This is the time of year when everything starts to get overwhelming. There are too many movies on DVD and Blu-Ray to catch up and each weekend offers more than one film in theatres that is worth a look. Basically it’s the time of year to hunker down and binge watch all of the films I missed earlier in the year in order to form a proper top ten list at 2013’s conclusion. This week gives me a few more titles to add to the list.
Top 5 New Releases This Week
5) The Conjuring (2013)
Duncan was a bigger fan of this throwback horror film than I was, but it’s definitely worth a rental or a stream during Halloween when there are far worse horror films from which to get cheap thrills. The acting is pretty good and the first half features some brilliantly subtle suspense building that will have you leaving the lights on at night.
4) Only God Forgives (2013)
Ryan Gosling and Nicholas Winding Refn’s follow-up to their acclaimed film Drive received just about the complete opposite critical reception. With only 40% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was widely dismissed for its apparent lack of structure or thematic cohesion. I’m still interested to catch up with it, however, and hope that the critics were wrong.
3) The Uninvited (1944)
What a perfect month for Criterion to release Lewis Allen’s haunted house classic The Uninvited. The film reformed the haunted house genre by taking it seriously and spawned dozens of imitators that are still cropping up today.
2) The Way, Way Back (2013)
Yet another independent movie from earlier in 2013 that I missed. This comedy about a shy teen trying to find his place amid a tense family situation looked a bit saccharine at first, but some reliable sources have told me there is a lot more going on. I’ll check it out with reservations and hope it’s as good as its cast.
1) Before Midnight (2013)
Luckily, this is one of the movies I did not miss when it was in theatres (I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I did). It was an absolute treasure to catch-up with this evolving relationship between two of the most well-developed and interesting characters ever put on screen. This may be the most bitter installment of the series, but it was nonetheless rewarding with a magnificent script and brilliant performances.
Other New Releases
Horror fans will take delight in The Vincent Price Collection, which features six creepy Price classics and a myriad of special features. Speaking of collections, the Criterion Collection box set John Cassavetes: 5 Films has been out on DVD for a while, but it comes to Blu-Ray this week. That set includes Cassavetes essentials Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night.
New television releases include the BBC/PBS drama Call the Midwife: Season 2. Also, the little seen British independent comedy I Give it a Year and the terrible-looking box office blunder The Internship both come out this week.
Streaming Pick of the Week
The House of the Devil (2009)
I recently caught up with Ti West’s horror throwback and was pleased to see that not only is it a masterclass in suspense building, but it also nails the look, feel, and pacing of a 1980s horror film. It was so convincing that I actually paused the movie to check IMDb to see when the movie actually was released. It’s one of the best modern horror films I have seen and my new go-to film when people ask for horror movie recommendations.
What new movies will you be renting or streaming this week?