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.
For many genre fans, today must feel like Christmas. After all, the frenzy that has accompanied every stage of production for Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” is probably the most enthusiasm I’ve seen to one of his films pre-release in quite a while. That’s not the only new film in theaters this weekend, depending on where you live, but it’s certainly the highest profile title. If you decide to sit out opening weekend, there’s plenty to discuss on the streaming and home video fronts.
IN THEATERS TODAY
My initial review for the film is up already, and I’m going to take the unusual measure of writing a second post-release piece that I’ll post Monday, replete with spoilers, so we can dig in and really discuss what we think of the film. For now, even if I have some issues with the film, I can’t imagine telling another film fan not to check it out theatrically. I’m going to the Rave, a giant IMAX 3D screen, for my second viewing, and if nothing else, I look forward to feeling like I’m going to fall through the frame into the amazing world that Ridley Scott and his team have built for us with this movie.
“Paul Williams Still Alive”
I reviewed this out of Toronto last year, and I’m a fan. Paul Williams is, in general, underrated these days, and while Stephen Kessler’s film might drive some people a little crazy with just how much of it is focused on Kessler instead of Williams, I do think it ultimately manages to offer up an intimate portrait of this show-business survivor, and it makes one hell of a case for how great his music is.
“Safety Not Guaranteed”
I’ll have my review for this one later today, but the short version is that this is one seriously charming movie. Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson both shine here in comic performances that make full use of their particular personalities, and Mark Duplass continues in his quest to be in 93% of all films made with a winning performance as a possible nutbag.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS THIS WEEK: “Dark Horse,” “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding,” “Bel Ami,” “Lola Versus,” “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”
ON STREAMING THIS WEEK
“The Rum Diary” (Netflix)
If you didn’t see Bruce Robinson’s adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel in the theaters, it’s worth catching up with. It’s a strange movie, part unofficial remake of Robinson’s “Withnail & I,” part adaptation of the Thompson book, part Thompson biopic, all of it mashed up into something that works in fits and starts. Taken as the origin story for “Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas,” it’s sort of fascinating to watch Depp developing into the Dr. Gonzo we know as the icon now, and the film seems to be at its best when it is most aimless, simply soaking up a time and place that no longer exists.
“Wanderlust: Bizarro Cut”
The Blu-ray for this movie also contains this so-called “Bizarro Cut,” which David Wain built out of alternate takes and longer versions of scenes, and it’s a really interesting exercise in how many different versions of one film can be built out of what a director captures on the set. I think the Bizarro Cut is more randomly silly and enjoyable in some ways, but it’s certainly not the version you release as the finished product.
“And Everything Is Going Fine”
This documentary look at the life and work of Spalding Gray is a tremendous tribute to a wonderful talent. Steven Soderbergh doesn’t shoot any new footage, instead choosing to use all of Gray’s filmed monologues to tell the story. Gray had a longtime struggle with depression, and even as he grappled with it, he continued to transform his life into art, leaving behind a remarkable legacy that Soderbergh celebrates here in fitting style.
ALSO NEW ON STREAMING THIS WEEK: Netflix Instant – “Collapse,” “Smash His Camera,” “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie,” “Another Happy Day,” “The Big Uneasy,” “Detective Dee and the Mystery Of The Phantom Flame,” “The Escape Artist,” “Hammett,” “Nude Nuns with Big Guns” Amazon Instant – “Bobby Fischer Against The World,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” “Act Of Valor,” “Cat Run,” “John Carter,” “Machine Gun Preacher,” “Big Miracle,” “Bad Ass,” “Safe House,” “Lawrence Of Arabia (Restored Edition)”
ON HOME VIDEO THIS WEEK
“The Three Stooges: The Ultimate Collection”
Columbia has been putting out the Three Stooges shorts in smaller collections for the last few years, but this is the box set we’ve been waiting for, every single Stooges short together, as well as the feature films “Rockin’ In The Rockies” and “Have Rocket – Will Travel” and a fistful of solo shorts from the various Stooges. It’s an amazing collection of material, and they’ve restored the films so well that it’s hard to believe these films are 80 years old in some cases. My boys got bit by the bug earlier this year, so I’m willing to bet they spend the rest of the year chipping away at this collection little by little.
Unfairly maligned by people who only judge movies by the money they earn, Andrew Stanton’s adaptation of the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp science-fiction story has energy and charm and a real sense of adventure. It looks spectacular on Blu-ray, too, and there is a nice assortment of extra features to help explain how they adapted the stories and how they created the world of Barsoom.
Pure pleasure. Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and George Roy Hill were coming off of the monster hit “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” when they reteamed for this story about con artists in the ’30s. It is David Ward’s ingenious script that really brings this all together and gives the great supporting cast plenty of room to play. The Blu-ray edition, part of Universal’s 100th anniversary, is spectacular to look at, and it’s always nice to revisit a film as beloved as this one and see that it absolutely holds up.
ALSO NEW TO HOME VIDEO THIS WEEK: “Bad Ass,” “Carry On Double Feature, Vol 4,” “Carry On Double Feature, Vol 5,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eighth Season,” “Act Of Valor,” “Earthquake,” “Falling Skies: The Complete First Season,” “How To Live Forever,” “John Mellencamp: It’s About You,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” “Safe House,” “Breaking Bad: The Complete Fourth Season,” “Cocktail,” “The Color Of Money,” “Erin Brokovich,” “The Grapes Of Wrath,” “Hoosiers,” “Scent of A Woman,” “Sea Of Love,” “Smokey & The Bandit,” “The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series”
“The Weekend Watch” appears here every Friday.