After a couple weeks short on big names entering the home video market, this week brings award contenders, acclaimed indies, and even a couple critical disappointments. Best, however, is the genre diversity throughout. Disaster movies, docs, and disparately set period dramas should ensure something for everybody.
Travis Fine found George Arthur Bloom’s socially-conscious screenplay 30 years after it was written, but it has aged brilliantly.
“A brilliant performance that is eye-catching and provocative, imbued with such feeling… turns a social-issue film into a must-see movie. A really big must-see.” — Kirk Honeycutt, Honeycutt’s Hollywood
Andrea Arnold’s follow-up to “Fish Tank” is a visual treat and arguably her best work yet.
“Arnold, long concerned with visuals and space, has outdone herself with her ‘Wuthering Heights.’ The film is, quite simply, visually stunning, focused on nature and movement, water and sky, the spaces that try to hold in both Cathy and Heathcliff. It is undeniably a work of great visual art.” — Kate Erbland, Film School Rejects
Ken Burns’ “The Central Park Five” makes its DVD release today after airing on PBS last week; it stunned critics when it was released last fall.
“‘The Central Park Five’ is a film whose existence is both sad and necessary. Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon have done an excellent job of crafting this film, evincing an appropriate level of simplicity in bringing together the disparate parts of this disturbing and heartbreaking story.” — Josh Spiegel, Sound On Sight
After being delayed out of respect for the victims of the Aurora shooting, “Gangster Squad”‘s release disappointed most critics.
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“From start to finish, ‘Gangster Squad’ can never decide what it is or what it’s trying to do. The whole effort reeks of that all-too-common atrocious recipe: a director with an abundance of determination and ambition, with a multitude of ideas and a vision for something big and bold, coupled with an inability to pull it off.” — David Roark, Paste
The hugely divisive “The Impossible” also finds release today, so be ready for the debate to start all over again.
“Sidestepping these issues, it’s clear that the problem with ‘The Impossible’ is that the second half collapses after a powerhouse opening hour. The sequences involving the tsunami are incredible, and genuine tension is maintained as Maria and oldest son Lucas, separated from the rest of their brood, desperately try to stay alive amidst all the carnage.” — Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
Matt Damon’s “Promised Land” was turned over to Gus Van Sant; the duo garnered a modest response for the political drama.
“While there’s no faulting the talent or good intentions of the people behind ‘Promised Land,’ however, they make the mistake of leaving out the spoonful of sugar, which makes the medicine get stuck in your throat. It’s all message and very little movie.” — Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
Lastly, if you want something different, the Norwegian folklore “Thale” might prove the best way to go.
“Considering the dearth of huldra movies previously available, ‘Thale’ undeniably fills a void. In terms of tone and subject matter, it certainly has the virtue of being something different. Despite the simplicity of its narrative, cult film enthusiasts should consider it.” — Joe Bendel, Libertas Film Magazine