This week, the great Shirley MacLaine sinks her teeth into the most substantial part she’s had in some time. Her role in “The Last Word” represents the best of the bunch hitting Blu-Ray and DVD today. Here we go!

PICK OF THE WEEK

The Last Word

This manipulative yet endearing dramedy is centrally a strong character study and vehicle for MacLaine. She makes the most of this role, elevating everything around her. It’s one of the year’s better performances by an actress. In addition, it proves that MacLaine has still got it. Variety agrees that she saves it, writing:

MacLaine has something that shines through and elevates a film like this one. The movie is prefab indie whimsy, but she gives it an afterglow.

MacLaine is what makes this worthy of a small recommendation. If you like her, you’ll like this movie. Also, she does have nice chemistry with Amanda Seyfried. Fans of the latter will enjoy that aspect.

Special Features: Previews
Total Box Office: $1,783,421
Major Awards: None yet

Vintage Viewing

In honor of this week’s release of “The Hero,” the pick today is going to be the last collaboration between star Sam Elliott and filmmaker Brett Haley. It’s “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” which nearly got Blythe Danner an Oscar nomination a few years back. It’s such a beautiful little movie, full of strong pleasures. In addition to Danner and Elliott, Martin Starr is terrific here as well. Time Out had this to say:

Avoids the obvious, delivering a bittersweet observational drama which pulls the heartstrings.

Elliott has been blowing audiences away, not just here and in this week’s big new release, but also in scene stealing turns like “Grandma“. Get yourself ready for “The Hero” (review here) by revisiting this one today!

Other Films Being Released

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the recommended MacLaine movie “The Last Word”:

Aftermath

Arnold Schwarzenegger goes dramatic in this tale of grief. Reviews were middling, including this one from the New Yorker:

Sadly, as the characters converge, the rest of the movie loses force; it slackens and then rushes, and the time frames feel out of joint.

At least Schwarzenegger is doing something new, right?

Box Office: N/A

All Nighter

Putting Emile Hirsch and J.K. Simmons in a buddy movie is a terrific concept. Sadly, the execution here was hit or miss. Variety didn’t care for it, stating:

The part may be tailor-made for Simmons’ no-nonsense persona, and his performance reliably rock solid, but the bland execution of director Gavin Wiesen and the uninspired scripting of Seth Owen have no comic zing.

What a shame.

Box Office: N/A

The Assignment

This B level action flick from Walter Hill had some potential. Alas, it was not met, at least according to the AV Club:

Calling it disappointing would be an understatement.

Bummer.

Box Office: N/A

Beauty and the Beast

Disney’s latest live action reimagining of an animated classic made all the money. Most enjoyed it, though some, like our own fearless leader Clayton, were more on the fence. That being said, his take was fairly kind:

“Beauty and the Beast” is not without its flaws. With that said, it’s a wonderful family film for all to enjoy.

You already know if you need to pick this one up or not. In addition, while Dan Stevens is a lukewarm beast, Emma Watson did make a fetching Belle.

Box Office: $502,098,471 (and counting)

A Cure for Wellness

One of the year’s weirdest mainstream releases, bar none. At times, there’s a horrific beauty on hand. At other times, it sinks within its absurdities and plot holes. It’s flawed yet oddly compelling to watch flounder about. Entertainment Weekly more or less had it on the nose with their take:

Narratively preposterous and probably an hour too long, it’s the year’s first big howler.

It’s not worthy of a recommendation, but it is different enough to warrant some mild consideration this week.

Box Office: $8,106,986

The Sense of an Ending

This rare adult centered drama was enjoyed by a fair amount of critics. Some, however, weren’t fond of it. One such example was from the New York Times:

The film totters into a redemptive sentimentality that wouldn’t even play if it were made to seem more earned.

Make of this what you will.

Box Office: $1,274,420

The Ticket

A classic premise is wasted with rote execution here, wasting a solid cast. Our own review here at the site said as much, beginning with the following:

A timeless story is normally a timeless story for a reason. It doesn’t survive multiple incarnations by accident. In the case of “The Ticket,” this independent drama manages to take a fairly timeless premise and does far too little with it.

Alas. Furthermore, it’s the weaker of the two Stevens releases today.

Box Office: N/A

A United Kingdom

Once considered a big awards player, this real life romantic drama was bumped to this year and had a quiet release. Still, the response was strong, if not Oscar worthy. The Hollywood Reporter was a fan:

A rousing true love story brings African history to life.

Keep your expectations in check here and you should enjoy.

Box Office: $3,902,185

Special Criterion Collection Section

Ugetsu

Today’s addition to the collection is this classic Japanese film. Here’s what Criterion has to say:

Moving between the terrestrial and the otherworldly, Ugetsu reveals essential truths about the ravages of war, the plight of women, and the pride of men.

If you like the sound of that, give it a look. Additionally, Criterion never lets you down!

TV Releases

“Becker: The Complete Series”
“CHiPs: The Complete Series”
“Doctor Who: Series Ten, Part One”
“Father Dowling Mysteries: The Complete Series”
“Hong Kong Phooey: The Complete Series”
“Joan of Arcadia: The Complete Series”
“Jonny Quest: The Complete First Season”
“Magilla Gorilla: The Complete Series”
“Numb3rs: Complete Series Pack”
“Scooby-Doo Where Are You! The Complete Third Season”
“Top Cat: The Complete Series”
“Van Helsing: Season One”
“Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? The Complete Series”
“The Yogi Bear Show: The Complete Series”
“The Young Pope: Season One”

Thoughts on what to watch this week on Blu-ray or DVD? Share them in the comments below!