This week, a few of the last 2017 releases that scored Oscar attention come to Blu-Ray and DVD. The main three movies of note today come from A-list filmmakers too, namely Paul Thomas Anderson, Ridley Scott, and Aaron Sorkin. That’s quite the prestige slate. As such, we can keep the chatter short and get right down to brass tacks!
PICK OF THE WEEK
Jessica Chastain paired with Aaron Sorkin dialogue? As expected, sparks flew with this dynamite character study. Paired in some electric scenes with Idris Elba, Chastain is as good as ever. Furthermore, Sorkin’s directorial debut has some visual flourishes that showcase his talents behind the camera. It’s overall a really strong film that should have caught on a bit more than it did. Time Out goes all in with their rave review, writing:
A sharply judged edit stitches together three separate timelines, shaping Molly as a complex and razor-sharp character in a world dominated by entitled mansplainers. Forget Rounders — here’s a poker movie to go all-in on.
“Molly’s Game” scored an Oscar nomination for Sorkin’s adaptation, and rightly so. The best release this week, both Chastain and Sorkin fans would do well to pick this one up!
Special Features: Featurette
Total Box Office: $28,780,744
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (Sorkin) at the Academy Awards
“All the Money in the World”
More than a curiosity, due to Ridley Scott replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer, this is a solidly entertaining drama. Mark Wahlberg came up a bit short, but Plummer and Michelle Williams pick up the slack. Clayton was pretty taken with the picture, putting the following review up on the site:
The final product is a firm, respectable motion picture experience, featuring two sensational performances by Plummer and Michelle Williams.
Plummer was Oscar nominated for “All the Money in the World” and deserved it. Williams is solid as well, giving you a pair of performances to hitch your wagon to.
Special Features: Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $25,113,707
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Plummer) at the Academy Awards
The final performance by Daniel Day-Lewis (for now) comes in this left turn of a film from Paul Thomas Anderson. In addition to Day-Lewis, Anderson has Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville lend excellent support. It’s a mood piece that holds you at arm’s length, but it’s worth the effort. Plus, with PTA the juice is always worth the squeeze. Clayton found plenty to like here, as told in his review, which includes this bit:
Gluing together a marvelous cast of actors that includes three-time Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, and Lesley Manville, plus constructing a damn near perfect technical team, “Phantom Thread” is a mesmerizing and hypnotic exposé of the fashion world.
“Phantom Thread” turned into a real Oscar favorite, more so than most of us expected. Cinephiles have gone gaga over it, so if you’re among them, you likely already have this preordered. Enjoy, if so…
Special Features: Featurettes
Total Box Office: $21,023,275 (and counting)
Major Awards: Nominated for six Oscars and won Best Costume Design at the Academy Awards
In honor of this week’s release of “The Rider,” the pick today is going to be another character study. It’s an often recommended title here. The choice? “The Wrestler” from Darren Aronofsky, of course. I’ve raved about this modern classic multiple times (and reviewed “The Rider” at the New York Film Festival here), so I’ll stay quiet. Instead, Mickey Rourke‘s crowning achievement to date can be feted by the late great Roger Ebert. From his four star review:
Mickey Rourke plays the battered, broke, lonely hero, Randy (‘The Ram’) Robinson. This is the performance of his lifetime, will win him a nomination, may win him the Oscar.
Both character studies are great examples of the sub genre. Plus, Aronofsky’s is just a stunning achievement. Revisit it and see why!
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the highly recommended trio of “All the Money in the World,” “Molly’s Game,” and “Phantom Thread”:
“The Greatest Showman”
An Oscar nominated hit musical, this was one of the clearest examples in 2018 of audiences and pundits not agreeing. The overall critical word was mixed, though there were more than a fair share of absolute pans. The Wrap had one of the more negative takes on the Hugh Jackman vehicle, writing:
It’s a broken record of ersatz positivity and empowerment, practically shout-singing at you to be all you can be while it mostly just is what it is, plastic flash without any enduring oomph.
Yours truly hated it, though your mileage may vary.
Box Office: $172,961,890 (and counting)
This historical action drama marks the follow up for Ted Geoghegan after the promising debut “We Are Still Here.” With more to work with, he ups the scales, scoring some strong critical notices. Variety took to it, as you can see in their very positive take:
A period-piece action-horror effort with relevant sociopolitical thoughts on its bloodthirsty mind.
Another title to certainly consider this week.
Box Office: N/A
“My Friend Dahmer”
An origin story of sorts, this independent film looks at the notorious serial killer and how he came to be. To be sure, this is niche filmmaking, as many won’t be able to subject themselves to it. Still, pundits were high on it, perhaps surprisingly so. Rolling Stone had this to say while praising the movie:
My Friend Dahmer is both sensitive and fascinating, distinguished by a stellar, mouth-breathing performance of insecurity from [Ross] Lynch.
It won’t be for everyone, but if it sounds compelling to you, give it a shot.
Box Office: $1,361,611
Taraji P. Henson as a hit woman certainly had potential. Unfortunately, reviews for this early year 2018 release were mixed at best. As winter dumping season counter programming, it just barely clears an already low bar. Entertainment Weekly shrugged it off, writing that Henson alone can’t make the picture work:
Henson clearly has the swagger, charm, and ferocity to make one hell of an action star. She deserves a movie that does her talents justice.
Make of this one what you will.
Box Office: $20,877,013
“The Tribes of Palos Verdes”
Maika Monroe is one of the most gifted young actresses in the business. Sadly, the material she shows up in isn’t always up to snuff. This character study is a mixed bag, though Jennifer Garner turns in strong work to help things along. Variety put forth the following take:
It demonstrates a remarkable sense of atmosphere and place.
Monroe can’t quite save the flick on her own, but Garner helps.
Box Office: $4,651
Special Criterion Collection Section
“Eclipse Series 46: Ingrid Bergman’s Swedish Years”
Our one and only new Criterion release this week is a box set of Ingrid Bergman cinematic offerings. This group features some of the actress’ earliest works. Furthermore, it’s an intriguing prequel of sorts to her time in Hollywood. The Collection sells it to you all like so:
Ingrid Bergman appeared in eleven films in her native Sweden before the age of twenty-five, and while that work tends to be overshadowed by her time in Hollywood, it showcases the actor summoning an impressive depth of emotion to deliver astute, passionate performances.
If you love Bergman, give it a shot!
“The Mask: The Complete First Season”
“Outlander: Season 3”
“Vice Principals: The Complete Series”