This week, a unique biopic of Jackie Kennedy leads the charge of new titles hitting Blu-ray and DVD. It’s one of two Oscar-nominated films hitting shelves today. Now, without any dillydallying, let us dive in to the Academy approved goodness at hand…
PICK OF THE WEEK
A look at the most trying days of Jackie Kennedy’s life, “Jackie” is really something special. Natalie Portman is transcendent in the title role, while director Pablo Larrain gives us as much the crafting of a biopic as a biopic itself. It’s ambitious, dangerous, unique and completely captivating. This is a tremendous film through and through, one that deserves your attention in a big way. For many, it was among 2016’s top tier films and a crowning achievement. Here’s just a small piece of Clayton’s positive review:
A biopic that breaks the barriers and conventions of the genre, Pablo Larrain‘s ‘Jackie’ layers itself as a deeply felt drama masquerading as a new form horror venture. Exulting an adept and dexterous performance from Natalie Portman, ‘Jackie’ transcends the ideas and imagery of the former first lady, and thrusts her into the spotlight of tragedy.
Despite not winning any Oscars, “Jackie” seems destined to go down as a landmark biopic achievement. In addition, Portman turns in career best work. If you didn’t see it in theaters, you owe it to yourself to pick it up now!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $13,837,559 (and counting)
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Actress (for Portman), Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score the Academy Awards
The best animated musical of 2016, this also functioned as further proof that Dwayne Johnson can do absolutely anything. Lin-Manuel Miranda and classic Disney sentiment make for very comfortable bedfellows. It stands shoulder to shoulder with many similar princess tales from the studio. Out of AFI Fest last year, we put out this highly affectionate review of the flick:
While ‘Moana’ doesn’t chart any new routes in the originality department, it provides a fireplace of human warmth. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s co-written songs are as melodically soothing as they are unforgettable.
It really does have charm to spare. It’s not “Jackie,” but it’s well worth picking up.
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes Featurettes and more
Total Box Office: $246,898,402 (and counting)
Major Awards: Nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song at the Academy Awards
In honor of this week’s release of “Kong: Skull Island,” the pick is going to be a bit of an obvious one. It’s “Godzilla,” the recent reboot which will eventually tie in with this one to form a Warner Brothers monster universe. Despite a bit of a bad rap of late, this is a compelling and unique take on a giant disaster epic. Gareth Edwards showed here why he was the right choice for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Here’s a taste of our review right here on the site:
Director Gareth Edwards goes from the micro budgeted ‘Monsters’ to this $100 million-plus production, and it’s a seamless transition. Edwards goes the Christopher Nolan route in taking a previously campy product very seriously, resulting in a film that entertains not just as big budget entertainment, but also on other levels as well, including those who are reverent of the original Toho incarnation of the big fella.
As this universe comes together, be sure to revisit “Godzilla” in order to prepare for his eventual battle with Kong!
Other Films Being Released
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides recommended titles of “Jackie” and “Moana”:
A well-regarded psychological thriller that played the festival circuit last year, there were nonetheless a few detractors, including a certain writer here at the Awards Circuit who saw it at Tribeca. Variety also was seemingly unimpressed, writing in their review the following:
With her confident second feature, director Sophia Takal (‘Green’) takes on Tinseltown misogyny and the toxic rivalry between friends, but that’s mere prelude to a gonzo meta-fiction that deconstructs itself nearly to death.
It’s undeniably ambitious and full of potential, but it quickly goes off the rails.
Box Office: $17,102
“The Eyes of My Mother”
This gothic horror tale also developed a fairly passionate following last year. The Hollywood Reporter attempts to explain why:
A grizzly tale of American Gothic served up with an unexpected dash of moodily melodic Portuguese fado, ‘The Eyes of My Mother’ is both strange and strangely enthralling.
If you have the constitution for horror, this could be up your alley.
Box Office: $27,099
“I Am Michael”
“I Am Michael ” is an indie starring James Franco that got thrown on the shelf after its Sundance Film Festival debut. This controversial drama received a surprisingly evenhanded reception when it went into general release. Take this review from indieWIRE, for example:
Justin Kelly’s first feature offers an evenhanded portrait of its controversial subject, but it doesn’t make his decisions easy to take.
It’s a flawed film, but one that’s definitely compelling.
Box Office: N/A
A horror flick that also spent a lot of time on the shelf, this was actually savaged by critics. The AV Club had this to say:
It’s all a wild jumble of half-baked, derivative ideas and arbitrary rules, all of which add up to a suspense-free horror narrative as murky as its lighting.
Box Office: $4,799,774
The latest from Dito Montiel did not receive the critical acclaim that followed him when “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” was released. In fact, it was almost universally disliked. The Los Angeles Times had one of the kinder takes on it, stating:
A messy movie that has a powerful message but struggles to communicate it with clarity and without an excess of sentimentality.
Box Office: N/A
Nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Feature category, this tale has a very interesting background. The review below from The Washington Post just hints at that:
The movie is a tremendous accomplishment, especially considering that the cast had never seen cameras before – much less movies – yet still agreed to star in the drama.
Completists should give this one a look after working through the likes of “Jackie” and “Moana” during the week.
Box Office: $46,654
“Trespass Against Us”
One of two recent releases to feature both Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson together on screen. At least it’s better than “Assassin’s Creed.” However, that doesn’t say much. Variety agreed, writing:
As a thief trying to break away from his criminal father, Michael Fassbender can’t act his way out of this pile of grungy nonsense.
These actors deserved better.
Box Office: $5,711
Special Criterion Collection Section
A heartfelt drama fully deserving of this treatment, Criterion has once again made an unimpeachable selection. Here’s a bit of what Clayton had to say about this one in his review at the time:
Subtle and quietly moving, Andrew Haigh‘s fragrantly appealing ’45 Years’ showcases enriching performances from the darling Charlotte Rampling and the stoic Tom Courtenay.
This one comes highly recommended!
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