Sunday, January 4, 2015

DVD Outlook: January 2015

Let me begin by wishing a Happy New Year to everyone! December brought us a fantastic reunion with some of the summer's most notable action blockbusters, while this month we'll dive deep into some worthwhile Oscar contenders. As we continue down the path to the Academy Awards, the big-named October and November theatrical releases want their films delivered to the masses to generate a stir. That means January will be the perfect month to catch some of the year's best films, and I'm not exaggerating.

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

It's impossible for me to add to the long list of compliments that Richard Linklater's Boyhood has received, A huge part of me believes that this cinematic achievement will walk away with the Best Picture crown at February's Academy Awards, and it would be well deserved. Filmed in bits and pieces over the course of 12 long years, Linklater presents Boyhood, a groundbreaking coming-of-age tale where you literally watch Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) grow before your very eyes. From the ages of 5 to 18, Mason is molded into a young man by his experiences growing up with a single mother (Patricia Arquette) who struggles to provide a stable environment for her family. Boyhood is a revolutionary film, like nothing you've ever seen before. Catch Richard Linklater's impressive feat before it claims Oscar Gold in February. (January 6th)

Gone Girl - 3 and a half stars out of 4 - (Read full review here)

That David Fincher is something else. The heralded director can do wonders with a dark-themed script, and Gillian Flynn's novel, Gone Girl, gave Fincher the perfect platform to work his magic. Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, a husband who returns home to a frightening scene and who's unable to locate his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike). After notifying the police of her disappearance, all the clues begin to point to Nick as he becomes the primary suspect. Cluttered with phenomenal performances from top to bottom, including what should be a first-time Oscar Nomination for Rosamund Pike's unbelievable work, Gone Girl is an earth-shattering thrill ride that will leave you sleeping next to your significant other with one eye open, As a fringe player in the Best Picture race, Gone Girl is one of the year's finest films whether it makes the cut or not. (January 13th)

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

Let me be frank and give warning that Michael Roskam's The Drop is a noticeable step down from the awards season quality of the films mentioned above. But that disclaimer aside, Tom Hardy gives another underrated performance as bartender Bob Saginowski, who finds himself at the center of a robbery late one morning. Just trying to do what's right in a dark underworld filled with many dangerous people, Bob and his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini) find difficulty escaping their past, present and future in this slow-burning character study. If you go in expecting a full-fledged gangster movie, you'll be sorely disappointed. Instead, savor The Drop for Hardy's exceptional performance and the end of James Gandolfini's onscreen legacy. And by the film's unforeseen conclusion, you'll be thankful that you did. (January 20th)

Honorable Mention: There are a handful of adored films I haven't had the opportunity to see. First up is the World War II saga, Fury (1/27), starring Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman. Also, the Sundance selection  Love is Strange (1/13) follows two older homosexual gentlemen who face serious hardships after they're finally granted the legal right to marry. In what feels like yet another slight deviation from his character in Taken, Liam Neeson stars in the dark crime drama A Walk Among the Tombstones (1/13). Scarlett Johnasson and Morgan Freeman star in the action sci-fi Lucy (1/20), and Robert Duvall has Oscar hopes for his role in The Judge (1/27). Finally, there's a trio of additional movies out this month that I can offer the scoop on. My blog featured a guest review concerning the James Brown biopic, Get on Up (1/6), I was extremely put off by the ineffective melodrama Men, Women & Children (1/13), and fans of 80s B-horror flicks can find some over the top enjoyment in The Guest (1/6).

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