You might have noticed the absence of The Pick of the Week here at Cinema Sentries last week. The reason for this was quite simple: there weren't any DVDs or Blu-rays released last week. Christmas falling on a Tuesday this year I guess they figured no stores would be open or nobody would be interested in purchasing new videos on Christmas so they sat last week out. To make up for it they are doing new releases twice this week with some things coming out on Monday and other on Tuesday. Not that it will make much of a difference anyways as both days are giving us a bunch of "not much" to choose from. I'm afraid it will be like this for a few more weeks as the several weeks post Christmas are traditionally total duds in the new-release department. I guess they figure everybody's wallets are drained from all the holiday shopping. Never fear, though, we shall continue to pick through the relases looking for a shining gem or two.
My wife and I are both thrifty book nerds. We love books in every way. We love to read them of course, but we also love to put them on shelves and to hold them. We love feel them in our hands and (on occassion) even smell them. We love to buy them most of all and do so regularly. Never at full price though. We hit up used stores, and Amazon deals; we grab the discards at libraries and scour the shelves at Goodwill. We have bookshelf after bookshelf full of them and continually have to buy more only to fill them as quickly as they are put up. Admittedly, we have not read a great many of them. Though the intentions are there, we just don't have the time (because we have to go shopping for more.)
I mostly buy fiction, though certainly we have more than a couple of bookcases full of non-fiction. I buy novels that I've read and enjoyed, and others by authors I like, and others that were the basis for movies I dig, and others still that I've heard were good or sound interesting or are by authors I hear excellent things about. I do that a lot actually, I have entire oeuvres by authors of which I've never read a single word.
Ah, and here we get to the point of talking about books on a movie site. I've heard a great many good things about Don DeLillo and own several of his works but I've never gotten around to actually reading him. I have a copy of Cosmopolis and have on numerous occasions gotten it out to stare at the interesting cover of a man riding in a limo. I might have even read the back cover or the first page or two, but never any farther. Someday, for sure I will read it, but not today. Director David Cronenberg has made a movie based upon the book.
Cronenberg is a bit like DeLillo to me in that he's received heaps of praise and has a nice cult following but I'm not all that familiar with him. Unlike reading DeLillo, I have actually seen a few Cronenberg films but not enough to really consider myself either a fan or expert. But I have enough interest in both of them to make Cosmopolis my Pick of the Week.
Truth be told the film received mostly unfavorable ratings from the critics, incxluding our own Leo Sopicki, and seems to have been mostly ignored by audiences even with the teeming millions of Twilight fans devoted to Robert Pattison. Truth be told again, the plot of the movie doesn't exactly move me to excitement. The synopsis runs something like this: a financial genius takes his limo through Manhattan to get a haircut at his father's barber. Along the way he is tied up in multiple strange traffic issues while simultaneoously being glued to his multiple electronic devices which slowly indicate that he's losing his fortune and will possibly be murdered. As far as I can tell, most of the film takes place in his car which seems both odd and boring.
So why if the film neither garnered much praise nor has a very interesting sounding plot have I made it my pick of the week? It is kind of the same reason while walking into a book store I wind up taking home a copy of book I've never heard of by an author I've never read, but I've heard good things about. I'm simply compelled to. It might not be any good, but surely it will at least be interesting.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Looper: The last time Joseph Gordon-Levitt and director Rian Johnson got together they brought us Brick, a really inventive take on the noir genre set in a modern-day high school. This time the story centers around time travel and a man sent back in time to kill himself. That sounds brilliant to my ears, and I've also heard good things about it so I'm totally in.
Justified: The Complete Third Season: This is not great television by any means but it is a very enjoyable watch backed by some very fine performances by Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins. The third season gets a little over the top but its still got some great moments.
The Room: A modern-day Plan 9 From Outer Space. A film so utterly terrible its absolutely brilliant. I've not seen the whole thing through from start to finish but I've watched enough ridiculous clips on YouTube to know this is the sort of film to invite a few friends over, drink a few beers and laugh at just how awful a movie can really be.