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 – Sylvester Stallone is a difficult man to comprehend, unless if doing a thesis on male menopause. The one time screenwriter of gritty soul pictures like “Rocky,” “Paradise Alley” and “First Blood” is spending his later years pumping out undistinguished boom-boom pictures like “Homefront.”
CHICAGO – It was one of the strangest star-is-born stories in show business history. One porn film – “Deep Throat” – permeates the American consciousness at precisely the right time. The “lead” actress in the film becomes a household name – and then becomes a victim of it – in ‘Lovelace.’
CHICAGO – Sam Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” starts so promisingly. The full-frame black-and-white scenes that open the film have a clever charm as they introduce us to the title character (James Franco) and whisk him off to the legendary land of witches and talking scarecrows. And that scene where the film expands as he reaches his fantasy land is a beauty.
CHICAGO – When David Gordon Green’s “Your Highness” hit fans of its writer/director and talented stars like a really bad pot hangover, its creators admitted that the project began life as a stoned what-if scenario. “Hey, let’s make a pot-laced fantasy movie, dude.” Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg’s “This is the End” clearly had similar origins.
5/10/13 12:46 p.m. update: Due to popular demand, we’ve increased this Hookup from 30 pairs to 50 pairs!
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 50 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of “The Iceman” (a true story!) starring Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder!
CHICAGO – Already hailed as this generation’s “Fight Club,” Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” is a mesmerizing piece of satire, a journey into the dark side of teenage excess. And what’s a better symbol of excess than the ritual of spring break?
CHICAGO – “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a great and powerful visual and 3D experience. It expands the landscape of what cinema can produce in a visceral and evolutionary way. But a great film also needs a great story, and this Land of Oz tale is not equivalent to the awe-inspiring imagery.
CHICAGO – Stephen Elliott’s “About Cherry” takes what could have been an interesting journey into the porn industry and turns it into what is essentially a TV-Movie-of-the-Week without the rating restrictions of the Lifetime Channel. Newcomer Ashley Hinshaw makes an impression and the supporting cast of Elliott’s drama is strong but the film never finds its focus, refusing to get under the beautiful surface of its lead character and present her as anything more than a sexy plot device.
CHICAGO – Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” “Spider-Man 2,” and “Spider-Man 3” were just released on Blu-ray to coincide with the upcoming theatrical release of Mark Webb’s reboot, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” opening in theaters on July 3, 2012. All of the Sony BD releases are pretty standard although purists will like the consistent packaging and the chance to own them at a low price point (close to $10 at some outlets) before they’re probably repackaged again when “Amazing” hits Blu-ray in time for the holidays. None of the releases include any notable new special features (other than the inclusion of Ultraviolet and some games on the first film) but they all included a wealth of them in previous editions.
CHICAGO – Have a gift card burning a hole in your wallet? Want a new movie? There are few better options for new release Blu-rays than Fox’s stellar reboot, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” one of the most surprising critical and commercial smashes of 2011. The special features are extensive and impressive and the movie holds up remarkably on repeat viewing. Expertly directed by Rupart Wyatt, who perfectly choreographs amazing cinematography and effects work,and featuring a landmark mo-cap performance from Andy Serkis, this isn’t just a must-see, it’s a must-own.