This week, a fairly small amount of 2015 releases are hitting Blu-Ray and DVD, though more than one of them is a pretty solid option for your viewing pleasure. This is far from one of the largest slates we’ve ever had so it’s essentially a case of quality over quantity today. My top pick was ostensibly a choice between two indie movies, but it really wasn’t a choice at all. For me, my PICK OF THE WEEK is easily one of the best films to come out of the Sundance Film Festival this year. You’ll see which I went with in a few moments, but for now…it’s Vintage time again folks!
In honor of this week’s release of The Night Before (which I saw last night and have a review coming for shortly), I wanted to cite the previous collaboration between Jonathan Levine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Seth Rogen. It’s 50/50, a touching dramedy about dealing with cancer. It doesn’t sound particularly like a crowd pleaser, I know, but it really is. Both Gordon-Levitt and Rogen give perhaps the best performances of their careers so far in Levine’s winner of a flick. It wasn’t quite given the attention that it deserved, but it’s had a healthy second life, so if you haven’t seen it yet somehow, give it a shot this week…you definitely won’t regret it.
The other title I’m going to discuss here today isn’t at all in the same league as my top pick, but it’s nothing to completely dismiss either. Behold:
Go figure, the one time filmmaker Stephen Daldry goes outside his comfort zone, he makes a movie that I can embrace. My review (found here) begins as such: “Finally! For his entire career so far, filmmaker Stephen Daldry has basically followed the same playbook time and time again. To some, including members of the Academy, that’s been a recipe for success, but I’ve been waiting for him to try something new. Well, in the case of Trash, we have Daldry really attempting something different than usual, with mostly strong results. A genre mash up that mixes crime drama, action, and even some comedy into a flick that’s closer to Slumdog Millionaire than The Hours, Daldry might not be making an overt Oscar contender (his Best Picture nomination streak is coming to an end), but he’s making what I feel is his best work yet. Trash is a crowd pleaser as much as anything, which is perhaps surprising considering how often Daldry goes for tearjerker type tales instead, but he’s looking to entertain here. Though in some ways it does follow the typical Daldry structure in starting out and ending very strong but losing focus at times in the middle, this is his first film for me that’s an out and out success, with part of that perhaps being do to the screenplay by filmmaker in his own right Richard Curtis. Your mileage with him may vary, of course, but regardless of where you stand previously on Daldry, this should be enjoyable.” If you’re in the mood for something different, this is something to give a look to.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $17,484
Major Awards: None yet, and don’t hold your breath
Other Films Being Released
Here now is just a simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my recommendation. Behold:
The latest outing from Ken Loach is one that I haven’t seen yet, but oddly enough, I haven’t heard the usual raves that I tend to for one of his works. I’m still intrigued and will check it out eventually, but this does give me a bit of pause. Make of that what you will…
Box Office: $560,592 (and counting)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
I had very much wanted to see this action flick but a screening conflict prevented me from doing so. Oddly enough though, it seems like most people didn’t see it, as this is one of two notable flops coming to Blu-Ray and DVD this week. I’m going to pop it in soon though, so if you’re like me, perhaps you’ll double back on it now that it’s out and available to own?
Box Office: $45,445,109 (and counting)
Another film that I’ve yet to get a look at, this documentary is on my “to see” list for sure, but it just hasn’t happened yet. Considering how it’s a doc that could end up being Oscar nominated, it does pay to seek this one out. Luckily, that just became a whole lot easier to do…
Box Office: $2,332,127 (and counting)
We Are Your Friends
As annoying a film as any that I’ve seen so far in 2015, there was almost nothing to like about this one, which rightfully was the other bomb coming out today. My review (found right here) says the following: “While I loved Magic Mike and actually enjoyed Entourage a decent amount, if you took the very worst elements from both of those films, mixed in as many movie cliches as possible, and set it to a ton of EDM (Electronic Dance Music), that’s basically what you get with We Are Your Friends. If you’re a fan of the music, that might make this more bearable, but I’m indifferent to the sound and found it one of the least annoying parts of this garbage. Zac Efron gets a slightly more mature role than usual, but I use the word mature loosely, as much of the part consists of him doing incredibly immature things. Filmmaker Max Joseph seems to think that audiences will enjoy a bunch of 20 somethings slacking, dealing drugs, and generally behaving badly while constantly claiming they’re about to grow up. Done in a more interesting way, that could be compelling, but it’s presented so much like an MTV music video that you just feel gross watching it all go down. Between that and a super generic artist trying to make it in a corporate world coming of age story, which we’ve seen so many times before, and that’s not much to offer here. We Are Your Friends is among the ten worst things I’ve seen all year, with very little going for it of any note.” Avoid this one at all costs…trust me there.
Box Office: $3,591,417
Justice League Unlimited: The Complete Series
Last Man Standing: The Complete Fourth Season
McHale’s Navy: The Complete Series
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: The Complete Second Season
‘Til Death: The Complete Third Season
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Stanford Prison Experiment
As someone who was fascinated by the study when I first heard about it in Psychology class in college, I’d been waiting for a movie version for years. Luckily, the film didn’t disappoint, as I said in this review (here), which begins as such: “One of the most captivating experiences I’ve had in a theater so far this year, The Stanford Prison Experiment is absolutely riveting. Uncomfortable by design but so well made that you can’t look away, it stands out in a singular cinematic way. The film is tremendously well made, superbly compelling, and features an embarrassment of riches when it comes to top notch performances from its ensemble cast. I was always intrigued by the real life study, so this dramatic retelling had my interest from the first day it was announced. I was as curious as I was doubtful that it could be made cinematic, but my how wrong I turned out to be. It’s thought provoking, stays very close to the true story, and manages to be deeply cinematic and uncomfortable, as only a great film can. Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez and writer Tim Talbott give this ensemble (one of the best of the year so far) tons of opportunities to shine, and they all do, from Billy Crudup and Ezra Miller to Michael Angarano and Olivia Thirlby, just to name a select few. Everyone is great, helping to make The Stanford Prison Experiment so memorable. It might prove a bit too disturbing for some, but this is the sort of under the radar independent title that deserves to be seen.” Make it your business to see this one ASAP folks. It will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $649,690
Major Award: None yet, but the Independent Spirit Awards could take a liking to this one
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!