This week, the Blu-Ray and DVD releases coming our way are littered with the corpses of would be prestige award contenders. In fact, the grouping is so lacking in anything I feel passion for, I’ve gone in a very different direction today. Yes, my top pick is actually going to be from the world of television, as opposed to cinema. Why, might you ask? Well, for my PICK OF THE WEEK, I could have gone with either an Academy Award hopeful that misfired or a small scale festival flick that didn’t do much for me, but why do that. Instead, I opted for the newest season of a show on Netflix that I really like. Considering how little TV I watch, that should be saying something. You’ll see what I mean shortly, but for now, it’s on to the Vintage section for us!
In honor of this week’s release of Captain Fantastic (which I absolutely adore…look for my review on Friday), I thought I’d cite my previous favorite performance from Viggo Mortensen. It’s A History of Violence, which I think is not only Mortensen’s now second best turn to date, but also David Cronenberg’s best overall film. Roger Ebert had very kind things to say in his review, writing “This is not a movie about plot, but about character. It is about how people turn out the way they do, and about whether the world sometimes functions like a fool’s paradise.” I wholeheartedly agree, though overall I consider it to be a near masterpiece. Definitely revisit it, but also be very excited for Mortensen’s new movie. It’s amazing, trust me.
With only one thing to honor in any notable way today, and a non traditional one at that, here now is just a simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my recommendation. Behold:
The Adderall Diaries
I missed this one when it had a brief festival and theatrical run, but like most James Franco experimental outings, it seems like not much was missed (even though I’m consistently intrigued by his attempts at art). The Village Voice had this to say: “Franco seems the ideal interpreter of The Adderall Diaries, but he’s reduced the memoirist’s tough introspection to misery porn.” I’ll eventually get around to it, but there’s certainly no hurry.
Box Office: $13,191
Boy and the World
One of last year’s animated contenders, I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard very good things. Entertainment Weekly has a review that mostly sells me on it, saying: “Although the film is a bit abstract and largely free of dialogue (what little speaking there is is a whispered babble of tongues), it has a universal simplicity-we’re seeing life through the wide, innocent eyes of a naif.” If you like animation, this seems like something to pick up and enjoy!
Box Office: $129,480
By the Sea
My how I disliked this film, despite going in very optimistic that I would have loved it. Painfully slow, unintentionally funny (a good third of the movie is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt bonding over what’s almost a glory hole), and utterly pretentious, it’s a complete waste of time and talent. Rolling Stone rightfully panned it, writing the following: “The Pitts, it must be said, suffer gorgeously. But Jolie-Pitt’s attempt to emulate European art cinema is a slow, sodden, stupefyingly dull take on a 1970s marriage gone bad.” It was close to torture for me, but if you were a fan, don’t let me stop you. If you’re contemplating giving it a shot though, I might urge you to reconsider. Follow the beat of your own drummer though folks…
Box Office: $538,460
I’m a fan of the original from Eli Roth, but considering how this is the first of three releases this week with a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, perhaps it’s best that I skipped it? The Los Angeles Times hated it, writing: “Roth isn’t exactly known for being critically defensible or for exercising directorial restraint, but Travis Z somehow manages to up the gore quotient.” Alas. On to the next one then!
Box Office: N/A
The Family Fang
I saw this one earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival and was frankly kind of underwhelmed by it. Personally, I preferred Jason Bateman’s directorial debut Bad Words, but that’s me. The Detroit News sums it up perfectly for me: “Bateman knows his fractured family well, but “Fang” doesn’t give him enough to chew on. The characters are all scarred, but the film doesn’t leave a mark.” That’s this one to a T. You could definitely do worse, but you can do better as well, which you’ll see at the end of the column.
Box Office: $262,921
I Saw the Light
Remember when this biopic of Hank Williams was going to be a huge Oscar player? Then, we saw it, and it was delayed into this year, more or less eliminating it as a legitimate contender. Reviews were fairly poor, with only Tom Hiddleston getting praise for the lead role. TIME Magazine had this to say: “Sadly, the movie is a snooze, but see it just for the magnificent Hiddleston, who honors Williams’ greatness but also wriggles beyond it.” When that’s about as good as the reviews get, that’s not good. Not good at all.
Box Office: $1,646,788
A huge hit internationally, to the tune of over a half billion dollars, Stephen Chow apparently knocked this one out of the park. The Hollywood Reporter had its thumb up, saying: “Chow and his army of writers (seriously, it took nine people to write this) get terrific support from a strong cast of regulars and newcomers who really sell the story, cheesy special effects aside.” I’m keen to check this one out, as it’s easily one of the year’s biggest blockbusters.
Box Office: $3,232,685 ($550,577,543 in non USA box office)
Mothers & Daughters
Here’s a title that I didn’t even know existed, which is fine considering the reviews I came across. The Toronto Star wrote the following about it: “First-time feature director Paul Duddridge seems determined to keep things superficial, while Paige Cameron’s uninspired dialogue hardly helps.” I probably won’t bother with this one, and you likely shouldn’t either.
Box Office: N/A
There’s a ton of comedic talent within this film, but as the second title with a 0% RT score, it’s apparently wasted. The Los Angeles Times despised it, writing: “This spectacularly dumb and unfunny film will likely bore even the staunchest fans of the “Hangover” movies, of which “Search” is a kind of distant, fatally impoverished cousin.” Alas. Can’t win em all, right?
Box Office: $4,571
Besides the awful hair piece on Vince Vaughn, the only thing I know about this action flick is that it’s the other movie to get 0% from RT today. The AV Club didn’t care for it, stating: “This is the kind of material that can’t be elevated without help from behind the camera. Instead, the actors are left to gesture aimlessly through a stupefacient fog of clichés and insipid direction.” I might be morbidly curious, but don’t feel the need to join me in this potentially tragic endeavor.
Box Office: $21,256
Death in Paradise: Season 4
Get Smart: Season 1
The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection *(Joey’s Pick)*
The Real Ghostbusters: Volume One
The Real Ghostbusters: Volume Two
Saving Hope: The Complete Second Season
PICK OF THE WEEK
House of Cards: Season Four
Yup, I actually went there and opted for a television series this time around. I’ve long been a fan of this Netflix original series, sticking with it since the outset, and the new season was easily the best since the first one. The AV Club was fond of the fourth go around too, writing “House Of Cards has always been a cynical gloss on power and politics, but now that we’ve entered the Trump Zone, it looks almost aspirational. Mister, we could use a man like Frank Underwood again.” I’m consistently thrilled by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, while Michael Kelly is a secret supporting player MVP. It’s a ton of fun and well worth catching up on, in case you’ve given up. Especially this week, it’s clearly the cream of the crop, so give it a first or second shot. I doubt you’ll regret it!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Award: None yet, but expect some nominations for sure
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!