In their never-ending quest to fill their corporate coffers, two film franchises that rely heavily on their fan base ask them to reach into their wallet (again).
‘Parkland.’ The JFK assassination, told from the point of view of supporting characters in the drama that unfolded in 1963. I missed it during its theatrical run, but this seems essential for locals — let’s go ahead and give in and acknowledge that November will be a month of wallowing in nostalgia, sentiment, and memories of the devastating impact.
‘Lovelace.’ I did not enjoy or much appreciate this turgid, self-righteous telling of the Linda Lovelace saga. Reviewed here.
‘Passion.’ Brian De Palma’s thriller is probably only for hardcore De Palma fanatics, but I had a good time with it and would gladly see it again. Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace star.
‘Computer Chess.’ Apparently, I only enjoy every other movie made by Andrew Bujalski. Set at a computer conference in the early 80s and shot with technology appropriate to that era, this sounds quite intriguing, and it may, in fact, play better at home than it did (for me) at SXSW earlier this year.
‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.’ If you love Peter Jackson and the hobbits, and have plenty of disposable cash, I can understand wanting to renew your acquaintance before the second installment hits theaters next month. Inevitably, even more material will be unveiled in time for the Blu-ray collector’s set coming, but that’s years away. Who wants to wait that long?
‘Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga.’ Two hours of brand-new features are presented, along with previously-released features, and, oh, yes, the movies. I’m afraid I dropped out before the final installment — too much sparkling for me.
Two picks from the classic titles getting the Blu-ray treatment this week:
‘My Name is Nobody.’ This, along with me ‘They Call Me Trinity,’ seems to me (and perhaps no one else) one of the primary influences on Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained,’ in that it presents Terence Hill as a jocular and fearless everyman who decides to send off his hero (Henry Fonda) in a rousing shoot-off. It’s just plain fun to watch.
‘The Right Stuff.’ Very rah-rah patriotic version of Tom Wolfe’s true-life account of the Mercury space program, but what I really love about the movie are the juicy performances by Sam Shepherd, Barbara Hershey, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, and on and on.
Welcome to our weekly guide to what’s new on home video — DVD, Blu-ray, and probably VOD too!
‘Before Midnight.’ An exquisite drama about the trials and tribulations of a longtime married couple, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Incisively directed by Richard Linklater. Reviewed here. Recommended.
‘The Conjuring.’ A family moves into a home that is possessed by supernatural beings. With Lili Taylor, Vera Farmiga, and Patrick Wilson; directed by James Wan. Reviewed here. Recommended.
‘I Give It a Year.’ A newlywed couple finds their first year of marriage to be more challenging than they’d ever imagined. A witty comedy for adults, starring Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall. Recommended.
‘The Internship.’ Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson deal with a mid-life career crisis by entering an internship program at Google. A would-be comedy. Reviewed at Twitch. Not recommended.
‘Only God Forgives.’ Ryan Gosling stars in an extremely violent, chilling revenge tale of revenge, set entirely in Thailand and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. Recommended.
‘The Way, Way Back.’ Teenage boy finds new friendship on a family vacation. With Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Alison Janney, and Sam Rockwell. Not previewed.
Bullhead. A punishing drama that explores the psyche of a man who was damaged physically in his younger years, and who continues to bear his emotional scars visibly as he travels through the underground drug scene in Europe. As difficult as it is to watch, it’s shot through with streaks of dark visual artistry by first-time feature director and writer Michael Roskam, which makes it somewhat more bearable.
Also out today on DVD and/or Blu-ray, with links to my reviews (here or at Twitch), as available:
21 Jump Street. Mostly positive reviews make me curious about this comedy from the guys who made ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.’
The Artist. A loving pastiche and tribute to the Silent Era, the Academy Award-winning film has received a healthy degree of critical backlash. While it’s not a great film on its own merits, it is affectionate and resonates pleasantly in the memory.
Deliverance. John Boorman’s haunting fable of masculinity and quiet terrors serves as an apt counterpoint to ‘Bullhead’ (see above). Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox, and Ned Beatty star.
Mirror Mirror. The better of the two Snow White films this year, Tarsem’s oft-delirious visual inclinations make this a fun watch.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. Described as a “Turkish Western,” and the receipient of glowing reviews, this “slow cinema” picture follows a criminal investigation, but is much more interested in painting a portrait of characters and landscapes.
Breaking Bad, Season 4. I came to the show oddly, in that the pilot felt too grungy, off-putting, and disconsolate to capture my attention, and it was only through a friend’s continued recommendation that I sampled a show or two in the midst of Season 3 — and then I realized the error of my ways, and immediately caught up. The characters and plot turns continue to zip and hum and upend as a former high school chemistry teacher / family man continues to become more and more enmeshed in the drug trade. The first three seasons are available on Netflix Instant, so if you have that service, sample the first three episodes to decide if it’s worth your time. The fourth season is rather incredible. And you still have time to catch up; the new season begins on July 15. [A]
Also out today on DVD and/or Blu-ray, with grades and links to reviews (here or at Twitch), as available: