Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Joey's DVD Picks of the week (8/23/2011)

This week, we have one of the best groups of films hitting shelves in quite some time. Literally two of my top ten films of 2011 so far are coming out today, and that very rarely happens. For me, it's pretty exciting, as there's no dearth of things to write about. In fact, there's nothing but good releases this week. Even the worst of the group is still a very passably entertaining endeavor. It may in fact be the best DVD week of the year. Week's like this are why I do the column. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I didn't have a hard time choosing which movie to feature. Up until very recently, it was my #1 film of the year. The flick is all but perfect. It's:

The Beaver

Until I saw Bellflower, this was my favorite film of 2011. Director/co-star Jodie Foster does her best work behind the camera, while Mel Gibson and Anton Yelchin do their best work in front of the camera and gave nomination worthy performances. Factor in a brilliant screenplay by Kyle Killen and a subtly heartbreaking supporting turn by Jennifer Lawrence, and I absolutely adored this flick. It has emotional peaks and doesn't skimp on the comedy, making it the rare movie that manages to balance out the melodrama with the humor. It had a depressingly quick death in theaters after Gibson's antics, but I urge everyone to see this movie regardless of how they view the leading man (in my mind, if you avoid it because you have an issue with him on a personal level, how can you enjoy sports as well, since that's full of far worse people...but that's not for here), as it's truly something special. Anyone who complains about not having enough original works to choose from would do well to pick this up. It's all but assured of a high spot on my year end top 10 list. It's just that good!

-Coming in a somewhat close second place is Mark Ruffalo's directorial debut, the satirical drama Sympathy for Delicious. It deals with some very interesting topics, and while not everything works in it, Ruffalo has a very clear vision of what he wants his film to be, and shows some strong aptitude behind the camera. He also turns in a nice supporting role, while writer Christopher Thornton captures your attention in the lead. The cast also includes Orlando Bloom, Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, and John Carroll Lynch. It's another flick that made almost no money at the box office, so this is where you can finally support an original work (notice a pattern this week?) that deserves to be seen...

-Also out this week is the satisfying Morgan Spurlock documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, the calm dramedy Win Win, the decently entertaining romantic comedy Henry's Crime, and the foreign fantasy flick Troll Hunter. I haven't seen the latter yet, so expect a review soon on that one, but the other 3 are worth your time. The doc is normal Spurlock, the dramedy is not as good to me as it is to most, though still definitely good, and the rom com does more right than it does wrong. Like I said earlier, it's a real strong week, and there's something for everyone.

-My Vintage pick, in honor of this week's release of Our Idiot Brother, is an underrated Paul Rudd film. It's The Shape of Things, and it shows Rudd in a very different light than you're likely used to seeing him in. It's also a gut punch of a movie, one of Neil LaBute's best. If you haven't seen it, make it your business to do so. It's well worth it.

-What will you be watching on DVD this week?