by • January 23, 2013 • Columns, Release ReviewComments (0)79

Release Review – Week of January 22, 2013

This Week’s Big Releases


Synopsis: David Ayer, who wrote films like TRAINING DAY and directed STREET KINGS, returns to the police drama milieu, this time integrating the “found footage” technique to tell his story. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena star as two LAPD officers who stumble upon the activities of the Mexican drug cartels in Los Angeles. Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera and Frank Grillo also star.
Tomatometer Rating: 85%
Special Features: There’s a commentary with Ayer, eighteen deleted scenes, and five short featurettes.
Deals: Amazon and Best Buy have the blu-ray combo pack for $21.99.
Buy/Queue/Skip: Gyllenhaal and Pena both give tremendous performances, and though the film falls apart a little toward the end, it’s still worth checking out. QUEUE IT. Check out Courtney’s review of the film, which she called, “visceral, gritty…imbued with warmth, humor, and staggering poignancy” and counted among 2012’s best.


Synopsis: From Lee Daniels, comes the most batshit movie of the year, which features too much eyeliner, peeing, fake eyelashes, sweat, crocodiles, money shots, and Zac Efron in tighty whities, which is probably the only reason you should see this anyway.
Tomatometer Rating: 39%
Special Features: There are interviews with the cast, crew, and director as well as a making-of featurette.
Deals: Target has the blu-ray for $12.99.
Buy/Queue/Skip: I’m a sucker for Zac Efron, even more so whilst scantily clad, so I’d say QUEUE. Courtney really enjoyed the film and called it “the most beautiful fever dream you’ll have this year”.

Also Available This Week

Chances are you missed some of 2012’s documentaries, but a host of them are available this week. First is SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN, about the 70s rock icon you never heard of, which boasts an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and which Courtney said will “resonate deeply with both music and film lovers”. There’s also BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING: THE WAYNE WHITE STORY, about the man who, among other things, created the aesthetic for PEE-WEE’S PLAYHOUSE and PINA, which is my pick of the week.

There are also a few smaller indie films available including the drama NOBODY WALKS with John Krasinski and Oliva Thirlby, which Jason was very disappointed by and the phone-sex comedy FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL…, which Courtney called “unadulterated fun served up with a side of empowerment”.

Manny’s Pick

The documentary PINA, about Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal dance company is available from the Criterion Collection this week. Directed by Wim Wenders, a longtime friend of Pina Bausch, was in preproduction for a collaborative project when Bausch died in 2009. Two years later, Wenders decided to go ahead with the project as an homage. The film, which was shot in 3D, is a remarkable visual experience and representation of Bausch’s art. Before you check out the disc though, do yourself a favor and watch the film on Netflix Watch Instantly. Check out Mel’s review for more.

See you next week!

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