This week, a still timely documentary highlights the films hitting Blu-Ray and DVD. Yes, we’re citing a Criterion Collection release as opposed to a brand new movie. In part, it’s due to the competition today, but mostly, it’s because “Bowling For Columbine” remains a vital doc. Read on for more.
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Bowling For Columbine”
A rare instance of a Criterion release getting the top spot instead of the separate section below. The reason for this is twofold. On the one hand, it’s just the best of the films hitting shelves today. Beyond that, however, the subject matter remains so important, we can do a service by highlighting it. Arguably Michael Moore‘s best documentary, this Oscar winner looked at our gun culture. How relevant, here in 2018. Roger Ebert summed up how this was Moore’s quintessential work in his review, stating the following:
A documentary that is both hilarious and sorrowful.
“Bowling For Columbine” is the rare Criterion Collection release that warrants Pick of the Week status. Now, plenty of their titles are amazing, but the importance of this one puts it over the top.
Special Features: Making Of Documentary, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $21,576,018
Major Awards: Won Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards
This black comedy features one of 2018’s very best performances by an actress. Zoey Deutch is phenomenal here, showing why she deserves to be a big star. Filmmaker Max Winkler created a winning character and Deutch knocked it out of the park. Watching her here, you’re transfixed with her talent. Frankly, this is a strong indication that we will ultimately enjoy her in anything. She’s just that hypnotic. Our rave review out of the Tribeca Film Festival last year includes this bit:
Anchored by a performance by Zoey Deutch that should shoot her to the top of the A-list, this is a tremendous movie. Dark and messed up in all the best ways, it defies the usual conventions of the teen coming-of-age story.
“Flower” pairs well with “Bowling For Columbine” as the cream of this week’s crop. Both are must sees, plain and simple.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $328,188
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the pick today is going to be the last installment of this revived franchise. Of course, it’s “Jurassic World,” the prior outing. Dumb, but also a lot of fun, the nostalgia tinged adventure hit a sweet spot for many. Setting box office records along the way, it at least hinted at Steven Spielberg‘s original magic. Rolling Stone had this to say at the time:
It’s not the cynical, cash-in cheesefest you feared. OK, Jurassic World is a little of that. But this state-of-the-art dino epic is also a blast of rumbling, roaring, “did you effing see that!” fun.
With the next outing taking the franchise in a new direction, revisiting this one first is a great idea!
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the recommended titles “Bowling For Columbine” and “Flower”:
“The Death of Stalin”
A satire from the master of dark political comedy Armando Iannucci, this actually managed to fly a little below the radar. Those who saw it seemed to love it, but there wasn’t the hoped for crossover success. Alas. With an all star cast, this is destined for cult classic status a few years from now. The Village Voice raved about it like so:
As Stanley Kubrick did with Dr. Strangelove, Iannucci has built a satire not by twisting the truth but by nudging reality just a few inches further in the direction it was already going.
Iannucci fans surely will be grabbing this one ASAP!
Box Office: $7,978,274 (and counting)
This romance had a completely anonymous look to it. Honestly, it’s hard to even remember that this one came out in theaters. Said to be poorly done and utterly manipulative, it’s sub Nicholas Sparks level stuff. That’s really saying something too. The AV Club specifically pointed that out in their review, writing:
The authentic Sparks movies at least tend to be howlers, with shamelessly overcomplicated narratives and risible twists. Midnight Sun, on the other hand, is straightforward and trite.
Box Office: $$9,561,064
“Pacific Rim: Uprising”
One of the worst films of the year so far, this sequel is atrocious. Borderline unwatchable at times, it rivals some of the “Transformers” sequels for stupidity. That’s actually a point that we hammered home in our pan of a review here at the site. Just look below for proof:
Big, dumb, loud, and pointless, it was clearly made solely because it’s a preexisting property. Nothing about the story needed to be told whatsoever. Painful to sit through, it nearly made some of those “Transformers” sequels appear competent by comparison.
Avoid this one at all costs.
Box Office: $59,185,715
“Paul, Apostle of Christ”
Another week, another throwaway faith based offering. This time, the gimmick is that “The Passion of the Christ” star Jim Caviezel is in it. That’s hardly enough to make it worth seeing, even if you’re a staunch believer. Variety was diplomatic in their negative take, starting the following:
“Paul, Apostle of Christ” struggles to find a compelling entry point to a critical period in the early Christian church …
No thank you.
Box Office: $17,560,475
Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh goes back to the iPhone for his latest small scale offering. Filming Claire Foy going through a potential breakdown with his cell phone is a very Soderbergh move. IndieWIRE actually went to that well in their positive review, essentially summing up that this is for fans of his, mainly. Here’s what they said:
In short, it could never be anything but a Soderbergh film, and a particularly delicious one at that.
If you dig experimental Soderbergh, this is up your alley.
Box Office: $7,732,899
Special Criterion Collection Section
Our only new Criterion release this week (besides the aforementioned “Bowling For Columbine”) is this 1983 Spanish offering. Filmmaker Víctor Erice is at the helm here, and it seems like an interesting snapshot of the country’s past. The Collection pitches it to you like so:
Ten years after making his mark on Spanish cinema with The Spirit of the Beehive, Víctor Erice returned to filmmaking with this adaptation of a novella by Adelaida García Morales, which deepens the director’s fascination with childhood, fantasy, and the legacy of his country’s civil war.
Give it a shot!
“Dark Matter: Season Three”
“Doctor Who: Tom Baker The Complete First Season”
“In the Dark”
“Perfect Strangers: The Complete Fourth Season”
“Snowfall: Season One”