Tuesday, June 9: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Project Almanac, and Ninotchka are all released on DVD and Blu-Ray
Available at all finer media retailers
A handful of DVD releases of interest this week, not the least of which is the highly entertaining Kingsman. As stated on its initial release, I liked it quite a bit – a cheeky James Bond acolyte with a bratty-assed sense of humor and some genuinely impressive action sequences alongside memorable characters and a very likable young lead in Taron Egerton. If you didn’t catch up with it during its run in theaters, you’d be wise to do so now.
Faring much less positively with me was the found footage time travel film Project Almanac. As stated before, I thought it was pretty dire – I don’t quite understand giving a filmmaker a modest effects budget and then having them muddy up any good visual craftsmanship they might muster with the forced hand-held or wonky staging that the found footage genre forces upon you. It’s a movie that very well might have been a bit of fun if executed as a traditional film, but it becomes laborious and unpleasant to sit through in its current incarnation.
Most excitingly though, is the high definition re-release of Ernst Lubitsch’s classic romantic comedy Ninotchka. Lubitsch resides happily atop my personal Mount Rushmore of directorial talent, as sure a hand as there ever was in crafting elegant and incisive character work through subtle gestures or simple dialogue without ever calling much attention to himself as a visual stylist (although he very much so was). Here, Melvyn Douglas’ sly Count meets and falls in love with Greta Garbo’s Russian envoy of the title. Garbo is luminous; the comedy is crackling, and the romance utterly bewitching.
Friday, June 12: The Connection and Jurassic World open in local release
Check local listings for showtimes/pricing
Not a lot of competish’ this week, as all other studios smartly saw the dinosaur in the room and skipped town. The one bit of counter-programming we Milwaukeeans receive this week is the release of the French crime thriller The Connection. Purporting to tell the story of William Friedkin’s classic The French Connection from the French side of the pond (although not officially tied to that film in any way), the film stars Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist, the fantastic OSS 117 pictures) and is currently rocking a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so hopefully it can live up to the sterling reputation of the film it aims to supplement.
The big release this week is Jurassic World, our return to the Jurassic Park series nearly fourteen years after the last installment (and, apropos of nothing, Jurassic Park III is highly entertaining and very unfairly maligned). While the preview material hasn’t set the world on fire, I’m still excited by the very pulpy concept of dinosaurs running loose in a fully populated amusement park, so this has me hooked on a conceptual level. Plus, the movie on some level looks to be about the lack of necessity to keep going to this well and the need to make spectacle bigger without necessarily making it better, a fun meta wrinkle that should provide food for thought as we humans provide food for dinos.
Friday, June 12: Big Hero 6 kicks off West Allis’ Summer Movie Night in LaFollette Park
Dusk @ LaFollette Park Pavilion, Lower Level (9418 W. Washington St., West Allis) (FREE)
I’ll save for the bulk of writing about the very charming Big Hero 6 for the re-purposed entry below, but needless to say the sheer amount of outdoor movie programs scheduling it for 2015 makes it this year’s Frozen.
Saturday, June 13: Big Hero 6 kicks off Summer Movie Nights in Veterans Park
Dusk @ Gift of Wings kite store (FREE)
After a rescheduling from its originally planned start date, we’ve finally reached the point where the weather is reliable enough to start the outdoor movie season in earnest. And the Summer Movie Nights series in Veterans Park is a reliable family option for said moviegoing. While Big Hero 6 would not have been my first choice for last year’s Animated Picture Oscar, I did like it quite a bit. It’s decisively pro-science viewpoint is come about far more honestly than the pejorative Pollyannaisms of this summer’s Tomorrowland, the action is concise and kinetic, and Baymax, the giant fluffy cloud of medical and emotional assistance at the film’s center, is an all-time great children’s movie sidekick. So take your kids out and enjoy a movie under the stars this weekend.