Weekend Watch: ‘Men In Black,’ ‘Take This Waltz,’ and new Ghibli Blu-ray

You’ve got a lot of options for what to watch and how, and we want to help you plan your weekend with a new column where we’ll highlight three things you can see in theaters, three things you’ll find streaming, and three titles new to home video.  Appropriately enough, we call this The Weekend Watch.

It was a long and irritating day of travel to get me from France to Los Angeles, and I’ve only been home for about six hours, but that’s enough time for me to start to get my post-festival bearings again and prepare this week’s Weekend Watch.  As always, there are big films and small films and theatrical and video all in the mix, and it’s an eclectic buffet that proves that just because it’s the beginning of the summer movie season doesn’t mean you only have big giant blockbusters as possibilities.  It looks like I’m going to be taking Toshi to see “The Avengers” on Sunday after all, so that’s my Memorial Day fireworks celebration, and I’ll also be enjoying a birthday celebration with friends tomorrow with friends and family.  Hope you guys are going to use the weekend to see something fun, and that we’re able to help steer you towards something you might not expect.


“Men In Black 3”

I didn’t end up seeing this before release, but I’m going to try to catch up with it on Sunday night.  I’ve heard enough reactions that it sounds like there are things worth seeing, in particular Michael Stuhlbarg’s role as a character who helps Agent J (Will Smith) deal with the paradoxes inherent to time travel.  I’m also curious to see if there’s more to Josh Brolin’s performance than his deadly accurate Tommy Lee Jones impression.

“Moonrise Kingdom”

The opening film of this year’s Cannes Film Festival is going to hit theaters in New York and LA this weekend, then go wider on June 29th.  I you’re lucky enough to be in one of the cities where it is playing, I urge you to check it out.  Even if you think you know what to expect from Wes Anderson’s style at this point, there is a warm humanity to this one that feels different.  His young cast is great, and the adults in the film all play degrees of heartbreak in a way that feels authentic, especially when we see the ways they struggle towards repairing themselves.  A lovely film, and it deserves to be one of Anderson’s biggest hits.  Also, we’ve included some highlights from the interviews I conducted about the film at the festival, embedded above, and you can look forward to more of that closer to release.

“Oslo, August 31st”

I saw this one at the Cannes festival last year, and it’s a great intimate piece from the director of “Reprise” about a guy fresh out of drug rehab who spends a long uneasy day trying to drop back into the life he left behind.  It is a gorgeous, sad movie with a performance by Anders Danielsen Lie that manages to avoid every typical cliche of the recovery film.  Joachim Trier deserves a bigger audience, and if you live in a city that this opens in, you deserve to enjoy the film’s power in a theater.

ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEKEND:  “Chernobyl Diaries,” “The Intouchables,” “OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive Major Depression Bipolar Asperger’s Movie”


“Take This Waltz” (Amazon)

One of the best films I saw on the festival circuit is finally making its way to American audiences, and while the theatrical release is still a few weeks off, you can watch it at home this weekend.  Since I’m not sure how wide the release will be, you be the judge… does your local theater tend to get small arthouse films?  If not, then take full advantage of this and enjoy.  Michelle Williams gives one of the best performances of her justifiably-lauded career here, and Sarah Polley’s script and direction are illuminating and emotionally mature.  It’s a gorgeous little film that has stuck with me since September, and I urge you not to miss it.

“Piranha 3DD” (Amazon)

I haven’t seen it, but the first one was such a B-movie pleasure that I’m willing to at least give this a try.  Besides, it’s John Gulager at the helm and they not only managed to bring Ving Rhames back, they also added David Hasselhoff to the mix.  Besides… there’s that title… that oh-so-ridiculous title.

“The Aggression Scale” (Amazon)

Steven Miller’s nasty little thriller is basically “Home Alone” with a budding sociopath in the Macaulay Culkin role, and while the film’s a little uneven, there are some very effecting things in it, including a supporting performance by Derek Mears that is just plain hilarious.

ALSO NEW ON STREAMING THIS WEEK:  Amazon – “Ghost Rider Spirit Of Vengeance,” “A Little Bit Of Heaven,” “How To Die In Oregon,” “The Pact,” “Hick” Netflix – “Michael” (2011), “The Serpent’s Kiss,” “Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life,” “Drive,” “Dragonslayer” (2011), “The Electric Daisy Carnival Experience”


“The Secret World Of Arietty”

This latest release from the distribution deal between Walt Disney Pictures and Studio Ghibli is a lovely retelling of the Mary Stewart book “The Borrowers.”  Animated with all the attention to detail that has made Ghibli such a remarkable force in world cinema, the film makes wonderful use of the medium to create a world where scale defines character.  The Disney Blu-ray is luminous, and since Disney took advantage of the moment to also release some other Ghibli titles in the format, it is a very good week for fans of the studio indeed.

“Certified Copy” (Criterion)

Abbas Kiarostami’s oblique, observational piece about two people who spend the day toothier in the village of Lucignano, talking and debating and circling one another in conversation, is the sort of film that rewards repeat viewings because you most likely won’t get the whole game the first time around.  Sophisticated and adult, the film is a great showcase for Juliette Binoche and William Shimell, and if you’re not familiar with Kiarostami’s work, this is a great place to start, especially now that Criterion’s given the film their typical TLC.

“The Grey”

Joe Carnahan’s existential man-vs-nature movie gives Liam Neeson one of his best recent roles, and while the ending frustrated some viewers, thanks in large part to the ad campaign, that’s the least important beat in the film.  On the whole, the film has a great ensemble, and a big beating heart that reveals the poetry that sets Carnahan apart from typical directors of tough-guy cinema.

ALSO NEW ON HOME VIDEO THIS WEEK:  DVD – “Carol Channing – Larger Than Life,” “Checking Out,” “Eclipse Series 33: Up All Night With Robert Downey Sr.,” “Perfect Sense,” “The Rock-a-Fire Explosion,” “A Serbian Film UNCUT,” “Sherlock: Season Two,” “The Woman In Black” Blu-ray – “Castle In The Sky,” “Whisper Of The Heart”

“The Weekend Watch” appears here every Friday.