New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (12/18/18) – ‘All About Nina’ and Michael Moore

This week, some of the most underrated films of 2018 hit Blu-Ray and DVD. “All About Nina,” just to name one, is a literal hidden gem. There’s a handful of other titles hitting shelves today that really deserve your notice too. It’s a slate that even includes a terrible offering that somehow requires another look. All told, it’s arguably one of the best groupings of new release that we’ve had this year. Time to dive in!

PICK OF THE WEEK

All About Nina

Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives the best performance of 2018 by an actress in Eva Vives‘ debut feature. She’s stunningly good. The part demands a ton from her and she’s more than up for the challenge. Paired wonderfully with Common, Winstead executes the one of a kind vision that Vives displays. Simply put, this is one of the best pieces of cinema this year, not just an incredible Winstead turn. Fair warning though, the third act takes a turn that’s utterly devastating. Our rave review from the Tribeca Film Festival sums it up:

Mary Elizabeth Winstead deserves an Academy Award nomination for this performance.

“All About Nina” is magnificent. If you need further evidence, our interviews with Vives (here) and Winstead (here) should help. It’s a must own!

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $100,335
Major Awards: None yet

RECOMMENDED MOVIES

Assassination Nation

Writer/director Sam Levinson went for it here. In making one of the darkest satires in some time, he pulls absolutely no punches. Modernizing the Salem Witch Trials is a bold move. What shouldn’t feel timely absolutely does. In many ways, we deserve this takedown of our society. It’s horrible to think about, but it’s true. Our review right here on the site had this to say about an admittedly divisive work:

“Assassination Nation” laughs in the face of subtlety. The film manages to make “BlacKkKlansman” and “Sorry To Bother You” feel restrained by comparison.

Assassination Nation” is not for everyone. It’s bleak as the day is long. So long as that doesn’t bother you, it’s well worth a watch.

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $2,005,142
Major Awards: None yet

Fahrenheit 11/9

A documentary sequel? You don’t see that too often. For his latest, Michael Moore used his greatest success as a springboard. Not just an attack on Donald Trump, it’s an indictment of the system on the whole. Moore posits that change will come from the outside, be it activists like the Parkland kids, or incoming politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This is what our review on the site had to say:

In many ways, the message of “Fahrenheit 11/9” is to take to the streets. The normal rules of politics don’t apply anymore.

Fahrenheit 11/9” is essential non-fiction viewing. Whether you agree with Moore or not, he’s worth hearing out.

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $6,352,306
Major Awards: None yet

In a Relationship

A romantic dramedy is not uncommon to find at Tribeca. At the same time, it’s rare that one distinguishes itself like this one. Michael Angarano and Emma Roberts make a believable and lovely pair here. Watching them, both at their best and their worst, is a major part of why this succeeds. Our review out of Tribeca had this to put out into the world:

Mixing sexiness with sweetness, while also avoiding the dating app culture, this is almost a timeless film.

In a Relationship” is incredibly charming. Angarano and Roberts showcase wonderful chemistry, making this well worth a shot.

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: None yet

The Predator

This reboot of sorts for the long-dormant franchise was met with mixed reviews. For yours truly, however, it felt like Shane Black doing a “Predator” film, which was more than enough to satisfy. It’s big and silly, never taking itself too seriously. Popcorn entertainment is a phrase that was invented to describe this. It didn’t really catch on in theaters, though a second life at home seems rather promising. The A.V. Club hits on Black’s success in their take:

Black has captured the spirit of that bygone era of adrenaline-junkie junk without getting all retro-fussy about it.

The Predator” is fun. It’s low art, and nowhere near as good as something like “All About Nina,” but it holds its own.

Special Features: Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $51,024,708
Major Awards: None yet

VINTAGE VIEWING

In honor of this week’s release of “Bumblebee,” the pick today is going to be a previous teen coming of age story for star Hailee Steinfeld. It’s “The Edge of Seventeen,” a glorious character study. Steinfeld is phenomenal, making the troubles of a teenager feel absolutely essential. We raved about it a few years ago here on the site, as you can see now:

There’s a case to be made that this is Steinfeld’s best performance to date. She is just so real and heartbreaking here, even if parts of her character are less than fully likable.

