Monday, December 1, 2014

DVD Outlook: December 2014

Thanksgiving has come and gone (a wonderful day for me and all the other Eagles fans out there) so that means the world now shifts to Christmas mode. This holiday season offers plenty of excellent summer and early fall titles arriving to DVD in December. And since November contained such mediocre selections, you'll want to know about these hot new upcoming releases.

Guardians of the Galaxy - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

By now everyone has heard about the hype surrounding Marvel's new team of misfits, Guardians of the Galaxy, and I've validated my affection for the superhero flick plenty of times before. Plain and simple, Guardians of the Galaxy is a uproariously funny thrill ride that won't disappoint. The film definitely has a ceiling, but it never falls short of giving you everything it has. The laughs are legitimate, the story is entertaining and Chris Pratt proves to be a more than serviceable lead. By the time the closing credits roll, you'll have established a favorite member of the team and you'll be eager for the next chapter. (December 9th)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

The other major summer blockbuster that I've been touting for some time is Matt Reeves Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. With a long-winded franchise that's seen its fair share of peaks and valleys over the years, this latest installment is one of its brightest spots. The film uses smart writing and a combination of fantastic performances from Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell and the CGI specialist, Andy Serkis to bring a truly unique vision to life. I will openly admit that the third act tends to go a little overboard in certain parts, but all in all Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a well-crafted action film. (December 2nd)

The Skeleton Twins - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

One of my favorite films out of Sundance was Craig Johnson's heartfelt dramedy, The Skeleton Twins. Although I haven't seen the film again since my trip to Park City nearly one year ago, I remember how impressed I was with the pair of Saturday Night Live alumni, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. The duo obviously have a knack for humor, but they use their comedic charm to lure the audience into their troubled but genuine stories. The film tells a tender story of two twins who reunite under unfortunate circumstances after a decade without speaking to one another. The Skeleton Twins evokes a wide range of emotions thanks to superb storytelling and engaging performances from its leading pair. (December 16th)

Honorable Mention: Despite failing to land in my top 3 releases of the month, Reese Witherspoon stars in the Philadelphia Film Festival selection, The Good Lie (12/23), a film I definitely enjoyed. Two lesser known titles that I heard plenty of positives about are the Lasse Halstrom comedy, The Hundred-Foot Journey (12/2), as well as the British gay-activist comedy, Pride (12/23). Moreover, I found both the young-adult franchise origin, The Maze Runner (12/16), and the Tina Fey/Jason Bateman comedy, This is Where I Leave You (12/16), to be extremely mediocre. Finally, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (12/16) and the indie Sundance hit, Frank (12/9), are two films I haven't seen but I plan to catch later this month.

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