Christmas is right around the corner, and the Hollywood studios have some last-minute Blu-ray releases to tempt holiday shoppers. While none of these are likely to exhibit the selling power of last week’s ‘Dark Knight Rises’, perhaps you’ll find something to put on your list for Santa.
This summer’s remake of ‘Total Recall‘ was produced a good 22 years after the original, yet still feels too soon. The Schwarzenegger classic just didn’t need updating or improvement, and by most accounts, director Len Wiseman (of the ‘Underworld’ franchise and ‘Live Free or Die Hard’) didn’t do much of the latter. Word-of-mouth on the movie was mixed, and its box office disappointed. Still, if the trailers are anything to go by, the picture should offer plenty of sci-fi eye candy for home theater, not the least of which includes the pairing of beauties Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel.
As I mentioned last week, the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise is one of my great guilty pleasures. I know that they’re not objectively good movies, but I enjoy watching Milla Jovovich kill zombies while wearing tight leather outfits. The latest entry, ‘Resident Evil: Retribution‘, underperformed at the box office, but still did well enough internationally that director Paul W.S. Anderson claims he’ll wrap things up with a sixth movie. (Of course, he said that the third movie would be the last as well.) I didn’t see this in theaters, but will dutifully blind-buy the Blu-ray 3D to complete my collection.
Why in the world did Joseph Gordon-Levitt agree to star in the ridiculous-looking bike messenger action thriller ‘Premium Rush‘? The trailers were atrocious. Still, the movie was written and directed by the normally reliable blockbuster screenwriter David Koepp. There must be something more to this than meets the eye, right?
Remember when Clint Eastwood threatened to retire from acting after ‘Gran Torino’? I guess that didn’t take. He returned in front of cameras as an aging baseball scout in the drama ‘Trouble with the Curve‘, most likely to do a favor for his friend, long-time producer and assistant director Robert Lorenz, who made his feature directing debut with the film. Reviews were mixed-to-negative. Coming on the heels of Eastwood’s doddering speech at the Republican National Convention, the legendary actor may well wish to stay behind the cameras again after this.
Other notable mainstream releases this week include Anna Kendrick’s show choir musical ‘Pitch Perfect‘, and the (reportedly) dreadful family flick ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days‘. (I’ll never watch it to find out for myself.)
From the indie and film festival scene, director William Friedkin and star Matthew McConaughey both received some of their strongest notices in many years for the revenge thriller ‘Killer Joe‘. Spike Lee brings Mookie the pizza delivery boy out of retirement for an appearance in the coming-of-age tale ‘Red Hook Summer‘. Richard Gere scored an unexpected Golden Globe nomination for the largely-forgotten Wall Street financial thriller ‘Arbitrage‘. ‘How I Met Your Mother’ star Josh Radnor tries his hand at feature directing for a second time with the dramedy ‘Liberal Arts‘ (which was generally better received than his first attempt, the annoying rom-com ‘happythankyoumoreplease‘). Finally, comedian Mike Birbiglia recounts the strange and often hilarious tale of his sleep disorder in the memoir ‘Sleepwalk with Me‘.
Strangely, this week doesn’t have much going on in terms of significant catalog titles. Warner Bros. has broken the three live-action ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ movies out of their box set into separate releases, which will come as a great relief for all those Vanilla Ice fans who’ve been waiting for a standalone copy of ‘The Secret of the Ooze’.
Honestly, I’m surprised that the Showtime series ‘Shameless‘ has already lasted two seasons. The pilot episode was enough to put me off it forever. Some people seem to like it, I guess. Emmy Rossum flashing her boobs a lot probably has something to do with that.
Like I said, I’m down for the ‘Resident Evil’ movie. Otherwise, I might rent ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Killer Joe’. I enjoyed ‘Sleepwalk with Me’ in theaters, but don’t need to own it.
Does anything strike your fancy this week?