This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: The Conjuring, Before Midnight, Only God Forgives ...
This week: Check your shorts, The Conjuring is back. Also: Will audiences forgive Only God Forgives?
► Nothing about THE CONJURING seemed special, especially its tired ad campaign promising yet another fact-based ghost story. But director James Wan had his horror mojo working better than ever for this (supposed) true story of a family being terrorized in their new farmhouse, and the paranormal investigators who agree to help them. Wan sets the tone brilliantly with a creepy-as-hell intro which serves as a side story involving a haunted doll (it pays off later on), and he knows to let scary scenes breathe a bit before hammering us with a shock scare. We care about these characters – a rare thing in modern horror. Fantastic work by Patrick Wilson and Farmiga as the investigators and Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor as the home owners. True or not, this is the year’s best horror film.
► The love story Richard Linklater began nearly 20 years ago with ‘Before Sunrise’ hits some rough patches in BEFORE MIDNIGHT. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have been together for nine years, and with their lives at a crossroads they have one of those epic on-screen arguments that’ll make you flinch worse than any war movie. We’ve gotten to know these two characters so well after three movies, every harsh word stings. One of the most critically adored movies of the year, and if this is indeed the end, a remarkable trilogy by Linklater.
► It was a mixed reception for Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow-up to his universally loved ‘Drive’. The David Lynch-ian ONLY GOD FORGIVES reunites him with Ryan Gosling, who stars as a fugitive in Bangkok badgered by his crime boss mom (Kristin Scott Thomas) to find the people who murdered her other son, who just raped and killed an underage prostitute. This one drew both boos and a standing ovation at Cannes this year.
► Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson made one of the biggest comedies of the decade with ‘Wedding Crashers.’ So, in a baffling bit of ‘What the fuh ...?’, they wait eight years to do a follow-up. Even worse, a follow-up that felt dated the moment it was released. THE INTERNSHIP has them as two unemployed salesmen who apply to be interns at Google, where things strangely resemble the summer camp of ‘Meatballs.’ It’s all a two-hour ad for Google stretching to find Vaughan and Wilson’s old chemistry.
► Despite its devoted fanbase, The CW’s NIKITA remains one of the lowest-rated shows on TV. Which means the upcoming fourth season will be its last. Season 3 sets the stage nicely, with agent Nikita (Maggie O) and Co. now running Division – the secret organization that erased her past and turned her into an assassin. The president assigns them to clean up the previous regime’s mess, which doesn’t sit well with former Division head Amanda (Melinda Clarke). The six-episode fourth season starts Nov. 22.
► Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (that’s Dean Pelton to you), who won an Oscar for writing ‘The Descendents,’ share the director’s chair this time for the Sundance favorite THE WAY, WAY BACK. They’ve gathered a killer cast for this coming-of-age flick about a 14-year-old kid (Liam James) stuck on summer vacation in Cape Cod with his mom Pam (Toni Collette) and boyfriend (Steve Carell, playing an absolute asshole). He eventually gets welcomed at a nearby waterpark, where he bonds with the manager (Sam Rockwell). A feel-good story, and – all things considered – one of the summer’s surprise hits, doing $23 million on a $4.6 million budget.
► If you love artist documentaries, Brad Bernstein’s FAR OUT ISN’T ENOUGH: THE TOM UNGERER STORY is one of the best since ‘Crumb.’ Narrated by Ungerer himself, it follows the career of the France-born kid who lived through the German occupation to create cutting edge children’s books and, later in life, eroticism. His series of posters denouncing racism and the Vietnam War are legendary.
► Only fitting Christopher Lee narrates the documentary NECESSARY EVIL: SUPER-VILLAINS OF DC COMICS: He could read Dr. Seuss and make it sound criminal. With insight from Zack Snyder, Guillermo Del Toro and Richard Donner, he explains why every great DC hero is only as good as his opposition.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!
|Extra Tidbit:||this week in blu-ray and dvd releases, The Conjuring, Before Midnight, Only God Forgives, Nikita, The Internship, The Way Way Back|