This week, the latest Disney remake joins forces with a rapid fire Jesse Eisenberg performance to highlight the Blu-Ray/DVD crop. Yes, “Dumbo” flaps his ears and tries to grab some attention today, as part of a rather small slate of options. Read on for more.
PICK OF THE WEEK
“The Hummingbird Project”
The aforementioned Jesse Eisenberg joins Salma Hayek and Alexander Skarsgård for this briskly paced drama. Getting to spit rapid fire dialogue, this is a role right up Eisenberg’s alley, while Skarsgård gets to really stretch himself. Variety was taken with the work from both of them:
Recalling “Social Network” in that it once again casts Jesse Eisenberg as the engine behind a high-stakes, e-commerce-driven project — with a dweebified Alexander Skarsgård as his code-writing cousin — this is an entertaining vehicle for vivid performances by both actors.
“The Hummingbird Project” gives Eisenberg and Skarsgård juicy roles to really sink their teeth into. Their ample abilities make the movie one an audience can feast on just the same.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $371,784
Major Awards: None yet
Tim Burton always has seemed like a perfect match for some of the odder Disney titles in the canon. “Dumbo” would not have been the obvious pick, though by toning down his quirk, he ends up delivering one of the company’s better live action updates of their animated classics. Rolling Stone agreed:
This live-action re-imagining of Disney’s 1941 animated classic may be the sweetest film Tim Burton has ever made. It’s also the safest.
“Dumbo” takes flight due to Burton’s imagination, though it remains airborne due to his newfound restraint. Fans of the original, as well as Burton boosters, should find some enjoyment here.
Special Features: Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $114,145,657 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “Yesterday,” the pick today is a prior effort from Oscar winning director Danny Boyle. It’s “Sunshine,” which represents one of his most ambitious and challenging works to date. The third act of this heady science fiction flick jumps the shark, but until then, it’s positively riveting. The Los Angeles Times agreed, having this to say about the film:
For though it can’t maintain its momentum all the way to the end, Sunshine until it stumbles is gratifyingly far from the usual space-opera stuff
Prep for Boyle’s latest (our review can be found here) with this top notch and distinct effort.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the two recommended titles in “Dumbo” and “The Hummingbird Project”:
On paper, this period romantic drama looked like a potential Oscar player for Fox Searchlight. However, the reception to it earlier this year was far too restrained for that. Star Keira Knightley, however, reigns as the queen of current period pieces. The Boston Globe had this to say:
The movie is both ridiculous and enjoyable.
Box Office: $1,618,497
Special Criterion Collection Section
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
The first of two options coming to Criterion today is the one of a kind musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” from John Cameron Mitchell. Filled with originality, this stage adaptation defies easy description. It is, however, one of the more unique efforts to get this sort of treatment, as the Collection explains:
With this trailblazing musical, writer-director-star John Cameron Mitchell and composer-lyricist Stephen Trask brought their signature creation from stage to screen for a movie as unclassifiable as its protagonist.
A standout selection, this is a must own.
“War and Peace”
The other choice joining the Collection this week is a Soviet epic, based on the novel of the same name. Over seven hours long, this challenging work sacrifices nothing from Leo Tolstoy‘s morality tale. Criterion hits in its sales pitch on just how ambitious this project was in the mid 1960s:
At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet film industry set out to prove it could outdo Hollywood with a production that would dazzle the world: a titanic, awe-inspiring adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic tome
Anyone willing to give themselves over to a 422 minute running time will certainly get their money’s worth.
ALSO OF NOTE
Under-appreciated upon release, this indie dramedy finally gets a proper Blu-Ray release over a decade later. One of the first examples of Will Ferrell owning his dramatic talent in a serious role, this is also a lovely showcase for Zooey Deschanel. Roger Ebert was a fan, putting forth the following take:
This is the kind of movie routinely dismissed as too slow and quiet by those who don’t know it is more exciting to listen than to hear.
Fans of Deschanel and/or Ferrell should definitely seek this one out!
Special Features: Featurette
“Dick Cavett Show: Baseball’s Greatest Hits The Pitchers”
“Get Shorty: Season Two”
“Manhunt: Season 1”
“Snowfall: Season Two”