Wednesday, February 1, 2017

DVD Outlook: February 2017

After a few middling months of new DVD and Blu-Ray options, February unloads with a wide assortment of top tier selections (January's suggestions). A whopping four films from my Top 10 of the Year as well Oscar and Golden Globe recognized titles are all at your disposal this month. Generally I recommend a trio of new films, yet February is so stacked with quality options that there are five films you definitely need to see.

Moonlight - 3 and a half stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

What can I say that hasn't already been said about Barry Jenkins' masterful indie drama, Moonlight. A compelling arrangement brought to life through a powerful story, stellar direction and a brilliant cast, Moonlight stands as one of 2016's greatest achievements. The life of an impoverished Miami youth forced to come to terms with his sexuality is told in three gripping chapters. Nominated for 8 Academy Awards, Moonlight stands an exemplary illustration of independent filmmaking. (February 28th)

Manchester by the Sea - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

Full disclosure: Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea is a lazily paced and somber film. If I haven't lost you already, it's also a sadly poetic journey into the human grieving process that deservedly captured 6 Oscar Nominations in total. Casey Affleck stars as Lee Chandler, a handy man who's forced to return to his former hometown of Manchester to car for his teenage nephew (Academy Award Nominee Lucas Hedges) after his brother passes away. Manchester by the Sea isn't the most enticing watch, but the film is a wonderful example of top-flight acting and character development. (February 21st)

Nocturnal Animals - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)

Despite its rather weak Oscar showing, in comparison to some of the other big-named titles from the awards season, Tom Ford's stylish vision and clever story structure intertwine to create one of the year's most fascinating and cerebral entries. Nocturnal Animals follows an Art Gallery owner (Amy Adams) who receives the manuscript of her ex-husband's (Jake Gyllenhaal) upcoming novel, which he's also dedicated to her by name. And as she dives into the book's grisly and violent story, she recalls the bitter ending of their previous marriage. Nocturnal Animals is made in the vein of David Lynch and the thriller certainly stands out amongst this year's other offerings. (February 21st)

Arrival - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)

Amy Adams appears again in Denis Villeneuve's Best Picture Nominee, Arrival. This sci-fi drama trades in regular genre staples like gaudy special effects and action-pack thrills for a cleverly crafted and original story. Villeneuve's artist direction paints the fascinating portrait of a linguistics expert (Adams) who's summoned by the U.S. Military to form a method of communication with an alien species that just arrived to Earth. There's definitely an early lull in the film, but Arrival comes together in a powerful and cerebral finale that will keep your brain churning long after the credits roll. (February 14th)

The Edge of Seventeen - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)

I've always been a sucker for the teen comedy genre, and Kelly Fremon Craig's The Edge of Seventeen is one of the finest in recent memory. Hailee Steinfeld stars as Nadine, a peculiar teenage girl who gets by with the help of her lifelong sidekick and best friend, Krista. But when she discovers that Krista is having a fling with her older brother, Nadine's social life is turned completely upside down. With a ton of R-rated laughs and a superb supporting role from the always excellent Woody Harrelson, The Edge of Seventeen provides all of the necessary ingredients for a wildly fun ride. (February 14th)

Honorable Mention: Oscar Nominated films Hacksaw Ridge (2/21), Loving (2/7) and Doctor Strange (2/28) are also available in February. Acclaimed filmmakers Ang Lee, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2/14), and Robert Zemeckis, Allied (2/28), have new material arriving this month as well. Finally, one of the year's most underrated films, the indie drama Christine (2/14), joins animated film Trolls (2/7) and boxing biopic Bleed for This (2/14) as new titles available in February too.

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