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 – Second acts to incredibly popular and entertaining mainstream fare can be a tough prospect. For every “The Dark Knight,” there are too many films like “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” – works that essentially just repeat what audiences fell in love with instead of trying to expand on the world of their predecessors.
HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 10 Pairs of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Passes with Live Red-Carpet StreamSubmitted by HollywoodChicago.com on November 11, 2013 - 10:11pm
CHICAGO – Rare! One of 2013’s most anticipated films! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 10 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson with a live red-carpet stream from the Los Angeles premiere!
CHICAGO – The companies behind Alex Kurtzman’s “People Like Us” had no idea what to do with their crowd-pleasing melodrama, arguably releasing it at the worst possible time of the year for a tiny movie to not get swept away by bigger blockbusters. The result was a dud in theaters but should get strong word-of-mouth on the home market, helped amply by a stellar Blu-ray/DVD release.
CHICAGO – When we last saw Anna Kendrick, she was the mid-twentysomething girlfriend of cop Jake Gyllenhaal in “End of Watch.” This week, she reverts back to freshman year in college, portraying a rebellious D.J. and songstress in the not-taking-themselves-seriously “Pitch Perfect.”
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the new singing comedy “Pitch Perfect” starring Anna Kendrick!
CHICAGO – Can a Blu-ray be both great and a likely placeholder for a future Special Edition? “The Hunger Games” makes that case. The lack of a commentary track or deleted scenes (and Lionsgate’s double-dipping track record) lead one to believe that a Special Edition will likely hit stores in conjunction with “Catching Fire” but this is still a great release with hours of special features and a stellar HD video and audio transfer.
CHICAGO – “People Like Us” is an old-fashioned tearjerker with everything that phrase implies. It’s undeniably manipulative and sentimental but it’s also somewhat refreshing to see a drama that isn’t laced with irony, cynicism, or some form of postmodern commentary on the genre. “People Like Us” is a film that wants you to be moved; it wants you to cry; it wants you to feel something. Some audiences will be turned off by the blatant melodrama but the honest approach works for me and the strong performances from the cast clearly enlivened by the material elevates it beyond processed cheese.
CHICAGO – Writer/director Alex Kurtzman has been an incredibly powerful creative voice in the world of sci-fi from TV’s “Fringe” to film’s “Star Trek” & “Transformers” but his new work comes from someplace much more personal. Starring Chris Pine, “People Like Us” was born from Kurtzman’s own desire to find the half-siblings that his father had left behind years earlier.
CHICAGO – “Man on a Ledge” wants to be “Dog Day Afternoon” for the ’10s recession (it’s not coincidental that a man screams “Attica!” at one point). A tale of a man screwed by a corrupt system who stages a complex heist and galvanizes the people of New York in the process could have worked so well. There are great actors and great ideas here. And there’s also the most convoluted, ridiculous, and poorly written script that I’ve suffered through in a very long time.
CHICAGO – Lionsgate announced 2-disc Blu-ray and DVD editions of their massive hit “The Hunger Games” to be released on August 18, 2012 complete with three hours of extensive bonus features. The highlight of the bonus material is an eight-part documentary called “The World is Watching: Making of The Hunger Games.”