Jay Roach's comedy depicts the increasingly nasty campaign showdown between aspiring congressmen played by Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. The script comes from Eastbound & Down's Shawn Harwell and Chris Henchy, while the supporting cast includes Dan Aykroyd (in his first live-action film in four years), John Lithgow, and Jason Sudeikis. Reviews obviously weren't great, but it's still more entertaining than any other campaign you could be watching right now.
Six years ago, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris had a surprise critical and commercial hit with their debut feature Little Miss Sunshine 80. They finally returned this summer with a second project, a quirky romantic comedy from first-time screenwriter Zoe Kazan. Ruby Sparks stars Paul Dano as a novelist suffering from writer's block who wills the woman of his dreams (played by Kazan, Dano's real-life girlfriend) into existence. The excellent cast also includes Antonio Banderas, Alia Shawkat, Steve Coogan, Annette Bening, and Elliott Gould. Critics found the film surprising (in a good way), though some felt it didn't quite come together.
This quirky indie romantic comedy (yes, that makes two this week) was a hit at Sundance with audiences and critics alike and won an award for its screenplay (the debut from Derek Connolly). Mark Duplass stars as a man who places a personal ad in a local newspaper seeking a companion for time travel; three misfit magazine employees, including Aubrey Plaza, investigate. Critics found the film charming and endearing (if a bit ridiculous), with plenty of praise going to Plaza's breakout performance. Even if it isn't a true sci-fi-heavy time travel flick like the new Looper, Safety's ending alone makes it worth at least a rental.
|More movie releases on October 30, 2012|
|50||Americano Salma Hayek||Add to Queue|
|72||First Position Documentary||Add to Queue|
|74||Polisse French drama||Add to Queue|
|Rosemary's Baby (1968) Criterion Collection|
|Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977) Burt Lancaster|
|TV on DVD/Blu-ray|
|All in the Family Complete series box set|
|66||Copper Season 1|
|Metalocalypse Season 4|
|My Favorite Martian Season 3|
|The Streets of San Francisco Season 5|
All movies are 2012 releases unless otherwise noted. Availability: DVD | Blu-ray | Both Blu-ray and DVD
Writer-director Lynn Shelton’s follow-up to Humpday 74 finds Mark Duplass (The League) spending a few days in a remote cabin with his late brother's girlfriend and her sister (Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt), with the relationship between the three growing more complicated as the story progresses. The dramedy mostly impressed critics, who admired the film's humor and engaging honesty, if not the ending.
|More movie releases on November 6, 2012|
|43||360 Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law; dir. by Fernando Meirelles||Add to Queue|
|69||Arthur Christmas Animated family film from Aardman||Add to Queue|
|Beaches (1988) Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey|
|Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith|
|Fire With Fire Straight-to-video title starring Bruce Willis and Josh Duhamel||Add to Queue|
|Guys & Dolls (1955) Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra|
|Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest 1986 concert film|
|Kung Fu Panda Holiday New animated short|
|64||Last Call at the Oasis Documentary||Add to Queue|
|54||The Pact Horror||Add to Queue|
|Planes Trains & Automobiles (1987) Steve Martin, John Candy|
|Rashomon (1950) Criterion Collection release|
|45||[REC] 3: Genesis Spanish horror sequel||Add to Queue|
|The Rolling Stones: Charlie is My Darling - Ireland 1965 Concert film|
|Sunset Boulevard (1950) William Holden, Gloria Swanson|
|45||Sweet Home Alabama (2002) Reese Witherspoon|
|They Live (1988) Collector's Edition Blu-ray release|
|57||Trishna Freida Pinto; dir. by Michael Winterbottom||Add to Queue|
|TV on DVD/Blu-ray|
|80||Call the Midwife Season 1|
|A Carol Burnett Christmas Collection of 4 holiday episodes|
|Entourage Complete series|
|Law & Order Season 11|
|The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams Season 1|
|Regular Show The Best DVD In the World (At This Moment In Time) [16-episode set]|
|Vera Set 2|
|Wolf Lake Complete series|
November 9 (Friday)
It's never too soon to reboot a franchise, at least if you're a Hollywood executive looking for the next billion-dollar sure thing. Arriving this summer a mere five years after the previous Spider-Man film series drew to a close, this restart introduced Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) as Peter Parker, with Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Rhys Ifans, Campbell Scott, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field filling out the cast. While the choice of director—(500) Days of Summer 76 helmer Marc Webb—was a bold one, the film earned less enthusiastic reviews than prior Spider-Man films (well, except the forgettable Spider-Man 3), though a $752 million worldwide gross means a sequel is already on the way.
