New DVD’s: January 2020

Winter is here, which is the perfect time to get under some blankets, grab some popcorn and hot chocolate, and watch a movie! The selection coming to home video this month might look a bit middling based on the critical reviews, but remember that they are often looking at a variety of film-making aspects that most people don’t pay too much attention to, and of course, everyone’s tastes are going to be different. As a general rule of thumb with the included Metacritic scores, if something scores high enough to get a green square, most people are going to either enjoy it or think it’s pretty great. If a movie gets a yellow square, it usually means that if you thought it looked like something you would enjoy, you’re probably right. These may not be masterpieces, but they can still be pretty entertaining. And what if it gets a red square? Well, you won’t necessarily find these films to be awful, but the odds are much higher that you might. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun watching them though. As you can see, we found at least a few decent reviews for every movie here, so don’t be afraid to take a chance on one! And if you do give the critical consensus a lot of weight, make sure to check out Parasite at the end of the month, which is widely held to be one of the year’s best films.


JOKER

MetascoreArthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night… but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“The true success of this film has everything to do with Joaquin Phoenix’s masterful performance.” – Chris Gore, Film Threat

“Bold, devastating and utterly beautiful, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself.” – Terri White, Empire

“More character study than comic book movie, and anchored by an Oscar-worthy Joaquin Phoenix, Joker is a bravura blockbuster that proves you don’t need superpowered scraps to dazzle.” – Jordan Farley, Total Film

Available Formats (1/7):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


BIG LITTLE LIES: SEASON 2

MetascorePerry’s mother (Meryl Streep) seeks answers as the friendships and marriages of those involved are tested by their secrets and lies.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

Big Little Lies is offering up some of the best psychological storytelling on television… Somehow, this kind of rigorous, thoughtful probing still manages to coexist in perfect harmony with the show’s barbed sense of humor, an incongruence that Streep, in particular, seems to relish… But the dazzle of Big Little Lies—the money and the stars and the searing comedy of modern manners—can’t override how incisive the show is about its characters, their damage, and their desires.” – Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

“If anything, Season 2 only gets richer as it digs deeper into these ladies’ lives… Savor this while it lasts, folks: This is as good as TV gets.” – Dave Nemetz, TVLine

“There is indeed more to say about these women and the fallout from the events of season one, as well as more exquisiteness to enjoy… But it’s not just Streep who is fascinating to watch. While all of the principal cast members were terrific in season one, each of them gives even richer performances this season.” – Jen Chaney, New York Magazine

Available Formats (1/7):

DVD


THE LIGHTHOUSE

MetascoreA hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“By turns funny, sinister, haunting, historically fascinating and mythical, The Lighthouse is one of the best films of the year.” – Sara Stewart, New York Post

The Lighthouse leaves you dazed, terrified and elated, and it signals Eggers as one of the most exciting directors working today.” – Joseph Walsh, Time Out

“Eggers has created a film of disturbing horror, absurdist comedy and probing psychodrama which defies the generic boundaries as it breaks through them. The Lighthouse is a saltwater gothic masterpiece.” – John Bleasdale, Cinevue

Available Formats (1/7):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


A MILLION LITTLE PIECES

MetascoreAn alcoholic and a drug addict, 23 year-old James has two options: treatment or death. After waking up on a plane with a smashed up face and no memory of the past few weeks, he heads to rehab where he discovers much more than detox and therapy. As James endures the white-knuckle journey of mending his broken body, he heals his broken soul by connecting with other kindred spirits who also yearn and fight for a better life.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“Powered by the magnetic Aaron Taylor-Johnson, it’s rough around the edges, but still intoxicating.” – James Mottram, Total Film

“As a stand-alone work of cinema fiction, A Million Little Pieces is an effective blunt instrument of a film — a rough-edged, unvarnished, painfully accurate portrayal of addiction and rehabilitation.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Available Formats (1/7):

DVD


MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL

MetascoreMaleficent: Mistress of Evil picks up several years after Maleficent, in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney’s most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora. The film continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“After a run of live-action Disney remakes that mostly play things safe, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a much needed swing-for-the-fences dose of originality. It doesn’t always hit it out of the park, but it’s wickedly fun to watch it try.” – Caroline Siede, The Verge

“Jolie’s magnetism, plus the way she toes the line between being a fairy version of Batman and a menacing mistress of not-quite-evil-but-pretty-close, is why these ‘Maleficent’ movies work. She fits the character as well as her endless cycle of evolving costumes.” – Brian Truitt, USA Today

“Impressive visuals and a very watchable cast make this a fun popcorn fantasy flick that’s at its best when it leans into its genre roots and aims to create a truly fantastical fairytale world.” – Rosie Knight, IGN

