Drew Goddard’s Cabin In The Woods is a horror film unlike any other and this week’s Movie of the Week…
One of the richest and most far-ranging weeks in recent memory hits this week as the Blu-Ray and DVD slate features an surprise 2012 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature from the previous year, documentaries ranging from the life of an A-list pop music superstar to an exploration into the origins of rap and hip-hop. Small independent selections line up alongside one of the best reviewed foreign films of 2012. Plus, a British ensemble comedy/drama that features a fantastic array of talent, and has some folks talking about a possible Best Picture nomination makes its mark in video stores.
With such a robust and strong lineup of films to select from, I went a different direction for the Spins and Streams Movie of the Week.One of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, The Cabin In The Woods is a film so abundantly rewarding that it moves beyond its conventional horror-movie appearance into something much more accessible and entertaining. From top to bottom, this is one of the best written and conceived films to arrive in 2012 and director Drew Goddard’s not-at-all-what-it-appears-to-be horror comedy is a film which reaps many a great reward.
Check out these titles, plus a whole lot more, in this week’s edition of Spins and Streams!
More than just another column about new home video releases, we will link to reviews, summarize the film, drop in some factual tidbits, and (naturally) offer you a chance to purchase the film (clicking the images and/or links and purchasing the film of interest helps keep the lights on!).
Consider it your weekly trip through the video store, both virtual and physical, scouring the shelves and combing the racks to find something you can enjoy at home, no matter what your personal preferences…
Drew Goddard’s collaboration with Joss Whedon elicited near universal praise when The Cabin In The Woods finally debuted in theaters in April 2012, after being bounced around and nearly permanently shelved when MGM dumped and then rebuilt their entire film organization. Completed in 2009, Lionsgate eventually purchased the film in 2011 and scheduled its release for the weekend before Halloween in 2011, only to then shift the film back to what became its eventual April 2012 opening. I will have my official review up very soon but The Cabin In The Woods is nothing if not surprising and possesses a brilliant script that not only plays with horror film conventions, but is essentially scary, hilarious, self-aware, and also quite the intriguing puzzle which completely satisfies by the end. Don’t miss this. Horror, R, 95 Mins, Dir: Drew Goddard.
See what else arrives in stores and via streaming services…after the cut!
Chico & Rita, along with A Cat In Paris, were the two-surprising Oscar nominees this past year for Best Animated Feature Film, solidifying GKIDS, the distributor of both films as a serious player in the animated film business. Unlike anything I have ever seen, at least in terms of being presented in this style and tone, Chico & Rita is an animated musical, for adults only, which tells a romantic tale of the titular characters who meet, fall in love, and pursue their music and love for each other across decades amidst the world of Latin Jazz. Directed by a triumvirate of talented filmmakers, Chico & Rita is unique, memorable, and stands distinctively different from anything you have seen, capturing a time, a place, and an atmosphere worthy of being captured on screen. Not for kids. Spain/Musical/Drama.Romance, Unrated, 94 mins, Dir: Tono Errondo, Javier Mariscal, and Fernando Trueba.
Led by Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, and featuring a winning supporting turn from Tom Wilkinson and others, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a huge international success, which surprised naysayers by becoming a long-running success in the North American box office earlier this summer. A group of British retirees move to India to live in a luxurious and renovated hotel, which may not be exactly as advertised. Directed by Oscar-winner John Madden (Shakespeare In Love), and adapted from a very popular 2004 novel of the same name, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a crowd-pleasing smash, with more and more pundits thinking it could not only Oscar nominations for Dench and Smith, but that it may have enough Academy support to get enough votes for a Best Picture nomination as well. I should have more thoughts in a longer review in the coming days, but note that this film is not available presently via Netflix or RedBox. Gotta hit the Brick-and-Mortar independent stores if you want to rent this one right away. Comedy/Drama, PG-13, 124 mins, Dir: John Madden.
