This week, a small-ish amount of 2015 releases are hitting Blu-Ray and DVD, though once again more than one of them is a solid (at the very least) option for your viewing pleasure. This is overall on the smaller side when it comes to the slates that we tend to have, though it’s not small enough that it’s a total case of quality over quantity today. My top pick was potentially a choice between three very different movies, but it really wasn’t a choice at all. For me, my PICK OF THE WEEK is easily one of the more underrated films to come out of the film festival circuit last/this year. You’ll see which I went with in a few moments, but for now…it’s Vintage time once again folks!
In honor of this week’s release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which I’ll be seeing shortly, but then again…so will we all), I wanted to cite the previous installments in the franchise that I find to be worthwhile. Essentially, I’m only leaving out Episodes I and II, so Episodes III, IV, V, and VI get my pick. Yes, that’s Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. The Star Wars Saga is something special to just about all of us, myself included, so this weekend will be a unique time at the movie theater, as many folks see The Force Awakens multiple times. I may be in that boat as well, but right now, it’s time to revisit the last ones. At the very least, the original trilogy seems like a must view in the next few days…
The other two titles I’m going to discuss here today aren’t in the same league as my top pick, but they’re nothing to completely dismiss either. Behold:
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
This seems to be the rare franchise that is actually improving with age, which is even more interesting when you consider that it stars an aging action icon. Oddly enough, this did a similar plot as the recent James Bond film Spectre, just months early, only further making the comparison that Tom Cruise is essentially an American 007 here. Though perhaps a step down from the last installment, this was still highly entertaining and an easy popcorn flick to recommend to you all. If you like lighthearted action, you really can’t go wrong with this one, in my humble opinion…
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, and More
Total Box Office: $195,042,377
Major Awards: None yet, but a tech nomination or two at the Academy Awards is possible
I really loved the first film, so while this comedy sequel is a step down, I still found it plenty amusing. In my review (found here), I said: “I think we can all agree that the humor of Seth MacFarlane is not for everyone. Depending on who you are, his jokes on television and in movies can range from hilarious to potentially offensive. Basically, the best barometer for Ted 2 is what you thought about the first one. If Ted struck you as an enjoyable raunchy comedy about a foul mouthed teddy bear come to life, then you’re in for more of the same. If it was a chore, well…you’re also in for more of the same. Personally, I enjoyed Ted a lot, so while Ted 2 isn’t quite as funny, it’s still very amusing and contains a couple of absolutely hilarious lines to boot. I’m mostly a fan of co-writer/director/star MacFarlane’s work, so that formula is on display once again here. MacFarlane’s voice work chemistry with returning co-star Mark Wahlberg is one of the selling points, as is their interactions with newcomer to the franchise Amanda Seyfried. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there’s a Ted 3 on the horizon, but luckily the series has managed to maintain a solid laugh quotient.” If you like this sort of humor, you’re likely to dig it. If not, it’s unlikely. Provided you’re in the former camp, this is one to pick up and enjoy…
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, and More
Total Box Office: $81,476,385
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:
What a waste of time this was. Not outright bad, but just bland and useless, this wasn’t the reboot we were hoping for. In my review at the time of release (found right here), I wrote: “Considering the pretty low bar set by the first two (or technically three) films featuring these comic book characters, this new version of Fantastic Four only needed to be average in order to easily surpass them. Sadly, this is barely able to reach that goal, offering up as mediocre a superhero flick as I’ve seen in some time. In some ways, this is basically a ridiculously long trailer for whatever might come next with this franchise. Nothing seen makes me want to see more. The cast is wasted, the look is generic, and essentially we’re watching the world’s most expensive television pilot for a show no one is particularly keen to see. Closer in quality to the likes of Green Lantern or X-Men Origins: Wolverine than even the least from Marvel, Fantastic Four is just hollow and without compelling material. Co-writer/director Josh Trank has so little to offer that it’s just a total shame, especially when you consider how talented a main quartet he’d recruited in Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and particularly Miles Teller. It’s just a bore.” Moving right along…
Box Office: $56,117,548
I didn’t get a chance to watch this very unique documentary, but according to everyone I spoke to, I missed out on something pretty entertaining. Provided I have the free time, this is one that I really want to get to ASAP. We’ll see what happens, but if you want an odd sight unseen extra pick to look into, this might be a solid option.
Box Office: $35,555
He Named Me Malala
One of the few doc hopefuls that I know I really need to get to before nominations are announced, this look at the Nobel Prize winning teenager is definitely going to get a spin soon enough. It’s just a matter of me getting to it. I’m sure some of you are in the same boat, so perhaps join me in catching up to this potential Academy Award nominee?
Box Office: $2,650,423
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Another film that I’ve yet to get a look at, this sequel really isn’t of much interest to me, if we’re being honest. I didn’t see the first one, so why bother now, you know? It seems decent enough, but it’s just not something on my radar. If it appeals to you, don’t let me stop you folks. Live and let live, I always say…
Box Office: $81,463,407 (and counting)
Sex, Death and Bowling
I barely knew this flick existed, but I was amused enough by the title that I wanted to make sure that it was included here today. It’s a dramedy that I can’t speak to in any way, but again…that title. If you give it a blind shot, let me know how it is.
Box Office: $5,972
This indie romantic comedy never really caught on in any notable way, which you know to be the case since I wasn’t aware of it until now. As a huge indie rom com fan, it should have been on my radar. Alas. Make of this what you will here…
Box Office: $22,102
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Finale
Duck Dynasty: Seasons 1-8
Extant: The Second Season
Marco Polo: Season 1 [Top Pick]
Teen Wolf: Season 5, Part 1
PICK OF THE WEEK
Time Out of Mind
Back at the New York Film Festival last year, I really was hit hard by this drama. It retained that power earlier this year, when I wrote the following (here) about it: “Despite a host of very good work on his resume to date, Richard Gere gives what I feel to be the performance of his career so far in Oren Moverman‘s rather simple yet incredibly powerful film Time Out of Mind. What begins as a character study of a homeless man becomes, by the time the end credits role, a reflection of us as a society, of the need and yearning to be acknowledged/heard in this world. Gere may be playing a man quite down on his luck with specific food and shelter problems in New York City, but the more emotional issues at hand are universal. Credit goes to Moverman and Gere for achieving this profound statement with a minimum of dramatic artifice. Kudos also to Moverman for how he integrates the city, making it arguably a bigger character than the one Gere is playing. It’s a moving film, one that is almost impossible to forget, and one that was among the best to screen last year at the New York Film Festival.” It’s a shame that Richard Gere hasn’t gotten any buzz for this movie, but now that it’s got a second life coming, you all can see what you missed the first time around. As further incentive, here you can find an interview that I did with Jena Malone about the flick, so take a look at that as well…
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $164,849
Major Award: None yet
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!