This week, it’s a really top heavy slate of new Blu-Ray/DVD releases that are coming to store shelves near you. Honestly, it’s really only one film that’s recommendation worthy here. Sadly, while the top pick I have today is one I’m excited about, there just isn’t a whole lot else overall for the column. Hey, it happens, as you all know by now. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I pretty much had no choice but to cite an extremely endearing romantic dramedy that flew under the radar earlier this year. You’ll see what I’m talking about in just a few moments, but I do want to get to my Vintage pick first, so much like every other week, we can start there now…
In honor of this week’s release of The Babadook (which I wasn’t too impressed by, though I’m seemingly the only one who doesn’t love it), I wanted to cite what I feel is a more effective recent fright flick. It’s Sinister, which I was very fond of a few years ago. In my review (found here), I wrote: ” the chief asset that works in its favor is that it contributes one of the best uses of found footage in a flick in some time. Co-writer/director Scott Derrickson and film critic turned screenwriter C. Robert Cargill do recycle a lot of tropes genre tropes, but when it comes to some of the twists as well as the found footage scenes, they’re doing very interesting and praiseworthy work. Ethan Hawke brings a little star power to the lead role and the scares are quite effective, so overall ‘Sinister’ has a surprisingly large amount to offer.” Especially considering how much of a let down Derrkcikson’s Deliver Us From Evil was this year, I say go pop this one in again…
Other Films Being Released
With only one film to recommend here, now I just have a simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this day, sans my own personal recommendation or anything of that sort, for the most part at least. Behold:
The Expendables 3
I’d more or less enjoyed this franchise up until the most recent entry, which was a real disappointment. In my review (found right here) I said the following: “Bigger is not necessarily better. Such is the case with The Expendables 3, a limp sequel that pales in comparison to the not so high bar set by the previous installments of this action franchise. Without the initial novelty factor of The Expendables (the first one) or the over the top silliness of the rather fun second one (The Expendables 2), this time around the film is forced to stand on its own, and The Expendables 3 disappoints. Overlong, overcrowded, and underwhelming in just about all aspects, you just have to shake your head at all the ways this flick went wrong. Pointlessly neutered in order to attain a PG-13 rating (you know, teenage boys are huge Sylvester Stallone fans), this movie also has lost the wow factor in seeing all of these aging actors on the screen together. Co-writer/star Stallone even seems bored this time.” Bored and boring are the key words here. Alas…
Box Office: $39,322,544
Had this movie been made before the deluge of dystopian YA adaptations, there’s a chance that the power of the book could have been properly translated. In this case though, it didn’t, so films like The Hunger Games have more or less rendered this tale irrelevant. The adaptation isn’t bad, but it’s nothing to write home about at all.
Box Office: $45,062,351 (and counting)
A Merry Friggin’ Christmas
I haven’t seen this title yet, but being that it’s one of the last new Robin Williams movies that we’ll ever see, I sort of want to make sure that I do. The reviews haven’t been particularly good, but as a salute to Williams, this might be worth taking a blind shot on…
Box Office: N/A
The November Man
Another flick I missed, it feels very much like a film that came too close on the heels of the similar 3 Days to Kill, which didn’t light the box office on fire either. Seeing Pierce Brosnan kick ass is never a bad thing, but everything I’ve heard about this one suggests that it should have been better than it ultimately was.
Box Office: $25,018,119
An amusing, if messy, over the top action comedy, there are things to like here, but it’s all done in too haphazard a way to actually recommend. The film gained some good will by way of Universal refusing to release it theatrically, though it’s far from bad. It does also have a really good ending, so I have to concede that. If you’re looking for a second title today, I suppose this one is your best bet. It’s currently available for free on Netflix though…just throwing that out there.
Box Office: N/A
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas
I have a perfect record of not seeing any of the Tyler Perry movies (outside of what little I’ve seen on television), so I saw no reason to seek this one out. His great supporting turn in Gone Girl almost makes me want to see one of these, but so far I’ve been able to resist that urge…
Box Office: $52,543,354
Up until today, I’d never even heard of this indie, and I’d wager a guess that almost none of you have either. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a shot, but just know that I have nothing that I can saw for or against it.
Box Office: N/A
Drunk History: Seasons One & Two
Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends: Season 3
The Super Globetrotters: The Complete Animated Series
Thundercats: The Complete Series
Upstairs Downstairs: The Ultimate Collection
PICK OF THE WEEK
I was incredibly charmed by this sweet little film. As always, Zoe Kazan was terrific, but the whole product just did things in such a clever way. As I wrote (here) in my review: “Even though this romantic comedy is essentially a modern update of When Harry Met Sally (though also a play adaptation as well), I found What If to be tremendously charming and even fresh (though I really wish it had kept its initial title The F Word). Yes, you can take a less than original premise and create something that feels unique if you have a witty enough script and likable enough leads with solid chemistry. Both the ever lovely Zoe Kazan and the very impressive Daniel Radcliffe create a pair of likable characters that you enjoy spending time with. Throw in a very solid supporting cast, one led by a scene stealing Adam Driver, and you have no shortage of winning performances to enjoy. Director Michael Dowse and scribe Elan Mastai keep things moving at a top notch pace, so there’s very little not to like here.” I stand by all that praise, and especially since this didn’t get a big audience in theaters, it’s a title that I highly recommend to you all this week.
Special Features: Deleted Scenes and more…
Total Box Office: $3,493,000
Major Award: None yet
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!