This week, you just might be loving the biggest release of note hitting Blu-ray and DVD. Puns aside, this is a top heavy grouping, helped out by the Criterion Collection getting a strong debut. That pairing plus multiple Oscar nominees in the bunch means there’s a lot to check out on Blu-ray and DVD today. Check out the top picks below:
PICK OF THE WEEK
This biopic took a very unique route to becoming an Academy Award nominee. Initially thought to be a huge contender out of the Cannes Film Festival, it sort of faded during the precursor season. This was despite strong reviews and baity subject matter. Then, on Oscar morning, “Loving” was revived in the form of a Ruth Negga citation in Best Actress. The movie itself is pretty strong, if very understated. Clayton sums it up well with his review out of the Middleburg Film Festival, which begins as such:
‘Loving,’ Jeff Nichols’ passionate look at injustice in our nation’s history, can best be described with one word: understated.
“Loving” is perhaps even too understated for its own good. Regardless, this is still a strong film that’s well worth seeing. Additionally, fans of Jeff Nichols should delight in seeing him showcase some further range as a filmmaker.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $7,710,234
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Actress for Negga at the Academy Awards
Nothing about this animated flick should have worked. Even more so than “The LEGO Movie” and its franchise, this is a craven money grab and capitalization on a line of toys. Still, it did work. Also, it’s now an Oscar nominee in Best Original Song. Loving this one is perhaps a bridge too far, but as you’ll see in our review here at the site, it will undoubtedly make you smile:
Looked at from afar, there’s really nothing to suggest that ‘Trolls’ is going to be anything other than an overt cash grab. After all, it’s a movie based on a line of toys. So, it’s a pleasant surprise to report that ‘Trolls’ is a charming bit of animation, full of lively music and good vibes. You won’t be enraptured by the story, but you’ll probably smile a whole lot.
The movie has charm to spare, so give it a shot, especially if you have young children to share it with.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $152,803,200 (and counting)
Major Awards: Nominated in Best Original Score at the Academy Awards
In honor of this week’s release of “The LEGO Batman Movie,” it makes perfect sense to go with the film that let this one (which is terrific, by the way) come into existence. It’s “The LEGO Movie,” which has had folks loving it since its initial theatrical release. That includes staff here at The Awards Circuit, with this review showing why:
Colorful and heartfelt, fascinating and involving, thoroughly quotable and intellectually sound, ‘The Lego Movie’ stands tall…’The Lego Movie’ doesn’t just deserve your time — it cherishes it.
Be sure to check out “The LEGO Batman Movie” when it opens, but until then, this modern classic will certainly do.
Other Films Being Released
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides “Loving” and “Trolls”:
“The 9th Life of Louis Drax”
A psychological thriller is harder to pull off than some think, and this one apparently did not pull it off. The Hollywood Reporter had this to say:
What might be engrossing in Liz Jensen’s source novel is oddly opaque in this screen mishmash, and much of what’s meant to be tense or suspenseful is merely awkward.
Seems like nothing to make a fuss over.
Box Office: N/A
This holiday comedy seemed almost too eager to please, which led to a bloated feeling all around. The AV Club chimes in:
It busies itself assembling the kind and number of subplots that create mounting dread about the marathon of resolution they will require in the final half hour.
Outside of the holiday season, this doesn’t appear to be anything worth seeking out. Furthermore, isn’t it odd to release a Christmas-themed flick now? Just saying.
Box Office: $42,065,185
Once upon a time, this Philip Roth adaptation from Ewan McGregor was pegged as a dark horse Academy Award contender. Then, people began to see it, and it turned out to be pretty poor, instead of an Oscar player. Reelviews panned it as such:
Although it’s not possible to argue that Philip Roth’s 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning book couldn’t be made into a powerful, compelling film, this isn’t it.
What a shame.
Box Office: $544,098
This horror tale was a divisive one, with some digging its homages and others just shrugging it off. The Hollywood Reporter wasn’t a fan:
Often narratively cryptic and stylistically uneven.
Box Office: N/A
The thriller has a pretty timely setting, no doubt about that. However, the end result was pretty hit or miss for most pundits. Here’s a bit from indieWIRE‘s review:
Give ‘Desierto’ credit for this: There has never been a more appropriate time for a tense thriller about Mexican immigrants avoiding the murderous advances of a gun-wielding American lunatic.
Special note: there’s a potentially upsetting dog death in this one, so keep that in mind.
Box Office: $2,002,036
“The Eagle Huntress”
A documentary that very nearly scored an Academy Award nomination, this one was pretty well liked on the precursor circuit. Additionally, Clayton was a fan, as seen in his festival review. Here’s a bit from that:
Films that showcase different cultures from around the world are sorely lacking in our filmmaking landscape. Good thing we have films like ‘The Eagle Huntress.’ Director Otto Bell, in his impressive debut, is a natural of the lens. Bell captures some breathtaking images while harnessing the simplicity and magic of his subjects.
Seems like a solid other option to consider this week.
Box Office: $2,935,539 (and counting)
“Frank and Lola”
Michael Shannon is an incredibly watchable actor. Even without top notch material, he’s just plain enjoyable. This is one of those occasions. Entertainment Weekly said the following about the movie:
It’s Shannon whose wildcard intensity turns ‘Frank & Lola’ into something more than the script’s collection of hardboiled implausibilities.
If you dig Shannon, take a look.
Box Office: $9,188
“Life on the Line”
A film with a zero on Rotten Tomatoes is never one to pay much attention to. Variety agrees, writing:
John Travolta dodges downed power lines, but can’t escape the clichés.
On to the next one.
Box Office: N/A
This raunchy animated comedy looked to satirize Hollywood and the film world in general. Sadly, it failed on all levels. Overall, it just didn’t work. Variety, who was a bit kinder in its put down, stated:
Revels in the foulness of 21st-century pop culture, albeit to a degree that’s ultimately both exhausting and redundant.
It was a real disappointment. In addition, a top notch voice cast was absolutely wasted.
Box Office: N/A
Idris Elba deserves a really strong action vehicle. This isn’t the one, however, as The Hollywood Reporter states:
It ends up playing like a shoddy blend of ‘V for Vendetta’ and ‘Mr. Robot’ but without the budget bandwidth or style of either.
Box Office: $50,269
Special Criterion Collection Section
One of the more unique documentaries in some time, this one goes straight to the Collection, and rightly so. In addition, it’s another near Academy Award nominee. Time Out raves, writing:
A thoughtful examination of the role of the documentary-maker.
Pick this one up and see why the film is so thoroughly embraced among critics and audiences.
“227: The Complete First Season”
“Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete 2nd Season”
“Dynasty: The Complete First Season”
“From Dusk Till Dawn: Season Three”
“Penny Dreadful: The Complete Series”
“Quantum Leap: The Complete Series”
“Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series”
“True Blood: Complete Seasons 1 & 2”
“The Twilight Zone (1980s): The Complete Series”
“Vice Principals: The Complete First Season”