This week, we have a fairly large amount of things hitting shelves, highlighted by one of the more underrated films that I’ve seen so far this year (or technically last year, when I first saw it at a film festival). Overall though, it’s a rather full slate of Blu-Ray/DVD releases today, so we won’t have any shortage of things to sort through, that’s for sure. There are a few movies really worth mentioning here, so the quality is decently high, while the quantity level is certainly here this week, and then some. My top pick was between a two well regarded indies and a kids flick. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I opted to go with the smaller independent title…no surprise there. We’ll get to that in a few though, I promise you. Now however’s the time for Vintage picks, so that’s what we’ll get into right now!
In honor of the great Robin Williams, who we lost far too soon yesterday, I wanted to just cite some of his best work. I’m not even going to say much about them, the nerve is just too raw for me. The movies however, are terrific. The handful I’m citing are Aladdin, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, One Hour Photo, and What Dreams May Come. Williams will be missed, tremendously. Rest in peace good sir…
The other two titles here that I’m about to discuss for a brief moment clearly aren’t as good as my top choice in my eyes,, but they both are still certainly worthy of a bit of discussion, so that’s what I’ll be doing now:
By all rights, this movie just shouldn’t work like it does. I had this to say in my review (found here) of the film: “If ever there was a film this year that can place its success or failure squarely on the shoulders of its star, it’s Locke, which features Tom Hardy on screen and just about nothing else. Yes, writer/director Steven Knight comes up with some low key yet interesting ways to make the single setting of this movie work over the course of its running time, but without Hardy, it would have all been for naught. Hardy gives one of the best performances of his career here, owning the screen in a completely new way. Hardy usually is a force of nature on a physical level, but here he really ups his emotional ante, making for a unique performance to add to his upper echelon. Knight knows that a lot of the battle is won by just focusing on him, so his cinematic choices are all meant to just keep the premise feeling realistic and letting Hardy go to it otherwise. I began to feel the admittedly short length at a certain point and the movie ends on a more low key note than I was expecting, but Hardy on his own makes Locke worth seeing“. The flick is niche, but it’s well worth checking out.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $1,366,767 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet, though Hardy could pop up here and there on the precursor circuit
Though not nearly as good as the relaunch of the franchise a few years ago, this latest Muppet adventure is more than solid enough to enjoy. In my review of this one (found right here), I said the following: “I’m a die hard Muppet fan, that much should be clear to you all by now, especially considering all of the articles and interviews I did around the release of The Muppets a few years ago. They were a huge part of my childhood, so as an adult (or at least pseudo adult), seeing them in action was sure to be a delight. That was the case 100%, and this time, the gang is back with Muppets Most Wanted, a solid, if lesser, Muppet movie. Returning co-writer/director James Bobin and returning co-writer Nicholas Stoller definitely miss the charm of Jason Segel here, but they are more than up to crafting an enjoyable time with Kermit the Frog and company. If The Muppets was a spiritual cousin to The Muppet Movie last time around, this time around Muppets Most Wanted is sort of in the vein of The Great Muppet Caper, though not quite as clever. This is an enjoyable film, but one that may very well captivate children more than adults. I’m still a fan of this flick and recommend it wholeheartedly, but I didn’t quite find the heart and soul in the same way that I used to“. Especially if you have kids, pick this one up and enjoy…
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $51,183,113
Major Awards: None, and aside from possibly a Best Original Song nomination, don’t expect anything
Other Films Being Released
Here now is a rather simple list of just what else is hitting shelves on this particular day, sans my own personal recommendation. Behold:
This latest nature documentary from Disney is one I’ve yet to see, and by all accounts it’s pretty solid, but I can’t vouch for it personally. Especially now that you can watch it at home, I suspect folks will check it out. If it sounds like your cup of tea, you should probably give it a shot.
Box Office: $17,780,194
I found this little seen (here in the states at least) crime flick to be a bit of a disappointment. It’s hardly bad, and James McAvoy is pretty committed, but this just should have been better, plain and simple. Fans of his might enjoy this, but likely with lowered expectations…
Box Office: $34,411
Frankie & Alice
Remember many moons ago when this was going to be Halle Berry’s Oscar vehicle? Literally four years passed between the first screenings/campaign and the actual release for this less than well received drama. As a curiosity, this might have some appeal, but otherwise…meh.
Box Office (including the initial release in 2010 as well as 2014): $706,546
I was very disappointed in this one. In my review (which you can see here), I said this: “Well acted but frustratingly dull, Hateship Loveship is the sort of independent film that a lot of people hold up when they say that they don’t like “indie movies”. There are some fine performances on display from the cast, but the flick is meandering, monotonous, and ultimately not nearly as rewarding as it hopes to be“. If you must see it, I won’t stop you, but why bother?
Box Office: $51,610
A Haunted House 2
I haven’t seen either of the films in this franchise, but I’ve heard they’re terrible, so I’m sure I’m not missing much. Satires like this haven’t been any good in a while, which is a shame. Perhaps one day we’ll get better spoofs…
Box Office: $17,329,486
Up until today, I really hadn’t even heard of this suspense flick, and considering the lack of box office information, I suspect that I’m not alone here either. Maybe I am, but frankly…I doubt it.
Box Office: N/A
Another year, another barely released Nicolas Cage B movie. This one isn’t one of his worst, but it is a very disposable action flick. Cage got back to respectability this year to some degree with Joe, so hopefully his paycheck days with things of this nature are almost over. Still, if you want a silly film to just watch, you could do worse. You can do a lot better, mind you, but you certainly can do worse too.
Box Office: N/A
The Railway Man
A would be Oscar vehicle, this drama sort of fell by the wayside earlier this year. It’s a bit on the boring side, but not bad overall. The performances are all there, it’s just the story that’s blander than it should be. Decent enough, but not worthy of a recommendation, overall…
Box Office: $4,438,438 (and counting)
Summer in February
Another movie I hadn’t heard of until just now, and one with a box office take that matches my checking account…that’s not a good combination. If you want to go in blind, I won’t stop you, but you have other options today.
Box Office: $1,624
Bitten: The Complete First Season
The Blacklist: The Complete First Season
Gunsmoke: Seasons 1-10
Low Winter Sun: The Complete Series
The Marx Brothers: TV Collection
PICK OF THE WEEK
I first saw this drama at the Sundance Film Festival and found it to be very compelling. It remained strong a year later when it opened this past spring, and in my review (read it here), I had this to say: “Once again armed with a really tremendous performance from star in the making Felicity Jones, the talented up and coming filmmaker Drake Doremus successfully mines the romantic drama genre with his new movie Breathe In. A lot darker and more visually interesting than his last flick, the emotionally devastating Like Crazy, this film isn’t quite as strong overall, but it does make Doremus someone still to really be reckoned with. Jones is the standout for sure, but Doremus has also coaxed a great performance out of Guy Pearce and from newcomer Mackenzie Davis as well. They are giving their all and it helps boost this somewhat standard story to bigger and better heights than it would have otherwise reached“. I wish this would have caught on more than it did, so now that you can watch it at home…I urge you to do so. I also spoke to Doremus and Jones, so take a look at that interview right here if you’re interested.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $89,661
Major Award: None yet, and sadly don’t expect any…
–What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!