This week, a solid enough summer blockbuster leads the pack in terms of new Blu-Ray/DVD releases that are coming to store shelves, but it’s a small pack, to say the least. Sadly, there once again isn’t a whole lot hitting today overall, which only makes the lack of a second worthwhile pick all the more glaring. Anyway, for my PICK OF THE WEEK, I really had no choice but to cite what happens to be an excellent science fiction prequel/sequel hybrid. You’ll see the picture that I’m talking about momentarily, but I do of course have a Vintage pick to give you this week, so we can start there right now…
In honor of this week’s release of Black or White (which I saw last month and liked…my review should be up later today or tomorrow) in Los Angeles for an Oscar qualifying run, I wanted to cite filmmaker Mike Binder’s previous collaboration with Kevin Costner. It’s The Upside of Anger, an unusually mature romantic dramedy of sorts that featured top notch performances from Joan Allen as well as Costner (putting a spin on the athlete characters he became so well known for over the years), to go along with solid writing and directing from Binder. Now, his new picture isn’t on that level, but Costner is, so you should definitely have that one on your radar. In the meantime though, another viewing of their last work together (or a first shot if you’ve somehow never gotten around to it) is certainly in order. It won’t let you down, trust me here.
Other Films Being Released
With only that one aforementioned film to recommend, here now is a simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this day, sans my own recommendation or anything of that sort. Take a look:
As Above, So Below
A contender for my worst of the year list, this horror/thriller isn’t good at all. In my review (found here), I had this to say: “There are a few fleeting moments in the new found footage horror film As Above, So Below where things get legitimately unsettling. There might have been others, but unfortunately the abysmally bad shaky-cam work prevented me from seeing it. Co-writer/director John Erick Dowdle makes so many questionable choices that I can’t decide if this was a good movie that was ruined or a bad one made worse. It honestly might be a little of both, too. I’m usually fairly forgiving of found footage flicks (apologies for all the “f” words just now), but this one seemed to really get my goat. I was sort of reminded of another “mockumentary” type horror misfire, Apollo 18. The material could potentially have worked, but very little of what made it on to the screen was effective. Between mediocre to poor acting, senseless writing, and the aforementioned direction that often prevents you from seeing what’s actually going on, As Above, So Below fails to execute on almost all avenues.” This is an easy one to avoid, unless you’re absolutely committed to seeing this flick for yourself.
Box Office: $21,321,100
I haven’t seen this drama about the Mexican comedian who would go on to star in Best Picture winner Around the World in 80 Days, and I honestly haven’t heard much about it either. The plot seems like something that should appeal to some Awards Circuit readers, so perhaps this is one to maybe take a chance on?
Box Office: $6,382,924
For one personal reason or another, I kept missing press screenings of this unique sci-fi tale. Part live action, part animation, it’s apparently grounded by Robin Wright’s wonderful lead performance. I really want to finally get around to it this week, so hopefully I’ll be able to fix this blind spot that I have. In the meantime, I’ve heard good things, so if you want a second option this week, I think it’s likely this one.
Box Office: $137,815
The Hero of Color City
I’ve never even heard of this animated title, though judging by the box office haul (or lack thereof), I’m far from alone. I guess if you have little kids, you might want to consider this one?
Box Office: $32,188
The Hundred-Foot Journey
Another movie I missed so far this year, it honestly doesn’t seem like something I really need to be in a hurry to see, though if Helen Mirren scores a Golden Globe nomination I might have to amend that statement. It’s apparently a crowd pleaser, so if you’re interested, don’t let me stand in your way.
Box Office: $54,235,441 (and counting)
Kids for Cash
I’ve wanted to see this documentary for some time now (I remember being stunned by the story when it popped up in Michael Moore’s doc Capitalism: A Love Story), so hopefully soon I’ll be able to do just that. Until then, there’s not much I can say about it, so you’ll just have to use your own judgement here.
Box Office: $143,178
One more that I haven’t actually seen yet, this action flick seems like something that would have once upon a time gone straight to video. Without a box office total to report, it more or less actually did, come to think of it.
Box Office: N/A
Happy Days: Seasons 1-6
Justified: The Complete Fifth Season
The Simpsons: The Complete Seventeenth Season
Sliders: The Complete Series
The Strain: The Complete First Season
Three’s Company: The Complete Series
PICK OF THE WEEK
I was very impressed by this latest Apes franchise entry, which perhaps is even the best of the bunch to date. In my highly positive review (found right here), I stated the following: “After the surprising critical and financial success of the franchise reboot/prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you couldn’t be blamed for looking at the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes with a mixture of anticipation and dread. Well, I’m happy to report that the former is well founded, while the latter isn’t necessary at all. Matt Reeves has taken everything you enjoyed about the last one and upped the ante here, making for a supremely entertaining summer blockbuster. Led by a towering motion capture performance by Andy Serkis and strong work all around (if less flashy on the part of the actual human characters) that matches the emotion and intelligence on display, we’ve got a rare instance of smart science fiction in a franchise outing. This Apes installment is everything that the Transformers outings aren’t, and coming on the heels of the last giant robot film, you can’t help but compare and see the difference having someone like Reeves at the helm makes. The flick does drag a bit in the third act and the human characters never get the emotional depth that the apes do (that sounds weird, but when you watch, it’ll make sense), but there are very few missteps here.” It’s likely going to get a technical nomination or two at the Academy Awards, so if you haven’t seen it yet, now’s the time to fix that omission.
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, and more…
Total Box Office: $208,543,795 (and counting)
Major Award: None yet, but a Best Visual Effects nomination at the Oscars seems likely
–What will you be watching this week ? Discuss in the comments!