This week, we seem to once again have a pretty small amount of 2015 releases that are hitting Blu-Ray and DVD and worthy of a recommendation. The twist though is that there’s a high probability that you won’t agree with me. Today is one of those slates of titles coming to store shelves that will have fans but also dissenters. Hey, it happens, you know?. My top pick was fairly easy this week, but I suspect plenty of you will have a different preference, which is totally fine. For me, my PICK OF THE WEEK is a little bit of an underrated flick, albeit one that plenty of have said the same thing about. You’ll see what I mean by that in a few moments, but for now, it’s Vintage time again folks!
In honor of this week’s release of Dirty Grandpa (which I’ll be seeing later on this week), I wanted to cite the first time that Robert De Niro really did comedy. No, it’s not Meet the Parents (which I do like a lot), but it’s The King of Comedy. One of my favorite Martin Scorsese films, it’s also one of his most underrated, even if it’s fairly beloved. De Niro and Scorsese have an aptitude for pitch black comedy that deserves to be embraced even more so than it already has been. If you somehow haven’t seen this one yet and you like the work that De Niro and Scorsese did together, you owe it to yourself to find this and watch it. You can thank me later…
Other Films Being Released
With just one thing to honor today, here now is a simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my recommendation. Behold:
The Condemned 2
I can’t say that I know much about this one, but it seems like a fairly cut rate action flick. The time for elevating pro wrestlers to action heroes seems to have passed, as this was barely released. Maybe we’re all missing out on a gem, but I have my doubts. If you dig this sort of a thing, maybe it’s worth taking a risk on, but I won’t be suggesting that leap of faith, that’s for sure.
Box Office: N/A
Sadly, I missed this one when it played at the New York Film Festival, as it’s apparently quite good. I’m not really an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) fan, though I’ve actually been to an EDM festival last year, go figure. That being said, it’s supposedly one of the better foreign films of 2015, and more importantly, it’s not We Are Your Friends, so I’ll be popping it in soon. I can’t give it a recommendation, but it’s probably worth checking out.
Box Office: $65,460
For a short time, this survival tale was positioned to be a potentially big Oscar player. Of course, that didn’t end up happening and it more or less faded from memory after a solid theatrical run. Considering the fact that I found it to be decent but kind of a missed opportunity, I’m not lamenting that snub. It slightly underperformed at the box office, which doesn’t surprise me, especially since The Walk failed at a similar time. I guess IMAX audiences just want a specific sort of thing. Shrug. I suppose this deserved a slightly better fate, but it’s also just nothing to really write home about. It’ll fade away soon into memory, if it hasn’t done so already.
Box Office: $43,482,270
This comedy probably should have been a bigger hit than it actually was, but going by the reviews, it also probably should have been better too. The ingredients were all there, but I guess the mixture was just a little bit off. I’m sure it’ll have a great career in a few years on cable, but for now…it just wasn’t what it might otherwise have been.
Box Office: $75,764,672
Jem and the Holograms
One of the bigger box office bombs in recent history, I don’t know that anyone was actually asking for this movie to be made. Go figure then, that it failed. I didn’t bother seeing it, but I didn’t hear from anyone that it was essential viewing. Honestly, more people will probably wind up seeing it now that it has the reputation of an all time dud than it otherwise would have, so maybe that’s a small scale win?
Box Office: $2,184,640
Learning to Drive
This little indie comedy fell through the cracks, even though it managed to actually make a few bucks at the box office. With a solid cast and a crowd pleasing premise, I guess the in between nature of its stature probably makes sense to some degree. I’ve yet to see it, but I know I’ll be doing so pretty soon.