This sequel to Julie Delpy's 2 Days in Paris 67 (she again writes, directs, and stars) finds Delpy's Marion broken up with Adam Goldberg's Jack, and now living in New York with their child and her new boyfriend (Chris Rock) and his daughter from a previous relationship. The culture clash comedy begins when Delpy's Parisian family comes to New York on vacation, but critics were all over the map in their response to the film; some found it a lot funnier than others.
Coming a year after Pixar's first critical misfire (Cars 2 57) ended an unprecedented string of nearly a dozen major successes, this summer's Brave was the first Pixar film to feature a female lead, and it was the studio's first original story since 2009's Up 88. Unfortunately, it wasn't anywhere close to the creative accomplishment that was the latter film, though it was a step up over the Cars sequel. Brave tells the story of a tough 10th century Scottish princess/warrior named Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) who decides to go her own way rather than agree to an arranged marriage. Critics found it surprisingly routine, safe, and unoriginal by Pixar standards, though the quality of the animation was a high point.
Well regarded when it premiered at Sundance this year, and again when it reached theaters this summer, The Queen of Versailles documents the epic "riches to rags" story of billionaire timeshare real estate mogul David Siegel, his wife Jackie, and their under-construction 90,000 square foot dream house, the largest and most expensive residence ever built in the United States. When the economy crashes, that house and their exceptionally extravagant lifestyle are threatened. Part voyeurism, part Schadenfreude, and fully entertaining, Queen plays like well-made reality television (director Lauren Greenfield was awarded at Sundance) while also serving as a timely critique of American consumer culture.
For Oliver Stone, apparently, you can't go home again. Mired in a 15-year critical slump, Stone last year attempted to resurrect one of his career highlights, Wall Street, but the belated sequel, Money Never Sleeps 59, didn't impress many fans or critics. This year, with Savages, the director returned to the over-the-top violence that worked so well for him in films like Natural Born Killers, but results were again lackluster. Adapted from Don Winslow's novel of the same name, Savages centers on two successful Laguna Beach marijuana growers, played by Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson, who attract the attention of the Mexican drug cartel. After the cartel kidnaps their shared girlfriend, Ophelia (Blake Lively), they must devise a plan to rescue her. Salma Hayek plays the head of the Mexican cartel, and Benicio del Toro is her main enforcer. John Travolta also shows up as a double dealing DEA agent, and Oscar nominee Demián Bichir plays the cartel’s crooked lawyer.
When a suburban neighborhood is invaded by aliens (the outer space kind), it's up to neighborhood watch members Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade to save the day. A case of a good cast saving a goofy premise? Not exactly. Despite a script from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad 76 and Pineapple Express 64), this raunchy sci-fi comedy from director Akiva Schaffer (The Lonely Island, SNL digital shorts, Hot Rod 43) earned precisely zero positive reviews from the critics tracked by Metacritic and was a major box office flop this summer.
|More movie releases on November 13, 2012|
|44||Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter|
|Company Filmed version of recent Broadway production of Sondheim musical starring Neil Patrick Harris|
|66||Dark Horse dir. by Todd Solondz||Add to Queue|
|Empire of the Sun (1987) Christian Bale, John Malkovich; dir. by Steven Spielberg|
|72||The Island President Documentary||Add to Queue|
|Lawrence of Arabia (1961) Newly restored version available on Blu-ray only|
|62||My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) 10th anniversary Blu-ray release|
|57||Natural Selection Rachael Harris, Matt O'Leary||Add to Queue|
|Paul McCartney: Live Kisses Concert film recorded during Kisses On The Bottom tour|
|Pixar Short Films Collection 2 Compiles the studio's 12 most recent shorts|
|The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) Lana Turner, John Garfield|
|Trilogy of Life Criterion Collection set of three 1970s films by Pier Paolo Pasolini|
|Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977) Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark|
|Vamps Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter; dir. by Amy Heckerling||Add to Queue|
|Weekend (1967) Criterion Collection; dir. by Jean-Luc Godard|
|TV on DVD/Blu-ray|
|Cagney & Lacey Complete series|
|Dance Moms Season 2 Vol. 1|
|The Dick Van Dyke Show Complete series|
|The Flintstones Complete series|
|Friends Complete series|
|History Detectives Season 10|
|Lost Girl Season 2|
|Of Two Minds Lifetime movie|
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Complete Classic Series Collection|
That Metascore might not look great, but it's actually better than the one for predecessor The Expendables 45. Plus, you probably don't need reviews to decide whether or not to see The Expendables 2. Either an over-the-top action film starring nearly anyone who has ever been in an over-the-top action film before—including Sylvester Stallone (though he doesn't direct this time), Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis—sounds like your idea of fun, or it doesn't. The end result is pretty much exactly what you'd expect it to be.
