Once again, my esteemed colleague Morton Salt is competing in an international underground fighting tournament, where the only prize is YOUR LIFE, so he’s left me to handle all the heavy lifting of this week’s DVD and Blu Ray releases, as well as the new-ish titles on Netflix. Your options this week are a plenty, so pick and choose as you see fit.
Available on DVD this week: The Internship, Before Midnight, The Conjuring, Only God Forgives, The Way Way Back, Standing Up, Shepard & Dark, Dead in Tombstone, The Waiting Room, I Give it a Year
New on Streaming: 21 & Over, Paranormal Activity 4
But I’ll understand if you need a little help picking a great Friday night date night movie, so I’ll walk you through these titles right now. SPOILER: I’d rather go on a butterscotch diet for a week than let anyone watch 21 & Over.
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, that guy from The Daily Show who is always screaming
Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brilliant college students. But, gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group of the nation’s most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention.
Should You Watch It? I saw something the other day – a commercial for the DVD or a review or something dumb like that – that referred to this as a one-of-a-kind comedy, and I thought the same thing then that I did when this movie was first released – This is just like that episode of Friends when Chandler takes an internship to change careers and he’s surrounded by people 15 years younger than him, except this is a long, drawn out Internet joke. As for whether or not you should watch it, to each his own. I want to hang on to Wedding Crashers as much as the next guy, but without offering any spoilers to my annual list that I post in December, this might not be the last you hear of The Internship from me.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Before Midnight is an upcoming American romance drama film and the sequel to Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004). Like its predecessors, the film was directed by Richard Linklater. As with the previous film, Linklater shares screenplay credit with both actors from the movies, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
Should You Watch It? I’ve seen Before Sunrise and I’ve always wondered why a sequel and third installment were necessary. It wasn’t a bad film at all – it was quite above average – but to warrant a second film 9 years after the fact and a third, again, 9 years later? Who are the bored middle aged couples wondering what Jesse and Celine are up to now?
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson
Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. “The Conjuring” tells the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), world renowned paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives.
Should You Watch It? Absolutely. You know, if you’re into “true stories” that were developed up by opportunists.
Only God Forgives
Starring: Baby Goose, Kristin Scott Thomas
Julian (Ryan Gosling), a respected figure in the criminal underworld of Bangkok, runs a Thai boxing club and smuggling ring with his brother Billy. Billy is suddenly murdered and their crime lord matriarch, Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) arrives from London to bring back the body. When Jenna forces Julian to settle the score with his brother’s killers, Julian finds himself in the ultimate showdown.
Should You Watch It? If you don’t mind realistic graphic violence (as opposed to the exploding fake blood of The Expendables) and you can look beyond that embellished Cannes story about people booing this film and storming out, then it’s a pretty decent movie. It wasn’t Baby Goose’s finest day, but just do what I do – take any movie he’s made and compare it to Gangster Squad. Then it automatically becomes 10 times better. (In fairness, Baby Goose was the best part of Gangster Squad, but it still stunk.)
The Way Way Back
Starring: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Liam James
THE WAY, WAY BACK is the funny and poignant coming of age story of 14-year-old Duncan’s (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. Through his funny, clandestine friendship with Owen, Duncan slowly opens up to and begins to finally find his place in the world – all during a summer he will never forget.
Should You Watch It? Yes. Next movie.
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Val Kilmer, Probably some kids
‘Standing Up’ tells the story of a boy and a girl, ages 11 and 12, who are ostracized by their peer groups at summer camp. The outsiders soon find themselves victims of a vicious prank, but rather than returning to camp to face the humiliation, they decide to take off on the run together. As they slowly navigate what lies ahead, they develop a bond and help each other over- come adversity and start down the path of self-discovery.
Should You Watch It? I’m kind of tired of the “Let’s run away from this world” ideology of outcasts. I’m ready for a more realistic version of Carrie, in which the bullied loner strikes back by destroying everyone’s credit and exposing their old racist emails on Defamer.