Box Office: $3,447,633
Oh, what a misfire this was. For a hot second, it was a potential Academy Award hopeful…but then we saw it. As I said (here) in my review: “What an epic miscalculation Stonewall is. Director Roland Emmerich, best known for destroying national landmarks and making large scale disaster movies, clearly had the best of intentions here, but man did he miss the mark here. Emmerich deserves kudos for stepping out of his comfort zone and attempting something that clearly means a lot to him, but again, it’s a totally misguided effort from start to finish. Tonally all wrong, poorly made at times, and more likely to elicit accidental laughter than wring out the emotion/tears it seeks, this is not the gay rights film that audiences deserve. The characters all either go too big with their performances, as if this is a musical missing all of the songs, or in terms of lead Jeremy Irvine, barely seem awake and as passive an observer as humanly possible. Done right, this flick about the true birth of the gay rights movement and the literal first shot fired in that battle could have been a major hit and Academy Award player. Done wrong…you get Stonewall. Alas. Riddled with cliches and embarrassing caricatures, there’s very little here to hold on to. The characters are seeking justice and recognition of their civil rights, but none of that is properly handled. It’s just all wrong, which I feel like I’m going to keep saying throughout this review. Emmerich rightly shouldn’t just make epics, but if this is his take on a passion project, maybe he needs to dive back into the world of CGI.” Audiences avoided this one in theaters and you can safely avoid it now at home as well.
Box Office: $187,674
Straight Outta Compton
As probably the only one on the site not blown away by this musical biopic, I have a hunch that most of you will also disagree with me in thinking this is a solid enough but unspectacular film. To some degree, I’m probably biased because I’m not a fan of the music, but that isn’t always the case when it comes to rap in movies. Essentially, this just happens to be one of the cases where I don’t get what all the critical acclaim and fuss is about. Far be it from me to tell you not to pick it up though, as it’s definitely worth seeing. I might even be getting a copy to revisit it myself in the near future…
Box Office: $161,197,785
Yet another spiritual type flick, this one utilizing sports to help spread its message. As such, you can bet I didn’t bother with it, though I did hear that this one was better than expected. I suppose football and religion go hand in hand, so it’s forgivable to some degree, but this just isn’t my thing. If it’s yours…don’t let me stop you.
Box Office: $14,387,246 (and counting)
Inside Llewyn Davis
Yes, this modern classic from the Coen Brothers is now a member of the Criterion Collection. To honor that, here again is a portion of my review of the wonderful film: “Going into my initial screening of Inside Llewyn Davis back at the New York Film Festival a few months ago, I had no reason to expect that I’d even like it. As many of you know, I’m not the biggest Coen Brothers fan, so I’m not predisposed to enjoy what Joel Coen and Ethan Coen tend to unleash on audiences. Lo and behold though, I saw a near masterpiece, my second four star review worthy film of the year at the time, and my favorite film of the year/at NYFF, until of course Her closed out the fest. Inside Llewyn Davis is a beautiful, funny, sad, and ultimately haunting look at a struggling artist, amazingly captured in one of the performances of the year by Oscar Isaac. He’s perfect in the role, well deserving of every bit of acclaim that he’s been given so far in 2013. The supporting cast, led by Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, and Coens regular John Goodman, are charming and well up to the task of supporting Isaac, since this is clearly his show, through and through. The music is phenomenal, comprising the best soundtrack of the year so far, but what’s so tremendous about it is how integral it is the film itself. This isn’t a movie that has music in it, this is very much a musical movie, just not in the more traditional sense of the word. However you want to categorize it, one thing is for certain though, this is a flick destined to show up in the top three spots on my year end best of the year list…it’s that good.” If you’re a fan like me, this is a great purchase to make, plain and simple.
12 Monkeys: Season One
Continuum: Season Four
Gotham: The Complete First Season
Little House On The Prairie: Season Eight
The Saint: Seasons 3 & 4
Sisters: Season 3
Supernatural: The Complete Tenth Season
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
I came to this film late, which is unusual considering how often I enjoy coming of age stories. Well, I finally got to check it out and it does live up to the hype. Quirky, but not in the way that can be off-putting, this is a star making showcase for soon to be star Bel Powley as well as a calling card for actress turned filmmaker Marielle Heller. We’ll be hearing much more from them in the near future (Powley might be joining the Star Wars universe, in fact). Plenty of folks have said plenty about this one already, so I’ll just reiterate that this is well worth seeing if you haven’t done so already and the best release coming out this week…
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $1,477,002
Major Award: Won Best Actress for Bel Powley at the Gotham Awards
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!