This week, one of the funnies films of the year leads the charge of new Blu-Ray/DVD releases coming to store shelves for your potential purchase. Once again though, there isn’t a whole lot else hitting today of any real note, though at least I have a runner up pick today. That’s a step in the right direction at least, I think. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I pretty much knew right away that I was going to cite an actually hilarious comedy sequel, even though those are rarely any good. You’ll see the one that I’m talking about momentarily, but I do want to get to the Vintage pick that I have to give you all this week, so we can start there right now…
In honor of this week’s release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (which I’m seeing possibly as you’re reading this), I wanted to cite a Jennifer Lawrence movie, but perhaps not one that you’d expect. As such, I’m going with The Beaver, a film I come back to periodically here in this section. It was absolutely buried due to Mel Gibson’s problems, but everyone missed out on not just a tremendous performance by Gibson, but also by Lawrence and Anton Yelchin as well. If you haven’t listened to me and given this one a shot yet, perhaps this is the week to take a leap of face and check it out. You might be glad that you did, especially if you like Lawrence…
The other title I’m going to discuss here isn’t nearly as good as my top choice is, but it’s more than worthy of some discussion. As such, that’s what I’ll be doing right now:
This documentary is for an incredibly good cause, namely helping senior citizens through the power of music. I spoke to the director and subject of the film (which you can check out here), but even before then this was something I was fond of. Something tells me it ultimately will be too small to appeal to the Academy, but an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature isn’t 100% out of the question. If you’re looking for a compelling new doc to check out, this is one to look into for sure.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $256,682 (and counting)
Major Award: None 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:
And So It Goes
I haven’t had a chance to check out this new Rob Reiner flick, but from what I heard around the time of release, it wasn’t much of anything to get excited over. Perhaps it’ll play better on home video? Feel free to check it out and see for yourself. I’ll get around to it at some point, but honestly I won’t be in a hurry.
Box Office: $15,160,801
This sci-fi/action hybrid features an interesting Antonio Banderas performance, but too much of the movie plays like a lesser version of a Neill Blomkamp film. That’s not a terrible thing, though it really doesn’t lead me to feel the need to overtly recommend it in any way. Don’t avoid it or anything like that, but there are two other things this week more worthy of your attention.
Box Office: N/A
If I Stay
A tearjerker that was hoping to capitalize on the success of The Fault in Our Stars, it has some nice work by Chloe Grace Moretz and Liana Liberato, but it’s still pretty mediocre overall. My review (found here) says the following: “despite having all of the elements required to speak to me and bring out emotion, If I Stay left me cold and dry. As I said to someone on Twitter, it had all of the ingredients, but the broth just came out bland. Director R.J. Cutler and scribe Shauna Cross oddly enough spend very little time with the actual plot, devoting major amounts of the film to flashbacks, which sometimes are enjoyable, but really don’t factor much into the story. I’m glad to see Chloë Grace Moretz with her first real leading role, and while she’s solid, the supporting cast winds up sometimes upstaging her, and that’s not good. It’s clear that this movie wants to capitalize on the success of the aforementioned TFiOS (besides being another tearjerker YA adaptation), but it falls way short. I didn’t hate If I Stay, but it is a pretty mediocre flick and not particularly worth your time.” You can do worse, but you can also easily do better as well.
Box Office: $50,474,843
Into the Storm
Part of me really regrets not getting the chance to see this disaster film in theaters, but the reviews make me also think that I might have made the right decision skipping it. I’m sure I’ll get around to it before too long, but if/when I do, it will be with pretty low expectations. I’d advise you to do the same.
Box Office: $47,594,617 (and counting)
I’d never even heard of this foreign action/adventure tale until writing this piece, though with a box office haul under 1400 bucks, I have a feeling that most of you are in the same boat as me. I’m sure it’s very solid, but it just wasn’t on my radar. Feel free to check it out though, obviously.
Box Office: $1,369
Another in a seemingly endless supply these days of barely released John Cusack B movies, this is a thriller that seems completely bland but also rather watchable. As a Cusack fan, I’ll get around to giving this a shot eventually, though this is another case where expectations will be very low…
Box Office: N/A
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
I wasn’t wild about the first film in this franchise, so I went into this one without anything in the way of expectations. Good thing too, as it’s not good. In my review (found right here), I said the following: “Over a half decade late, this is a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It’s lovely to look at, but incredibly dumb to listen to. Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, working again with comic book veteran turned collaborator Frank Miller, can’t capture the same sense of originality this time around, so you’re all the more cognizant of the script shortcomings. The direction is undeniably stylish, but it seems like a mask here. There are tons of returning faces (including Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Willis) along with plenty of new ones (such as Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Eva Green), but no one leaves much of a mark in the flick. It’s all about looks here with this movie, but a fairly dumb story and rather poor pacing makes the visual stimuli a far cry from enough for a recommendation. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is late on the scene as a sequel and just plain unsatisfying as a film on the whole.” Unless you’re a die hard, this is an easy one to just skip.
Box Office: $13,757,804
The Wind Rises
As one of the few who never really became a huge fan of Hiyazo Miyazaki, this wasn’t the event for me that it was to most back when I saw it at the New York Film Festival. In my NYFF review (which you can see here), I had this to say: “For some reason, the films of Hiyazo Miyazaki never really did it for me over the years. Ironically, his final feature The Wind Rises has been getting rather middling reviews so far but represents the closest I’ve ever come to embracing one of his movies. This is an amazingly beautiful bit of animation, albeit one with an incredibly slow pacing and a second act that brings things to a grinding halt. Biopics are not generally where animators focus their energy, but Miyazaki has always been a special case, so this new challenge almost makes sense. I do wish there was more to appreciate besides the visuals, but that’s always been the case for me with his works.” Miyazaki fans obviously will enjoy this, so don’t let me stop you.
Box Office: $5,209,580
Breaking Amish: Season 2 Brave New World
In Search Of: The Complete Series
Last Man Standing: The Complete Third Season
Wolfblood: Season 2
PICK OF THE WEEK
22 Jump Street
Few comedies have surprised me as much as 21 Jump Street did, so I was thrilled that this sequel lived up to the spirit of the last one. As I said in this review (here), it’s also incredibly meta. The review says: “Right off the bat, I have to let you know that if you haven’t seen 21 Jump Street, then I’m not sure that the sequel 22 Jump Street has anything to offer you. Not that you won’t be able to follow the story, but you probably won’t get the jokes or really the point of the whole thing in general. I say that because at least half of the funny moments in this movie are in direct relation to it being a sequel to that first one. This film exists to mock the existence of pointless sequels, which is rather ingenious. In some ways, 22 Jump Street is an even better movie than 21 Jump Street, but that’s splitting hairs. Co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have another success on their hands, due in no small part to the insanely good comedic chemistry between stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Watching them play off of each other is just so phenomenally enjoyable. Throw in the amusing opening and absolute laugh riot of an ending/credits sequence (I’ll say it…this might be the best credits sequence of all time) and there’s no shortage of things to enjoy.” Go pick this one up and enjoy!
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted/Extended Scenes, and more…
Total Box Office: $191,719,337 (and counting)
Major Award: None yet, but it could contend for a Golden Globe nomination or two
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!