This week, one of the very best films of 2016 hits Blu-ray and DVD, along with one of the weirdest, courtesy of Kevin Smith. You might say it’s a “hell” of a good slate. Today marks a special edition of the column too, as it functions also as a shopping guide with the holiday season fast approaching. There’s at least two or three worthwhile options here, so keep that in mind. Still, the PICK OF THE WEEK is a thing of beauty and the class of the year so far, in this writer’s humble opinion. You’ll see which one it is shortly, but first, there’s an obvious matter to take care of. Namely, it’s the Vintage pick!
In honor of this week’s release of “Moana” (which is quite good), the choice is obvious. You kind of have to cite “Frozen,” right? There’s a lot in common between the two, including catchy music. They’re both also just a ton of fun. Here’s a bit from one of our reviews on the site from the time of release:
I could go on and on all day about how great ‘Frozen’ is, but I think the highest compliment that I can pay it is to say that I smiled the whole way through.
It’s pure entertainment, just like “Moana.” You can’t go wrong!
An action comedy that gets by on the charm of its leading men. That’s not a bad thing, though it is damning with feint praise. Still, Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are worth seeing in anything, this included. Rolling Stone was able to sum it up well in their review, which states:
‘War Dogs’ is that rare contemporary comedy that knows how to make a laugh stick in your throat.
Keep your expectations in check, but definitely still check it out.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $43,034,523
Major Awards: None
Kevin Smith has never been for everyone. Recently, that’s only become a truer statement with things like “Tusk.” Still, this latest horror comedy has gotten a bit of a raw deal. It deserves a chance, even after a poor response greeted it at the Sundance Film Festival. Here’s a bit from our positive review on the site:
‘Yoga Hosers’ is a silly and almost unwaveringly plucky horror comedy. It represents Smith not only looking at life through the eyes of female youth, but having the time of his life doing so. For all of its flaws, this is a fun and charming movie, one that is obsessed with winning you over.
It’s a hell of a fun time. Smith is doing something different, and that deserves a chance. Give it a look and see what you think.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: None
Special Criterion Collection Section
“One Eyed Jack”
This western starring Marlon Brando is one of the titles getting this special treatment today. The Village Voice had this to say, back in the day:
A strange, tumid, engrossing western …
Give it a shot if you dig Brando and/or westerns!
“The Squid and the Whale”
Another top notch choice by Criterion, this is Noah Baumbach‘s early near masterpiece. A terrific coming-of-age story, it’s just wonderful. Jeff Daniels and Jesse Eisenberg especially do fine work. Furthermore, it holds up extremely well. Roger Ebert said the following in his highly positive review at the time:
‘The Squid and the Whale’ is essentially about how we grow up by absorbing what is useful in our parents and forgiving what is not.
You can’t go wrong with this one. Criterion fans should race out and pick it up!
Other Films Being Released
Here now is just a simple list of what else is hitting shelves today, sans my “hell” of a strong Pick of the Week:
“Hands of Stone”
The first of the 2016 boxing biopics wound up falling short, despite a strong push from Harvey Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival. This take from ReelViews pretty much sums it up:
Traditional and uninspired, it does an adequate job of relating Duran’s story but falls short of providing an engaging cinematic experience.
You could do worse this week. Still, you could do a lot better as well.
Box Office: $4,712,792
Pierce Brosnan is always a watchable actor, even when the material doesn’t serve him well. This is a clear example of that. The Los Angeles Times panned it in the following fashion:
This old-fashioned premise has been upgraded for the “smart house” era, but a plodding pace and a lack of technological specifics still make this picture about as state-of-the-art as a Commodore 64.
There’s enjoyment to be had here, courtesy of Brosnan, though not enough for a recommendation. It will fit better late at night on cable than as a new release pick up on Blu-ray or DVD.
Box Office: N/A
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
An animated tale that enraptured pundits earlier this year, it’s also a dark horse player in Best Animated Feature. “Zootopia” probably should watch its back. The box office was middling, but the rapturous reviews more than make up for that. Ignore this one at your own peril. BuzzFeed News had this rather interesting take on it:
It’s triumphant as well as terribly sad.
If you’re looking for a non-Disney animated feature to check out, this could be the one for you.
Box Office: $47,919,782 (and counting)
Why use the word resurrection when it’s a sequel to a film where the hero didn’t die in the first place? Sigh. Entertainment Weekly dismissed it, writing this review of the Jason Statham sequel that included the following:
I was really looking forward to ‘Mechanic: Resurrection.’ Shame on me.
You can do better, plain and simple.
Box Office: $21,218,403
“Hagana Next: Season Two”
“Lou Grant: The Complete Third Season”
“Masterpiece: Poldark Series 2”
“Prison School: The Complete Series”
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Hell or High Water”
The best film of the year so far, “Hell or High Water” is just a stunning motion picture. From the performances to the writing, it’s all pitch perfect. Jeff Bridges may be in line for another Oscar nomination here, but Ben Foster and Chris Pine are just as strong. Our rave review on the site began like this:
There’s a fine line to be walked when a film attempts to capture the cultural, political, and societal zeitgeist while also telling a genre story. When it doesn’t work, you wind up with something that just rings completely false through and through. When it works though, you get something special, a bit of cinema that truly resonates. ‘Hell or High Water’ is just that – something very special.
“Hell or High Water” is incredible and a must own. As it contends for Academy Award love, show it some love of your own and pick it up. You’ll be glad that you did!
Special Features: Featurettes
Total Box Office: $27,007,844
Major Award: None yet