This week, there’s another sorry slate of Blu-ray and DVD titles. The saving grace is really only the opportunity to revisit an Emily Blunt performance gaining late Oscar attention. Other than that, it’s rough. Today’s a day to really value the Vintage pick!
PICK OF THE WEEK
“The Girl on the Train”
Emily Blunt could be on her way to a surprise Academy Award nomination in Best Actress for “The Girl on the Train.” Her candidacy was speculated about early on, but then the movie got seen and pretty much savaged. Still, late precursors have revived her chances for this thriller. It’s really a shame that this is the performance that could make her a first time Oscar nominee. Blunt is strong, but as our own Clayton Davis wrote in his review, she’s the only highlight:
The film boasts an all-out amazing performance from Emily Blunt, but that’s about the only major highlight from this frustrating and very predictable thriller.
Blunt does what she can, but it’s in the service of rather poor material. This is a top pick by default. See it if you’re still trying to figure out how/why she’s become an 11th hour candidate.
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted/Extended Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $75,395,035
Major Award: Nominated for Best Actress (Blunt) at BAFTA and the SAG Awards
In honor of this week’s release of “Split,” we head back in time to cite an early M. Night Shyamalan work. It’s “Signs,” a strong film that isn’t given the praise it deserves. Visually, it’s Shyamalan’s best work to date. The AV Club put the following in its review:
Conceptually brilliant…Plays like a living-room ‘War Of The Worlds,’ gaining most of its unsettling force from the suggested and the unknown.
Shyamalan has been in a funk for a while. If his latest is a return to form, we’ll have one of the more interesting filmmakers back. For now, be sure to check out this underrated thriller of his.
Other Films Being Released
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides Blunt’s film:
“Keeping Up with the Joneses”
Considering the talent involved, this action comedy really should have been better. Filmmaker Greg Mottola especially is capable of much more. Time Out agrees, putting forth the following:
Structured with the kind of obviousness that makes you outwit the screenwriter and then hate movies in general, Greg Mottola’s painfully generic suburban spy comedy wastes everybody’s time, onscreen and off.
Box Office: $14,904,426
“Ouija: Origin of Evil”
For a horror sequel no one wanted, this has gotten pretty strong reviews. Variety had plenty to praise about it in their review, writing:
The rare horror sequel made with considerably more wit, craft, and imagination than its predecessor, “Ouija: Origin of Evil” feels less like the continuation of a budding franchise than an apology for what went wrong the first time.
If you enjoy horror, this could be one to give a shot to.
Box Office: $61,433,527
“The Whole Truth”
This courtroom drama/thriller from Courtney Hunt was met with a big shrug of the shoulders, review-wise. Perhaps the most generous one came from The Wrap, which states:
Marked by the legalese and narrative pivots demanded by the genre, but lacking enough verve to offset its familiarity, Courtney Hunt’s film returns a verdict of Not Bad.
Make of that what you will.
Box Office: N/A
Special Criterion Collection Section
“Fox and His Friends”
Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder has himself in the starring role of this new member of the collection. Roger Ebert praises it thusly:
Here is a movie about characters who define themselves by their sexuality, but the movie doesn’t. It takes the sexuality as a given, and defines them by their values and morals.
Fassbinder fans should certainly seek this one out.
This landmark of independent cinema joins the Criterion ranks today. TV Guide had this to say once upon a time:
The sordid psychodrama comes to a jaw-dropper of a conclusion that’s oddly touching despite its outrageous proposal that marriage is the cure for post-traumatic shock syndrome.
Give it a shot!
“12 Monkeys: Season Two”
“I Love Lucy: Superstar Special #2”
“The IT Crowd: The Internet is Coming”
“The Love Boat: Season 3, Volume 1”
“The Love Boat: Season 3, Volume 2”
“NYPD Blue: The Final Season”
“Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Series”
“Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Seventh & Final Season”
“Top Cat: The Complete Series”