After tying a record for the most consecutive #1 singles off of the same album (“Teenage Dream”), Katy Perry has moved into the top tier of A-list music superstardom. Since releasing the summer anthem of 2010, “California Gurls”, Perry moved away from the controversies of her giant breakthrough success “I Kissed A Girl” in 2008 and crossed all demographics to become a global icon around the world. After an in-and-out marriage to actor Russell Brand came and went, Perry’s peer-behind-the-curtain documentary Part Of Me serves, in a somewhat frank and surprising manner, the struggles with mounting a world tour and the extreme highs and lows of being a star of Perry’s magnitude. Perry has placed herself on a well-deserved hiatus after dominating music for the last 2+ years and this film serves as a fitting epilogue to this incredible run she has had. Documentary/Musical, PG, 93 mins, Dir: Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz.
From the creators of You Got Served comes Battlefield America, a hip-hop dance battle movie that was originally intended to be a wide scale release, but ultimately ended up grossing a meager $172k when it opened in less than 200 screens in June 2012. Marques Houston leads the way with a film so great and so important that the DVD and Blu-Ray lists an erroneous running time of 145 minutes for the film. Actually, the film officially is 106 minutes, or 1 hour and 46 minutes. If the film was 1 hour and 45 minutes, then maybe I can forgive them, but if they don’t care about the details…why should I? We’ll see if I have a chance to watch it. Drama/Musical, PG-13, 106 mins, Dir: Chris Stokes.
One of the year’s best reviewed dramas, Oslo, August 31 is a powerfully unsettling drama documenting one particular day belonging to a young Norwegian man, Anders, who is desperately trying to pick up the pieces from a debilitating drug addiction. With a free pass away from his treatment facility, Anders turns to his skills as a writer, setting his sites on a new opportunity with a magazine in Oslo. Returning to the city however offers many trapdoors, difficult encounters, and a new test of Anders’ willpower. More to come this week but critics, audiences, and those who have watched Oslo, August 31 have levied near-unanimous praise for the resonating power this small scale drama carries with it. Norway/Drama,Unrated, 95 mins, Dir: Joachim Trier.
Hip-hop legend Ice-T goes behind the camera to offer his take on how rap and hip-hop music became a global phenomenon and solidified itself as a permanent element of the artistic world. Ice-T and co-director/collaborator Andy Baybutt utilize a library’s worth of contacts and resources to meet and talk with the innovators and most respected and successful rap and hip-hop artists from the early days to the present. A fan of the genre, I am eagerly anticipating putting this well-reviewed documentary finally in front of my eyes. Documentary, R, 106 Mins, Dir: Ice-T and Andy Baybutt.
After a scandal forces a college professor to move to Paris, a mysterious woman enters the professor’s life and after a physical attraction is made, the two people meet for two encounters per week. The professor and the woman each have mysteries, but one proves to be more sinister and dangerous than the other could ever anticipate. Starring Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas, The Woman In The Fifth seems, from premise, to resemble one of this mid-1990s sexually charged straight-to-video softcore thrillers, but the pedigree and talent involved here says otherwise. They sent it to me and assuming I can add tons more hours into a given day, I will likely see it very soon. Otherwise, I am intrigued so I will report back soon. Suspense/Thriller, R, 85 Mins, Dir: Pawel Pawlikowski.
After an underpromoted and equally as underwhelming 2012 IMAX re-release, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, along with all of the Indiana Jones feature films arrive in a fantastic Blu-Ray box set collection. All four Indiana Jones feature-length films are here – including the Shia LeBeouf/Crystal Skull thing, but the special features found in the set are all insightful enough for fans to be satisfied. In and amongst the Various making of featurettes are interviews and behind-the-scenes documentaries which punctuate the films and their lasting appeal wonderfully. This is a great gift set for fans of the franchise or for those who would love to revisit the the series with kids from a whole new generation. Adventure/Fantasy, PG (Raiders) and PG-13 (the remaining films), Various running times,, Dir: Steven Spielberg.
ADDITIONAL CATALOG AND NOTEWORTHY BLU-RAY/DVD RELEASES