Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DVD Outlook: May 2014

With a stellar lineup of Summer Blockbusters and Indie releases slated from now through August, the DVD outlook for May is up against some fierce competition in theatres (check out April's DVD picks). Yet, there's still a handful of worthy titles to choose from arriving on DVD this month, including an Oscar-Winning film and some thrilling independent selections.

Cheap Thrills - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

After missing a golden opportunity to catch this little gem at the 2013 Philadelphia Film Festival, I pounced on Geekscape's offer to watch Cheap Thrills a second time around and I was by no means disappointed. This independent thriller, starring some familiar faces such as Anchorman's David Koechner, Can't Hardly Wait's Ethan Embry and Compliance's Pat Healy, is a twisted tale of financial struggles and economic desperation. The story follows a blue-collar husband and father who spends a day at the bar after unexpectedly losing his job. With no funds and the threat of eviction looming over his head, a chance meeting with an old friend and a rich married couple leads to a night of high octane dares with rapidly growing payouts. Cheap Thrills never offers a dull moment and delivers a knockout finale that you're guaranteed to remember forever. (May 27th)

Her - 2 and a half stars out of 4 - (No review available)

One of 2013's enormous class of well-regarded films includes Spike Jonze's Best Picture Nominee and Best Original Screenplay winner, Her. Set in the not-so distant future, Joaquin Phoenix stars as a lonely writer who begins an unlikely relationship with his brand new, state-of-the-art operating system. Writer/director Spike Jonze crafts a bold and unique story for the ages, one that transcends the typically modern-day love story. While I was nowhere near as satisfied with the final product as many other critics who deemed Her as the finest film of 2013, I still found the feature to be a thought-provoking and earnest exploration into the heart of love and romance. Uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time, Her is a worthy recommendation for any passionate fan of independent cinema and creative story-telling. (May 13th)

The Art of the Steal - 2 and a half stars out of 4 - (No review available)

As an official selection of the 2013 Philadelphia Film Festival, I decided to take a chance on the heist comedy The Art of the Steal. This stereotypical caper film centers around Crunch Calhoun (played by Kurt Russell), a former thief who decides to get back into the game after a stint in a hard-nosed Polish prison. Crunch and his new apprentice (This Is the End's Jay Baruchel) get the old team back together in order to steal a priceless historic book. While The Art of the Steal rarely paints a unique twist to the heist-movie genre, an engaging story loaded with precisely-timed humor eases this fun-filled affair to a very manageable 90 minute finish line. Although The Art of the Steal won't leave a lasting impression, it's the perfect movie for a mindless evening of sheer entertainment. (May 6th)

Honorable Mention: Most of my secondary picks for the month revolve around films I haven't seen, but they're ones I'm interested in or ones that garnered positive feedback. A reliable friend of mine and die-hard fan of the show has praised the new Veronica Mars movie (5/6), so any fan of the series will definitely want to check it out. Also, negative reviews steered me away from the Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan comedy That Awkward Moment (5/13), but I will most likely give it a try myself. Critics praised the growing old drama Still Mine (5/6) and I had a little interest in seeing the Elizabeth Olsen and Oscar Isaac period-piece drama In Secret (5/20). Finally, it was mainly a mediocre final product, but George Clooney's World War II art-saving comedy The Monuments Men (5/20) warrants a mention.

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