This week, a pair of unconventional biopics join the newest Oscar winner in Best Picture as the top picks coming to Blu-Ray and DVD. The slate is a really good one, though considering that today also happens to be my birthday, it’s a pleasurably ironic one too. After all, my two favorite films of 2017 were “The Disaster Artist” and “I, Tonya.” Throw in our newest Best Picture winner, another nominee, and some other titles and today is quite the catch. Time to dive in!
PICK OF THE WEEK
“The Disaster Artist”
The best film of 2017 is also a loving tribute to following your dreams and the magic of the movies. Yes, even bad movies like “The Room.” James Franco, removing his allegations from the equation, brilliantly portrays Tommy Wiseau, while finally turning in a strong directorial effort. Armed with one of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber‘s best screenplays to date (which finally got them a much deserved Oscar citation), it’s just terrific work all around. No one loved it like yours truly last year, but Peter Travers in Rolling Stone came close:
James Franco is firing on all his creative cylinders in this comic bonanza about Tommy Wiseau, the worst filmmaker of the 21st century. Franco hits a new career peak by making sure his film is as heartfelt as it is hilarious.
“The Disaster Artist” is the “Ed Wood” for a new generation, and for my money, it’s even better. This piece here reminded us of how it and “The Room” compliment each other brilliantly should help sell you on its charms. Pick it up and enjoy the insanity!
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $21,120,616
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (Neustadter and Weber) at the Academy Awards
“Call Me By Your Name”
It’s a shame that certain circles on Twitter made only liking this film tantamount to hating it. Wonderfully acted and full of emotion, this coming of age story was made unnecessarily divisive. Timothée Chalamet managed to overcome his young age to score a Best Actor nomination, and that’s worth praising. Clayton and I had similar takes at the New York Film Festival, as you can see in his review below:
The film lives and dies by the extravagant work of Timothée Chalamet, who is earth-shatteringly brilliant
“Call Me By Your Name” is a very good film with moments of greatness. For some, that’s a nice compliment. For others, it’s heresy. Regardless, if you like emotional cinema, this is one to grab today.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $17,458,151 (and counting)
Major Awards: Won Best Adapted Screenplay (Ivory) at the Academy Awards
A biopic about Tonya Harding could have been a terrible idea, yet in these hands it turned into something wonderful. Director Craig Gillespie, along with scribe Steven Rogers, gave Margot Robbie and Allison Janney ace parts to play, which they then knocked out of the park. Robbie becomes Tonya Harding, while Janney deservedly won an Oscar for her supporting turn. Clayton was also a huge fan, feting it like so at the Middleburg Film Festival:
In one of the most unconventional biopics to make its way onto our screens in years, Craig Gillespie‘s darkly comedic yet incredibly moving “I, Tonya” is an avalanche of greatness that sustains its high energy and witty beats.
“I, Tonya” deserved a Best Picture nomination, among other citations. It’s a rollicking black comedy and unconventional biopic that’s a must see. If you’ve somehow missed it, correct that injustice immediately!
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $29,509,368 (and counting)
Major Awards: Won Best Supporting Actress (Janney) at the Academy Awards
“The Shape of Water”
The big Oscar winner two weekends ago, this was the Guillermo del Toro monster movie to finally break through to voters in major categories. Traditional in some ways and deeply different in others, it will distinguish itself even more as the years pass. Mark loved it at the Telluride Film Festival and let us know about it here:
“The Shape of Water” is a delightfully unconventional gem of a film
“The Shape of Water” is a few steps below “The Disaster Artist” and “I, Tonya” in my book, but it’s still a very unique Best Picture winner with lots to offer. If you’re an Academy Award completist, this should be a priority to pick up this week.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $60,940,802 (and counting)
Major Awards: Won Best Best Picture, Best Director (del Toro), Best Production Design, and Best Original Score at the Academy Awards
In honor of this week’s release of “Flower,” the pick today is going to be a different film starring future A-lister Zoey Deutch. It’s, believe it or not, “Dirty Grandpa.” Hear me out. Sure, almost everyone hated this Robert De Niro and Zac Efron vehicle. It’s dumb, for certain, but it’s actually really amusing. Furthermore, Deutch is the best part, putting forward an actually believable character in the midst of the hijinks. From my kind review on the site at the time:
Zoey Deutch offers some low key romantic sparks with Efron.
“Flower” is the one to anticipate, and look out for an interview with Deutch here on the site in a few days. In the meantime, this panned flick is funnier than given credit for.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the highly recommended quartet of “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Disaster Artist,” “I, Tonya,” and “The Shape of Water”:
An Oscar nominated animated feature, this inoffensive kids flick never really made much of a dent. Reviews were kind enough, though there was a distinct sense that it was a missed opportunity. Entertainment Weekly really hit on that point in their take on the cartoon, writing:
Ferdinand buries the original story’s message under frenetic action scenes and grating sidekicks, turning a classic tale into just another flat animated comedy.
Box Office: $83,362,967 (and counting)
This documentary on the man who inspired the classic Al Pacino film “Serpico” has been under the radar for a while now. That being said, if you dig the movie, this should be at least a little bit fascinating to check out. The Village Voice had this to say about the doc:
Frank Serpico, though sprawling and seething, isn’t a hagiography. It probes instead into Serpico’s personal agonies.
“Serpico” fans may want to pick this one up.
Box Office: $7,489
Oh my. Warner Brothers really screwed the pooch with their DC superhero flagship enterprise. In halfheartedly trying to please two audiences, it ends up pleasing nobody. Unable to merge the lighter tone of Joss Whedon with the grimmer one of Zack Snyder, it’s a huge mess. Clayton was gentle in his review, writing the following:
If your expectations for any film are in the toilet, then the final delivery can always ultimately surprise you.
This tentpole could have been worse, but without question, it should have been better.
Box Office: $229,007,315 (and counting)
One of Anton Yelchin‘s final performances is found within this little romantic drama. Yelchin is the reason to check this one out, as reviews were decidedly mixed. In one of the positive reviews, the Hollywood Reporter pitched his performance as a main selling point:
The film is not a perfect undertaking, but it confirms Yelchin’s unique talent and underscores the sadness of his untimely death.
If you miss Yelchin, perhaps give this a shot?
Box Office: $15,126
Special Criterion Collection Section
“The Age of Innocence”
Our only new Criterion release this week is left turn of an outing by none other than Martin Scorsese. Though not immediately thought of among his New York City endeavors, it decidedly is and pairs nicely with some of his other efforts. The Collection sells it to you with that point, hammering it home thusly:
No filmmaker captures the grandeur and energy of New York like Martin Scorsese. With this sumptuous romance, he meticulously adapted the work of another great New York artist, Edith Wharton, bringing to life her tragic novel set in the cloistered world of Gilded Age Manhattan.
Pick it up and enjoy!
“Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season”
“The Good Fight: Season One”
“The Handmaid’s Tale: Season One”
“Into the Badlands: The Complete Second Season”
“Kendra on Top: Season 6”
“Knightfall: Season One”
“Major Crimes: The Complete Series”
“Major Crimes: The Complete Sixth Season”