Best of the Week
Moonrise Kingdom – Universal – Blu-ray and DVD
Release Date: May 25, 2012
Director: Wes Anderson
Cast: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray. Full cast + crew
Here’s a simple formula. Do you like Wes Anderson movies? Then you’ll like Moonrise Kingdom. There’s not a whole lot of rocket science involved. It’s filled with every endearing trait fans have come to rely on him for over the years, and even if it’s not your favorite film of his, it’s bound to put a big ole smile on your face.
If you don’t like Wes Anderson movies, though, you should still give Moonrise Kingdom a chance. Sure, it is unmistakably one of his films, but it’s immensely charming and very, very funny. It’s got a dynamite cast who all play off each other wonderfully, plus it’s just a playful, original film about the crazy things kids do for love.
Special Features: Unfortunately there’s not a ton of extras on this disc, just a whopping six minutes of brief, fluffy featurettes.
At this point Oren Peli is approaching one-hit wonder status, right? The director of Paranormal Activity didn’t direct Chernobyl Diaries, but he did produce it and provide the story, once again proving that the magic in PA is a bit of a fluke. This isn’t strictly a found-footage movie, but it is very entwined with the genre and is yet another vacant movie about a group of tourists who make a lot of dumb choices. If you loved Peli’s TV experiment The River, you might like this as well, but they’re both poorly executed versions of familiar stories.
If you do need your new horror movie this week, do please instead turn your attention to Excision, a bold, bloody film that’s got more imagination and style in single shots than Chernobyl Diaries musters throughout its entire runtime. AnnaLynne McCord is incredible as a freakish high school girl with some increasingly strange medical obsessions, and there’s plenty of imagery to satisfy horror hounds, even if it’s not the scariest movie you’ll see this Halloween season.
Speaking of scary movies, That’s My Boy, Adam Sandler’s latest assault on common sense and good taste, is out. I’m not even a Sandler bandwagon hater, but avoid this at all costs. And then there’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, which is a fast-paced, loopy movie that just jumps from idea to idea and has the thinnest of plots, but it’s got visual splendor to spare and plenty of energy to entertain the littler ones in your household.
The rest of the new releases end in a bit of a whimper. Rites of Passage and Greystone Park may pique the interest of genre fans (and if that’s the case, you may want to avoid the latter, which doesn’t do much new with the found-footage genre), while the arthouse crowd can get The Forgiveness of Blood, and the Obama-hating crowd can latch on to 2016 Obama’s America.
Of everything new and old out this week, by far my most anticipated disc is Avatar’s final debut on Blu-ray 3D. Technically it’s been possible to see it at home in 3D, but you had to have bought it packaged with certain TVs and Blu-ray players, so this is its real retail debut, and as the owner of a new 3D TV, I’m very curious to see how it looks at home.
The rest of this week’s catalog releases are mostly mundane. Sure, some of the films are great (A League of Their Own being my favorite out of the remainders), but the discs themselves are farely barebones Blu-ray upgrades. But if you’ve been a fan of any of the following, now’s your time to jump on a purchase: the original Gone in 60 Seconds, Ella Enchanted, A League of Their Own, The Santa Claus, Pete’s Dragon, Funhouse and Terror Train. Note: Those last two do come with a pretty enticing set of features thanks to Shout Factory.
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