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19 New Movies to Watch at Home This Week Including Mommy, Inherent Vice and Convoy

By  · Published on April 28th, 2015

Welcome back to This Week In Discs!

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Diane (Anne Dorval) is a single mother in a dead-end job whose teenage delinquent son Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon) has just been remanded into her care by the youth hospital where he had been detained. Unprepared for his numerous outbursts but fueled by love and pride she does her best to find a balance suitable for them both, but it’s only with the help of a neighbor woman that Diane begins to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Not gonna lie, Mommy’s placement as my pick of the week is due mostly to the fact that I can’t quite tell how exactly I feel about it. There are moments, scenes and emotions at play here that are magical and powerful in equal measure ‐ the fantasy sequence in particular is probably my favorite scene from 2014 ‐ but the film is also incredibly frustrating. Too much of the film is a chore asking us to sympathize with a physically violent and verbally abusive prick, and yet… the beauty, the emotion, the music, the ending. The first act is the toughest, but if you can get through it what follows is an honest film that affects like so few films do these days.

[DVD extras: None]


At some point between the declining popularity of the Western and the superstardom of Burt Reynolds was the massively popular ’70s trucker movie, and Sam Peckinpah’s entry into the genre ‐ about a trucker (Kris Kristofferson) who organizes an epic convoy as an escalating protest against a corrupt cop, Sheriff Dirty Lyle (Ernest Borgnine) ‐ is one of the most fun entries in the genre. With a narrative developed from C.W. McCall’s 1975 hit novelty song of the same name, Convoy proved a big box-office draw despite on-set rewrites and Peckinpah’s escalating alcoholism, which resulted in much of the film being directed by an uncredited James Coburn.

While far from Peckinpah’s earlier groundbreaking works (made at a particularly vulnerable time in the notorious director’s career), Convoy is a visually spectacular film that embraces the sophomoric fun unique to this genre, and features Kristofferson owning his most casual movie star confidence, even when delivering silly dialogue. Convoy, the Furious 7 of its day. ‐ Landon Palmer

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary by film historians; feature length documentary and featurette; theatrical trailer and other promotional materials; deleted scenes; production stills]

Lord of the Flies

A plane filled with military school cadets and a handful of adults crashes into the Pacific Ocean near a lush, uninhabited island. The boys come to realize that rescue is unlikely and quickly splinter as a power struggle erupts between two differing factions. Order and civility give way to a mentality built on the idea of survival of the fittest, and the boys find that the most pressing danger before them is each other.

William Golding’s beloved novel had already been adapted once before, but while this iteration failed to catch on with critics or audiences I’d argue that it’s just as compelling and affecting as Peter Brook’s version back in 1963. Balthazar Getty’s feature debut sees him bring the honorable but unsure Ralph to vivid life, and Harry Hook’s direction turns the boys into animals and the jungle itself into another menacing character. The emotional beats work well, the editing delivers some stunning moments and the ending hits the mark beautifully.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Miami Blues

Frederick Frenger Jr. (Alec Baldwin) is a three strike loser utterly unable to go straight and avoid a life of crime. His latest illegal endeavor brings him in contact with a detective (Fred Ward) who’s soon hot on his trail and threatening to break up Freddie’s happy marriage to a hooker turned housewife (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and a desire to start fresh may not be enough to leave the past behind.

Writer/director George Armitage’s blackly comic crime thriller features Baldwin as a cool but brain-dead putz who thinks he’s riding high but may actually be heading straight towards his grave. There’s a fine mix of laughs and action, but it’s Baldwin and Ward together who make this a keeper. Individually they’re great, but together their goofy and cantankerous antics, respectively, are more than worth the price of admission. Leigh’s character is a bit more troublesome by its proximity to them both, but she manages to be engaging and adorable all the same.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interviews]

Le Silence de la Mer (Criterion)

