How Do You Know

This Week in DVD

Last week saw a bump in the road for our DVD column as festivals got in the way of DVD watching, but this week we’re back on track with a vengeance! Or something equally dramatic sounding. But sadly, our triumphant return is greeted by a week with no DVD releases worth buying. There are a few worth adding to the ol’ Netflix queue or heading down to your local Redbox for though, including the latest Roger Corman double feature from Shout! Factory, the sequel to Alien you never knew existed, an indie comedy about a promiscuous Asian woman, and more. How Do You Know A young woman (Reese Witherspoon) finds herself in a romantic triangle with a sports star (Owen Wilson) and a businessman (Paul Rudd) on the brink of ruin. James L. Brooks’s latest film tanked at the box office this past winter, and while some folks pointed at the title’s lack of punctuation as the cause others pointed at the ridiculous budget of $100m+. In reality it simply didn’t connect with audiences, and while that’s too bad it still leaves the opportunity for people to discover it on DVD/Blu-ray. The three leads are all on top of their game here and give strong and fun performances built from Brooks’s witty and warm script. It’s no Broadcast News, but it does feature more laughs and romance than most rom-coms manage these days.

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This Week in Blu-ray

I will forgo the usual intro after a two-week hiatus from writing this column and simply apologize. Beside last week being the week of SXSW, I don’t have a very good reason why this is the first Blu-ray column of March. Well, there was a general malaise about the titles being released in the month’s first few weeks, but we all know that’s no good reason to shirk my duties as chief high definition prognosticator. So we’re back this week with a few really great releases, including March’s best release as Pick of the Week, a spectacular entry into the Criterion Collection and a few really bad movies that I loved. Take that, common sense! Four Lions Any release calendar junkies among you may be quick to cite the fact that Four Lions streeted on March 8, two weeks prior to the writing of this column. You’d be right — it’s not one of this week’s release. But with a dearth of great titles hitting shelves this Tuesday, combined with my absence from this column’s helm for the past two weeks, I thought it to be more than appropriate to celebrate one of last year’s finest comedies. Terrorism. It’s funny when you look at it through the lens of director Chris Morris. It’s hilarious when you strap explosives to crows and dress up in Ninja Turtles costumes lined with C4. It’s enthralling and insightful when it wants to be, as well. It’s the rare kind of flick that has something […]

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One of the best films of the eighties (and of any decade really) is James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News. It’s a near perfect film about a love triangle that ends the only way it really can, but the three characters are strong enough that any result would have been acceptable. Brooks returned to the screen last year with a new film featuring Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson both vying for Reese Witherspoon’s affection. Jack Nicholson is even on-hand to scowl and over act. How Do You Know is no Broadcast News, but it’s still a fun, lightweight romance that seemed to get lost in theaters. Why exactly audiences decided to skip the movie in theaters is anyone’s guess, but it may have something to do with the title. It’s clearly a question… but Sony Pictures decided they just didn’t need the question mark. As if they could just ignore the rules of grammar and punctuation with no fear of reprisals. How Do You Know hits DVD/Blu-ray on March 22nd, and we’ve got a brand-spanking new DVD to give away. How can you win? Simple… respond in the comments below to this two-part question. First, name a movie that has a question for a title (ex. 2001′s “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?). And second, answer that question (ex. “Anal rape”). See? Easy! Make us laugh the loudest and you’ll win yourself a free DVD!

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It’s that time of the year again: that brief span of time in between Christmas and New Year’s when journalists, critics, and cultural commentators scramble to define an arbitrary block of time even before that block is over with. To speculate on what 2010 will be remembered for is purely that: speculation. But the lists, summaries, and editorials reflecting on the events, accomplishments, failures, and occurrences of 2010 no doubt shape future debate over what January 1-December 31, 2010 will be remembered for personally, nostalgically, and historically. How we refer to the present frames how it is represented in the future, even when contradictions arise over what events should be valued from a given year. In an effort to begin that framing process, what I offer here is not a critical list of great films, but one that points out dominant cultural conversations, shared trends, and intersecting topics (both implicit and explicit) that have occurred either between the films themselves or between films and other notable aspects of American social life in 2010. As this column attempts to establish week in and week out, movies never exist in a vacuum, but instead operate in active conversation with one another. Thus, a movie’s cultural context should never be ignored. So, without further adieu, here is my overview of the Top 10 topics, trends, and events of the year that have nothing to do with the 3D debate.

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The Reject Report

Audiences got derezzed, went into the grid, and disc warred all the way to end of line this weekend. And, if you followed all of that, you were probably among the masses. While TRON Legacy jumped to the top of the pile, its weekend take wasn’t up to expectations, and the future of the franchise could very well be called into question. It just depends on the legs the film has, Olive Wilde’s legs notwithstanding.

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The Reject Report

The weather has turned cold, the end of the year is soon approaching, and the last bastion of Holiday films are coming our way. This week, we have a number of dollar-earner pictures hitting as well as a couple of heavy awards contendors expanding into wide release. The light cycles are sure to have an edge over a couple of talking bears, especially since one of those bears sounds a bit like Ray Stantz. The other bear isn’t exactly bringing sexy back, but he might be cute enough to pull in some decent money.

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of November dumpster diving in studio lots, mailing in proof of purchase codes on cereal boxes, and building trailers from old plywood to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in December. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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With the all-seeing eye of the internet watching every single movie production in existence (even the one your parents are making right now), it’s incredible when something flies under the radar. It’s even more incredible when it’s from an Oscar winner and fan favorite. Still, it seems that the new James L. Brooks romantic comedy How Do You Know completely flew under said radar until some promotional materials ended up in the Reject carrier pigeon drop this morning. Romantic Comedies have been sorely lacking these days. The studio formula seems to include cramming as many names and as little heart into them as possible, so seeing Brooks’s name involved in the directing game again is something to celebrate. Plus, with Paul Rudd squaring off against Owen Wilson, there’s something else there to celebrate.

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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