This week, two very different but equally crazy films lead the charge of new Blu-ray/DVD releases. On the one hand, we have “The Lighthouse” and its art-house insanity, while on the other we have a blockbuster comic book tale that could dominate with Oscar. Read on for more.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Filmmaker Robert Eggers has a singular sense of what horror can be. “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse” are clearly from the mind of someone working on a whole other level. Here, he manages to make an incredibly challenging two-hander that still somehow compels. Our review here on the site rewards Eggers’ creativity:
“The Lighthouse” is unabashedly self-indulgent. After the success of “The Witch,” another deeply psychological period horror, Robert Eggers was essentially written a blank check by A24 to make whatever film he wanted. It’s difficult to begrudge him his fun when his imagination and stylistic flourishes reach such staggering heights.
“The Lighthouse” is often insane, but it’s wholly unique. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson bring you in, allowing Eggers to work his bizarre magic.
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $10,759,478
Major Awards: Won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival
Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix combine to tell the origin story of the classic “Batman” villain. Reveling in bleakness and style, this is not the sort of comic book tale we’re used to getting. For some, it was a godsend. For others, it was grimy to a fault. Richard Roeper had this to say:
With Phoenix appearing in virtually every minute of this movie and dominating the screen with his memorably creepy turn, “Joker” will cling to you like the aftermath of an unfortunately realistic nightmare.
“Joker” is a must see, for better or worse. Try as you might, you won’t be able to forget about it.
Special Features: Featurettes
Total Box Office: $333,494,002
Major Awards: Nominated for four Golden Globe Awards
In honor of this week’s release of “Underwater,” the pick today is going to be a prior outing from star Kristen Stewart. It’s “Cafe Society,” one of her least seen and most underrated turns to date. Working with Woody Allen, Stewart is both heartbreaking and luminous here. From our Cannes Film Festival review at the time:
As is almost always the case with a film of Allen’s, there’s an impeccable performance by an actress here. Kristen Stewart has never come off as desirable and downright lovable as she does here. Never once do you doubt why she’s someone more than one character would fall head over heels in love with, and it’s to Stewart’s credit that she gives the role more dimension than just that. Stewart has her character a beacon of modesty amongst the glamour of Hollywood, more at ease with Bobby at a dive bar or on the beach than looking at the mansions of Beverly Hills. She aces the role and embraces Allen’s dialogue with ease.
Check this movie out (as well as our interview with Stewart here) before her latest effort opens up.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the duo of recommended titles in “Joker” and “The Lighthouse.”
At times, this police drama has an affecting tale to tel about the toll that this job takes on officers. At other times, a ridiculous story unfolds. The two elements rarely mix well, as we detailed in our Tribeca Film Festival review:
“Crown Vic” feels like a missed opportunity. A simple look at a night tour for members of the LAPD probably is better suited for a documentary, but it could have worked here. Those moments do work. It’s the B-movie additions that are the rough stuff. Those parts are better left to late night cable films, not Tribeca titles.
Unfortunately, it’s too forgettable to recommend.
Box Office: $3,868
“A Million Little Pieces”
This adaptation of the controversial memoir could have been an Academy Award player at some point. However, the product released late last year is not that. It came and went with barely a peep, though some pundits found the time to bash it, like this take from Variety:
It’s full of showpiece scenes of nihilistic acting out, but it’s not full of scenes that reveal human character in an interesting way.
Box Office: N/A
Special Criterion Collection Section
The only option coming to Criterion today is this classic romantic comedy from 1938. “Holiday” is the first collaboration between director George Cukor, as well as stars Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. The Collection pitches it to you like so:
With a sparkling surface and an undercurrent of melancholy, Holiday is an enchanting ode to nonconformists and pie-in-the-sky dreamers everywhere, as well as a thoughtful reflection on what it truly means to live well.
Fans of this trio are in for a treat!
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