This week, two auteurs, David Robert Mitchell and Jordan Peele, highlight the new Blu-Ray/DVD releases. Both are following up critically acclaimed horror efforts. But that’s about where the similarities end today. Read on for more below.
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Under the Silver Lake”
Following up “It Follows,” filmmaker David Robert Mitchell went in a whole new direction with his latest work. A darkly comedic noir, featuring compelling work from Andrew Garfield, audiences didn’t know what to make of this one. Not overtly funny, while simultaneously satirizing film noir, Mitchell’s ambitious experiment was met with befuddlement from most. Not everywhere though, as this review from ScreenCrush shows:
The last time a movie this obviously a satire was mislabeled as a sincere depiction of everything it mocked was Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers.
“Under the Silver Lake” has been misunderstood. Consider the film more as a takedown of the need to find hidden meaning in everything and it suddenly becomes a sterling movie. It’s one of the more underrated efforts of 2019 so far.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $46,083
Major Awards: None yet
This retelling of the devastating Taj terrorist attack is often hard to watch. Graphically violent, there’s often an uncomfortable mix of the visceral and the theatrical. Dev Patel and Armie Hammer deliver empathetic performances, giving audiences an entry point to the upsetting event. The Washington Post was fond of it, though also cautioned that it’s not an easy watch:
“Hotel Mumbai” is a clockwork thriller, but man, is it hard to watch.
“Hotel Mumbai” asks audiences to endure some tough images. However, it’s well worth it. Plus, filmmaker Anthony Maras spoke to us here about the film, should anyone need more selling on the project.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $9,651,611 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet
Jordan Peele’s sophomore feature, following-up his Oscar winning “Get Out,” is another horror effort with deeper commentary. This time, the interpretations are more vague, as opposed to being outright social commentary. Peele ups the craftsmanship and ambition here, suggesting his debut was no fluke. The Hollywood Reporter doubled down on this take:
A fiercely scary movie whose meaning is up for grabs.
“Us” proved that Jordan Peele is a brand all his own. Factor in the tremendous work by Lupita Nyong’o and what audiences have here is one of the year’s most interesting movies. It’s a must own, without a doubt.
Special Features: Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $175,005,930 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “Toy Story 4,” the pick today is the prior installment in Pixar’s flagship franchise. It’s “Toy Story 3,” one of the best animated sequels ever made. A classic from the moment it was released, the Pixar outing was met with universal acclaim. Richard Roeper was just one voice to herald the film, saying:
The best movie of the year so far.
One of the rare animated films nominated for Best Picture, any excuse to revisit “Toy Story 3” is a great one. Consider it just a bonus that “Toy Story 4” is magnificent and does call back plenty to this prior outing.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the three recommended titles in “Hotel Mumbai,” “Under the Silver Lake,” and “Us”:
“The Beach Bum”
Mixing together Harmony Korine with Matthew McConaughey in a stoner comedy? That sounds like mana from cinematic heaven. For others, it probably gives them a headache just thinking about the prospect. Out of SXSW, Awards Circuit filed this review for the site, which certainly leaned in one particular direction:
The film unfolds like the ultimate dream of every stoner who believes all their ideas are brilliant, and that anyone who doesn’t appreciate them is simply not enlightened enough to understand.
Whether that sounds like a delight or a slog will pretty succinctly sum up if this film is for you or not.
Box Office: $3,502,600
Steve Bannon makes for a fascinating subject with this effort from Alison Klayman. For this documentary, the stroke of genius is that he’s followed on a day to day basis. Audiences see him in a broader scope, which not only makes Bannon a human being to observe, but someone who’s dangerous ideas are coming from varying angles. No one will change their mind about him, but it’s hard to argue that he’s not a compelling figure for the documentary medium. Rolling Stone agreed:
It’s recommendable in the same way that a doctor recommends regular colonoscopies – you’re better off suffering through the discomfort because the alternative is far worse.
Political junkies should certainly give this one a shot.
Box Office: $106,057
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
One of last year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary Feature, this doc caught fire among prominent members of the critical community. Reviews were impeccable, including this sterling one from Variety:
You could call it a transcendental scrapbook, because it wipes away the muck of subjectivity that guides most movies. It turns the audience into direct receptors of experience.
Anyone who missed it during Oscar season last year can catch up now.
Box Office: $112,282
This animated family offering is bright and fun, if not particularly memorable. Aimed completely at children, there’s a strong message at the center, which is always a plus. The Wrap gave it a tepid, but positive write up:
A clumsy but amiable kids movie with a streak of sincerity that stretches further than the Wonder Park itself.
As far as distractions for kids go, this is the best option for that this week, by far.
Box Office: $45,216,793
Special Criterion Collection Section
The first option coming to Criterion today is one of two efforts from filmmaker Bruno Dumont. His sophomore feature, this movie cemented the man as a supremely talented storyteller. The Collection explains why in the following manner:
Demonstrating Dumont’s deftness with nonactors and relentlessly frank depiction of bodies and sexuality, L’humanité is at once an idiosyncratic police procedural and a provocative exploration of the tension between humankind’s capacity for compassion and our base, sometimes barbarous animal instincts.
Dumont fans should definitely pick this one up.
“La vie de Jésus”
Also joining the Collection this week is another feature from the aforementioned Dumont. Specifically, this is his debut behind the camera, quickly establishing him as an essential voice on the international scene. Criterion makes the case for him like so:
With his stunning debut feature, the risk-taking auteur Bruno Dumont immediately established his reputation as an uncompromising iconoclast on the cutting edge of French cinema.
It’s quite a week for Dumont devotees.
“Killing Eve: Season Two”
“Suits: Season Eight”
“Will & Grace (The Revival): Season Two”