Available Formats (1/14):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


JEXI

MetascorePhil (Adam Devine) has a major dependency issue – he’s addicted to his phone. He has no friends, he has a job writing pop culture “Top 10” lists, and his love life is non-existent. But his Facebook status is about to change. When he is forced to upgrade his phone, the latest model comes with an unexpected feature… Jexi (Rose Byrne) – an A.I. life coach, virtual assistant and cheerleader. With her help, Phil begins to get a real life. But as he becomes less dependent on his phone, Jexi’s artificial intelligence soon morphs into a tech nightmare determined to keep Phil all to herself, even if it means ruining his chances of finding success.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“While its mode of argumentation gets weaker as the standard-issue boy-meets-girl-meets-carpe-diem plot progresses, the appealing cast and brisk running time help Jexi not wear out its welcome.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Although the title is confounding and perhaps the movie’s worst misstep, it’s Byrne’s digitized and stilted delivery that earns the biggest laughs.” – Monica Castillo, RogerEbert.com

“Lucas and Moore write some whiplash funny lines, and since the film is just a throwaway, you can enjoy it on a trivial synthetic revenge-of-the-nerd level.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Available Formats (1/14):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


GEMINI MAN

MetascoreHenry Brogan (Will Smith), an elite assassin, is suddenly targeted and pursued by a mysterious young operative that seemingly can predict his every move.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“What makes it enjoyable is that it’s a relatively grounded action film… relatively.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“If you’re a fan of action movies, or you’ve ever pondered the questions of nature vs. nuture or even what you’ll tell your younger self if you had a chance, you’ll enjoy Gemini Man.” – Weldon B. Johnson, Arizona Republic

“Lee has already made another movie in high frame rate, and seems to have a solid handle on how to use it to his advantage. ‘HFR’ makes water and cityscapes look spectacular, and Gemini Man has plenty of both. And it makes action scenes even more visceral, especially ones that utilize long takes to allow for a lot of movement through the frame towards and away from the camera. There’s a long take of Smith’s character riding a motorcycle in Colombia that will go down in history as one of the coolest bike stunts ever.” – Matt Singer, Screen Crush

Available Formats (1/14):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


THE ADDAMS FAMILY

MetascoreGet ready to snap your fingers! The Addams Family is back on the big screen in the first animated comedy about the kookiest family on the block. Funny, outlandish, and completely iconic, the Addams Family redefines what it means to be a good neighbor.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“Frighteningly funny and fresh, this hilarious animated treat will introduce a whole new generation to the loving and strange family whilst also pleasing those who grew up with the iconic ’90s movies. With a sweet story, tight runtime, and impressive animation, this is the perfect Halloween treat for film fans young and old!” – Rosie Knight, IGN

“Kroll’s Fester in particular is a spot-on imitation of Jackie Coogan’s spittle-spraying happy-go-lucky freak.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle

“At the end of the night, The Addams Family is a comedy, and a good one at that, delivering the kind of morbid humor that reminds us why we’ll always accept their invitations.” – Michael Pementel, Consequence of Sound

Available Formats (1/21):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

MetascoreColumbus, Tallahasse, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of their snarky makeshift family.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

Zombieland: Double Tap is a riot, and a lot of that is due to Zoey Deutch and her character, Madison. While it doesn’t quite achieve classic status in its own right, when it comes to sequels that do the original film justice, it is up there. It’s worth the wait, your time and your money.” – Simon Thompson, IGN

“They’re all terrific, but Emma Stone in particular kills with a sharply honed, funny and endearing performance as the battle-tested and cynical Wichita, who is fearless when it comes to taking on zombies, but terrified when it comes to fully committing to a human connection.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“Pure fun and worth seeing if you want to laugh.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Available Formats (1/21):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


JAY AND SILENT BOB REBOOT

MetascoreWhen Jay and Silent Bob discover that Hollywood is rebooting an old movie based on them, the clueless duo embark on another cross-country mission to stop it all over again!

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“Though its meta-heavy plot gets tiresome after a while, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is a successful return to form for Kevin Smith. Though it’s a bit rough around the edges, all involved clearly came to have fun and that infectious energy is palpable for the entire runtime. It may be his raunchiest film in years, but it’s also his most emotionally intelligent.” – Tom Jorgensen, IGN

“Smith has every right to be older and wiser here, and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, with its gentle anarchy and not-quite-mock nostalgia, is a time-machine sequel that passes the time amiably enough. But if Jay and Silent Bob get any older or wiser than this, they’re going to stop being who they are.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“While Kevin Smith may never appear on a list of great filmmakers, his movies do understand something essential about getting older and growing up. Sometimes, we all just need to go back to the well.” – Matt Melis, Consequence of Sound

