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 – James Wan’s “The Conjuring” is such a remarkable leap forward from the director of “Saw” and “Insidious.” I’ve always thought that Wan was talented but his use of sound, music, and forced perspective in this brilliant horror flick immediately propels him to the top of the list for the best genre directors. He’s reportedly leaving horror behind after this mega-hit ($300 million worldwide) behind (he’s filming “Fast & Furious 7” now). The genre will miss him but it’s understandable that he probably thinks he can’t top this truly great movie.
CHICAGO – Writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan reunite for “Insidious: Chapter 2,” a repetitive, cluttered, just silly variation on the first movie that will feel like a step back for anyone who admired Wan’s notable advancement as a filmmaker in this summer’s stellar “The Conjuring.”
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated horror sequel “Insidious: Chapter 2” starring Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson!
CHICAGO – True scary movies have a couple of things going for them – the source of the scare and the psychology of the scare. The source provides the “boo,” the audience provides the interactive psychology. “The Conjuring” is a true scary movie.
CHICAGO – Jason Reitman took more risks with “Young Adult” than any film in his career. The fact that those risks paid off with a film that’s ultimately less satisfying than “Juno” or “Up in the Air” is not the point. I love to see such a talent as Reitman trying something as risky as a film with a completely loathsome protagonist for which no redemption is asked or offered. And Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt simply rock in two of the best performances of their individual careers. I think Diablo Cody’s script lets all three of them down to a certain degree, but “Young Adult” is worth at least a rental for the performances alone.
CHICAGO – In a week that packed trailers for some of next year’s biggest films, 20th Century Fox made sure to get in on the game. The first trailer for Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” has released giving the first looks at the new sci-fi/thriller film. And let’s just say if 2012 is really the last year of existence, we will be going out with some awesome looking movies.
CHICAGO – Instead of trying to fill giant shoes in the shadows of his legendary filmmaker father Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters”), Jason Reitman has been successfully blazing his own path of films without message that are designed to incite your thoughts and question your actions.
CHICAGO – Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) isn’t a girl you’d Facebook like. She’s got one too many dark passengers, she’s a repugnant drunk, she likes too much pink, her white dog is too puffy and most would consider it less than Usher cool that she’s throwing herself at a married man she couldn’t bag back in high school. Or is she? And is Mavis so different than you?
CHICAGO – In our latest dramedy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of “Young Adult” from the director of “Up in the Air” (Jason Reitman) and the writer of “Juno” (Diablo Cody) starring Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson!
CHICAGO – If Fox Faith’s target audience was comprised of atheists, the studio might have churned out this deeply shallow thriller about religious fundamentalism. Though hate-spewing cult leaders like Fred Phelps deserve to be reviled, the vast majority of fictional films about extremism come off as profoundly simple-minded. Like Kevin Smith’s “Red State,” this picture sidesteps its provocative subject matter in favor of routine clichés.