This week, we kick off 2019 with one of 2018’s more stylish releases. Highlighting the new Blu-Ray/DVD titles is “Bad Times at the El Royale,” a fun offering from last year. It’s one of the few things to recommend, so it’ll be a small slate. Today won’t be the norm though, so don’t fret!
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Bad Times at the El Royale”
Filmmaker Drew Goddard became a cult favorite with his directorial debut “The Cabin in the Woods.” For his sophomore outing behind the camera, he opted for a flashy and distinctive film noir. Throwing everything at the wall again, he largely sees his themes stick. Under the radar, this movie is among the best looking of last year. The style, along with the ensemble cast, helps pull you through an almost two and a half hour affair. This take from indieWire sums it up pretty well:
The film only becomes more fun as you get hip to what it’s doing, with Goddard’s big cast continuing to balloon over the course of this 140-minute epic.
“Bad Times at the El Royale” is a lot of fun. Even if it’s bloated, it’s still such a good time. Especially if you’ve enjoyed Goddard’s work before, this is one to pick up!
Special Features: Featurettes
Total Box Office: $17,839,115
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “Escape Room,” the pick today is going to be another good time gone bad. It’s “The Game,” which saw David Fincher toying with Michael Douglas. Douglas and Fincher took a pretty silly premise and turned it into a high concept thriller that still holds up today. In a way, they came up with a larger scale version of a real Escape the Room type game. Roger Ebert raved about it at the time, as you can see below:
Douglas is the right actor for the role. He can play smart, he can play cold, and he can play angry. He is also subtle enough that he never arrives at an emotional plateau before the film does, and never overplays the process of his inner change.
Fincher is a master, so even his less iconic work is still worthy of attention!
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides “Bad Times at the El Royale”:
This family adventure flips the “boy and his dog” trope on its ear just a bit by making he dog a robot. Other than that, this is largely generic fare. In short, it’s a B-movie, but one that audiences of all ages can take in. If that sounds like it wouldn’t work, you’re not alone. The Hollywood Reporter ended up shrugging it off like so:
A.X.L. feels in desperate need of repairs.
Stick with real cinematic dogs.
Box Office: N/A
A documentary about the late Gilda Radner, this love letter to the comedienne was left off of the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. Not just a tribute to her talents, which were substantial, this doc really leans into the person she was. That’s what sets it apart. You learn what set her apart, leading to a lovely little connection that gets made. Variety had this to say about the documentary:
Forty years later, her comedy looks more sublime than ever. As you watch “Love, Gilda,” though, it becomes clear that what made Gilda Radner special – and uproarious – was her spirit: open, smiling, generous, euphoric.
Another option to consider this week as 2019 starts up!
Box Office: $626,318
One of 2018’s most disappointing comedies, this was a waste of Tiffany Haddish. Instead of focusing on her, it ended up as a Kevin Hart vehicle, which was a major mistake. The result was a painfully unfunny film. Getting sent to a real night school program would provide significantly more enjoyment. From our pan of a review found right here on the site:
Unfunny, poorly made, overstuffed (it’s almost two hours long), it’s also a bad vehicle for stars Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart. Hart indulges in all of his worst comedic impulses, crafting a deeply unlikable character. Haddish is barely given a character to work with.
Avoid it at all costs.
Box Office: $77,262,080 (and counting)
“Fraggle Rock: The Complete Series”
“Wolfblood: Season 5”