This week, youth takes over with the top pick coming to Blu-Ray and DVD. The backstory behind “Blame” is as interesting as the film itself, though the quality is certainly there too. Today is an interesting slate to discuss, as there’s plenty hitting shelves, but much of it representing disappointments, to one degree or another. You’ll see below, so let us dive right in now!
PICK OF THE WEEK
A modern re-interpretation of “The Crucible” in some ways, this film is a marvel in that it actually exists. Young Quinn Shepherd turns in quadruple threat work here, showcasing the force that she’s going to be in the industry. A compelling drama with some remarkable performances, notably by Nadia Alexander, this debut work is easy to praise. Our Tribeca Film Festival review of “Blame” found here fetes Shepherd heavily:
It goes without saying that Quinn Shephard is an impatient actress. That’s a compliment, too. Unwilling to wait years before making her filmmaking debut, the 22-year-old actress has written, directed, edited and starred in “Blame,” an ambitious high school-set drama.
“Blame” is well worth checking out. Shepherd has talent for days, Chris Messina gets a plum supporting role, and Alexander turns heads. With so many larger titles today disappointing, it makes this the top pick with ease!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: Won Best Actress (Alexander) at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival
In honor of this week’s release of “Permission,” the pick today is another romantic comedy. Frankly, it’s an excuse to cite a film that’s been playing on cable a lot lately. It’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” one of Kevin Smith‘s most mainstream outings. This is a deeply underrated flick, essentially detailing the making of “Clerks” for Smith. TIME Magazine was a fan, putting out the following:
At 38, the grand old man of raunch talk has figured out how to make a movie that’s sweet, funny and (a little) sexy.
Any excuse to recommend “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” is a good excuse to me!
Other Films Being Released
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title “Blame”:
“All I See is You”
Blake Lively gives one of the best performances of her career in this melodrama that contains some thriller like elements. Director Marc Foster brings some visual flourishes to help describe Lively’s character and her blindness, while Jason Clarke turns in another menacing performance. It’s a mixed bag, though partially saved by Lively. A review from indieWIRE gets to the heart of it:
You might be laughing at the movie by the time you reach its go-for-broke final shot, but the look on Lively’s face is enough to fulfill the idea that loving someone is not the same as needing someone.
Lively fans should definitely pick this one up.
Box Office: $217,644
“A Bad Moms Christmas”
This sequel to the raunchy comedy hit “Bad Moms” plays things a little too safely, resulting in boring repetition. The addition of parents gives things an occasional spark, but it’s not nearly enough. Here’s a bit from our review on the site:
Among our original trio, only chronic scene stealer Kathryn Hahn manages to wrangle any scenes away from the older generation.
Color me disappointed.
Box Office: $72,110,659
Going back to the political well for Rob Reiner was probably a smart move. “The American President” is one of his best films, after all. Here, he casts Woody Harrelson as President Lyndon Johnson, with decent results. Festival reviews weren’t kind, but removed from that atmosphere, things picked up. Entertainment Weekly found Harrelson’s work worthy of praise in their review:
The best thing the director has going for him is his star, Woody Harrelson.
Nothing to rush out and get, but hardly the worst option this week. In addition, it can help cap off Harrelson’s tremendous 2017.
Box Office: $2,470,979
“Only the Brave”
One of two 2017 Miles Teller projects that failed to get an awards traction, this firefighter drama did score some very strong reviews. Audiences weren’t swayed, but this wasn’t a case where critics weren’t trying to help out a moderately budgeted studio work. Rolling Stone especially was fond of it, writing:
Take out the classic-rock soundtrack, and it could be a vintage Hollywood story of competence, camaraderie and derring-do; only its title feels generic.
Perhaps this one will find a second life on Blu-Ray and DVD?
Box Office: $18,343,983
My, what could have been. Once upon a time, this George Clooney directed satire was seen as a potential Academy Award contender. Then, people started to see it. A total failure, it wastes not only Clooney’s filmmaking skills, but both Matt Damon and Julianne Moore as well. This pan over at RogerEbert.com sums things up pretty well:
This startling misfire is a tonal disaster from start to finish.
One of the most disappointing releases of 2017. Plus, it also wastes Oscar Issac. Pass.
Box Office: $5,775,178
“Tom of Finland”
This biopic of the noted gay rights figure slipped below the radar of a lot of people, it seems. Clayton discovered this one though and was a bit of a champion for it, especially star Pekka Strang. His review on the site certainly highlights the work:
Strang anchors the film with a poignancy that echoes the cinematic hallways.
Feel free to give this one a chance!
Box Office: $354,788 (and counting)
Another installment in the “Hatchet” franchise, this was somewhat of a surprise launched by filmmaker Adam Green. The fourth film in the series, it sees names like Brian Quinn of “Impractical Jokers” join in the fun carnage. It’s a B movie for sure, but those can often be a blast. Dread Central had this take on the flick:
The flick is a speeding freight train of terror that flies gloriously off the rails and leaves you desperately wanting more. Welcome back, Mr. Crowley.
If you’re a “Hatchet” fan, dive right in.
Box Office: N/A
The latest film from the filmmakers (Alex Smith and Andrew Smith) behind the underrated Ryan Gosling and David Morse movie “The Slaughter Rule” is one of the better received yet ignored indies of late. The AV Club raved about it once they discovered the work, stating:
The mountain backdrops are stunning, but the movie’s real draw is its understanding of how children pick up more from their parents than their skeptical, self-pitying moms and dads ever imagine.
Perhaps one to take a leap of faith on?
Box Office: $101,947
Special Criterion Collection Section
“Elevator to the Gallows”
Our only Criterion release today is a movie by Louis Malle, who should be no stranger to cinephiles. This selection is actually his debut feature, made back in 1958. Even then, it was clear the talent he possessed. The Collection pitches it to you all thusly:
For his feature debut, twenty-four-year-old Louis Malle brought together a mesmerizing performance by Jeanne Moreau, evocative cinematography by Henri Decaë, and a now legendary jazz score by Miles Davis.
If you’re a Malle fan, this is a must own!
“All In The Family: Seasons 1-5”
“Duckman: The Complete Series”
“Finding Your Roots: Season 4”
“Growing Pains: Complete Seasons 1 & 2”
“Homeland: The Complete Sixth Season”
“The Librarians: Seasons 1-3”
“The West Wing: Complete Seasons 1-3”
“Top Gear: The Complete Season 24”