This week, in the shadow of the Academy Award nominations just a few hours ago, a nice variety of films are coming to Blu-Ray and DVD. They include a star vehicle for Miles Teller, the latest oddity from Yorgos Lanthimos, and the return of the Jigsaw Killer. It all makes for a pretty solid lineup, so no point in delaying. Time to get down to brass tacks and dive right in!
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Thank You For Your Service”
Filmmaker Jason Hall again takes an intimate look at the cost of war here with this drama. Armed with a terrific Miles Teller performance and a breakthrough turn by newcomer Beulah Koale. The acting, along with Hall’s empathy and understanding for his characters, help make this a moving experience. Time Out agreed in their review, writing:
These anguished performances go a long way, as does the film’s peripheral vision of a banal, depressed America that threatens to forget its warriors.
“Thank You For Your Service” is an important film. Overlooked by the Academy, it deserves to be given a second life on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Special Features: Featurettes
Total Box Office: $9,536,300
Major Awards: None yet
The “Saw” franchise returns to life with this middle of the road outing. Fans of the series were mostly satisfied, though the pop culture impact this time around was nil. Furthermore, “Jigsaw” didn’t really have anything new to say. As such, it’s a pseudo endorsement, as you can see in our review right here on the site:
“Jigsaw” is a smoother and less rushed production than what’s come before it. In the process, it improves on some aspects while fumbling others. In that regard, it fits in with the previous sequels. Your mileage may vary, though it’s hard to imagine a fan hating this.
If you’ve enjoyed “Saw” films in the past, “Jigsaw” should work for you as well. Watch or not…make your choice. Either way, the Jigsaw Killer is back!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $38,052,832
Major Awards: None
“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Yorgos Lanthimos puts out films unlike anyone else in the industry. For his latest, he’s given us about as black a comedy as possible. Again working with Colin Farrell, the less you know about the plot going in, the better. That being said, just know that Farrell tells a story at one point in the movie that will legitimately shock you. IndieWIRE sums up the flick quite well below:
This is Lanthimos’ most scattered and sedate film, but it’s his scariest as well.
Even darker than “Jigsaw” is, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” won’t be for everyone. If you liked “Dogtooth” and “The Lobster” in recent years, this is worth a look too. In fact, pair it with “Jigsaw” for one hell of a messed up double feature!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $2,291,901 (and counting)
Major Awards: Won Best Screenplay at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival
In honor of this week’s release of “Hostiles,” the pick today is going to be another Western (or pseudo Western) featuring Ben Foster. It’s none other than “Hell or High Water.” This writer named it his favorite film of 2016 and stands by that claim. Furthermore, the film just sells itself. Here’s a taste from that rave four star review posted here on the site at the time of release:
The film, in some ways, is like the song Bruce Springsteen never wrote, as this just has that same feeling of Americana and the little guy yearning to be out from under the thumb of something bigger and less human than themselves.
Foster is aces in “Hell or High Water” and has a great supporting turn in “Hostiles.” Make it your business to watch both this week!
Other Films Being Released
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the recommended trio of “Jigsaw,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” and “Thank You For Your Service”:
This shortlisted title for a Best Foreign Language Feature Oscar nomination has flown under the radar. That happens with foreign titles from small countries, but it’s still a shame. We try to pick up the slack at The Awards Circuit, however. Our review here on the site had this to say about the movie:
Like its titular protagonist, “Félicité” expresses the moods of life with a magnetic, potent grace.
One worth checking out if you’re trying to cross off shortlisted works, at the very least.
Box Office: $10,695 (and counting)
One of 2017’s biggest bombs, this is Dean Devlin‘s attempt to do what his former partner Roland Emmerich did so effectively years ago. This is, by all accounts, easily one of the year’s worst films. The Hollywood Reporter absolutely hated it, writing the following missive:
Big, dumb and boring, it finds the co-writer of Independence Day hoping to start a directing career with the same playbook – but forgetting several rules of the game.
Box Office: $33,700,160
A BAFTA cited boxing flick, this is a pretty below the radar title as well hitting shelves today. Reviews were actually hard to come by. At least one major outlet had a take to share, though, so we weren’t totally out of luck. Time Out had this to say:
Johnny Harris loosely fictionalises his backstory into a bleak and bruising, if humourless, low-budget drama.
Make of it what you will.
Box Office: N/A
“My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea”
An animated indie, this had been making the film festival rounds for some time. Yours truly saw it way back at the 2016 New York Film Festival, not caring for it one bit. Alas. This is part of that festival review, found here on the site:
Filmmaker Dash Shaw has a fascinating concept to play with here, but it’s perhaps too playful for its own good. Filled with a hipster and twee sensibility, it just never feels substantial at all.
A tremendous disappointment.
Box Office: $68,883
Special Criterion Collection Section
“Eclipse Series 45: Claude Autant-Lara—Four Romantic Escapes from Occupied France”
Our only Criterion release today is a special box set. It consists of a quartet of titles from French filmmaker Claude Autant-Lara. As you can see in the title itself, this is four of his romantic outings. The Collection describes him and his influence as such:
Too often overlooked after his work was spurned by the New Wave iconoclasts as belonging to the “tradition of quality,” Claude Autant-Lara was one of France’s leading directors of the 1940s and ’50s.
Give it a shot!
“Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: Season Two”
“Mafiosa: Season 1”
“Mafiosa: Season 2”
“The Paper Chase: The Final Season”
“Teen Titans: The Complete First Season”