This week, two Academy Award nominees lead the charge of new Blu-ray and DVD releases. In fact, one of the titles is actually an Oscar winner. Both of them, however, are utter gems. Read on for more!
PICK OF THE WEEK
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Making a film about Fred Rogers would have been one thing. Director Marielle Heller, however, had something different up her sleeve. Instead, making a movie about what Mr. Rogers means/the importance of his message really sets this one apart. Tom Hanks is a perfect Rogers, helping to make this drama a wonderful companion piece to the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” From our highly positive take here on the site:
By centering the story on a damaged individual whose life is changed by his encounter with Mr. Rogers, it beautifully reminds us of the power of compassion in making the world a better place.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is an essential work, with a vital message of love and kindness. Pick it up and embrace the beauty.
Special Features: Additional Scenes, Audio Commentary, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $61,373,421
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor (for Hanks) at the Academy Awards
Taika Waititi has a hell of an imagination. Who else would have come up with the premise of this anti-war satire? It was a risky proposition, but one that certainly paid off, with several Academy Award nominations and an Oscar for Waititi in Best Adapted Screenplay. Shane loved it at the Toronto International Film Festival, putting forth the following in his rave:
With a filmography that includes such heartwarming comic gems as “Thor: Ragnorak” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”, Taika Waititi is hardly a director who comes to mind when you think of Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. The traumatic genocide of Jews certainly doesn’t lend itself to his trademark offbeat sense of humor. Yet in one of the year’s most daring directorial achievements, Waititi keeps his distinctive voice in tact with “Jojo Rabbit,” a poignant anti-war satire that is also his funniest film to date.
“Jojo Rabbit” does something only really Mel Brooks has done before. It’s no surprise that Brooks campaigned for Waititi and the film itself. Give it a look and you’ll understand why.
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $31,955,308 (and counting)
Major Awards: Won Best Adapted Screenplay (for Waititi) at the Academy Awards
In honor of this week’s release of “The Call of the Wild,” the pick today will be a classic Harrison Ford turn. It’s hard to pick anything other than “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when it comes to Ford running around in the outdoors, especially with rumors that Ford will be playing Indiana Jones again soon. The movie is an utter classic. Interestingly, it’s almost as if Roger Ebert was under-selling the flick in his four star review at the time:
The movie is just plain fun.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the pair of recommended titles in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and “Jojo Rabbit.”
Chadwick Boseman is an excellent leading man. Unfortunately, this dumb cop thriller never rises to the level of its protagonist. Boseman does his best, but it’s mostly in vain. Variety dismissed this one like so:
Dark, cynical, and nearly slick enough to disguise how stupid it is. Nearly.
Box Office: $28,539,757
This low-key drama from Ira Sachs mostly makes its bones as an Isabelle Huppert vehicle. Looking at a family on vacation, it’s a languid yet not un-pleasurable experience. Our review here on the site happened to agree:
Though all of the pieces don’t fully come together, “Frankie” still amounts to a pleasurable experience.
Fans of Huppert and/or Sachs might want to give this one a chance.
Box Office: $171,781
A war epic from Roland Emmerich sure sounds like an assault on the senses. It sure is, though with a bloated running length and a poor script, we’re mostly left with Emmerich going for spectacle. Despite mixed, at best, reviews, our take right here on the site was one of the more positive ones out there:
Do not let knee-jerk bias fool you: his new film, “Midway,” focused on the lead up and actual critical battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, is masterfully entertaining.
Emmerich lovers are in for a bombastic treat.
Box Office: $56,846,802
“Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer”
This documentary about the tabloid of the same name is a fascinating one. The rag is easy to dismiss, but its place in our culture, as well as its impact on it, is undeniable. Karen’s review certainly got into all of that:
“Scandalous” doesn’t break a lot of new ground in style, but it is a fascinating and essential examination of the media we consume and what consumes us.
Definitely a doc to check out!
Box Office: $18,759
Special Criterion Collection Section
The first option coming to Criterion today is this 1984 Japanese classic. A look at famed architect Antoni Gaudí from director Hiroshi Teshigahara, it’s likely you’ve never seen anything quite like it. The Collection pitches it to you like so:
Less a documentary than a visual poem, Teshigahara’s film takes viewers on a tour of Gaudí’s truly spectacular architecture, including his massive, still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Família basilica in Barcelona. With camera work as bold and sensual as the curves of his subject’s organic structures, Teshigahara immortalizes Gaudí on film.
Certainly a curiosity this week!
The other title joining the Collection this week is Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s 1968 effort “Teorema.” If you only know Pasolini from “Salo,” then Criterion wants to forward this sales pitch in order to change that:
One of the iconoclastic Pier Paolo Pasolini’s most radical provocations finds the auteur moving beyond the poetic, proletarian earthiness that first won him renown and notoriety with a coolly cryptic exploration of bourgeois spiritual emptiness.
If you’re interested in seeing more Pasolini works, this is one to definitely consider!
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“The Twilight Zone (2019): The Complete First Season”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: The Complete Series”