Available Formats (1/21):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


PAIN AND GLORY

metascorePain and Glory tells of a series of reencounters experienced by Salvador Mallo, a film director in his physical decline. Some of them in the flesh, others remembered: his childhood in the 60s, when he emigrated with his parents to a village in Valencia in search of prosperity, the first desire, his first adult love in the Madrid of the 80s, the pain of the breakup of that love while it was still alive and intense, writing as the only therapy to forget the unforgettable, the early discovery of cinema, and the void, the infinite void created by the incapacity to keep on making films. Pain and Glory talks about creation, about the difficulty of separating it from one’s own life and about the passions that give it meaning and hope. In recovering his past, Salvador finds the urgent need to recount it, and in that need he also finds his salvation.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“In evocative and understatedly emotional scenes, carried out with a mature grace by Banderas, we come to a connection of how we get where we are, and what holds us back from what we dream of becoming.” – Jim Slotek, Original Cin

“It’s a puzzle play, with one of the best closing shots in memory. Film is its subject. So is life. With Mr. Almodóvar behind the camera and Mr. Banderas in front of it, film and life are synonymous.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“A rebirth for both actor and director, Pain and Glory sees Banderas and Almodóvar at the peak of their electric, heart-wrenching capabilities.” – Luke Parker, We Got This Covered

Available Formats (1/21):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


COUNTDOWN

MetascoreWhen a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict the moment a person will die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With the clock ticking and a figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

Countdown can never be taken seriously enough to work as a conventional horror thriller, and it’s never quite funny enough to be a great horror comedy. But it’s got just enough eccentricity and self-awareness to entertain despite those obvious deficiencies.” – William Bibbiani, The Wrap

“As proven by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Final Destination 3 or the spunky Jessica Rothe in Happy Death Day, these fate-driven, high-concept horror flicks can be redeemed by a committed central performance. Countdown’s Elizabeth Lail, as a nurse who wants to get to the bottom of things, joins their company; she’s got a certain Jennifer Lawrence scrappiness.” – Joshua Rothkopf, TimeOut

“This isn’t a subtle, moody film filled with a sense of unease; instead, jump scares are around every corner. If that’s all you want from a horror movie, you’ll have a very good time — and an elevated heart rate for its speedy 90 minutes.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times

Available Formats (1/21):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


PARASITE

MetascoreMeet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“This is a film of such dramatic power and innovative comedy and romantic poetry and melancholy beauty that upon exiting a screening, you might well feel the urge to tell everyone in the lobby of the multiplex to delay their plans to check out some mainstream offering because if they truly love cinema, they should see THIS movie, immediately.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Parasite becomes a social satire of almost breathless audacity, a three-dimensional chess game of Darwinian one-upmanship that is by turns hilarious, terrifying, and brutal.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe

“Few filmmakers can manage such a dizzying blend of tones, but for Bong, one of South Korea’s finest directors, it’s a trademark. With Parasite he’s crafted his best movie yet.” – David Sims, The Atlantic

Available Formats (1/28):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


HARRIET

MetascoreBased on the inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“The intensity and the lyrical fervor of Kasi Lemmons’s direction lend this historical drama, about Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and her work with the Underground Railroad, the exalted energy of secular scripture.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“It is a rousing and powerful drama, respectful of both the historical record and the cravings of modern audiences.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“The result falls somewhere between a slave-escape drama, an action thriller, a western and even an unexpected kind of superhero film. It’s a winning combination, although Lemmons does not immerse us in the agony and injustice of slavery as such; she puts together a well-crafted movie that is the showcase for an excellent performance from Erivo.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Available Formats (1/28):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

MetascoreSet against the backdrop of 1950s New York, Motherless Brooklyn follows Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective living with Tourette Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Armed only with a few clues and the engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance. In a mystery that carries him from gin-soaked jazz clubs in Harlem to the hard-edged slums of Brooklyn and, finally, into the gilded halls of New York’s power brokers, Lionel contends with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city to honor his friend and save the woman who might be his own salvation.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“I haven’t seen a crime thriller this good since L.A. Confidential.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

Motherless Brooklyn is the sort of risk-taking effort that deserves kudos whether it works or not. As it happens, this lengthy film-noir labour of love by writer, director and star Edward Norton, is well worth the ride.” – Jim Slotek, Original Sin

“It’s Norton’s own performance that brings emotional connection to Motherless Brooklyn. Always a consummate actor, with Oscar nominations for Primal Fear, American History X, and Birdman — he deserved another for Fight Club — Norton is at his very best as Lionel, seeing beyond the tics to the things that make him human.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Available Formats (1/28):

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack

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