Wednesday, November 12, 2014
DVD Outlook: November 2014
With the Philadelphia Film Festival now behind me and having seen nearly all of the big November Oscar contenders, I skimmed over a list of titles arriving to DVD this month and was disappointed by the hefty number of mediocre films that highlighted the selections. My biggest suggestion would be heading to your local movie theatre and catching any of the fine offerings that are currently playing like Gone Girl, St. Vincent and Interstellar, or perhaps an upcoming releases such as Foxcatcher or The Imitation Game. However, if you aren't keen on the idea of overspending to see one of these films, then it's worth checking out October or September's DVD releases. Otherwise, here's what new in November:
Despite missing A Most Wanted Man (11/4) at Sundance this year, a big regret of mine looking back, I have every intention of viewing Anton Corbijn's spy thriller very soon. In one of Philip Seymour Hoffman's final roles, A Most Wanted Man follows a suspected terrorist who ends up in Germany and it begins to catch the interest of both U.S. and German secret agencies.
Two other movies I have yet to see are Disney's Maleficent (11/4), starring Angelina Jolie, and the romantic comedy What If (11/25), featuring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. Maleficent follows the beginnings of the beloved Sleeping Beauty story by examining the untold transformation of Maleficent into the vengeful fairy who casts a spell on Aurora. As for What If, Radcliffe stars as Wallace, a man coming of a string of terrible relationships who unexpectedly meets Chantry (Kazan) and experiences an instant connection. The issue, though, is Chantry lives with her longtime boyfriend, which leaves Wallace scrambling around in the "friend zone".
There's another batch of films that I've seen, but didn't particularly enjoy. First up are 22 Jump Street (11/18) and Jersey Boys (11/11), you can read both reviews here. Although there was an outspoken love for the buddy cop sequel, I personally thought 22 Jump Street was far less funny than the first one and way too over the top, but this time around we follow Schmidt and Jenko on an undercover mission to college. With Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys, we're given exceptional music and underwhelming performances in a story that's way too overextended for the big screen. I suggest seeing the Broadway show instead.
Other films I've seen include Let's be Cops (11/11), another buddy cop comedy that begins well but weakens late, The Giver (11/25), a visually stunning but softly told version of the hit young-adult novel of the same name, and Happy Christmas (11/11), featuring Anna Kendrick in a well-acted but relatively purposeless indie comedy.
Finally, there are a few more big-named titles that don't particularly interest me, but you should know are available. Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez captivated audiences with their unique filming style in 2005, and the pair of directors returned in 2014 with their highly anticipated sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (11/18). Parents of young children will be thrilled to know that How to Train Your Dragon 2 (11/11) is currently available on DVD. And finally, adapted from a teen romance novel of the same name, Chloe Grace Moretz stars in If I Stay (11/18), the story of a comatose young woman trapped in an out of body experience as she fights for her life.