This week, we have at long last a pretty solid grouping of recommendation worthy films coming to Blu-Ray and DVD. In fact, there’s nearly a half dozen worthwhile titles hitting store shelves. How about that? We’ve gotten used to just one or two a week here in the column, so we’re positively spoiled rotten today. To be fair, nothing outside of my top pick is an absolute must see, and even that one is going to fall outside of my top ten for the year, but still…yay for diversity this week. There’s just about something for everyone too, which I did. Anyway, my PICK OF THE WEEK is an incredibly underrated and under-seen dramedy from Tribeca earlier this year. I’ll detail that soon, but for now, I’m going to hit up the Vintage section!
In honor of this week’s release of Interstellar (my rave review of which should be up on the site soon, if it’s not already by the time you read this), I wanted to cite a Christopher Nolan film. While most would more readily talk about other works, I wanted to bring up his last movie…The Dark Knight Rises. In my four star review at the time (found here), I said the following: “Both epic and intimate in scale, Nolan is working on a level I’ve never seen from him before. Everything before this for him has been leading up to ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. The same goes for all the returning members of his cast, notably Christian Bale, who I feel gives us the definitive version of Bruce Wayne here, not to mention Batman. This is a brutal film about war, redemption, sacrifice, and a reflection of our current political climate, while still being a rousing and entertaining heroic adventure.” Is it easier to spot the flaws today? Yes, but still…I stand by my love for the picture. Without even realizing it, I’m becoming a big Nolan fan it seems, so fellow lovers of the filmmaker will want to pop this in before sitting down to his newest in a few days…
The other titles I’m going to discuss here is aren’t as good as my top choice, but they’re all more than worthy enough of discussion. As such, that’s what I’ll be doing right about now:
This documentary is one that I’m not in love with nearly as much as many other folks are, but I’m still someone with their thumb up for it. In my review (found right here), I had this to say: “I have no doubt in my mind that fans of the classic film Dog Day Afternoon will be very interested in this particular documentary. The Dog is a look at the real man behind the character essayed by Al Pacino in that all time great movie. Directors Allison Berg and François Keraudren are rather infatuated by the late John Wojtowicz (some might argue rightly so, even if I’m not really one of them), which both helps and hurts the doc. On the one hand, you’re learning about someone you’d likely never know about otherwise, but on the other hand, you don’t quite get the well-rounded tale that you’d probably prefer to be seeing. The good does outweigh the bad though…” That’s how I felt then and it’s still how I feel now.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $44,581 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet, but it’s in contention for various Documentary prizes this year
A small and quirky road trip comedy that I was very amused by back at Tribeca, this is the sort of thing that you can just sit back and enjoy without having to think too hard about it. By no means is it dumb or a stupid mainstream comedy, but as my grandfather would say…it won’t give you any heartburn. In fact, I’m eager to see what he thinks of this one, so join in and be sure to check it out as well. You want to be as cool as an 81 year old, right? Right?
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $726,819 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet, and that’s likely how it will remain
The One I Love
This movie is still incredibly difficult to talk about without spoiling everything. To quote from my review (which you can read here) at the time: “Back when I first saw this film at the Tribeca Film Festival, I struggled to figure out what to say about The One I Love. The thing is, it’s actually really hard to write about The One I Love…For one thing, the plot of the flick really centers around a major spoiler (really, the whole movie does), and to even talk too much in generalities is to risk giving something important away…First of all, both Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss are really good in the flick, and the direction by Charlie McDowell is very confident, which hints at a bright future for him. The movie is often clever and funnier than you’d expect at the start…” Especially if you know nothing about the plot, this is something to just dive right into. It’s a bit divisive, but well worth the look.
