Um...sorry about this week, dear readers. October's calendar usually brings us a few more gems along with all the horror movies and summer blockbusters that weren't but this week is pretty rough from my view. A great time for you to catch up on all the stellar DVD releases that have hit shelves over the last few weeks. (Or to see 50/50 if you haven't. Seriously. See that movie.)
"Paranormal Activity 3" - Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Christopher Nicolas Smith
A found footage film that features a family's encounter with a household spirit during the late '80s. There are three reasons I won't be seeing this film. 1.) The trailer has been playing NON-STOP on late night TV and as someone who is easily creeped out by ghost-y stuff and horror movies, I could really do without it. 2.) I'm tired of the found footage genre. If it's more sci-fi than horror, you could probably talk me into it. But a straight found footage ghost movie? No thanks. 3.) The directors of PA3 are none other than Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman who were behind Catfish, one of the most reprehensible and morally repugnant "documentaries" that I've ever seen. I want nothing positive to happen for these guys so I'm happy to sit this one out.
Value: $4 On the other hand, PA3 has been certified fresh by Rotten Tomatoes, pulling much higher praise than I would have imagined. I'd be surprised if it didn't win the Box Office Battle this weekend. But I hope we can all agree that we don't need a Paranormal Activity 4.
Another interpretation of the classic Dumas tale, this time with explosions! There's some real star power involved with this film but I am now fully convinced that no one and no thing can overcome the awfulness of director Paul W.S. Anderson. He can get away with directing schlocky action-horror films (the Resident Evil series, for example) but let's all be honest: those are bad movies. Can they be enjoyed? Yes. It's possible that I have the fourth Resident Evil film sitting on my shelf right now waiting to be watched though I know it will be terrible. But are they good? No, no they're not. I've no idea why he would be given the keys to a literary classic nor why the likes of Waltz would sign on to work with him but the fact remains, the best Three Musketeers can hope for his cheesy entertainment. Also, Logan Lerman is a terrible actor. Also, note to Christoph Waltz: you won an Oscar and we were all thrilled for you. You've earned the right to take some "paycheck" roles. But you've now played a villain in an under performing, poorly received film three times this year (Green Hornet, Water for Elephants, and this). Time to stop cashing checks and reclaim your reputation.
Value: $3 Anderson fans will see this and I guess it's worth a shot on HBO but I would say a $10 admission ticket would be a waste.
"Johnny English Reborn" - Rowan Atkinson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West
Bumbling British secret agent (Atkinson) returns from retirement to track down a group of terrorists. *Sigh* It's been eight years since the first Johnny English made America slightly stupider and I couldn't believe anyone was petitioning for a sequel. But apparently these films make sick money overseas. So I have a deal I'd like to make with "overseas." You know how some small British and other various independent films don't get much of a release over here and only have a short run in art house theaters that no one can get to? Okay, from now on, we get those for at least one week in the bigger theaters. And in return, we'll give you Johnny English, Gulliver's Travels, and a collection of other Razzie-caliber films that you all just seem to love and not only will we give them to you first, we won't even give them wide releases on American soil! It's really a win-win. Think about it, get back to me.
Value: $0 Please don't see this, people.
After escaping from a cult, a young woman (Olsen) struggles to integrate herself back into family life. A Sundance Film Festival darling, MMMM has received critical acclaim from writers whose opinions I value. Olsen looks like an indie star and if I'm casting a drama, any drama, I'm finding a spot for John Hawkes somewhere no matter what. This is a very dark, harsh film but I'm willing to bet it is worth the effort if you can make it through.
Value: $5 Many of us won't get a chance to see it in theaters but I plan to seek this film out when it becomes available for an In Home Viewing.
"Margin Call" - Kevin Spacey, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci (Limited)
At the very beginning of the financial crisis, the employees of an investment bank scramble to keep control over their assets. "Financial thriller" is pretty much an automatic out for me. I can't explain this, especially considering that I'm almost always in for a political thriller. There's just something about a film based around finance and banks that makes me think of my high school economics teacher and how much I loathed his class. But that's just me. Margin Call currently sits at 80% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and most critics have lauded its appeal. So those of you who did not take Mr. Lewellen's econ class in the 12th grade might enjoy it.
Value: $4 It's limited so it may be hard to find but it could be worthwhile to those who wish to seek it out.
"Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey" - Kevin Clash (Limited)
A documentary the centers on the man behind the famed Muppet, Elmo. Being Elmo has picked up a couple of festival awards (including one from Sundance) and promises to be a warm human interest film that reportedly stays on the surface of its subject matter.
Value: $3 My docket is full of documentaries right now but I could be talked into checking this out on Netflix Instant.