This week, a heaping pile of Blu-ray and DVD options are coming your way. From the animated pets of “The Secret Life of Pets” to the improv comics of “Don’t Think Twice,” there really is something for everyone hitting shelves. Today consists of a large slate, though in addition to quantity, there’s a solid amount of quality as well. The top pick was a long debate, too, which is always a good sign. Ultimately, for the PICK OF THE WEEK, it was between those two aforementioned titles. You’ll see the one eventually chosen from this comics vs. pets throw down in a bit, but first, we must put forward a Vintage pick!
In honor of this week’s release of “La La Land” (which is even better than the buzz suggests and a masterpiece), the choice is once again obvious. How can one not cite Damien Chazelle‘s directorial debut? It’s “Whiplash,” and this one-two punch on his part is as good a beginning to a career as we’ve seen in some time. Clayton summed it up perfectly in his review back when we saw it at the New York Film Festival that year. He wrote:
An impeccable and tightly wound experience that brings your anxiety to a feverish level.
“La La Land” couldn’t be more different than “Whiplash,” but both are brilliant bits of cinema. Re-watch this one to whet your appetite for the release of the likely Best Picture winner.
“The Late Bloomer”
Kevin Pollak‘s raunchy coming-of-age tale is a bit more than meets the eye. It’s a sex comedy, yes, though one based on something slightly deeper. The end result is imperfect at times, but as a comedy, it certainly works. The New York Daily News thought so too, stating:
It manages to break ground as it normalizes conversations about sex and gives viewers an eye into all kinds of preferences and practices – with plenty of laughs along the way.
If comedians and pets aren’t edgy enough for you, perhaps this adult going through puberty will do the trick? Additionally, this has a really nice comedic cast, so there’s that as well. Give it a shot!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: None
“The Secret Life of Pets”
This animated adventure is a delight for any pet owner. Opting for something not as emotional as a Pixar outing, Illumination instead just went for plain old fun. There’s witty moments and lively animation, making for something that children will absolutely love. That’s the sweet spot for “The Secret Life of Pets.” Christy Lemire sums it up perfectly, writing:
It is an incredibly simple yet irresistible idea for a movie. It’s also exactly what you think it’s going to be – no more, no less.
“The Secret Life of Pets” manages to not bore adults while delighting children. This is a very family-friendly option this week. Hell, feel free to watch it with your pet, too!
Special Features: Featurettes, Mini-Movies and more
Total Box Office: $368,015,345 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet
Special Criterion Collection Section
“The Exterminating Angel”
This signifying title from Luis Buñuel has a rave in its back pocket from none other than Roger Ebert. He wrote:
A macabre comedy, a mordant view of human nature that suggests we harbor savage instincts and unspeakable secrets.
Buñuel fans will obviously need to have this.
“Heart of a Dog”
Getting the rare straight-to-Criterion-home-video debut is this pet lover’s documentary that the New York Post was very fond of. Their take included the following:
Laurie Anderson’s delicate essay film weaves together observations about her beloved rat terrier, Lolabelle, as well as post-9/11 life and, finally, the death of her mother.
It’s powerful stuff, especially if you own a pet.
Other Films Being Released
Here now is just a simple list of what else is hitting shelves today:
“Author: The JT LeRoy Story”
A dark horse awards documentary, this has been swallowed up somewhat by higher profile contenders. Rolling Stone suggests checking it out, writing:
Do the widely-praised writings of LeRoy become less praiseworthy when you know they were crafted under false pretenses? It’s a question worth chewing on even if the film asking it stacks the deck.
Give this one a look as the Best Documentary Feature race begins to evolve.
Box Office: $85,999
“The Great Gilly Hopkins”
This Kathy Bates vehicle certainly flew below the radar. Those who saw it tended to be mixed, though the Village Voice makes this case:
Bates is a shameless ham throughout, but when she works her magic on Trotter’s end-of-movie speech to Gilly, resistance is futile.
If you dig on Bates, this could be something to check out…
Box Office: N/A
John Krasinski‘s latest directorial outing is an ensemble dramedy that mainly has caught on due to the performance of Margo Martindale. Entertainment Weekly has this restrained, yet positive, review to put forward:
Is ‘The Hollars’ an original, breathtaking dramedy that says anything new about middle-class suburbia and family? No. But with a brisk runtime and a terrific cast, it’s a pleasant and bittersweet look at one family struggling to keep it together.
Krasinski is an interesting talent, so if you like his acting, try his filmmaking on for size today.
Box Office: $1,016,729
“In Order of Disappearance”
A crime tale due to be remade this year, it received some solid praise, including this from the New York Times:
A delicious Norwegian film full of icy landscapes and icier hearts.
Take it from this humble writer just back from Iceland…you can’t beat icy landscapes.
Box Office: $50,251
“Jack Goes Home”
An indie with a nice little cast, this just didn’t catch on. The Los Angeles Times was kind in their dismissal:
While the movie’s artfully made and daringly disturbing, Dekker ultimately overestimates how many sick twists one motion picture needs.
On to the next one, it seems.
Box Office: N/A
The next installment of this franchise was a definite disappointment. Despite the return of star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass, the movie ran on fumes. Our take here at Awards Circuit hit that point repeatedly, including with the following assertion:
‘Jason Bourne’ is a serviceable enough action film for the most part, but it’s a highly unnecessary sequel that doesn’t compare to what has come before.
You can do worse this week, but you can clearly do better as well.
Box Office: $162,192,920
One of the better-liked films at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. Variety was a fan, writing the following:
This is a debut of undeniable promise, both for its director and its largely unknown cast.
Give it a look if you want something a bit different.
Box Office: $150,191
An indie starring Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong sounds about a decade too late, doesn’t it? And yet, reviews were solid. The Hollywood Reporter writes:
‘Ordinary World’ becomes raggedly enjoyable thanks to the unexpected charms of its leading man.
Green Day fans should try this one on for size.
Box Office: N/A
“Our Little Sister”
The newest Hirokazu Kore-eda film, it hasn’t been met with total raves. The overall word is still solid, however, including this take at Rogerebert.com:
Japanese melodrama ‘Our Little Sister’ is the rare film that captures the everyday pleasures and anguishes of family life.
Make of that what you will.
Box Office: $467,555
“Beauty and the Beast (2012): The Final Season”
“BrainDead: Season One”
“Bureau: Season 1”
“Family Guy: Season 14”
“Prison Break: Season 4, The Final Season”
“Scream Queens: The Complete First Season”
“Zoo: Season Two”
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Don’t Think Twice”
Multi-hyphenate Mike Birbiglia‘s follow up to the terrific “Sleepwalk With Me” is a really charming ensemble dramedy. Furthermore, it’s one of the best reviewed films of 2016. Set in the world of improvisational comedy, it captures creative competition so very well. The entire ensemble is terrific, with a special shout out to Keegan-Michael Key. The Wrap was fond of it as well, stating:
Rarely does contemporary cinema so bluntly (and accurately) depict envy in its most insidious iteration. It’s about the vexing confluence of emotions upon seeing their friends excel while they stagnate, a toxic amalgamation of happiness and jealousy.
“Don’t Think Twice” is able to trump “The Secret Life of Pets” this week by being about something more. Give it a look and enjoy!
Special Features: Deleted Scenes and more
Total Box Office: $4,417,667 (and counting)
Major Award: None yet