Tuesday, October 6, 2015

DVD Outlook: October 2016

While the past few months have lacked in high quality DVD and Blue-Ray releases (September's offerings), October brings some fantastic choices. This month's crop of titles brings my favorite movie so far this year as well as another in my top five. In addition to those superior selections, there is a long list of other films worthy to choose from as well, so enjoy your movie watching all this month!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - 4 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

Ever year the major studios hold back (or rush out) their awards season hopefuls in time for an often packed fall and winter movie season. This year, however, it will be hard for any film to top the emotionally moving and occasionally hilarious Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon delivers a thoughtful and endearing coming-of-age film that admittedly tugs at the heartstrings, but does so in a unique and sincere way. As Greg's (Thomas Mann) senior year gets under way he's forced by his mother to hang out with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a fellow classmate recently diagnosed with leukemia. And as their unexpected friendship grows stronger, Rachel's immune system struggles to combat her fatal illness. Supported by a brilliant adapted screenplay, exceptional performances from a crop of talented young actors and impressive direction, there is simply no downside to the heart-grabbing hit, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. It's my top film so far this year and an absolute must-watch. (October 6th)

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

It wasn't that long ago the buzzed about debut psychological thriller, The Gift, from actor turned writer/director, Joel Edgerton, made its rounds in theaters across the country. And despite a curious trailer that screamed, "hokey" more than "innovative", The Gift proved to be an unforeseen and cleverly taut film that will leave a lasting impression for any moviegoer. When Simon and his wife (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) return to his hometown to try and start a family, an unsuspecting meeting with an old classmate of his named Gordo (Edgerton) leads to a series of strange encounters. And after tensions between the two men start to boil, everyone's true colors are shown in a powerful and twisted finale. Nowadays, when modern thriller and horror titles are resorting to violence and gore as a substitute for creative writing, The Gift stands out as a cerebral thriller that needs none of the above to captivate its audiences. (October 27th)

Escobar: Paradise Lost - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)

My third and final top tier suggestion for the month is an outside-the-box indie that's probably unknown to most of you. The beauty of attending a film festival such as Philadelphia's long-standing event each year in late-October is the surprising titles that satisfy your tastes. At last year's Philadelphia's annual showcase I had the pleasure of catching Escobar: Paradise Lost, an intense fictionalized thriller surrounding the Colombian kingpin, Pablo Escobar. A young surfer named Nick (The Hunger Games' Josh Hutcherson) migrates to the beaches of Colombia and begins giving lessons and living in utter paradise. That is, until Nick meets a beautiful young woman who draws him into her family circle headed by a violent and increasingly desperate uncle, Pablo Escobar (Benicio Del Toro). In a role perfectly suited for the maniacal actor, Del Toro steals every scene he's in. And, ultimately, Escobar: Paradise Lost culminates as a winning thrill ride filled with edge-of-your-seat suspense. (October 6th)

Honorable Mention: A pair of summer blockbusters headline the movies available to rent and own this month, Avengers: Age of Ultron (10/2) and Jurassic World (10/20). The sequel Magic Mike XXL (10/6) was a pleasant surprise and so was the indie high school inner city comedy, Dope (10/13). Although I haven't seen either the boxing drama, Southpaw (10/27), or the coming-of-age film, Paper Towns (10/20), both are on my radar this month. And finally it's worth noting the disaster blockbuster, San Andreas (10/13), and the Disney film Tomorrowland (10/13) are both available this October as well.

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