It’s an exciting week for new DVDs, as there might actually be a couple that people want to see. There’s teenagers abusing their superpowers, Liam Neeson fighting some wolves, some Oscar bait that worked in snaring nominations, some Oscar bait that didn’t, Katherine Heigl’s stupid face, a couple child-actors all grown up, a trio of friendly Satanists, and as always, zombies.
One For The Money
The Devil Inside
Golf In The Kingdom
Man On A Mission: Richard Garriott’s Road To The Stars
Chained: Code 207
Wages Of Sin
Fever Night a.k.a. Band Of Satanic Outsiders
There’s always something worth knowing about the movies on DVD, but if you couldn’t care less about physical media, click here to skip ahead for some streaming suggestions that will really give you a Woody.
Liam Neeson fistfights wolves in the Alaskan wild. That’s one of those sentences that tells you all you need to know. If you still aren’t sure where you stand, the movie has a respectable 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, and from my perspective at least, solid word-of-mouth. What I want to know is how much time was spent on deciding the spelling of the title? Is ‘grey’ correct or is ‘gray’ correct? Does it matter from a commercial standpoint? Were test-audiences turned off by The Gray, necessitating the ‘e’ version of the word? Beyond the film, is there a correct spelling, or is it simply left to preference? In search of answers to these most pertinent questions, I found this 2004 blog entry on the subject. I won’t spoil the answer the author gives, but I will say that I’m absolutely fascinated that it has received so many comments, including some as recent as last week. I guess I’m not the only one plagued by the gray-area status of the spelling of the word ‘grey’.
I, like so many others, had low expectations for this found-footage kids-get-superpowers film. Not only is the found-footage gimmick way overplayed lately, it gets increasingly more difficult to justify. Even if you -or someone you know- is constantly filming everything, who then edits it? How do they always seem to get the right shot – despite constantly having the shaky-cam aesthetic of Michael Bay’s longtime DP, Muhammad J. Fox? It was therefore a refreshing surprise to see Vince’s ‘B+’ review. He liked how relatable the film felt, both in terms of how it presented high school socializing, and in how it would play out if a teenager got some superpowers. At least PG-13 superpowers. Vince, pointing out what we all already knew, says that if he had those powers when he was 18, there would be many suddenly naked girls. I like how he qualifies it with ‘if he were a teenager’ with those powers. The only difference if Vince had superpowers today is that those suddenly naked girls would also be suddenly shitting themselves. Vince has some dark urges, man. Keep in mind that this is the version of this paragraph that he edited for public consumption.
For months before this film’s theatrical release, the only thing I heard about it was that Woody Harrelson was guaranteed an Oscar nomination for his performance here as a corrupt cop. As you probably recall, the nominations came and went without any recognition for the actor. As may well be the case for you as well, the only other news I’ve ever heard regarding this movie was the Woody Harrelson Reddit AMA debacle. So kudos to the advertising team that took good-but-not-great buzz for their film and ended up with the film’s title becoming a short-hand punchline for the internet. This movie has an Oscar-nominated star (nominated for work with the same director, no less), a supporting cast of several recognizable character actors, and a script co-written by James Ellroy; it shouldn’t have been difficult to sell some tickets. As it turns out, it didn’t even make $1 million at the box-office. Again, stellar work, advertising team. Here’s hoping you get to work on the campaign for The Starving Games.
Am I the only one who gets Glenn Close and Meryl Streep confused? I have to assume I’m not; they look kind of alike and they’ve had pretty similar careers. If you compare just their Oscar nominations alone, things get confusing. Glenn Close has been nominated for six Oscars, but never won. Of those six, two were for Best Supporting Actress in years that Streep was also nominated, but as Best Actress (Streep won the Oscar for Sophie’s Choice in one of those years). Of Close’s remaining four nominations, three of those years she was in direct competition with Streep for Best Actress. Close’s performance in this film, as a 19th Century woman living as a man in Ireland, lost the Oscar to Streep’s performance as Margaret Thatcher. Think about that: Streep won despite both American actresses performing foreign accents, but with Close also having to pose as a male, and in an earlier period in history. Adding insult to injury, Albert Nobbs also lost the makeup Oscar to The Iron Lady, despite the former addressing gender concerns and the latter simply applying a wig and some false teeth. Furthermore, Albert Nobbs is generally (if marginally) considered the better of the two films, neither of which could be called good. It must get frustrating to always lose out to Streep. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, while I’m sure I will never watch either of these movies, I’d sure like to meet Glenn Close someday so that at least once in her lifetime someone would look her in the eye and say, “Oscars be damned! I really loved you in Julie & Julia and you were totally robbed that year!”