Winter’s Tale

CBS Films

As I said in the intro for our list of the year’s best films, 2014 has been a fantastic year at the movies.There was a lot to love, and that means there were a lot of films that simply didn’t make the cut on our other “Best of 2014″ lists. The fourteen movies below didn’t get much love during the year and failed to make much of a dent at the box-office, but they’re very much worth seeking out on Blu-ray, DVD, Netflix, iTunes or anywhere else unloved movies go to rest.


Warner Bros.

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Winter’s Tale Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) is a man out of time in early 20th century New York City. He’s on the run from a devilish mob boss (Russell Crowe) when a last minute detour lands him in love with a socialite (Jessica Brown Findlay) dying of tuberculosis. Can their romance survive human mortality, a Jimi Hendrix-loving Satan and a self-directed script by Akiva Goldsman? Winter’s Tale, so named because some scenes take place when it’s cold out apparently, is a terrible movie in most senses of the word. The romance doesn’t work, the fantastic elements feel out of place, there’s barely a single effective moment of suspense or emotion and the metaphysical message is a confused jumble of words randomly typed by chimpanzees while peyote smoke is blown into their anuses by drunken clergymen. There’s no getting around any of that, and yet… I want you to see it. To experience it. And to confirm for me that I didn’t just dream the whole damn thing. Check out my full review here if you still need convincing. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]



I went to the movies on Friday night. Surrounded by friends in just the right mood, and a bit buzzed, I sat down to a 7:45pm screening of Winter’s Tale. And you know what? I had a fantastic time. It’s terrible, of course. Akiva Goldsman‘s directorial debut isn’t so much a train wreck as it is the colliding of planets, à la Melancholia. This apparently genuine attempt at epic, magical romance is the most spectacular disaster I have seen in a long, long time. Nothing works. The plot doesn’t make any sense, the actors all seem to be performing in different movies, and it is blissfully unaware of its own silliness. If I had to smack a label on it, I’d call it the perfect midnight movie. But what does that actually mean?


Winter's Tale 2014

What to make of a time-spanning romance featuring Lucifer in a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt, a flying horse named Deus Ex Machina, and a woman killed by a too-warm penis? What indeed. Winter’s Tale opens in present day New York City and stays there for a full three minutes before jumping back to 1895 and a ship filled with hopeful immigrants. One couple is turned away, but desperate for their infant son’s future they lower him into the water and toss his fate to the waves. Quick cut to 21 years later, and Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) is a petty thief on the run. Yes. Colin Farrell plays a 21 year-old. He’s on the run from Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe), a demonic mob boss intent on killing Peter for some unknown slight, but before heading out of town Peter makes time for one last score at the home of newspaper editor Isaac Penn (William Hurt). What he doesn’t know is that Penn’s deathly ill but still gorgeous daughter, Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay), is tickling the ivories inside, and one admittedly well-written meet-cute later the beginning of a great love has stirred in their loins and in the air between them. Poor pronoun reference there, but it’s not inaccurate.


winter tale

I, Frankenstein sure was something, eh? Why that movie wasn’t a bigger hit is beyond comprehension, but like most works of unheralded beauty, it will stand the test of time. January 2014 will forever be known as the month that didn’t recognize a good thing when it was sitting there in a cineplex the whole damn time. The same might be said for this February, with Jason Reitman’s Labor Day tanking alongside its Frankensteinian brethren. Which is a shame. Reitman’s movie is actually rather memorable. The film, albeit quite flawed, is refreshingly sincere, romantic, and is without any irony. While the last day of January didn’t do it any favors with poor reviews and a low audience turnout, make sure to see its beautiful cinematography and Josh Brolin‘s performance before it leaves theaters. And after you finally get around to Labor Day, make sure to checkout these five February releases as well:



What is Casting Couch? It’s where Hollywood moms come every day to find out if their actor kids have gotten a job. Remember that movie about the day JFK got shot that Tom Hanks was putting together because these days he’s such a history loving, lame dad? It’s called Parkland, and it just put together an awesome cast. According to Collider, director Vincent Bugliosi has signed the terrific trio of Paul Giamatti, Jackie Weaver, and Billy Boy Thornton to headline the cast. There’s no word on what characters they’ll be playing, but my guess is Giamatti will be JFK, Thornton will be Jackie O, and Weaver will be Lee Harvey Oswald. Makes sense, no?

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published: 01.24.2015
published: 01.24.2015
published: 01.24.2015
published: 01.23.2015

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