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 – In what could be subtitled, “The Challenge of American Accents,” the new release “Arthur Newman” has a laugh-inducing U.S. inflection face-off between Brits Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. Amid that obstacle, there is a lame road picture that emotionally is false, and makes no sense.
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “Arthur Newman” starring Colin Firth and Emily Blunt!
CHICAGO – I clearly loved “Looper” as evidenced by my initial review, interview with Rian Johnson, placement of Emily Blunt on my Best Supporting Performances of 2012 piece, and putting it #9 on my Best of 2012. Watching it again in glorious HD, I had a surprising thought given all of the above — I may have underrated it.
CHICAGO – A mother trying to protect her son from an assassin, a man who coordinates lap dances for a living, a woman whose dreams have died, a gambler betting on his son, and two people at the heart of Abraham Lincoln’s fight to end slavery and the Civil War — 2012 certainly offered a wide array of memorable supporting characters in motion pictures.
CHICAGO – Give Lynn Shelton a few days, a dozen crew members, a picturesque cabin and three terrific actors, and just look at what she’s capable of making. “Your Sister’s Sister” is clearly the work of a filmmaker in full command of her craft. With limited resources and very little time, writer/director Shelton somehow managed to capture a fully realized human drama brimming with richly etched characters and marvelously insightful comedy.
CHICAGO – Rian Johnson’s “Looper” is going to blow your mind. The third film from the director of “Brick” and “The Brothers Bloom” (as well as episodes of “Terriers” and “Breaking Bad”) is a highwire act of time travel action and human drama.
CHICAGO – There’s a great movie buried in the bloated “The Five-Year Engagement,” a comedy that nearly feels like a rough cut at a ridiculous 125 minutes in its theatrical form or 132 minutes in its unrated version. The stars are incredibly charismatic and I like a lot of what Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller are trying to do with their tale of how life sometimes gets in the way of love but the movie is just too long, making it merely good despite having greatness within.
CHICAGO – It’s so refreshing to see a talented filmmaker that has been allowed to bring his unique vision to the screen without compromise. You know the feeling when you’re watching a product of a marketing focus group or producer interference and when you’re seeing something fresh, new, and personal.
CHICAGO – “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is a romantic comedy so lightweight that it threatens to float off into the ether. It has perhaps the least gripping title since Ingmar Bergman’s “Sawdust and Tinsel,” which is strange since the rest of the production reeks of commercial calculation. Yet the film is based on Paul Torday’s book of the same name, so the studio must have considered the title marketable.
CHICAGO – Lynn Shelton’s “Your Sister’s Sister” is a character-driven piece about hidden feelings and complex relationships. Like her work on “Humpday,” Shelton has a keen ear for the way people alter their behavior as their dynamics with other people continue to shift, often in a sexual direction. When a close friend suddenly looks like something more, when a long-term relationship seems to be falling apart, when a sibling may have betrayed you – Shelton’s gift as a filmmaker is how she can traverse these emotional minefields while still staying true to her characters.