And now is the time when everything gets awesome on your Blu-ray player with Lego featurettes, a cast and crew commentary that points out the many tiny details you might have missed the first few times around, and if you buy the “Everything Is Awesome” edition, an exclusive Prologue Vitruvius minifig, before he becomes blinded.
The timing is perfect. With Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s latest being an overload of accidental-gayness jokes – albeit one that seems to be catching on – it’s nice to be promptly reminded why we love them the rest of the time.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – I wasn’t sure when it came out, but Wes Anderson’s latest ultimately qualifies as fantasy, an extremely mannered artificial remembrance of “good old days” that were anything but, and an amplification of how memories within memories within stories change the details from how things must have been to how we want to remember them. In a bizarrely false recollection of World War II, master concierge Ralph Fiennes ensures customer satisfaction by sexing up senior citizens, and training a young prot?g?e in the ways of hotel service – what we are viewing is said protegee’s memory as recounted to a writer as remembered by a tourist to said writer’s grave. Best to just go with it – the movie works as a strange romp with deadpan humor regardless of whatever else you may notice beneath its surface details.
The Machine – A scientist wants to map his dying daughter’s brain into a fully functioning artificial intelligence, but to get those kinds of resources he has to work for the British government, who want robots to infiltrate their new global arch-enemy, China. When a prototype AI is created, the suits try to teach her to kill rather than preserving her innocence. Shit goes down. There’s a nice Blade Runner vibe to this take on androids developing mortal souls, and it’s definitely worth your while to check out even if the only familiar face in it is Denis “Wedge” Lawson as the baddie.
Ernest and Celestine – Charming, not overly sentimental cartoon about a bear and a mouse who become unlikely friends in a world with a surface dominated by the ursine species, and a subterranea filled with rodents. The Blu-ray features both the original French audio and the star-studded U.S. dub.
Joy Ride 3: Roadkill – This is a franchise now? Apparently we get to see the psychotic trucker’s face in this one, and it’s Ken Kirzinger, a.k.a. the Jason who fought Freddy, looking relatively normal as a killer redneck. Okay then. Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski elevated the first film slightly above its trashy roots, but when Kirzinger’s your biggest name, I’m guessing things change.
The Monkey’s Paw – Umpteenth retelling of the classic “be careful what you wish for” short story, this time with Avatar villain Stephen Lang as the guy brought back from the dead when a wish goes bad. The way I hear it, that’s about what happens in Avatar 2 as well.
Those are my picks for this week – what are yours?