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 – 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 – Few characters in the history of pop culture are as well known as Norman Bates. In fact, if you don’t know who (or where) the title of A&E’s new show, “Bates Motel,” refers to then you probably won’t enjoy it, presuming you have cable below the rock under which you live anyway.
CHICAGO – In our latest action-packed thriller edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Blu-ray, we have 5 Blu-rays up for grabs for the highly anticipated home entertainment release of “Safe House” starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds!
CHICAGO – “Safe House” is so overly familiar that you not only will think that you’ve seen it before and know exactly where it’s going before it gets there, but you will also barely remember having seen it once it’s over.
CHICAGO – In our latest crime/mystery edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new film “Safe House” starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds!
CHICAGO – The subject of religion in America is rarely portrayed honestly in the movies, with its power to both inspire or offend. Vera Farmiga makes her directorial debut and plays the lead character in the religious-themed “Higher Ground.”
CHICAGO – As an actress, Vera Farmiga broke out big in 2009 with her Oscar nominated performance in “Up in the Air.” Farmiga is now taking a total filmmaker’s role, playing the lead character and directing the new film, “Higher Ground.”
CHICAGO – Critics often fall back on cliched phrases about rollercoaster rides or edge-of-your-seat entertainment and then you’re disappointed when you head to the theatre or rent their recommendation and nearly fall asleep. “Source Code” is one of the few honestly-satisfying thrill rides that deserves that title. It’s one of the most entertaining films of the year and it’s going to garner an even-larger following with a strong Blu-ray and DVD release this week from Summit Entertainment.
CHICAGO – Keanu Reeves is the sort of actor who succeeds in spite of himself. His best work remains in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when he specialized in playing hazy-brained man-children, the best of which may have been Tod Higgins, the goofy race car driver in Ron Howard’s timeless 1989 comedy, “Parenthood.” Reeves transcended the silliness of his character with a performance of disarming warmth.