What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
CHICAGO – “Opinions are antithetical to a clear chain of command.” Well, Mr. Cliched Submarine Movie Character, allow me to break the chain — “Phantom” is a dull excuse for a movie. Supposedly “Inspired by True Events,” this tale of a rogue Russian sub that almost started World War III features a super-talented cast and more strong performances to add to the resumes of the great Ed Harris & William Fichtner but it’s just a snooze as Director Tom Robinson produces more tedium than tension before getting to his ridiculous finale.
CHICAGO – Not to be outdone by HBO, who renewed their Sunday hit “Luck” yesterday, Showtime gave season renewals today to their impressive slate of Sunday shows — “Shameless,” “House of Lies,” and “Californication.” All three have done remarkably well in the ratings as the two veterans have improved on previous season numbers and “House of Lies” has done very well in its first few freshman frames.
CHICAGO – A well-cast comedy and a clever concept can help make screenwriting speed bumps much more tolerable. Take “The Joneses,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. It has an undeniably interesting set-up and a very likable cast and those facts alone make it worth a rental. It’s disappointingly tooth-less and somewhat predictable, but the film’s flaws are easy to overlook.
CHICAGO – Introduced with one of the easier movie pundit headlines ever, “The Joneses” indeed cannot keep up with itself, despite a sharp script and the plausible efforts of David Duchovny and Demi Moore.
CHICAGO – Late summer and early fall always produce a wave of TV programs on DVD, as if you’ll see the latest season on a store shelf at the local Best Buy and remember that a show returns to the air soon. It’s both advertising and a way for viewers to catch up before another weekly iteration of one of their favorite shows.
CHICAGO – “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” was an unqualified disaster in theaters. One of the worst movies of 2008, the film downplayed the strengths of the first few seasons of the influential series and emphasized the weaknesses of the show’s ignominious end.
CHICAGO – Following an addictive TV series that spanned from 1992 to 2002, I wanted to believe “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” would more dynamically pay homage to its television success than Chris Carter’s first film attempt in 1998. In take two, though, it didn’t happen.