This week, one very solid and rather unique film from 2014 hits Blu-Ray and DVD, along with, well, something that has to be seen in order to be believed. They’re not the only releases, but those are truly the two to focus on, as you’ll soon realize. My top pick is an Academy Award nominated movie (and one of 2014’s most anticipated titles, I might add), but the other flick I’m excited to talk a bit about is about as far from that as possible. Yes, my PICK OF THE WEEK is the latest outing by one of the most popular filmmakers of the current era. You’ll see what/who I mean momentarily, but for now…it’s Vintage time folks!
In honor of this week’s release of Avengers: Age of Ultron (which I’ve seen and enjoyed, if not nearly to the extent that I have with certain other Marvel films of late like Captain America: The First Avenger and Guardians of the Galaxy), I wanted to take it back to where it all began and recommend The Avengers. From my original review a few years ago (found here), I wrote: “…The Avengers could have gone wrong in a ton of different ways, but almost inexplicably it’s a massive success. With only a few small flaws to blemish its record, this film is a testament to how much of a coup it was to hire Joss Whedon to write and direct the project. He gets to the core of what this movie should be about. It’s not about explosions and fights, but instead about community, loneliness, and the need for teamwork in the face of long odds. This is not only the best film to come from Marvel’s production company, but it’s easily one of the 5 best superhero films to date…” While the new one is a bit of a step back, they’re both still effective entertainment. In preparation, this is an obvious choice for something to revisit in the next few days.
The other title I’m going to discuss here today is actually not quite a recommendation (hence the asterisks), but the sort of thing you have to see in order to believe. Read on to see what I mean…
Oh boy. For years I’d been looking forward to seeing David O. Russell’s satire Nailed, but now that I’ve seen it in this form (complete with a new title), I know just how wrong I was. To quote my immediate social media reaction to seeing this about a month ago: “So I watched Accidental Love and it’s almost immediately clear how unfinished this film is. Every single scene seems half formed. It’s barely an assembly cut. Just stunning that someone thought they could release this. I’m sure David O. Russell could have had something here if things went normally, but I completely understand why he took his name off of this.” The cast is completely left out to dry and it’s totally inept, which just goes to show how important the director is in the editing room. Possibly the worst thing I’ve seen all year, it kind of needs to be seen in order to be believed. Just remember that this is pretty atrocious and perhaps embarrassing to the likes of Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Catherine Keener, among others.
Special Features: Trailers
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: None
Other Films Being Released
Here now is a pretty simple list of just what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my recommendation. Behold:
50 to 1
A drama I’d barely heard of previously, this actually made a few more bucks than usual for under the radar titles, so that could mean something. I can’t vouch for it one way or the other, but the box office perhaps gives adventurous readers some hope if they opt to go pop it in.
Box Office: $1,064,454
The Boy Next Door
Another contender for the worst of 2015 so far, I hated this would be erotic thriller. In my review (found right here) I said: “Easily the funniest film of 2015 to date (though I’m sure that wasn’t the intent), The Boy Next Door is a B movie through and through. Sadly, it’s also pretty terrible. Jennifer Lopez is reduced to essentially a scream queen in director Rob Cohen‘s preposterous erotic (though it’s never even close to being sexy) thriller. I’m sure Cohen and Lopez thought at the outset that they were taking producer Jason Blum‘s money and making a gender reversed Fatal Attraction for the modern generation, but what they made was almost an unintentional parody. Moment after moment of this film just makes you shake your head in disbelief. The script by Barbara Curry is pretty atrocious, while Cohen’s direction is all over the place, and that’s being charitable. The Boy Next Door is what you think of when you think of January releases, and that’s not a compliment” Avoid this one…trust me.
Box Office: $35,423,380
Not quite the would be Oscar contender it had hoped to become, this wasn’t an unentertaining flick, mainly due to John Goodman. In my mixed review (check it out here), I wrote: “If there’s one thing I love in a movie, it’s a supporting performance that helps elevate the final product from mediocrity. In the case of The Gambler, the lead performance of Mark Wahlberg, while good, pales in comparison to the supporting turn from John Goodman. Had the roles been reversed and this been a film about Goodman’s character, I might have liked it better, quite frankly. Now, director Rupert Wyatt and writer William Monaghan‘s remake of the film of the same name has some definite style and wit to it, but you really do leave with the feeling that there’s just not enough to it all” I’m not overtly recommending it, but if you want another option this week, you could do a lot worse than this one.
Box Office: $33,680,992
I missed this crowd pleaser when it hit earlier on this year, and I’m kind of kicking myself about it. It was apparently a mostly delightful family flick that appeals in equal measure to kids and adults. I’ll be sure to give it a shot soon, so if you’re in the same boat, feel free to join me…
Box Office: $75,611,904 (and counting)
The Wedding Ringer
This comedy wasn’t one that particularly interested me (outside of having Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting in the cast), so when the initial middling reviews came in, I felt safe in skipping it. If you saw it and enjoyed the movie, don’t let me stop you. I’m just not especially keen to watch it myself.
Box Office: $64,460,211 (and counting)
Covert Affairs: Season Five
The Jeffersons: The Complete Seventh Season
Louie: The Complete Season 4
The Mentalist: The Complete Series
Nash Bridges: The Fourth Season
Royal Pains: Season 6
Suits: Season Four
PICK OF THE WEEK
Right up until it premiered in front of our eyes at the New York Film Festival, this mystery was always seen as an awards season X factor. Then, we saw it…and still didn’t know what to make of it. I tried to figure it out in this review (here), in which I mused the following: “There are very few times when a film seems to consider its own plot pretty much besides the point while also making said plot as dense as possible, but then again Inherent Vice isn’t your average film. Highly regarded filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson has perhaps made his most unusual movie to date, and that’s saying something. In adapting author Thomas Pynchon‘s novel of the same name (the first time a Pynchon adaptation has hit the screen too), Anderson has made a strange beast that’s part drama, part mystery, part, thriller, and part stoner comedy. It’s a hybrid that pulsates with drug fueled paranoia and is as hard to decipher as you think. Yes, it’s got an absurdly dense plot that PTA is almost daring you to understand, but it’s also got Joaquin Phoenix doing some hilarious slapstick comedy, along with a scene stealing supporting turn from Josh Brolin. Throw in the expected brilliance from Anderson regulars like composer Johnny Greenwood and cinematographer Robert Elswit, not to mention Anderson’s own talents, and you have something that’s not another modern classic like we’re accustomed from the filmmaker, but rather something unique and even more niche than usual” It’s unique, I’ll give it that. If you have an open mind, you might just dig it. Especially this week, it stands out from the rest of the crowd.
Special Features: Alternate/Deleted Scene
Total Box Office: $8,110,975
Major Award: Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (Anderson) at the Academy Awards
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!