Arguably the year’s biggest and most expensive flop (even more so than Disney’s much talked about John Carter which, coincidentally, also stars Taylor Kitsch), director Peter Berg’s cinematic offering based on the popular board game is one of the most unintentionally hilarious big budget epics I’ve seen in quite some time. As I wrote in my theatrical review (read it here): “[If] treated as a parody of the Michael Bay meets Brett Ratner school of Transformers and Rush Hour hyperkinetic juvenile style of filmmaking, this idiotic hodgepodge of Top Gun meets From Here to Eternity meets Independence Day can be a tiny bit of fun. So unbelievably stupid, so sensationally vapid, yet also so jingoistic and unabashedly patriotic, the movie is full of more laughs than just about any full-out comedy I’ve seen this year.” Granted, the movie wasn’t meant as a comedy, and if taken seriously the flick is a serious waste of time. Consider yourselves warned.
Think Like a Man
From Mitchell’s just posted Blu-ray review (read it here): “Although it’s being sold as a romantic comedy, [Think Like a Man] is really nothing more than a feature-length advertisement for [Steve] Harvey’s book. Dialogue contains numerous references to both the book and its author. Clips of a talk show on which Harvey is discussing his book pop up. Talking-head clips of Harvey addressing the audience to explain his thoughts on love (which are of course presented in the form of buzz words, snazzy catchphrases, and platitudes) pop up. All of the main characters are shown reading the book, the dust jackets conveniently left on their hardcover copies (something only psychotics do), the book framed as the centerpiece of the relevant shot. It’s pathetic, really.”
The Pirates! Band of Misfits 3D
The Pirates! Bank of Misfits
From my theatrical review (read it here): “While not up to the same high standard set by either Chicken Run or Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Aardman’s latest Claymation spectacular The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a suitably jovial high seas adventure filled with verbal with and visual imagination. It’s a fun frolic young and old alike should enjoy equally, filled with sights and sounds so richly rewarding one almost has to see it twice to be able to appreciate them all.” For more on the film, check out Mitchell’s recently posted Blu-ray Review.
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein,
Three more new-to-Blu-ray titles from Universal in honor of their 100th anniversary celebration, the bell of this here ball has got to be Harvey with James Stewart. This 1950 fantasy, a TCM staple (it airs rather regularly), is a divine comedy that’s barely aged a lick, the balance it strikes as it makes its way to its emotion-filled conclusion rather striking.
As for the other two, Airport is a still pretty great disaster flick soap opera with an all-star cast choosing to give great performances instead of phoning them in for a fat paycheck while Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein is, well, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, all you really need to know about it stated in the film’s title. I can’t help but recommend all three for a look, and personally I can’t wait to give each of them a look (especially Harvey).
Lonesome – The Criterion Collection
Quadrophenia – The Criterion Collection
Two new releases from Criterion both of which I’ve sadly never seen, a fact I am extremely keen to remedy. I’m not sure which one excites me more, the 1928 silent film many once thought lost and even more consider a groundbreaking achievement that inspired countless generations of filmmakers, or the 1979 Brit coming of age musically-fueled drama that many feel is one of the absolute best of its kind. Either way, no matter which one I watch first I have a feeling I’ll be more than satisfied, the buzz and euphoria surrounding both releases enough to get me to believe these are must-see efforts worthy of becoming part of my personal Criterion library.
The Lucky One
I skipped the press screening for this so I could see Disneynature’s Chimpanzee instead. Seriously. I’m not kidding. That pretty much tells you all you need to know in regards to the chances I’m ever going to give this latest adaptation of a Nicolas Sparks (Message in a Bottle, Dear John) story a look anytime soon.
Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection
Great. Great, great, great, great, great, great, GREAT! Seriously, I don’t know how else to describe this two-disc collection of vintage Chuck Jones shorts. It’s just, well, great, and in all honesty there’s not much more to say about this set other than that.
Headhunters is an exquisitely entertaining thriller, filled with more cagey twists and turns than you can almost keep track of. This Norwegian import dares to be different, dazzles on multiple levels, and when all is said and done just might be one of the best films released to theatres in all of 2012. A must see.
From my theatrical review (read it here): “Lawrence Kasdan’s Darling Companion is one of those motion pictures I wish I liked more than I actually do…The movie isn’t so much bad as it is tired and rudimentary, going through the expected motions with all the energy and pizazz of a leisurely walk through an empty mall. No one says anything we don’t expect them to, doesn’t do anything we do not anticipate, everything building to the type of heartwarming conclusion that’s as cliché as it is instantly forgettable.” For more on the film, check out Mitchell’s even more negative take in his recently posted Blu-ray Review.
The Moth Diaries
Still sad I missed this one when it was in general release earlier this year, Mary Harron’s (American Psycho) latest has me highly intrigued, so much so I’m tempted to pick it up from Amazon as a purchase sight unseen.
I’ve heard great things about Eduardo Sanchez’s latest Lovely Molly, which is saying something considering each and every effort he’s mad post The Blair Witch Project has been a decided mess. But this one? This one is supposed to be something special, a genre thriller anchored by a supposedly magnificent performance by newcomer Gretchen Lodge ranking as one of the best of 2012. A review copy is on its way, and as soon as it’s received expect a full review to be posted with relative speed.
