This week, a new version of “Little Women” leads the charge of new release Blu-rays. Joining that Best Picture nominee is a pair of Universal titles that, to be fair, are about as far a cry from Oscar material as there is. Read on for more.
PICK OF THE WEEK
A remake of “Little Women” was an odd choice for Greta Gerwig to follow up “Lady Bird” with. Lo and behold, she proved well suited for a classy period piece, again giving Saoirse Ronan a plum role to sink her teeth into. Critics were over the moon for this one, though our review here on the site was restrained, by comparison:
Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” is mostly lovely and a decent interpretation for a new generation of girls and boys to discover Alcott’s world.
“Little Women” is a strong showcase for Gerwig’s filmmaking prowess. For that alone, it’s worthy of a recommendation!
Total Box Office: $108,101,214
Major Awards: Won Best Costume Design at the Academy Awards
For today’s Vintage pick, comedy is where it’s at. Chiefly, a comedy centered around some of the smartest people on Earth. It’s “Real Genius,” a wonderful 80’s movie with some major laughs. Sure, Val Kilmer and company are pretty eccentric, but anyone in Martha Coolidge‘s film would be someone you trust to fix the world’s issues. The late Roger Ebert fell in love with it for a handful of reasons, including the one he details below:
Real Genius contains many pleasures, but one of the best is its conviction that the American campus contains life as we know it.
A lighter option to consider this week…
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title in “Little Women.”
Woof. Ever since the first teases of this Broadway adaptation hit the internet, the knives were out. Then, we all saw it, and somehow realized we were being kind. Bizarre, ineptly made, and all-around terrible, it’s one of the bigger misfires in recent memory. Rolling Stone gave it a rare zero star review:
This all-star, all-awful screen take on the smash Broadway musical easily scores as the worst movie of the year and arguably the decade. Cats shouldn’t happen to a dog.
Box Office: $27,166,770
This remake of the classic children’s film wound up getting stuck in post-production hell. Reshoots, rumors of a filmmaker in over his head, and various other boondoggles made it almost a sure thing that the movie would end up a failure. Well, with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, some folks came out, but not to the degree that Universal was hoping for. Our own review here on the site was on the forgiving side, too:
“Dolittle” nestles comfortably as juvenile adventure fluff and not much more in aspiration. Judging by the exorbitant cost of this remake, that’s probably for the best.
Keep your expectations in check, should you decide to check this one out.
Box Office: $77,047,065
Special Criterion Collection Section
“Army of Shadows”
Our one and only option coming to Criterion today is arguably the crowning achievement of Jean-Pierre Melville‘s career. It’s “Army of Shadows,” the classic 1969 thriller. A French classic that long has been under-appreciated, the Collection has this to say about it, hoping to turn the tide:
The most personal film by the underworld poet Jean-Pierre Melville, who had participated in the French Resistance himself, this tragic masterpiece, based on a novel by Joseph Kessel, recounts the struggles and sacrifices of those who fought in the Resistance.
Definitely something to consider this week, especially if you’ve never seen it before!
“Madam Secretary: The Complete Series”