This week, one of the best films of 2019 leads the charge of new Blu-Ray/DVD titles. It’s Olivia Wilde‘s directorial debut “Booksmart,” which seeks to tickle the funny bone and bring on the nostalgia of high school days long gone. Read on to see what else is hitting shelves.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Olivia Wilde’s first feature is not just one of the year’s best comedies, but an overall 2019 highlight. With hilarious, touching turns from Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, Wilde makes this much more than just a laugh fest. The film is perceptive, smart, and wholly unique. Consistently creative and always surprising, it’s a joy from start to finish. Our rave review from SXSW doubled down on the love:
“Booksmart” is both an antidote to a male-dominated genre, and a welcome addition to the collection. Smart, funny, and perfect to watch with your best friends. If this is Olivia Wilde’s first effort behind the camera, we can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
“Booksmart” is a modern comedy classic. As it contends for Oscar attention later on this year, make it your business to pick this one up. It’s a must own title!
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $22,680,962
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “It: Chapter Two,” the pick today is going to be the first installment. “It,” the theatrical adaptation of Stephen King‘s seminal novel, was a surprise smash hit upon its debut. We were a huge fan of the horror film, writing the following in this rave review:
With striking visuals unleashing its rhythms, “It” manages to find the proper balance between all its blending elements.
Prep for the conclusion by revisiting the first chapter today.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title in “Booksmart.”
Octavia Spencer and Tate Taylor re-team for a Blumhouse horror outing. Despite that prestige pedigree, this new release from Jason Blum‘s stable is mostly B-movie fare. Our review here on the site got into its unintentional yet undeniably enjoyable comedic elements:
“Ma” is one of the funniest films of the year, which would be great news if this was a comedy. As a horror flick, though, Blumhouse and Universal‘s latest film misses in ways that make this venture wickedly fun, but mostly by accident.
Blumhouse aficionados would do well to check this one out.
Box Office: $45,373,120
Long caught in post-production limbo, this iteration of the biblical tale finally saw the light of day earlier this year. Rooney Mara is affecting in the title role, while Joaquin Phoenix makes for a rather unique Jesus Christ. The Los Angeles Times had this to say:
[A]n imperfect but affecting vision of New Testament times.
As a curiosity, this is one to consider looking into.
Box Office: $124,741
“Men in Black: International”
Rebooting the “Men in Black” franchise without Will Smith was always a risky proposition. Despite the star power of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, they couldn’t match the charisma of the original. Still, some were charmed by this action/science fiction hybrid. One such outlet was The Wrap:
Gone is the social commentary, and in its place is globetrotting sci-fi super spy adventure, empty but entertaining, and carried almost exclusively on the multimillion-dollar charms of its stars.
Sci-fi fans might want to give it a shot.
Box Office: $79,642,808 (and counting)
Special Criterion Collection Section
“Fists in the Pocket”
The one and only option coming to Criterion today is this 1965 Italian tale of Catholic morality. Filmmaker Marco Bellocchio made his mark on Italian cinema with this one, which the Collection makes sure to mention:
With its coolly assured style, shocking perversity, and savage gallows humor, Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) was a gleaming ice pick in the eye of bourgeois family values and Catholic morality, a truly unique work that continues to rank as one of the great achievements of Italian cinema.
If you love Italian films, give this one a try!
“Bob’s Burgers: The Complete Ninth Season”
“Bull: Season Three”
“Empire: The Complete Fifth Season”
“Fresh Off the Boat: The Complete Fifth Season”
“The Goldbergs: The Complete Sixth Season”
“NCIS: The Sixteenth Season”
“Scooby-Doo Where Are You? The Complete Series”
“True Detective: The Complete Third Season”
“What We Do in the Shadows: The Complete First Season” *Joey’s Pick*
“Young Sheldon: The Complete Second Season”