Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.
Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles, and what follows are not necessarily reviews, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (also Blu-ray). I know, I know, you are probably shaking your head in disgust at this particular choice. I admit, it is not the best film coming out this week, not by a long shot. I will defend it as a fun piece of cheese, a candy bar that you can enjoy without giving a second thought to. Not every movie needs to be some sort of Oscar-caliber masterpiece or genre-bending game changer. Sometimes all a movie needs to be is fun. This fits the bill and is more effective at it than, say, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This movie has plenty of action and explosions and stretches the ability to suspend disbelief to its breaking point and that is its beauty. It is what it is and requires no effort whatsoever from the viewer. I enjoy it.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Complete Season One. I have heard the series is pretty good. All I have seen was the episode mash-up that passed for a film. I was not particularly fond of it. Being a Star Wars fan, I suppose I should give this a look. Can anyone shed some light on the worthiness of the show?
North by Northwest: 50th Anniversary Edition (also Blu-ray). I cannot remember the last time I have seen this movie. I suspect I am going to have to revisit it soon. It is certainly hard to go wrong with Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart. It centers on Stewart as an executive mistaken for a government agent who is pursued by foreign spies. Great movie.
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) (also Blu-ray) This remake proved to be a mediocre thriller that is carried by the work of Denzel Washington. It is let down by director Tony Scott, whose wild directing style comes across as annoying. Then there is John Travolta who seems more goofy than menacing most of the time, especially when he is called upon to drop the occasional f-bomb.
It's a Wonderful Life (Blu-ray). It took me an inordinately long time to get around to seeing this movie. It is a great feel-good movie if there ever was one and I need to make a point to see it each holiday season. I look forward to seeing how much it benefits from the Blu-ray format.
Aliens in the Attic (also Blu-ray). This family film passed through theaters without much of a peep. It is one that I skipped on the big screen and will likely do so again. It centers on aliens who attempt to stage an invasion from a family's attic. It ends up with the family taking on the small creatures. Could be fun, but I do not feel a strong need to see it.
Forrest Gump (Blu-ray). Multiple Oscar-winning film from the '90s arrives on Blu-ray. How will it look? Hopefully good. This is another film I have not seen in some time, but would not be against revisiting. Then again, it was not that long ago that I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and that does have a similar feel.
Love Actually (Blu-ray). Yet another movie that has not crossed my path recently. This is a multi-layered romantic comedy that really works. It follows a variety of couples as they navigate rocky relationships. Written and directed by Richard Curtis, the film features a strong ensemble cast.
Rocky: The Undisputed Collection (Blu-ray). From the Oscar-winning original to the surprisingly excellent Rocky Balboa and everything in between, this box has them all. It is a nice package, although I have never been that big of a Rocky fan. The only ones I would want would be the first, the last, and part four (I have always had an affinity for that one).
I Love You, Beth Cooper (also Blu-ray). A nerd professes his love for the head cheerleader at their graduation. Later, the girl shows up and takes him on the ride of his life. It is a trifle of a movie, but still actually works. It is not something you should feel the need to run out right away and see, but if you are bored and cannot find anything else or come across it on cable, you could do worse.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Blu-ray). One of my favorite Christmas movies and easily one of the best things Chevy Chase has ever done. This Christmas classic is arriving on Blu-ray. Will it benefit? One would hope, but if not, it is still a hilarious film. This is what happens when you don't get a bonus and family shows up unexpectedly. Comedy ensues.
Will Ferrell: You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush. This was a limited run show on Broadway that did very well. It is arriving on home video for the rest of us. I cannot imagine this not being funny. Can you?