The last few weeks each brought an exciting hit movie or two to Blu-ray. Wasn’t that nice? This week reminds us that we’re stuck in the January doldrums.
‘Goosebumps‘ – Jack Black + kids’ movie generally equals “Stay far away,” especially one that comes from the director of his dreadful ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. If nothing else, this one has the moderately clever hook of making Black play author R.L. Stine himself, as the monsters and ghouls from his famous children’s books mysteriously come to life. Beyond that, the movie looks an awfully lot like a ‘Jumanji’ or ‘Night at the Museum’ clone. It’s probably inoffensive enough if your kids force you to watch it, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider that an endorsement.
‘Chi-Raq‘ – Fresh off its zero Oscar nominations, Spike Lee’s latest film is his most acclaimed in years. A loose contemporary retelling of the ancient Greek play ‘Lysistrata’ set in modern Chicago, it’s also the first musical comedy (albeit a politically topical one) he’s made since ‘School Daze’ in his early career.
‘The Assassin‘ – Like so many of his contemporaries in Asian cinema, Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien (‘Millennium Mambo’) eventually felt compelled to turn his lens from delicate character dramas to high-flying martial arts. In keeping with his usual aesthetic, however, the result is said to be very slow-moving and contemplative, if beautiful to look at. This has rubbed many viewers the wrong way. I supposed it’s better to look at this as more art film than kung-fu action flick.
‘Burnt‘ – Bradley Cooper has three Oscar nominations and is a fairly bankable star these days, but even his face on the poster couldn’t save this poorly-reviewed box office flop about a former chef trying to rehabilitate his life and career. The plot summary sounds more than a little similar to Jon Favreau’s 2014 comedy ‘Chef‘, just played for drama rather than laughs. It’s also reminiscent of Cooper’s own 2005 sitcom ‘Kitchen Confidential’, which didn’t last too long. Perhaps the actor should stay away from aprons after this.
The Warner Archive opens up for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 thriller ‘The Wrong Man‘, the director’s only collaboration with star Henry Fonda.
A label called HD Cinema Classics offers a film noir double bill featuring Edward G. Robinson in ‘The Red House‘ (1947) and Frank Sinatra in ‘Suddenly‘ (1954).
Scream Factory brings some schlocky scares with ‘Sssssss‘ (1973), ‘Jack’s Back‘ (1988) and ‘Sonny Boy‘ (1989).
3D enthusiasts may be amused by the very gimmicky Spaghetti Western ‘Comin’ at Ya!‘, the movie that kicked off the brief 3D revival of the early 1980s.
With its sixth season, cultural phenomenon ‘Downton Abbey‘ draws its run to a close. Other TV titles this week include the third season of ‘Da Vinci’s Demons‘ and the back half of the ninth season of ‘Doctor Who‘.
Nothing this week begs for immediately ownership, but ‘The Wrong Man’ will go on my wish list and I may rent ‘Chi-Raq’ and ‘The Assassin’.
Will anything convince you to part with some money this week?