Believe it or not, a “Transformers” film is good. Prepare for it with one of Steinfeld’s best roles to date!

OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides “All About Nina,” “Assassination Nation,” “Fahrenheit 11/9,” “In a Relationship,” and “The Predator”:

The House with a Clock in its Walls

Eli Roth made a movie for kids? He did indeed, with Jack Black and Cate Blanchett leading the cast, no less. The end result was an adventure that did solid business, while still flying below the radar. An outlier for all involved? Probably. Still, it seemed to work. The Hollywood Reporter largely enjoyed it, putting forth the following:

It largely succeeds, buoyed by Black’s typical exuberance, Blanchett’s typical slyness and a richly evocative rendering of a Rockwellian suburb sprinkled with goofer dust.

If you like Black and/or Blanchett, this is worth checking out.

Box Office: $68,443,590 (and counting)

Little Women

No, not the upcoming star-studded and Greta Gerwig helmed adaptation. This is a much smaller scale effort, though still basing itself upon the novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. It’s a modern retelling, which helps separate itself from the pack. By and large, the reviews didn’t find that to be enough, however. Variety shrugged it off with the following take:

Louisa May Alcott’s timeless novel is revived for yet another generation, but the changes leave little to love.

Sounds like nothing to make a fuss over.

Box Office: $1,379,497

A Simple Favor

Paul Feig snuck off and made a nifty little thriller with this effort. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively have the time of their lives here, clearing relishing the roles. If there’s a movie that critics have bemoaned this year for not getting enough support upon release, it’s this one. Now you can find out why. We had a rave review on the site, which was incredibly high on Kendrick and Lively’s work:

Both Kendrick and Lively are perfect for their respective roles.

This is definitely another option to consider today!

Box Office: $53,548,586

Venom

Where to begin here? How can this be among the very worst movies of 2018 while also being one of the most fun to watch? Everyone except Tom Hardy is doing something terrible. Hardy, however, is going off on some kind of gonzo adventure that’s surreally great. Sony certainly didn’t think this would be an ironically enjoyed flick, but here we are. They’ll take it. We tried to make sense of it all with our review on the site right here:

Somewhere inside this largely bad film is a rather hilarious comedy. “Venom” is 80% a garbage attempt to be a serious comic book movie. But that other 20%. That 20% is something insane.

I can’t recommend it this week, but I will say that it’s probably going to be a riot (no pun intended) to revisit. Make of that what you will.

Box Office: $212,834,976 (and counting)

Special Criterion Collection Section

Panique

For the first of our two Criterion new releases this week, we’re going to turn our attention to a 1946 French release. Filmmaker Julien Duvivier had been working in Hollywood before he went back to his homeland to make this movie. The result is something that will stand the test of time. The Collection sells it to you in the following manner:

Based on a novel by Georges Simenon, Julien Duvivier’s first film after his return to France from Hollywood finds the acclaimed poetic realist applying his consummate craft to darker, moodier ends.

Sounds like something to consider today!

Sawdust and Tinsel

The other title that will be joining the Collection today is an Ingmar Bergman effort from the early 1950s. This early work of Bergman’s is notable for being the first time that he worked with Sven Nykvist, his legendary DP. That’s a hallmark of cinematic history. Criterion wants you to experience it for yourself, and they explain why below:

Ingmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival of humiliation in Sawdust and Tinsel, one of the master’s most vivid early works and his first of many collaborations with the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist.

Bergman fans should pick this one up for sure!

ALSO OF NOTE

2001: A Space Odyssey

As you all know, once in a while a re-release of something is worth briefly mentioning here, especially when it’s a 4K edition. Today, we have just that, especially with the holiday shopping season still upon us. It’s for “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the occasion of it hitting 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray. One of Stanley Kubrick‘s masterpieces, it’s a perfect title to watch in the special format. Kubrick raised the bar for serious science fiction with this work, so it’s something any cinephile should add to their collection ASAP. It is out today, so there’s no excuse!

Special Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, and much more!

TV RELEASES

“Our Cartoon President: Season One”
“The Sinner: Season Two”

THOUGHTS ON WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK ON BLU-RAY OR DVD? SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!