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New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (11/24/15)

ricki and the flash

Ricki_and_the_FlashThis week, we once again have a pretty small amount of 2015 releases that are hitting Blu-Ray and DVD, though this week also happens to be low on quality, in addition to quantity. Today is one of the weaker slates of titles coming to store shelves, but it happens. Alas. My top pick was easy this week, as it’s the only one in the group that I liked. For me, my PICK OF THE WEEK is a bit of a disappointment, but still a charmer. You’ll see what I mean by that in a few moments, but for now, it’s Vintage time again folks!

Vintage Viewing

RockyBalboa2006In honor of this week’s release of Creed (which I loved, as you can see here in this rave review), I wanted to cite the last film in the franchise. It’s Rocky Balboa, and up until Creed was the only sequel to truly feel akin to the original. It’s also one of the few Sylvester Stallone performances to actually be undeniably strong (even if he’s never been better than in the new one), while up until then closing the book on this character. It’s a legitimately good sequel, no joking. With the magnificent new one out this week, give this one another shot, especially if you dismissed it the first time around. It’ll wind up making for a great double feature…

Other Films Being Released

With just one thing to honor today, here now is just a simple list of what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my recommendation. Behold:

American Ultra

What a disappointment. From my very disappointed review (found right here) which began as such: “There’s enough of a solid foundation holding up American Ultra to make you logically expect more than it ultimately has to offer. The film has its moments, but most of those are due to the efforts of Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, who do their best to make this picture worthwhile. Less an stoner adventure comedy and more of a meandering action flick, director Nima Nourizadeh and writer Max Landis never seem on the same page with each other, no pun intended. Nourizadeh’s direction at times even seems actively at war with Landis’ script, which doesn’t help out Eisenberg and Stewart. The first third of the movie if full of promise, but after the midway point a sinking feeling starts to come over you, with the final act hammering home just how much of a missed opportunity this film truly is. Either more of a focus on humor or more of a focus on the admittedly mostly effective romance between the leads would have helped make for a less scattershot endeavor, or at least I hope so. Elements of a quality movie are here, but American Ultra values visual stimulants over coherence or overt enjoyability. This isn’t your garden variety stoner flick, that’s for sure. All the same, I do wish we’d gotten a better one than we got.” Even this week, you can do better than this…plain and simple.

Box Office: $14,440,985

A Christmas Horror Story

showImage-539x360Here’s something different…the first of many Krampus movies to come. Surprisingly, this low budget anthology title is pretty solid, though just a bit too mixed of a bag to recommend. It’s easily the second choice for the week, so there’s that. It’s probably a cult classic in the making, to boot. There’s plenty of enjoyable moments here, but the end result is just slightly not on par with what I need for a recommendation. Still, if you want a genre outing this week that has its tongue planted firmly in cheek, this could be the one for you. Give it a shot and see what you think if that sounds fun to you.

Box Office: N/A

No Escape

I missed this one in theaters, so I only first saw it last week when a copy arrived at my door. Honestly? It’s not terrible, though if you don’t turn your brain off, there’s some potentially troubling racial politics on display. Some noticed it, some didn’t, and I fall somewhere in between. Honestly, while it’s not the worst title of the week, it’s not quite good enough to overtly recommend, all the same. Make of that what you will…

Box Office: $27,285,953 (and counting)

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Another film that I’ve yet to actually get a look at, this animated flick is a contender with Oscar, so I know I’ll get around to it eventually. It seemed to be rather loved, getting enthusiastic reviews, if not particularly strong box office receipts. Perhaps you’ll join me in catching up with this one?

Box Office: $19,375,982

TV Releases

Doctor Who: The Christmas Specials
George Lopez: The Complete Sixth Season
Inside Amy Schumer: Season Three (Joey’s Pick)
Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow
Shaun the Sheep: Season 1

PICK OF THE WEEK

Ricki and the Flash

ricki-and-the-flashFor some reason, I tend to prefer Meryl Streep when she’s letting loose and having fun with her roles. My review (here) began like this: “For a fair bit of the running time of Ricki and the Flash, I wasn’t sure I cared too much for the film. Then, I began to enjoy it more and more, with the climax actually almost bringing a tear to my eye. That does make for a somewhat uneven movie, but one that succeeds more often than it fails. One of its bigger successes is the lead performance of Meryl Streep, someone fans of the site know I don’t always enjoy as much as most do. Here though, she’s fantastic, essaying a character unlike any she’s had before. Director Jonathan Demme is a music lover, as we all know from his documentaries, so he challenges Streep to essentially put on a musical performance as well as a comedic and dramatic one, all the while spouting off dialogue from scribe Diablo Cody. It’s not an easy part, and while it takes her a few scenes to settle in (the same goes for the movie on the whole), once it all comes together in the second half, it really works.” It’s not an Oscar contender, but it’s worth seeing for Streep’s fun performance, all the same. In a weaker slate like today’s, it stands as a cut above…

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $26,822,144 (and counting)
Major Award: None yet, but the Golden Globes could take a liking to this one

What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!

What do you think?

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Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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cinespective

FYI, Shaun The Sheep Movie is a brilliant piece of filmmaking, storytelling and visual art.

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