“First they came for… and I did not speak out” has been an oft-used proverb to explain the complicity of the silent during the Holocaust. But in other contexts, silence can be the only means of resistance in the face of overpowering oppression. Such is the subject of French auteur John-Pierre Melville’s debut feature, based on a novel clandestinely written during the German occupation of France, which depicts an uncle (Jean-Marie Robain) and his niece (Nicole Stephane) who choose silence as their only means of recourse when a lonely, cultured German officer (Howard Vernon) occupies their home and uses them as a captive audience for his recollections and philosophies. Their silence grows into an existential crisis when the officer’s growing ambivalence about Germany reveals his humanity, and the family develops a strong if odd bond with their captor.

With Le Silence de la mer, Melville introduced two aspects that would be essential to his later career: his stylized restraint, here used to evoke layers of emotion with few onscreen words, and his ongoing preoccupation with cinematically representing the French resistance, of which he was a member during the war. Here is the director’s first austere yet potent journey into the power of words unsaid. ‐ Landon Palmer

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Documentaries about Melville’s role in the French resistance and this film; Melville’s first short film; new interview with a film scholar and an archival interview with Melville; illustrated booklet with an essay and an interview with Melville]

Accidental Love

Alice (Jessica Biel) is just moments into her engagement to her police officer boyfriend (James Marsden) when a construction accident lands a nail in her brain. Her lack of health insurance means surgery is not an option, so she decides to live with it and its side effects while taking up the cause of the uninsured. She heads to Washington and meets a freshman Senator (Jake Gyllenhaal) who just might be able to help. It doesn’t matter how much you do or don’t know about this film’s production woes ‐ producers ran out of money before all the scenes had been shot, director David O. Russell had his name taken off of it ‐ because it’s immediately clear that something is wildly amiss here. The tone is all over the place as attempts at both situational and slapstick comedy are tossed around, and the cast ‐ also including Catherine Keener, Tracy Morgan, James Brolin and Paul Reubens ‐ seem collectively unsure what it is they’re doing here.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

The Admiral

Admiral Yi Sun-shin (Choi Min-sik) was a revered Korean military commander, but after a Japanese plot involving false intelligence left him looking like a traitor he was relieved of duty and tortured by the men he had previously served and fought beside. The government’s attitude changes though when a second Japanese invasion heads towards their shores in 1597. He has his work cut out for him as only twelve ships remain in his ocean-going arsenal, a number that pales beside the 300+ Japanese vessels heading their way, but with the right strategy and the right location one man can fend off thousands. Well, that’s his working theory anyway. The film’s greatest strength aside from Choi is the battle scenes in part because there really are so few sea-set war films made these days. Much of the large scale action is accomplished and assisted with CGI ‐ something that works as often as it doesn’t ‐ but the film also uses a handful of life-size ship replicas made allowing for some fantastic closer-in action. Cannon blasts send wood chips and bodies scattering, and boarding parties see desperate man to man fights flailing violently, falling between ships and littering the decks. It’s all accompanied by a fantastically rousing score as well that keeps attention and excitement high.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

The Barber

Eugene van Wingerdt (Scott Glenn) was the main suspect in a string of serial murders decades ago, but a lack of evidence saw his release and the suicide of a cop obsessed with the case. Now the officer’s grown son has come looking for the truth about Eugene and his own dark desires. It’s clear from the beginning that Eugene is/was a killer, but the film lays out a somewhat convoluted mystery regarding the now grown son’s motives. We’re meant to believe one thing, but it’s not quite believable meaning we’re left waiting for the movie to catch up to our own conclusion. The film is well-acted and looks good, but the script often frustrates when it should compel.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]


George is a schizophrenic whose last hope is the treatment center cum asylum known as Bedlam. His stay there sees him fall victim to cruel guards, a mad doctor and his own mental demons, but when he and the other inmates decide enough is enough they realize their bid for freedom may have come too late. This Australian thriller features all manner of abuse and brutality, but it lacks engaging characters or a reason to care. Attempts at humor are consistently unsuccessful too leaving an uneven film that fails at both the light and the dark.

