This week, Will Smith and his digital alter ego lead the charge of new Blu-ray and DVD titles. Yes, the visual effects laden action flick “Gemini Man” hits shelves, along with a handful of other options. Read on for more.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Director Ang Lee teamed with Will Smith to finally bring this long gestating action movie to the big screen. While the story is fairly generic, centering on an aging assassin facing off somehow with his younger self, the technology used to re-create Smith is astounding. Our review here on the site really took time to enjoy what Lee pulled off:
Thanks to Lee’s devotion to shooting in 120 frames per second HFR 3D, the action scenes are more immersive than ever. Explosions engulf us in their devastation; close-quarters combat fights brush shoulders with us so severely that we can feel the bruising. Despite an anemic plot that barely treads water, “Gemini Man” is a prototype for more revolutionary event films to come.
“Gemini Man” is meant to be seen in a format that just isn’t available at home. Still, for the VFX achievement alone, this is worth seeing. For more on how the effects were done, check out our interview here with Weta’s Guy Williams!
Special Features: Alternate Opening, Deleted Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $48,546,770
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “Bad Boys for Life,” the pick today is a previous Will Smith film (continuing today’s theme). It’s “Concussion,” a true life drama about the dangers of NFL collisions, as well as the doctor who tried to warn the sport. Smith is quite good, as Clayton said here in his review at the time:
Will Smith…delivers one of his strongest performances ever. An impeccable capture of a man from Africa, soulfully searching for acceptance in America, Smith brings a visible intensity in each line spoken. Settling into a role that calls for the best parts of Smith’s charisma, which he has demonstrated effortlessly throughout his career, he handles it with an equally emotional heft that garners most of the film’s best moments.
As Smith has another blockbuster opening, check out one of his smaller efforts.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title in “Gemini Man.”
“The Death and Life of John F. Donovan”
Filmmaker Xavier Dolan flirts with greatness often, but largely his films have been a disappointment. No clearer has that been displayed than this delayed and largely reviled melodrama. The Hollywood Reporter dismissed it like so:
[A] half-baked, cumbersome, overlong psychodrama.
Box Office: $152,713
Ever wonder what “Her” would be like as a raunchy comedy? Me neither. However, someone did, hence the existence of “Jexi.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, the concept had the potential for laughs, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired:
Nearly everything misfires here – bizarrely so, since we can see where the laughs should come, how they would work, and how a more competent movie would get from A to Z.
Box Office: $6,546,159
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
Angelina Jolie returns to play the noted Disney villain in this follow-up to her origin story. Despite a massive shrug of the shoulders from most, this did manage to crack the $100 million mark at the box office, so that’s something. Karen wasn’t much of a fan though, as she details here in her review:
The costumes, casting, and overall design are lovely, but the finished product is a mess.
If you loved the first one, have at it with the sequel.
Box Office: $113,593,087
A mockumentary about the political process, filtered through Tim Heidecker‘s warped lens, this movie is really hit or miss. Sometimes, it’s hilarious. Other times, you wonder where the film’s jokes are supposed to land, since they’re not landing as intended. Variety was largely indifferent to it:
The movie amounts to a few weak gags stretched out to feature length.
This clearly isn’t for everyone. If it sounds good to you, give it a whirl.
Box Office: $130,897
Special Criterion Collection Section
“The Fugitive Kind”
The one and only option coming to Criterion today is this 1960 drama by Sidney Lumet. The talent that Lumet gathered here is astounding, helping to make an already compelling story even better. It stands as one of his more underrated works. The Collection pitches it to you like so:
Four Oscar-winning actors—Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Joanne Woodward, and Maureen Stapleton—shine in this enthralling film, which also brings together the legendary talents of director Sidney Lumet and writer Tennessee Williams.
Definitely give this one a shot!
“Krypton: The Complete Second & Final Season”
“Krypton: The Complete Series”
“Veep: The Complete Seventh Season”