On DVD & Blu-Ray: December 3, 2013

In the four years it's been since Wolverine last graced the screen much has changed. While the conflicted mutant is still as relevant as he always was the attempt to capitalize on his popularity with the "X-Men Origins" series that tripped out of the gate and followed up the underwhelming X3: The Last Stand in the live action series of films gave everyone a strong sense of caution when it came to future X-Men projects. Granted, 2011's First Class was a well-received hit, but was in somewhat of a different vein though clearly still taking place in the universe set up by Bryan Singer in 2000. There has always been an attraction to Wolverine that clearly stood above the rest of his mutant team and it is understandable that Fox and Marvel would want to give the adamantium-clawed anti-hero another chance, so it was nice to see they at least seemed to be giving the film some actual thought this time around at first hiring director Darren Aronofsky, a pure critical darling, and even when that fell through bringing in someone like James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) to take over and flush out the film that would adapt one of the more popular comic book storylines in the Wolverine canon. The studio knew how the last solo Wolverine effort went over and they were intent on doing serious fan service this time around while at the same time attempting something different with the super hero genre. It is easy to forget that the original X-Men started this new wave of comic book movies that is still going strong today and whether you feel that is a good or bad thing it doesn't really matter because it is clear they are here to stay. That Hugh Jackman has now incarnated the character six times on screen (more than any other person has played any other superhero on screen) and completely owns the role says a lot about how much that first movie went in the right direction. I, personally, am a fan of comic book films. They are intriguing, most straddling the line between a real world setting with other-worldly elements while the current trend is to keep things as grounded as possible. The Wolverine does this with expert precision while not lettings its roots get away from it. This is at once a thrilling character study while also delivering an interesting new story that truly stands on its own. Full review hereB+

I have yet to catch this free-wheeling comedy from director Joe Swanberg that sports an incredibly appealing cast and apparently features a career-turning performance from Olivia Wilde. Director Swanberg is famous for making his projects with extreme improvisational techniques and a shortage of any kind of script so I am anxious to check this one out soon. I will have a short review of the film up in this very spot once I do. For now, you can buy or rent a copy of Drinking Buddies here.

Another I have yet to see, but plan on getting around to sometime this week is the franchise non-starter that apparently is now a starter. It was reported that before Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was even released production would begin on its sequel. The films based on the book series by Cassandra Clare were just another in a line of young adult literary adaptations this year that hoped to capitalize on the end of the Twilight films, but have failed to do so (I would rather see a sequel to Beautiful Creatures as of right now, but that will never happen). When this film opened to only $14 million over its Wednesday-Sunday period in late August it was assumed by most it would suffer the same fate as the aforementioned series starter that never quite took off, but despite all of this a Part 2 we will get. I may or may not write up a full review for this one once I see the film, but for now I'm just curious to see why the studio might push forward with a sequel when this received neither positive reviews nor a large box office. Again, you can check it out for yourself by renting or buying it here.

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