Poirot: Series 6
The good folks at Acorn Media deliver more Agatha Christie goodness, the sixth series featuring four mesmerizing mysteries fans are sure to salivate over. The great David Suchet returns as Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot, and once again he’s brought along Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) and Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran) to assist him in his endeavors. High marks all around.
I know nothing about this one other than the fact I kind of love the cover art. Magnolia is supposed to be sending a review copy over, hopefully it will arive soon and then I can discover for myself what exactly it is that's going on in Apartment 143.
OTHER NOTABLE BLU-RAY RELEASES
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· Death Watch (1980)
· The Heineken Kidnapping
· Jersey Shore Shark Attack
· Life Happens
· The Living Dead Girl
· The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition 5-Disc Set)
· The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition 5-Disc Set)
· The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition 5-Disc Set)
· Monsieur Lazhar
· Starship Troopers: Invasion
· Two Orphan Vampires
· The Viral Factor
NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
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Eclipse Series 35: Maidstone and Other Films by Norman Mailer (Criterion Collection)
Norman Mailer is remembered for many things—his novels, his essays, his articles, his activism, his ego. One largely forgotten chapter of his life, however, is his late-sixties, headlong, kamikaze-style plunge into making experimental films. These rough-hewn, self-financed, largely improvised metafictions are works of madness and bravado, all starring Mailer himself and with technical assistance from cinema verité trailblazers D. A. Pennebaker and Richard Leacock. The fullest realization of his directorial efforts is the blustering, brawling Maidstone, a shocking sign of the political times in which Mailer plays a filmmaker and presidential candidate who may be the target of an assassination attempt. Along with Mailer’s other films of the period—Wild 90 and Beyond the Law—it shows an uncompromising artist in thrall to both himself and a new medium. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Boarding a plane on New Year's Eve, two teenage sisters begin an impromptu filming of themselves and their fellow travelers. Culled from their raw footage, Area 407 documents what happened to them and the other passengers on that fateful night. After the plane crashes in a government testing reserve, the survivors find themselves pursued by unknown predators that, unbeknownst to them, are part of a top-secret government experiment. Using all the survival skills they have, the passengers' one goal is to survive the night and await the help they hope will come by dawn. Shockingly raw, Area 407 is a thrilling account of one group of ordinary people's most terrifying night. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
James Purefoy (Rome) leads a distinguished cast featuring Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel), Charlie Creed-Miles (Five Days) and Nathaniel Parker (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries) in a taut five-part thriller of murder, conspiracy, secrets and guilt. Created by Anthony Horowitz (Foyle's War, Collision), Injustice merges legal drama, police investigation, and high-tension suspense in an atmosphere of moral ambiguity. Purefoy plays defense barrister William Travers, who has fled from London murder trials to the peace of the Suffolk countryside with his family. He is called upon to defend an old friend in a homicide that may be much more than it seems, even as death strikes close to home and he becomes a target of investigation himself. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Nate & Margaret
Nate (Tyler Ross) is a 19-year-film student and his best friend Margaret (Natalie West) is a 52-year-old aspiring comedian. In spite of their age difference, they have a perfectly functioning friendship that is, until Nate s audacious friend Darla (Gaby Hoffman) sets him up on a date with James (Conor McCahill). Now, Nate has less time for Margaret and she s forced to find a life of her own. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
Marga is a highly motivated, arrogant and successful businesswoman from Spain on assignment in Buenos Aires, a city she hates and whose people she loathes. While in the Argentine capital on a day the whole population is waiting to view a rare solar eclipse, she must also find a new tenant for her family's decrepit apartment. Rapidly losing her patience, she comes upon the mysterious Jorge lurking outside the front door, who informs her that he has a client willing to pay four times what she is asking in rent. There's just one catch - the paperwork must be signed immediately. As Marga waits to complete the transaction, several of Jorge's associates suspiciously appear at the apartment, and before long Marga discovers that their plan for the building and for her may mean a startling fate worse than death. Easily sitting beside Rosemary's Baby, The Wicker Man and The House of Devil, Penumbra is a superbly realized horror entry from Argentine genre talent Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Cold Sweat). (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
#ReGENERATION explores the widespread cynicism in today's youth and young adults, and the influences that perpetuate our apathy towards social and political causes. The film features three intersecting stories of students, parents, and artists all looking for their place in society. Together they capture the thoughts and feelings of today's struggling generation as some of the world's leading scholars, activists, and media personalities provide their insight into the ideas and movements that can inspire change. Produced and narrated by Ryan Gosling. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)
OTHER NOTABLE DVD RELEASES
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· In Plain Sight: Season Five
· Two and a Half Men: The Complete Ninth Season
NOTABLE NEW BLU-RAY ANNOUNCEMENTS
· Hoffa (Sept 18, 2012)
· The War of the Roses (Sept 18, 2012)
· People Like Us (Oct 2, 2012)
· Rock of Ages (Oct 9, 2012)
· Savages (Oct 23, 2012)
· Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Oct 23, 2012)
· Brave (Nov 13, 2012)
· The Duellists (Nov 20, 2012)
· The Watch (Dec 4, 2012)