[DVD extras: None]

The Boy Next Door

Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) is still reeling from the discovery that her husband was cheating on her and now raises her son as a single mom. A neighbor’s nephew arrives in town, and against her better judgement Claire lets him into her home. And by home I mean vagina. Trouble rears its ugly head though when she tries to end things with him, and soon she’s faced with a walking set of six-pack abs that may well be capable of murder. Director Rob Cohen continues his foray into the world of cheesy, half-baked thrillers with this terribly predictable and plotted tale of passion gone bad. And yes, this is the movie where the stalker gives Claire a “first edition” copy of Homer’s The Iliad.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, featurette, commentary]

Covert Affairs: Season Five

Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) has come a long way since being plucked from the CIA’s trainees to work for an elite protection detail, and now it’s all coming to an end. Months after the team’s biggest case ended and they went their separate ways, she returns with word of an imminent attack on US soil forcing the group to reunite for one last epic mission. This USA network series continues to benefit from a strong cast and attractive action, but it’s Perabo who holds it all together. The Coyote Ugly star deserved a bigger ride in Hollywood, but I’ve been happy to settle for seeing her lead a solid-enough series for the past few years. This is the final season though, so that sucks.

[DVD extras: Deleted scenes, gag reel]

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (Criterion)

In the vein of Bullitt and The French Connection, Peter Yates’s The Friends of Eddie Coyle is of the cloth of gritty, naturalistic 1970s crime films that seems to have emerged authentically from the richness of their location-shot setting. Amongst the underworld of Boston, a working class drug runner (Robert Mitchum) intersects with characters on various sides of the law as he struggles with deciding whether or not to rat to the police in order to avoid jail time. Surrounded by a game supporting cast (including the incomparable Peter Boyle), an aging Mitchum fits perfectly here within the unpretentious attention to detail practiced by this tenet of ’70s Hollywood, and the veteran movie star turns in one of the best performances of his career, primarily because it’s so unassuming. ‐ Landon Palmer

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary by Yates; illustrated booklet with an essay and an excerpt from a 1973 Rolling Stone profile on Mitchum]

From a Whisper to a Scream

The town of Oldfield, TN has given rise to numerous evils, and on the night that one young murderess is put to death a reporter visits the woman’s uncle (Vincent Price) for an exclusive look at the town’s sordid history. Jeff Burr’s horror anthology (also known as The Offspring) is a mixed-bag of terror, but none of the tales pull their punches when it comes to their grisly nature. Clu Gulager stars in an early segment that reveals a disturbing relationship that leads to bloody disaster (and introduces the world to his fantastic scream), and later stories include swamp magic, a sideshow act gone awry and some creepy little kids making the most of their parents’ absence due to war. It’s more gory than scary, but there are highlights for genre fans.

[Blu-ray extras: Commentaries, making-of documentaries]

The Gambler

Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a failed novelist turned college literature professor who spends his free time gambling away large sums of money that only briefly belonged to him. As his debts grow and put him in trouble with some dastardly types (John Goodman, Michael Kenneth Williams) he finds comfort in the arms and attitude of one of his students (Brie Larson). First and foremost the film offers a compelling argument for why I can’t/shouldn’t teach college classes ‐ because I too would tell Brie Larson that she was the only genius in my class. Speaking of Larson, there’s not enough of her here, but thankfully Wahlberg gives a pretty fantastic and truly engaging performance. The story, what there is of one anyway, isn’t as compelling, but it remains watchable for the cast. William Monahan’s script presents more of a character study than a narrative though so

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes]

Harry & Son

Harry Keach (Paul Newman) is a widower whose fractured relationship with his more artistic son (Robby Benson) has kept them at odds for years, but when a health scare brings them together the two are forced to find value in what they share despite where they differ. Newman directed this somewhat slight family drama, and while none of the players embarrass themselves they don’t exactly stand out either. Newman and Benson have little familial spark between them, and the story has a been there/done that feel to it all.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Hollywood Shuffle