|More movie releases on November 20, 2012|
|Archers Of Loaf - What Did You Expect? Concert film|
|Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements Documentary|
|Heaven's Gate (1980) Criterion Collection|
|Ramrod (1947) Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake|
|Tarantino XX Box set collection of 8 movies written and/or directed by Quentin Tarantino|
|That's Entertainment! Trilogy Blu-ray set of all three films|
|The Trap (1959) Richard Widmark, Lee J. Cobb|
|TV on DVD/Blu-ray|
|Diff'rent Strokes Season 4|
|The Dust Bowl PBS miniseries|
|Game of Thrones Season 1 collector's edition|
|McMillan and Wife Complete series|
|Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Complete series|
|Transformers Prime Season 2|
A Prohibition-era drama based on the family memoir The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant, this second collaboration between director John Hillcoat and writer/musician Nick Cave (the first being The Proposition 73) looks at the bootlegging exploits of Virginia's Bondurant brothers, played by Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, and Jason Clarke. The brothers come up against a ruthless lawman played by Guy Pearce and a Thompson gun-wielding gangster played by Gary Oldman, while Jessica Chastain, as a dancer turned business partner, and Mia Wasikowska, as a sheltered preacher’s daughter, lend a female counterpoint to the testosterone-filled fist fights and shootouts. Given the talent involved, reviews for the late summer release were somewhat disappointing, with some critics finding it uneven and a bit lifeless.
Luck (Season 1) 75
Yes, it's hard to follow at times—especially if you have no prior knowledge of the racing industry. And no, the first season doesn't tie up all of its storylines, which, thanks to a much-publicized (and permanent) production shutdown after several horses died during the filming of season 2, means you'll never get answers to all your questions. But take a chance on the first and only season of HBO's Luck and you'll be rewarded with terrific performances, David Milch's (Deadwood) one-of-a-kind dialogue, and the most visually stunning horse-racing sequences ever put to film, courtesy of Michael Mann (Heat) and his fellow directors. Dustin Hoffman heads a cast that also includes Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, Jason Gedrick, Richard Kind, and Michael Gambon.
This stop-motion animated comedy from Laika, the studio behind the well-received Coraline 80, was another critical success, though its box office fortunes were a bit more modest. The story here follows Norman, voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee, whose ability to talk to all kinds of dead creatures comes in handy when he needs to save his town from a centuries-old witch’s curse. John Goodman, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Chris Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, and Jeff Garlin provide voice talent for Chris Butler’s original script, which he co-directs with Sam Fell (Flushed Away 74, The Tale of Despereaux 53).
|More movie releases on November 27, 2012|
|18||The Apparition Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton||Add to Queue|
|53||Burning Man Matthew Goode, Rachel Griffiths||Add to Queue|
|43||Step Up Revolution Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman||Add to Queue|
|TV on DVD/Blu-ray|
|Hot in Cleveland Season 3|
|In Search Of... Complete series|
|Stargate: Atlantis Seasons 1-5 (sold separately)|
November 30 (Friday)
It took eight years and way more than eight rewrites to get Men in Black 3 into theaters, with the result falling somewhere in between the first two films (Men in Black 71, Men in Black II 49), though it suffers from seeming a bit dated and unnecessary. This time around, Will Smith’s Agent J must time travel back to 1969 to prevent the assassination of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K, where Josh Brolin gets to do his best Tommy Lee Jones impression as the young Agent K. Also in the cast for director Barry Sonnenfeld (making his first trip behind the camera since 2006’s RV 33) are Emma Thompson and Alice Eve as old and young Agent O, plus Jemaine Clement, Rip Torn, Bill Hader, Nicole Scherzinger, Michael Stuhlbarg, and over a hundred aliens created by Rick Baker.
A remake of the 1976 film that itself was inspired by the story of The Supremes, this latest Sparkle stars American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and features the final on-screen performance by the late Whitney Houston. Some critics dismissed the remake as "schmaltzy" and soapy and call both this new film and the original one inferior to the similar Dreamgirls.