This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Skyfall, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Sessions ...
This week: Bond comes back from the brink with his biggest movie ever. Also: Helen Hunt gets back her Oscar mojo with 'The Sessions,' and the ghost of John Hughes approves 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower.'
► It wasn’t so long ago another James Bond movie seemed unlikely. MGM was deep in the hole, and ‘Quantum of Solace’ was a huge letdown after the brilliant ‘Casino Royale.’ And when SKYFALL’s original screenwriter left the project during its hiatus, Bond’s 50th anniversary looked like a bust. Instead, it became the biggest hit in the franchise, and (worldwide) the 7th biggest film of all time. How’d they do it? By recharging things with a sleek mix of the new and respectful nod to the old. The story follows the familiar Bond beats but gets a riveting turn from Javier Bardem as a villain you aren’t so quick to hate, and – for one last, glorious time – Judi Dench, whose M is more crucial to the plot than ever. As for Daniel Craig, it’s no longer a given to assume Sean Connery is the best Bond ever. There’s an audience for silly, over-the-top Bond, but I’ll take Craig’s brooding take on the character any time. This is a classic, easily among the top three 007 movies ever, and sweet relief for fans who feared it was all over.
► There has not been enough Helen Hunt this past decade. THE SESSIONS makes up for it in a big way. Based on a true story, she plays a therapist who agrees to deflower a writer (John Hawkes) who is paralyzed from the neck down. It sounds like a morbid twist on every teen sex comedy ever made, but this was a revelation, not just for its performances (Hunt has to be the frontrunner to win Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars) but its mature, frank look at sex and disabilities.
► We’ll likely never see anything like John Hughes’ teen movies of the ‘80s again – the right subject matter at just the right time – but THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is a worthy modern successor. Based on the Stephen Chbosky book, it follows a freshman outcast (Logan Lerman) who finds himself accepted by two free spirit seniors (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller). One of the best movies of 2012 to likely never come to your town. Time to fix that.
► Look, when you’re an obvious piece of crap like THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, not even Quentin Tarantino’s name carries much weight. He ‘presents’ (as opposed to ‘produced’) this overdone, over-the-top, over-everything martial arts fantasy. Incomprehensible fight scenes and attention deficit editing – the staples of every boring action movie of the past decade. Even more alarming, Russell Crowe has gone from a perennial Oscar nominee to pulling anal beads out of a hooker’s ass with his teeth.
► It is by far the worst show I regularly watched. I rolled my eyes at every dumb, derivative scene. I must have said “this is the most useless character on TV” every time Rufus opened his mouth. But dammit, I’ll still miss GOSSIP GIRL. The sixth and final season brings eternally battling bitches Blair and Serena back for one last romp, while the always awesome Chuck Bass literally battles to the death with his dad. All of the series regulars (past and present) show up in the finale, and, yes, we finally learn who Gossip Girl is (is that a cameo by Kristen Bell?). Not as painful as the last few seasons for the simple fact it’s only 10 episodes.
► It’s the beginning of the end for Dave Hester in STORAGE WARS VOL. 4, as he becomes increasingly weary of – as he claims – A&E meddling with the lockers behind the scenes. The drama is off camera, but you can see Hester has had his fill. The rest of the cast keep their game faces on, though this set doesn’t have the episode with Darrell’s $300,000 score – the biggest in the show’s history.
► Would you watch Frank Langella in anything? Even a robot sidekick movie? ROBOT & FRANK certainly isn’t as dreary as it sounds, but that’s still a tough sell. Set in the near future, Langella plays a senior whose mind is starting to go, so his son buys him a butler-type robot. He hates it at first, but you can guess where this is heading. A cast with Liv Tyler and Susan Sarandon makes it more bearable.
► Showtime’s WEEDS overstayed its welcome by a few years, but at least the eighth and final season brings things full circle. After recovering from her head shot in the Season 7 finale, weed queen Nancy (Mary Louise Parker), tries to go legit by working for a pharmaceutical company making legal marijuana. Before long, though, the old ways suck her back in, and she even moves back to the town of Agretic, where the series began. Parker’s quality nudity over the course of eight seasons deserves a moment of silence.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!