Sorry, What to Watch took a turkey day break as last week was really light on new product worth mentioning. This week? Pretty much the same but we don’t want you to miss us too badly. Here’s five recent Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming releases that may have caught your attention on new release shelves lately, ranked in the order we’d add them to our holiday wish list.
CHICAGO – It’s unlikely that you’ll see a more visually striking American animated film in 2013 than Fox and Blue Sky Studios’ “Epic,” a film that was written off by many critics and audience members in its May release but that has more going for it than your average family fare. Now available on Blu-ray and DVD, “Epic” frustrates in the way that it too often falls back on storytelling crutches that we’ve seen before but the movie looks great at every turn. It’s the kind of animated flick that’s designed to show off your new Blu-ray player and accompanying HD TV. The special features are disappointingly thin but the movie deserved a bigger audience that it is likely to find on Blu-ray.
CHICAGO – “Dead Man Down,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, isn’t the awful movie that you may have heard but it is a misfire from a pretty talented cast and the director of the original “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The great ensemble and modestly entertaining noir concept are defeated by leaden direction that mistakes tedium for tone. It’s just boring, which is almost difficult to believe given the notable screen charisma of its stars.
“Epic” is the best-looking 3D animated film since “How to Train Your Dragon”. From the very first scenes, it has a mesmerizing visual palette as the natural world comes to life in a way reminiscent of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.” It’s gorgeous. Sadly, the lurching, generic script doesn’t live up to the look of the film but it’s worth seeing just for the memorable visuals.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 family movie 4-packs (a total of 120 tickets!) up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new film “Epic”!
CHICAGO – Nothing like a high concept crime story to compliment “spring forward.” Colin Farrell plays the revenge card to the nth degree in the unusual and slowly paced “Dead Man Down,” and takes Noomi Rapace (of the Swedish “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) along for the ride.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 30 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “Dead Man Down” starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace!
CHICAGO – When I saw the ensemble assembled for Martin McDonagh’s very funny “Seven Psychopaths” and realized it was from the creator of the brilliant “In Bruges,” personal expectations were set pretty high. In fact, higher than this film achieves, but don’t let the fact that it’s not quite as solid as “Bruges” overwhelm your response to this flick, recently on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s still smart, funny, dark, twisted, and unlike anything else on the New Releases shelf.
CHICAGO – Is there room for vengeance if you believe in Heaven and Hell? How do we suppress our need for moral and even physical justice if we believe that violence leads to damnation? Is there a chance to…oh, never mind. Let’s just blow someone’s brains out. That’s essentially how “Seven Psychopaths,” the clever new action comedy from Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”) works in that it has a number of interesting ideas that aren’t fully developed even if the movie is fun enough to be considered a sin.
CHICAGO – Playwright Martin McDonagh really broke into the film world in a big way with his Oscar-nominated script for the stellar “In Bruges.” He defies the sophomore slump this week with the release of “Seven Psychopaths,” starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, and Woody Harrelson.
CHICAGO – Paul Verhoeven’s “Total Recall” has been run through a machine and turned into a personality-less, numbing exercise in CGI action with a complete lack of any characters worth giving a damn about and a totally wasted opportunity at social commentary.