Shepard & Dark
Starring: Sam Shepard, Johnny Dark
Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (Buried Child) and an Academy Award-nominated actor (THE RIGHT STUFF), while Dark was a homebody who supported himself with odd jobs. Through the decades, they stayed bonded by family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father his first son. Nevertheless, he and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters.
Should You Watch It? There’s another documentary out this week entitled, Leviathan, and it’s about the dangers and true terrors of commercial fishing, and that kind of stuff makes me depressed, because I love eating fish and I hate learning more about how horrible reality is. So I left that one out and included this one, because learning about fucked up stories involving famous actors is always way more fun.
Dead in Tombstone
Starring: Danny Trejo, Mickey Rourke, Anthony Michael Hall
Danny Trejo (Machete), Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight) and Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) star in this unrated, action-packed battle for vengeance. As a ruthless gang overruns a small mining town, they murder their own leader, Guerrero Hernandez (Trejo), in a cold-blooded power grab. Sentenced to eternity in hell, Guerrero finds himself confronted by Satan himself (Rourke), offering a daring proposition: deliver the six souls of his former gang and he will escape damnation. With time running out, he sets out on a brutal rampage to avenge his own death!
Should You Watch It? I hate admitting this, but I’ve had my fill of all things Trejo for this year. I enjoy the guy as much as anyone, but enough is enough. That said, yes, I’m going to watch this.
The Waiting Room
Starring: Deja Bruce, Eric Morgan
The Waiting Room is a character-driven documentary film that uses extraordinary access to go behind the doors of an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. The film – using a blend of cinema verité and characters’ voiceover offers a raw, intimate, and even uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices.
Should You Watch It? I received this DVD screener a few weeks ago, and I read the synopsis and thought, “This sounds extremely powerful,” but then I remembered that I’m terrified of hospitals.
I Give it a Year
Starring: Rose Byrne, Anna Faris, Simon Baker
Since they met at a party, ambitious high-flyer Nat and struggling novelist Josh have been deliriously happy despite their differences. Josh is a thinker, Nat’s a doer..but the spark between them is undeniable. Their wedding is a dream come true, but family, friends and even the minister who marries them aren’t convinced that they can last. Josh’s ex-girlfriend, Chloe, and Nat’s handsome American client Guy, could offer attractive alternatives. With their first anniversary approaching, neither wants to be the first to give up, but will they make it?
Should You Watch It? When did Rose Byrne become the Sam Worthington of actresses? Is there a role that she has turned down in the last two years? Does she sleep? Why haven’t I been able to finish the first season of Damages? I mean, I enjoyed it, but I just can’t find the desire to finish it. Oh, my bad, this movie – it’s a rom com, so you be the judge.
21 & Over
Starring: Miles Teller, Skylar Astin (of Pitch Perfect, in case you haven’t seen a TBS commercial for Ground Floor)
Straight-A college student Jeff Chang has always done what he was supposed to do. But when his two best friends Casey and Miller surprise him with a visit for his 21st birthday, Jeff Chang decides to do everything he wants to do for a change, even though his important medical school interview is early the next morning. What was supposed to be one beer becomes a night of humiliation, over indulgence and utter debauchery in this coming-of-drinking-age-comedy, from the writers of THE HANGOVER, about living youth to its fullest.
Should You Watch It? If your goal is viewing an entirely realistic portrayal of college life in 2013, then no. In fact, if that is your goal, you should lay this DVD under the back tire of your car and repeatedly drive over it. You know what would be a great college movie, though? $21,000 & Over, and it’s about a guy who sleeps on a futon well into his 30s because he can barely afford his rent beyond his student loan payments. But haha, let’s keep making kids think college is fun and worth it.
By the way, try getting naked and standing on a cop car on any college campus and then send me an email about what actually happened.
Paranormal Activity 4
Starring: Kathryn Newton, Katie Featherston
The fourth installment in the popular horror franchise.
Should You Watch It? Honestly, why would you need a plot synopsis beyond that? It should just read, “Remember the first one? It’s like that. $12, please!”