This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray may be coming to you a few days later than usual, but fear not, as it was worth the wait. Fox and MGM decided to drop a number of great films on me at the last minute, meaning long hours of pouring over special features, drinking heavily and ultimately turning myself into a late-1970s Woody Allen character by the end. It was all worth it, as you’re about to experience 2500 words or so of the most full edition of this column we’ve seen in a long time. Plenty of unsung heroes of 2011, classics of yesteryear and boxing robots to go around. Also, Rob Hunter stops by for some cross-column reviewing with Rebecca. 50/50 In a week that will see the release of a bevy of classics coming to Blu-ray for the very first time, it would be a crime to overlook one of 2011’s most heartfelt works, complete with some ranged performances from the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Bryce Dallas Howard. Jonathan Levine (The Wackness), working from a script by Will Reiser based on a true story, tells the tale of Adam, a 27-year old guy who gets diagnosed with spinal cancer. Dealing with his overbearing friends, his smothering mother and a relationship that hangs on the edge, Adam must find a way to not only beat cancer, but all the situational drama it’s caused between him and those he cares about most. It’s funny, touching and full of memorable performances. […]


I’ve no better, more eloquent way to put this — Gus Van Sant‘s Restless is awful, pandering, painfully acted, lazily written, up its own ass schlock. It’s bad. This is not the Van Sant that pulled beautiful, nuanced performances from his actors in Good Will Hunting, gave us solid, dark, indie-fare like Elephant, or even the almost total airball remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. This, perhaps, is a sign that Van Sant has taken his title as arthouse darling and run it completely off the rails.


The Reject Report

I thought about opening this Reject Report with a play on the lyrics to “Circle of the Life.” A certain Disney classic is getting its re-release in 3-D this weekend, and you know how we love playing around with lyrics here at the Reject Report. But then we witnessed Ryan Gosling wearing leather driving gloves. Never mind the white bomber jacket complete with scorpion embroidered on the back. Those gloves are what we focused on. Then, after about 45 minutes of staring, we remembered we have a job to do. There’s box office analyses that need to be…um…analyzed, and four new wide releases to split the box office dollars between them. Two R-rated thrillers, that Disney classic that’s getting a re-release on over 2300 screens, and a rom-com starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Over/under on how many words I give that movie.


Last year I came away from Cannes needing to tell as many people as possible to see Blue Valentine, which enthralled and emotionally jarred me thanks to a blend of compelling story-telling and two mesmerizing lead performances ranging from touching to explosive in the space of a few short minutes. Already, only two days in, I feel the same way about Gus Van Sant‘s Restless, the film that today opened the Un Certain Regard section of the festival. Restless is a similar tale of two entwined souls romantically entangled, but unlike Blue Valentine, which was all about the central pair’s relationship to the extent that it quite wonderfully presented them as living in an impenetrable and ultimately devastating bubble, Van Sant throws in a couple of narrative conceits and a hugely gripping hook that adds a different element to the film. Both films share a resolute focus on a final point: while Blue Valentine alludes to it (the relationship’s end) thanks to an alinear narrative structure, Restless reveals very early on that Annabel (Mia Wasikowska) has a terminal disease that will kill her inside three months, which gives the story both structure and that killer hook. This is no Bucket List – there are no grand, sweeping gestures, no life affirming to-do-lists to complete in order to feel complete before death. Instead we are offered a portrait of a young couple, both aged by their personal tragedies (one by her illness, the other by the death of his parents), yet unwilling and unable to cast […]


Holy Hollywood, the selections for this year’s Cannes Film Festival (both confirmed and mostly-confirmed) are a star-studded bunch so far, if the rumormongers are to be believed, anyway. The news is coming pretty quick-fire at the minute, so I’ll run down the latest… First off, yesterday French site Le Figaro announced that Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides will play on the Croisette out of competition on Saturday May 14th, before it opens to French cinemas on May 18th and in the US on the 20th. This is one I was half-expecting, given the coincidental release dates, and the fact that there are traditionally a couple of mainstream releases showing out of competition at the fest. The third out of competition (joining Pirates and Terrence Malick’s already announced Tree of Life) looks likely to be Kung Fu Panda 2, according to Thompson on Hollywood, who say the 3D Dreamworks sequel starring Jack Black will follow Jeff Katzenberg’s tradition of bringing a DreamWorks project to Cannes to take advantage of a “worldwide marketing blitz.”


This being my third Cannes Film Festival in a row, I feel I’m now in the privileged position to demand something of the festival in return for standing thanklessly in queues in the baking sun, and allowing my English Rose skin to wilt/burst into flames under the unforgiving French Riviera sun. So, with that in mind, below is a run-down of what I’d ideally like to see when I get to Cannes in May – along with a few reasonable predictions, based on what’s coming up.

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published: 12.23.2014
published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014

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