Since many readers don’t have a lot of time or extra money to head out into the theaters, it felt prudent to take the time to highlight the home video options for “The Month Ahead” in addition to the big blockbusters invading theaters. Sometimes, folks are better served waiting for for DVD or Blu-ray. Here’s a local take on what’s arriving on DVD and Blu-Ray for the month of June 2013 on the weekly “New Movie Tuesdays” where ever discs are rented or sold. Check out trailers and full reviews where applicable.
JUNE 4 RELEASES
Identity Thief— The unquestioned box office champ of the winter movie season was Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman’s raucous team-up and road movie about the title subject. It crossed $100 million and outperformed blockbusters and Oscar carryovers, most notably including the next movie on this list. (trailer)
A Good Day to Die Hard— After performing incredibly underwhelmingly against Identity Thief, these two show up on the same DVD and Blu-ray week. Ouch. Watch a fat girl show up John McClane & Son again. Bruce Willis follows his errant son (Joel Courtney) to Moscow and gets tangled in an international spy operation before climaxing in Chernobyl. It appears the Cold War never died. This is by-far the weakest entry to the much-loved franchise. (trailer)
Warm Bodies— This zombie romance was quite the Valentine’s Day charmer in theaters and now it’s your turn at home. Nicholas Hoult stars as a mindless zombie with a soft spot for a girl (Theresa Palmer) and slowly starts to regain his humanity through romance. Recommended. (trailer) (full review)
Escape From Planet Earth— Getting easily trumped by The Croods as the go-to animated family film of the winter/spring season, this forgettable adventure features the voice cast of Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rob Corddry, William Shatner, and Craig Robinson. Let the trailer show you the disaster-to-be.
JUNE 11 RELEASES
Oz, the Great and Powerful— While I felt it lacked the charm to honorably be a prequel to the classic story we all know, this Wizard of Oz origin story starring James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz does not disappoint on 3D visual wonder or style. Definitely worth a look. (trailer) (full review)
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters— This has to be the lowest-of-the-low when it comes to this Hollywood trend of amplifying and actionizing old fairy tales. Two siblings chasing bread crumbs turns into this firearms-heavy free for all action horror movie against witches. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star. Buyer beware. (trailer)
Snitch— Dwayne Johnson took a break saving franchises (G.I. Joe, Fast and Furious) to make his own action drama about a father diving into the criminal underworld as an informant to spare his teen son a prison sentence. The Rock sells tickets and this movie did well at the box office. (trailer)
JUNE 18 RELEASES
Jack the Giant Slayer— Though it underperformed at the box office, between this and Oz the Great and Powerful, give me Bryan Singer’s pumped up Jack and the Beanstalk re-telling starring Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, and Ian McShane. This adventure had the swashbuckling and charm necessary to do its old story some justice without getting too carried away. Recommended. (trailer) (full review)
21 and Over— Much like last year’s Hangover-for-kids wannabe Project X, here’s another teen/20-something “one wild night” ride of R-rated thrills and gags. This one was a blip on the box office radar screen with its nearly entirely unknown cast. You’ve got to put in at least one familiar face to move the buzz needle. (trailer)
Quartet— In one of the “hidden gems” of the month, Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut adapting a popular London play about a nursing home of retired, aging, but still competitive musical performers showed tremendous low-end box office appeal for over three months. Starring old favorites Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, and Pamela Collins, it drew quite a surprise. (trailer)
Stoker— Hyped and marketed as some kind of Hitchcock-ian tale of serial killers and interelated skulduggery, Nicole Kidman plays a mean mother to Mia Wasikowska who beds the brother (Matthew Goode) of her deceased husband who may not be quite the clean-cut guy he appears to be. Expect the twisted sensation. (trailer)
The Last Exorcism Part 2— Proof that Hollywood is still a sucker for making sequels to bad horror movies. (trailer)
Movie 43— Don’t let the big cast of stars fool you. This 12-short anthology of many directors (including Elizabeth Banks, the Farrelly brothers, Brett Ratner, Steve Brill, Griffin Dunne, and Bob Odenkirk) was a critical and box office bomb. Despite the presence of big names like Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Halle Berry, Uma Thurman, Jason Sudeikis, Seth McFarlane, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Emma Stone, Gerard Butler, Richard Gere, Seann William Scott, Anna Faris, Kate Bosworth, Jack McBrayer, Josh Duhamel, Terrance Howard, and Johnny Knoxville, Movie 43 scored an atrocious 4% on Rotten Tomatoes. Buyer beware. (red band trailer)
Upside Down— In another out-there “hidden gem,” seek out this original and audacious science fiction film about two neighboring Earth-like planets that are close enough to connect, but still retain their own unique gravity creating a caste-like separation between worlds. Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst play lovers torn between the two settings. I’ll say one thing. It’s trailer really sells its crazy premise with enough to attract my attention.
JUNE 25 RELEASES
The Call— While she was part of Movie 43, Academy Award winner Halle Berry redeemed herself a bit with this surprise spring success as a 911 operator who intervenes to save a kidnapped victim of a serial killer. Believe it or not, this film was bankrolled by the same WWE that you see bodyslamming people on Mondays and Fridays every week. Worth a shot, but buyer beware, the trailer gives the entire movie away.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone— Spring was definitely the season of box office bombs and one of the most prominent ones was this magician comedy. Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi star as played-out Las Vegas magicians who get tangled in a duel of tricks and one-up-manship with a Criss Angel-like street performer (Jim Carrey). Olivia Wilde and Alan Arkin also star. (trailer)
Phantom— After a blink-and-miss-it stay in theaters, Ed Harris and David Duchovny star in this Cold War-era submarine mystery with a touch of the nuclear flair. It could be a hidden gem, though the slow reviews (25% on Rotten Tomatoes) don’t portray that. (trailer)
No— If foreign films intrigue you, check out renowned actor Gael Garcia Bernal play the historical instigator to a 1988 election to depose Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet and set the country free. Scoring 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, it might just turn your head. (trailer)
While Blockbuster stores have gone by the wayside, Netflix and Redbox are still as popular as ever and cost far less than a family of four at the multiplex. I hope you find a winner to try this month!