Bobby Taylor (Robert Townsend, who also directed and co-wrote the film) is an actor struggling to make it in Hollywood. The only roles available for black actors are stereotypical thugs and Uncle Toms, but Bobby’s repeatedly told that he actually isn’t black enough to even book those gigs. Townsend’s send up of the black actor’s experience uses fantasy sequences to explore the reality and the dream, and while there are laughs along the way the hard truth at its center is a bleak one. It’d be difficult to argue Hollywood hasn’t gotten better at diversity, but there’s still a long way to go making this nearly three decade old film still sadly relevant.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Inherent Vice

Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a laid back private eye who sees a case fall into his lap with the return of an old flame who claims her rich boyfriend is in danger. He begins digging around for the truth and discovers a world at odds with itself as the psychedelic ’60s come to a close and a shadow of paranoia settles across the land. That synopsis makes the film sound more serious than it is, but that tonal discrepancy is just one of the two big issues here ‐ the other being that the film itself is too big for its borders. Paul Thomas Anderson (working from Thomas Pynchon’s novel) embraces the seemingly never-ending roster of characters and subplots and delivers the exact film he set out to make, but it’s remarkably easy for viewers to get lost in it all. That said, even if much of the “plot” passes you by there’s still a lot to enjoy here. Phoenix shows a brilliant comedic side, Josh Brolin gives us the most entertaining hard-ass the screen has seen in years and the supporting cast ‐ including Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Jena Malone, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short ‐ bring smiles to our faces too. The comedy is hit or miss with some big laughs, some subtle chuckles and some misfires. It’s the kind of film that guarantees more on a re-watch, but no one would blame you for stopping at one.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scene]

Little Man Tate

Fred Tate is only seven years old, but he has the mind of someone far older and smarter. Flustered by a public school system unsuited for his abilities, his mother (Jodie Foster, who also directed the film) enrolls him in a special academy, but she soon worries that what’s best for him might not be best for them. This is a sweet little film that does a fine job balancing a light mix of comedy and drama. The child actor is quite good, and Foster delivers a firecracker of a performance as the one person who sees her son as the boy he still is.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]


Alex Jurel (Nick Nolte) is a high school teacher at the end of his rope. He used to care about the students and about teaching in general, but the steady decline of the educational system has crushed his ideals into the ground. A lawsuit against him and the school may just be the last nail in the coffin of his career, but he gets a surprising boost from a former pupil (JoBeth Williams). Arthur Hiller’s comedic drama tackles some real issues with a system that has only gotten worse since the film’s mid-eighties release, and fans of shows like Boston Public will find a lot to enjoy here in its characters and ideas.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

The Wedding Ringer

Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is a likable shlub with a fat bank account, a beautiful fiance and one small problem. He has no guy friends to be his best man and groomsmen at his upcoming wedding. That all changes though when he discovers Best Man, Inc. and its CEO, Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart). He won’t be your friend after the wedding, but for a small fee Jimmy will be the best best man you could have hoped for. The illusion works flawlessly for the first few minutes, but it’s all downhill once grandma catches on fire. The attempts at humor run the gamut from crass to pure pop culture references, but there’s a surprising number of jokes that approach the line of gay panic. It’s not the content as nothing should be out of bounds for comedy, but the structure and delivery often aim for laughs based solely on someone being uncomfortable with possible guy on guy contact. But hey, they also go for repeated laughs involving one guy’s stutter so at least they’re equal opportunity offenders in their laziness. Less central aspects of the film are just as lacking in enthusiasm including a score that couldn’t be more on point if it tried.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes, music video, commentary]

Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show and/or review material was unavailable:

Always Woodstock
Appropriate Behavior
Barquero (KL Studio Classics)
The Devil’s Violinist
Suits: Season Four
The White Buffalo (KL Studio Classics)

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.