“Boyhood,” Richard Linklater’s 12-year passion project that’s currently winning virtually every critics’ award under the sun, finally hits DVD and Blu-Ray this week. The film’s largely rapturous reception and current status as a major Oscar candidate shouldn’t drown out that it’s a small, intimate story at heart, a film that manages to make the perspectives of all of its major characters totally understandable even when they’re being selfish or short-sighted.
This week’s big classic release, meanwhile, is Criterion’s Blu-Ray release of Kihachi Okamoto’s “Sword of Doom,” about wandering samurai (Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai). Other classic releases include Shout! Factory’s disc of “The Boys from Brazil,” starring Laurence Olivier as a Nazi-hunter trying to find Josef Mengele (Gregory Peck, of all people) and keep him from cloning Hitler; “Working Girl,” a strong romantic-comedy from the late Mike Nichols starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver; and a 25th anniversary release of “The Princess Bride.”
Other new releases include Adam Wingard’s 80s thriller throwback “The Guest,” featuring a spectacularly creepy performance from Dan Stevens; the James Brown biopic “Get On Up,” the the Daniel Radcliffe oddity “Horns,” and the Sundance documentary “Dinosaur 13.” And while we’ve recommended that cinephiles pay no attention to the Razzies, three candidates for the title of 2014’s Worst Film are all hitting store shelves this week: “Left Behind,” “No Good Deed,” and “Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?”
More thoughts from the Criticwire Network:
“Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?”
Criticwire Average: D-
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club
People talk like malfunctioning robots trying to pass for human. (Sample exchange: “I’m Dr. Hendricks!” “The neurosurgeon!?” “Yes, but here in the valley I practice other medicines as well!”) They introduce themselves by their last names, and then blurt out things like, “I never intended for you to occupy this room” and, “You’ve nationalized the railroad.” Phone calls are made without dialing, women with injured legs walk in heels through the woods, and sub-SeaQuest effects are used to depict a plane crash. On the soundtrack, stilted line deliveries hang over short, hypnotic loops of ambient noise. It’s so Z-grade incompetent and inadvertently absurd that quibbling with its ideology seems like unnecessary snark. Read more.
Criticwire Average: A
Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
“Boyhood” reveals itself as something deeper, more noteworthy and ambitious than even its remarkable production would suggest, for Linklater has given us nothing less than a cinematic approximation of human memory. Read more.
“Get On Up”
Criticwire Average: B
Eric Kohn, Indiewire
The movie testifies to that appeal almost exclusively through Boseman’s first-rate performance. While the narrative sags in parts and fails to generate an emotional hook on par with Brown’s rhythms, Boseman himself maintains a dynamic physicality that recognizes the singer’s ceaseless energy — as well as the hubris driving it. Read more.
Jason Shawan, Nashville Scene
Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
Cage is going for manly, if conflicted, family-guy confidence in this role, but somehow it comes off as nuttier than the events surrounding him. Not since Dean Martin in “Airport” has a commercial flight been under the command of a less sober-seeming presence. I did like the bit, however, where Chloe, down on the runway at night, the world in cheaply digitized flames, guides dad’s now-flaming wreck of a plane home with the help of her high-beams. It’s more miraculous than the Rapture itself. Read more.