New to VUDU: Week of February 5th, 2012

It’s time for some monkey business. This week, VUDU offers up one of last year’s most acclaimed documentaries, which was inexplicably passed over by the Academy Awards and doesn’t seem to be getting a Blu-ray release either.

The following titles enter the VUDU stream this week:

  • ‘Fireflies in the Garden’ (2/7)
  • ‘Knuckle’ (2/7)
  • ‘Project Nim’ (2/7)
  • ‘The Rum Diary’ (Purchase 2/7, Rental 2/14)
  • ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1’ (2/11)
  • ‘Tower Heist’ (Purchase 2/7, Rental 2/21)
  • ‘Tower Heist: Special Edition’ (Purchase 2/7, Rental 2/21)

The voting members of the “Best Documentary” branch of the Academy have a controversial history of willfully ignoring some of the most acclaimed documentaries of their given years. Legend has it that the Academy screening of ‘Hoop Dreams’ was shut down after only 15 minutes because the committee members had given up on it. This year, they passed over both ‘The Interrupters’ (another blow for ‘Hoop Dreams’ director Steve James) and ‘Project Nim‘. The latter (from the director of ‘Man on Wire’, which actually did win an Oscar) documents the fascinating story of a group of 1970s researchers who attempted to settle the “Nature vs. Nurture” debate by raising a chimpanzee as if it were a human child in a New York City brownstone apartment. Their hubris and misguided motives for doing this led to disastrous results.

Beyond that, I don’t see much here that’s worthy of my rental dollars. I have no intention of watching ‘Twilight’, and ‘Tower Heist’ looks pretty crappy too. I might have moderate interest in ‘The Rum Diary’, only because it’s the first film in nearly 20 years from ‘Withnail & I’ director Bruce Robinson. However, it doesn’t look all that interesting (I’m not a Hunter Thompson fan), and both the reviews and word-of-mouth about it were pretty scathing. I think I’ll pass.

Josh’s Random VUDU Pick:

On the subject of documentaries, VUDU has ‘Capturing the Friedmans‘ available for streaming in 1080p HDX format. I wrote about this amazing film in a Roundtable last year, and I’ll direct you to that for a summary and my thoughts on it. The DVD release from HBO was edge-enhanced to hell and looked like absolute garbage, so I can’t guarantee how good the HD version will look, but the movie is worth watching anyway.

All dates provided refer specifically to rental availability. Check VUDU for sell-through availability, if interested. Be sure to also check for VUDU’s $0.99 Movie of the Day offers, which are announced each day on the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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