The Lost City of Z is the Pick of the Week

A very full week includes releases of a cool looking jungle movie, a Doctor Who spin-off, a Prime Suspect prequel, plus films from Arrow, Criterion and much more.
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I’ve always loved jungle-adventure movies.  There’s just something really exciting and mysterious about the jungle.  It's exotic and foreign, beautiful and terrifying.  It's teeming with life and can kill you in a heartbeat.  There remain to this day parts of jungles that have never been fully explored. Think about that - we've had people on the moon and sent ships to the outer edges of the solar system, but never documented parts of our own planet.  Setting a film inside that madness is thrilling.  The best part of Raiders of the Lost Ark takes place in a jungle.  King Kong loses something when they take him to the city.  Romancing the Stone, Tarzan (any of them), King Solomon’s Mines, Apocalypse Now, The freaking Jungle Book are all great movies set in the jungle.  Well, maybe not all of those are great, but I love them just the same.

The Lost City of Z was directed by James Gray and stars Charlie Humman, Tom Holland, Robert Pattison, and Sienna Miller.  Based on the best-selling book, Humman stars as the real-life Col. Percival Fawcett who searched the Amazon jungle in vain for a lost city that supposedly contained the ruins of a higly sophisticated ancient civilization.

The reviews have mostly been good and I love me a jungle adventure so The Lost City of Z is easily my pick of the week.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

L’Argent (Criterion Collection):  Robert Bresson directed this drama about a young man who innocently spends a 500-franc bill and is sent to prison for it.  Branded a criminal, he turns to a life of crime and destruction.

Smokey and the Bandit:  This classic road movie starring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field turns 40 this year.  To celebrate Wal-Mart has an exclusive anniversary release consisting of an old transfer but a new making-of documentary plus the original soundtrack in mono.  You can read my review of the film here.

Class:  A Doctor Who spin-off that takes place at Coal Hill Academy and finds a group of school kids tasked by The Doctor to protect the school from aliens.  It looks much more geared towards kids, but I’m on board with all things Who.

Prime Suspect: Tennison:  A prequel to the excellent Prime Suspect series from the '90s (you can read my review of the series here).  Stefanie Martini stars as a much younger Jane Tennison when she was a rookie cop trying to make her mark in the incredibly sexist English police force.

Species: Collector’s Edition:  A terrible sci-fi film gets a really nice set from Shout Factory (you can read my review here).

The Tunnel: The Complete Second Season:  British/French remake of a Danish/Swedish crime series (which was also remade into an American series) about a murder of a French politician whose corpse lies right on the border line causing detectives from both countries to work together.

Pulse:  Arrow Video release of a Japanese horror film about a group of students’ suicides that are linked to a web cam that promises visitors the chance to interact with the dead.

The Magicians: Season Two:  SyFy series about a group students who get recruited into a secret magical academy.  I caught the first half of the first episode of the first season and liked it, but it proved to be a little more adult than my daughter needs and I turned it off.  Keep forgetting to pick it back up.

A Quiet Passion:  Cynthia Nixon stars as Emily Dickinson in this biographical film.

Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy (Criterion Collection):  Rossellini made these three films (Rome, Open City; Paisan; and Germany Year Zero) during and just after World War II.  With its stripped-down aesthetic and unorthodox approaches to storytelling, they came to define the neorealist movement and paint a striking portrait of postwar Europe.

The Fate of the Furious:  More car chases.  More explosions.  I’ve yet to see any of these films, but Gordon S. Miller has.

Smurfs: The Lost Village:  I enjoyed the Smurfs when I was a kid but I just can’t quite convince myself that I (or my daughter for that matter) ought to watch these new films.

Terror in a Texas Town:  Arrow Academy presents this drama about a Swedish whaler out for revenge when he finds out that a greedy oil man murdered his father.  Stars Sterling Hayden and was co-written by Dalton Trumbo.

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