This week, we have a Seth Rogen comedy sequel coming to Blu-ray/DVD, along with, well, not much else. Frankly, that makes for a borderline rough slate today, but at least the Rogen title is strong. That prevents the ship from sinking, as it were. The film is also the PICK OF THE WEEK, but more on that later. In the meantime, let us start things off with another Vintage pick!
In honor of this week’s release of “The Magnificent Seven” (look for my review soon), it seemed only right to pay tribute to another collaboration between Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua, “The Equalizer.” Here’s a bit from my review of the film at the time:
This isn’t the best work by either director Antoine Fuqua or star Denzel Washington by any stretch, but it’s very solid work and a real crowd pleaser as well. There’s an inherently pleasing nature to watching Denzel essentially be a superhero crossed with Robin Hood, so despite the lack of tension, there’s fun to be had.
While some might prefer “Training Day,” I think this one is probably their best collaboration so far. If you dig their work, be on the lookout for “The Magnificent Seven” this weekend!
Special Criterion Collection Section
A really strong debut from the Coen Brothers, this is a film noir classic. Just look at this take from the Los Angeles Times for proof:
‘Blood Simple’ becomes a dazzling comedie noire, a dynamic, virtuoso display by a couple of talented fledgling filmmakers who give the conventions of the genre such a thorough workout that the result is a movie that’s fresh and exhilarating.
If you haven’t seen this one, pick it up and enjoy!
This classic is also highly regarded. None other than Roger Ebert once raved about it, writing the following:
‘Cat People’ wasn’t frightening like a slasher movie, using shocks and gore, but frightening in an eerie, mysterious way that was hard to define; the screen harbored unseen threats.
This is another film not to be missed.
Other Films Being Released
With only one thing to recommend, it’s pretty simple stuff. Here now is a list of what else is hitting shelves today, sans the Pick of the Week:
“Free State of Jones”
My oh my how misguided this period piece was. This could have been a potentially award-worthy biopic, but alas. Instead it was a self-important bore that has its heart in the right place but its brains scattered about. Here’s a bit from my review earlier this year:
There’s a moment about midway through ‘Free State of Jones’ that pretty aptly sums up why this film is shockingly tone deaf and just does not work. Actually, there’s a few of those moments, but I want to focus on one in particular. Matthew McConaughey‘s protagonist uses a certain racial slur as a way of trying to link his fellow white revolutionaries in solidarity with the black ones also following him. It’s literally a white man telling other white people how rough black people have it, but focused entirely on the white person. Now, I know director and co-writer Gary Ross has his heart in the right place, but it’s a lack of execution that torpedoes this movie early on.
McConaughey is capable of better.
Box Office: $20,810,036
A relatively unknown indie, “Ma ma” is a film even Penelope Cruz couldn’t save. Variety was unimpressed, stating:
Cruz’s ample star appeal buoys this flimsy vehicle to a point, but even that quality isn’t infallible.
Seems like something to pass on, unless you happen to be a huge fan of hers.
Box Office: $47,258
This documentary paints a surprisingly warm portrait of former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. His politics are appalling to some, but he comes off as a very likable guy here. As TIME Magazine puts it:
Anyone who followed the ’08 and ’12 elections will not be surprised by how Mitt’s story plays out. But it’s an interesting footnote, a spin-free picture of the personal cost of campaigning; I found it humanly sympathetic regardless of political sympathies.
It’s a bit sleight, especially in comparison to the recently released “Weiner,” but it’s worth a viewing for the morbidly curious.
Box Office: N/A
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”
A sequel nobody seemed to care about, it got the reviews one would expect. Entertainment Weekly had this to say:
There’s a heavy-handed emphasis on the importance of brotherhood and being true to yourself, but mostly, the emotional stuff takes a backseat to all the pizza, pranks, and flaming garbage trucks that shoot manhole covers like projectiles.
Box Office: $82,051,601
“2 Broke Girls: The Complete Fifth Season”
“Blue Bloods: The Sixth Season”
“Childrens Hospital: The Complete Sixth & Seventh Season”
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: The Complete First Season”
“Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders – Season One”
“Doctor Who: Series Eight, Part One”
“Family Matters: The Complete Eighth Season”
“The Good Wife: The Final Season”
“Gunsmoke: The Twelfth Season, Volume 1”
“Gunsmoke: The Twelfth Season, Volume 2”
“Longmire: The Complete Fourth Season”
“Modern Family: The Complete Seventh Season”
“The Originals: The Complete Third Season”
“Rookie Blue: The Complete Series”
“Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery”
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”
It was a pleasant surprise to discover how progressive this raunchy comedy sequel turned out to be. Rogen and company did some pretty clever things here to help make it more than a money grab. Rogen’s antics weren’t just enjoyed by several critics, as reviews were decent enough. One such positive take came from the New Yorker, which put out the following:
A bit of self-awareness goes a long way in elevating this comedy sequel above the 2014 original.
Rogen may not charm everyone, but his magic works here. Especially if you enjoyed the first one, there’s no reason not to pick this one up. It’s just plain funny!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $55,340,730
Major Award: None yet, and don’t expect any