation, I can’t say anything about if it’s worth picking up or not. You’ll just have to use your own best judgment when it comes to this one folks.
Box Office: $7,679
James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge
Are you a big fan of James Cameron? Love underwater documentaries? Well, this is the doc for you. All others might be bored, though in my review (found here), I came in somewhere in between: “Deepsea Challenge 3D is an interesting look at the bottom of the ocean and what it takes for man to get there while also being a love letter to James Cameron and his ambitions. The former aspect of the doc works far better than the latter, though time spent with Cameron is never boring, let me be clear there (it’s also probably the best selling point…it’s 90 minutes or so tagging along with Cameron on one of his adventures). It’s just a bit like a home movie from someone you’re not related to. The actual nitty gritty of it all was pretty interesting to me, though admittedly not much beyond the type of thing that you can usually see for free on television. That’s part of why I struggled with whether to go two and a half or three stars here. I’m not sure how much value there is in actually plopping down hard earned cash for this doc in a movie theater, but it’s still a film that I think is enjoyable enough and worth seeing if you have an interest.” If you have a 3D television and Blu-Ray player, this could be fun, but otherwise, I’m sure you can wait for it to show up on cable eventually.
Box Office: $235,659
With attention mostly being turned to Clint Eastwood’s upcoming American Sniper, does anyone actually remember that he directed a Broadway adaptation earlier this year? To refresh here’s a bit from my review (found right here) of the musical: “Clint Eastwood has switched gears with his latest outing, the Broadway adaptation of Jersey Boys, and in doing so has crafted almost inarguably his most likable film in years. At the same time though, most of the reasons that this musical manages to entertain for the most part have nothing to do with Eastwood, while the reasons I can’t quite recommend it have a lot to do with him. On the plus side, the music is obviously catchy, while the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons has a universal rags to riches sort of air to it. On the flip side though, there’s no reason why this movie needs to nearly be 140 minutes long, so when combined with Eastwood’s poor sense of pacing here, the flick drags in a big way at times. John Lloyd Young does sound like Valli and Christopher Walken gets a fun supporting role to play with, but the film isn’t nearly as clever or original as Eastwood and co-writers Marshall Brickman/Rick Elice must think it is.” It’s a step in the right direction for Eastwood, but nothing to right home about either.
Box Office: $47,047,013
Let’s Be Cops
By all accounts this comedy isn’t very good, but as a fan of Luke Greenfield’s The Girl Next Door, I do want to give this one a chance. I missed it in theaters, so at some point I’ll have to pop this one in and see if I’m any kinder to it than my colleagues were.
Box Office: $82,195,409
Ever since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, filmmaker Michel Gondry has struggled to recapture the magic of that work. To varying degrees, his movies have all failed to take hold in that same way. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I’ve heard that it’s more of the same in that regard. I’ll get around to it eventually and cross my fingers that it’s better than I’ve heard, but I’ll keep my expectations low, just in case.
Box Office: $303,012 (and counting)
Melissa McCarthy needs to do less work like this and more work like she did this year in St. Vincent, if you ask me at least. In my review (found here), I had this to say about the film: “Whatever happened to the Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids? You know, the Oscar nominated one who stole the show and tickled our funny bone…where has she gone? Is she ever coming back? With the misfire Tammy, McCarthy is trying to trade in her improvisational riffing for something more scripted and traditional, a decision that doesn’t suit her. She co-wrote the film with her husband Ben Falcone, who also directs here (and cameos as well at the beginning), and yet it feels like a movie that’s a poor fit for her talents. Pairing her with an awkwardly aged up Susan Sarandon doesn’t do either any favors either, leading to just an entire film that feels more than a bit off. The flick has a few fleetingly amusing moments, but so many actors and actresses are wasted on a road trip premise that just isn’t funny, so it’s hard to look at this as anything other than a real failure.” Unless you’re a die hard fan of hers, avoid this one. It’s just no good, plain and simple.
Box Office: $84,525,432
The Avengers: Season 5
Batman: The Complete Television Series
Beauty & The Beast: The Complete Series
The Best of My Favorite Martian
Cagney & Lacey: The Complete Collection
Charmed: The Complete Series
Hey Arnold: The Complete Series *(Joey’s pick)
Starsky & Hutch: The Complete Series
True Blood: The Complete Seventh Season
PICK OF THE WEEK
I’m someone who consistently likes the work of Joe Swanberg. At the same time though, I’m really quite fond of the recent turn his career has taken. Especially with Drinking Buddies, but also with this one, he’s embraced a more mainstream feeling while still keeping things on his own unique wavelength. Working again with Anna Kendrick (who’s fantastic), we also have his own son Jude Swanberg absolutely stealing the show as the cutest and funniest movie baby in a very long time. He alone makes it worth seeing, but the character study has plenty more to offer. It’s really low-key, but something that I think many will enjoy. Especially this week, it’s the best that’s around…
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $30,312
Major Award: None yet, but it could contend for a Spirit Awards citation
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!