Special Features: Audio Commentary
Total Box Office: $513,447
Major Awards: None yet, but the Spirit Awards could recognize this one
A lowbrow and raunchy time travel comedy? Yup, that’s what this is, and believe it or not, it succeeds too. In my unlikely positive review (check that out here), I wrote the following: “If ever there was a raunchy sex comedy that had something in common with the likes of Groundhog Day (or this year’s Edge of Tomorrow for that matter), it’s Premature. This flick is the 80’s sex comedy answer to those time loop films, and it’s better than it probably should be. Cheesy in a way and decidedly a throwback, it manages to meld the sensibilities of Judd Apatow and John Hughes into something pretty enjoyable. It’s not a high art premise (basically imagine if instead of Tom Cruise or Bill Murray in their scenarios, it was someone like Jason Biggs‘ character from American Pie), but it is a fairly high concept one, so credit to co-writer/director Dan Beers for pulling it off. This is the sort of comedy where most of the jokes are quick one liners meant to get a chuckle out of you, and more often than not it succeeds.” It’s another tiny title, but one that’s really easy to enjoy, provided you like your comedies with more than a hint of raunch to them.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: None
Other Films Being Released
Here now is just a pretty simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my own personal recommendation. Behold:
The Christmas Candle
I’m not one for Christmas movies as a general rule, so this was never on my radar. I know some of you are suckers for holiday flicks though, so if I’m talking about you, feel free to indulge with this one if you so desire…
Box Office: $2,258,620
A Five Star Life
Up until I wrote this column I had barely even known that this foreign title existed. Such is the nature of the beast sometimes, so if you’re interested in checking it out, you’ll sadly be on your own initially. I can’t vouch for it one way or another.
Box Office: $306,917
This drama has a very decent cast, but slipped right past me until this very moment. I’m keen to give it a shot, but right now it’d be a blind viewing for anyone, be it you or I. Is that worth it? Well, only one way to find out I suppose, right?
Box Office: $59,696
I did not hear kind things about this adventure flick, but then again, I didn’t expect to either. I’m sure at some point I’ll get around to it on cable, but for now, I think it can safely be banished to the future discount bin at Best Buy where it probably belongs.
Box Office: $72,688,614
So much wasted money and talent here. In my less than positive review (found here), I had this to say: “Visually lush for the most part but narratively boring, Maleficent is probably the least interesting way to spin the Sleeping Beauty story into something new. Production designer turned director Robert Stromberg knows how to deal with effects work and what’s on the screen, but scribe Linda Woolverton falls into the trap she fell into with Alice in Wonderland, namely with not bothering to come up with anything compelling for her classic characters to do. Yes, Angelina Jolie has a nice presence here as the title character, but she has surprisingly little to actually do during the running time.” A vast disappointment that really doesn’t need any more of your money…
Box Office: $241,200,085 (and counting)
A Most Wanted Man
I sadly had to miss every single screening of this one back before its theatrical run, so I’m only first getting to the movie later on today. As one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final performances, I think it’s basically a must watch, so while I can’t overtly go ahead and recommend it, I think it’s something to at least strongly consider.
Box Office: $17,231,449
Planes: Fire and Rescue
Not being much of a fan of the first one, I skipped out on this animated sequel that originally was going direct to video. I heard decent enough things, but it’s just not something I was in an hurry to go out of my way for. If you’ve got small children, that might be a different story for you though…
Box Office: $59,136,278
Set Up: All In
I don’t like dance movies one bit, so I’ve successfully avoided this franchise. Seeing no reason to mess with tradition, I skipped this one as well. If you’re a fan, perhaps you’ve been eagerly awaiting this release. In that case…enjoy.
Box Office: $14,904,384
The Big Bang Theory: Holiday Episodes
Dads: The Complete Series
Hot in Cleveland: Season Five
King of the Hill: The Complete Seventh Season
King of the Hill: The Complete Eighth Season
The Newsroom: The Complete Second Season (Joey’s Pick)
White Collar: The Complete Fifth Season
PICK OF THE WEEK
Thanks to a screener sent back before its quick theatrical run, I’ve had a chance to watch this modern day take on The Big Chill a few times and it’s just so damn good, I’m thrilled I can once again try and convince you all to see it. To quote from my very positive review (found right here) a bit: “This dramedy is tremendously well acted by its entire ensemble, while Zwick’s writing and direction suggest a real strong future for him going forward. The flick is a bit on the small side, but the cast is full of recognizable names and faces, so hopefully it won’t get lost in the shuffle…About Alex is very charming and enjoyable dramedy that seeks to be a bit more and mostly succeeds. Zwick’s ambitions might not be too out there, but his filmmaking and the efforts of the cast all combine to make for something supremely satisfying.” If you’re in the market for something both amusing and emotional, you really can’t go wrong with this one. Don’t let it pass you by again!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Award: None yet, and sadly don’t hold your breath for anything
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!