The First Time

discs header i declare war

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. I Declare War A group of pre-teen boys (and one girl), some friends and some not, gather for a game of war in the back woods. Using sticks, a simple set of rules, and their endless imagination, the battle grows to include M-16s, grenades, bazookas, and more, but while all of those are allowed things soon take a dark turn. Jealousy and insecurity fuel one boy’s rage to the point where the war stops being a game. This Canadian import starts off like the perfect encapsulation of a day in the life of a twelve year old boy with its mix of physical activity and imagination-fueled violence. It becomes something more though as one of the boys begins to crack, and some of the kids enter a Lord of the Flies-like scenario built on fear and peer pressure. It’s a bit rough around the edges at times, particularly with some of the child actors, but it never lets go of its sense of fun. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentaries, featurettes, trailer]

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discs this must be the place

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! Sure it’s a few days late, but it’s still technically the same week… As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. This Must Be the Place Cheyenne (Sean Penn) was a rock star many years ago, but these days he lives a quiet life in a big house with a wife (Frances McDormand), two dogs and an empty swimming pool. He’s a bit slow in his mobility and speech, and his appearance is still modeled on The Cure’s Robert Smith. When his father falls ill Cheyenne heads to NYC to reconcile with the old man, but instead he finds himself on a quest for revenge against a Nazi. Obviously. Paolo Sorrentino‘s film is more than a little odd. Between Penn’s performance and the script’s insistence on couching a traditional narrative in strange, character-filled trappings it’s guaranteed to turn off many viewers, and I really wouldn’t blame them walking away. But I found the story’s take on the need for (and power of) forgiveness a compelling reason to watch, and Penn’s performance may have taken a bit to grow on me but it eventually added to the film’s charm. It’s damn funny at times and lands an emotionally satisfying ending too, but be warned… most of you will apparently hate it. It’s the new I Melt With You in that regard. [Blu-ray extras: None]

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The First Time Trailer

In the Land of Women director Jon Kasdan has finished a new movie, and those of you who are unabashed fans of high school flicks should find it to be pretty appealing. The First Time looks like such a typical teenage drama that it might very well be made up of a patchwork of scenes from past teen movies that you already know and love. I’m not sure if anyone would notice. There’s the guy with the hopeless crush on the girl who just sees him as a friend, the girl who spends every waking moment obsessing over her status as a virgin, and whether or not she’s ready to end it. There’s the creepy older guy scamming on high school girls, and the kid in the glasses, who isn’t going to get to have a romantic subplot, but who is mostly just there to say something funny every once in a while. All your favorites, here in one place! Who does the movie star? None other than names like Dylan O’Brien, Britt Robertson, Victoria Justice, and James Frecheville. Who are these people? Yeah, I’m not entirely certain either; but they’re all fresh-faced, young, and attractive, so that’s all you need to know.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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