We once again find ourselves facing an odd week of new Blu-rays and DVDs. You can safely blame Black Friday and Cyber Monday on that one. Studios know all to well that consumers are saving their cash for those deals, so the Tuesdays on either side of those commercial holidays have a pretty small number of releases. That doesn’t mean it’s a week of duds, just that there’s not a whole lot hitting.
The biggest studio film of the week is certainly Men in Black 3, which did quite well over the summer despite all the talk of production delays and a ballooning budget. And if you’re in the mood to watch the films in order, Sony certainly has you covered, as it is putting out a box set as well. Then we have the latest horror film from Warner Bros.’ Dark Castle label, The Apparition. As someone who typically enjoys Dark Castle films, even I think this one is a total bore. I suppose die-hard fans of Ashley Greene will find plenty of skimpy outfits to enjoy, but there’s not a whole lot in this couple versus mysterious spirit film that you haven’t seen done before– and better.
If you’re looking for some good genre material this week, you can turn your attention to ParaNorman, which, while not nearly as good as Coraline, is a refreshing and mature change of pace for stop-motion animated films. Anime fans will no doubt want to jump on Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I. I’ve yet to see this feature-length remake (the first in a trilogy), but Berserk is my favorite anime of all time, so I’m very eager to check it out. If you’ve never heard of the series, but you like anime that’s big and bloody and kind of weird, absolutely give it a shot.
Next up on the genre front is The Day. It’s got a few production shortcomings, but it’s a decent, small-scale post-apocalyptic survival movie with a fresh-faced cast. And lastly there’s the grungy indie Rites of Spring, a horror/heist mash-up that’s memorable, even if the combination doesn’t always work.
Getting into drama territory, we have Lawless, the latest from The Proposition director John Hillcoat. It was mostly liked when it hit theaters earlier this year, even if that praise didn’t translate into big box office numbers. Hopefully it’ll find its audience on DVD. And sticking with the drama theme, we’ve got Sparkle, featuring Whitney Houston’s final screen performance, and Burning Man, the Matthew Goode-led Australian film about a chef whose life is out of control.
And lastly we have Step Up: Revolution, which is unsurprisingly the worst in the franchise. The dance choreography is still utterly fantastic, but the acting and story here is just the absolute bare minimum the screenwriters could get away with, and so anything that doesn’t involve some of the coolest stunts caught on film this year will have you rolling your eyes.