On DVD & Blu-Ray: August 1, 2017

There is something to be said for movies that have no particular ambition due to a level of self-awareness. There is something to be said for swallowing your pride, accepting the reality of the situation, and doing what you can with the given factors. It's admirable and with such unabashed pride in the face of acceptance there is charm to be found. A different, slightly quirky, break from the norm type charm and this is what Going in Style relies on to let its audience know it is well aware of what it is and that it has no qualms about it. If you don't have any qualms with the type of entertainment a movie like Going in Style promises to deliver then you likely won't have any issue with the movie either. Going in Style is exactly what one would expect it to be given it comes from screenwriter Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent, Hidden Figures) and by his pen is an updated version of the 1979 film of the same name that starred George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg. That film, which I admittedly haven't seen, came from director Martin Brest who may or may not have the strangest filmography in the history of directors. The man, who made his big studio feature debut with the original Going in Style at the age of twenty-eight, would go on to direct the likes of such films as Beverly Hills Cop, Midnight Run, and Meet Joe Black among others until he debuted Gigli in 2003 and hasn't worked since. If you're old enough you may recognize the guy as Dr. Miller from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but all of this is neither here nor there (though someone should really look into how one film was so detrimental to an otherwise prosperous career). The point is, what made Going in Style a movie worth re-making seems to have been absent from the consideration of the studio and filmmakers and more was simply an excuse to round up some of our best aging actors, throw them in a film together, and let the chemistry and credibility do the rest of the work. If one has seen the like-minded Last Vegas then you know this actually turns out fairly well and to no surprise Going in Style yields much the same results. A superfluous and completely unnecessary re-make, no doubt, but a frothy enough excursion you don't take seriously enough to be upset about. Video review here. Full review here. C

Not everyone is going to like you. That is a lesson today's society could stand to appreciate a little more if not learn, but that doesn't mean that's going to stop people from trying. Wanting to be liked isn't inherently a bad thing, but when we depend on "Likes" to sustain our own sense of self-worth, when we're living off "Likes" there could certainly be one or two issues pop up. When we live through the persona we've created online and reach a point we can't identify our true selves then what people like isn't actually the individual anymore anyway, so where do we draw the line? How can this age of transparency be utilized in positive ways rather than resorting to fake or devious methods to again try and prove that some lives are more valuable or more special than others? In The Circle Emma Watson plays a young, presumably middle glass girl in her early twenties who goes to work for a tech company a la Google called The Circle and essentially becomes their poster child for transparency. Submitting herself to the line of thinking that she can only be her best self when she knows people are watching her; that to leave her to her own devices would mean that she would develop and keep secrets and to harbor secrets is to have something to lie about to the world. Sound slightly cult-ish? It's supposed to, but while the tech company that is The Circle clearly has ulterior motives for their extreme invasions of privacy that they so lovingly convey as being concerns for the greater good of mankind The Circle the movie doesn't seem as clear on what its motives or meanings are supposed to be. On one hand there is certainly an analogy at play for the world as presented in the film when compared to that of the social media-driven culture we're all currently a part of, but while Facebook can still plead connection and bringing people together as their main objective it is so blatantly obvious that The Circle seeks world domination that it's past the point of believable someone hasn't called them on their bluff already. Furthermore, the film builds in a fashion where the audience is led to believe there is going to be a major twist, a serious maneuver of innovation over intelligence, a battle of wits for the ages, but when such metaphoric beans come to be spilled there is hardly any cohesion to the point our protagonist makes. Watson's Mae Holland uses The Circle's tools against its nefarious leaders, but she has no point, no position, and all we're left with is a clouded message of a movie that goes nowhere. Video review here. Full review here. D

Having premiered at TIFF last fall there was an immediate intrigue around this latest project starring Anne Hathaway about an out-of-work girl who, after getting kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to leave her life in New York and move back to her hometown. That may sound like typical TIFF fodder when it comes to analyzing the issues of white people, but Colossal turns such expectations on their head when it introduces news reports that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea to which Gloria gradually comes to realize she is somehow connected to. As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a "colossal" effect on the fate of the world. I've already picked up a copy of Colossal this morning at Redbox and will watch it tonight no matter how long it takes my two year-old to fall asleep-that's how much I've been wanting to check this movie out. I would have caught it on the big screen had it played at more than a single theater for a single week, but that's just the way things go sometimes.

Another one of those movies that got away earlier in the year that I more than planned on seeing in theaters, but by the time I'd caught up to a point I was content with I couldn't work out a time to see the film at one of the few places still playing it. Produced by Blumhouse Sleight tells the story of a young street magician (Jacob Latimore) who is left to care for his little sister after their parents passing, and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets in too deep, his sister is kidnapped, and he is forced to use his magic and brilliant mind to save her. The trailers for the film looked as if they might be trying to hide something, but I largely chalked this up to a cheap special effects budget. The reviews that I did notice for the film post-release were generally positive and while I don't know if Redbox is currently carrying the movie I'd definitely exchange it for Colossal upon returning the latter if so. If not, it will be an on demand rental very soon.

And here we are yet again, another April theatrical release that I didn't make it around to seeing, but this time it wasn't due to any extraneous factors such a time or location, but rather it largely had to do with the fact I just don't care that much. In the ever-declining trend of found footage movies Phoenix Forgotten follows three teens who went into the desert shortly after the incident, hoping to document the strange events occurring in their town. They disappeared that night, and were never seen again. Now, on the twentieth anniversary of their disappearance, unseen footage has finally been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition. For the first time ever, the truth will be revealed. It comes from producer Ridley Scott and looks fine enough, I guess, but I doubt I'll ever be able to conjure enough interest to actually take the time out and watch the thing.

I almost made it around to seeing The Lovers as I was surprised to see it open in my neck of the woods, but again...time and location. I know that probably sounds like a tired excuse already given this is the third time I've relied on it in this article alone, but things get tough when you have a full time job, are a husband and father, and try to keep up with your love of movies and website as much as one possibly can. That said, I'd like to reserve a cozy Sunday night after the child is asleep to watch The Lovers, but there is a long list of movies ahead of it that also have that reservation. As always, we'll see. Enough about me though, in this movie Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play a long-married, dispassionate couple who are both in the midst of serious affairs. But on the brink of calling it quits, a spark between them suddenly reignites, leading them into an impulsive romance.

I have a legit excuse with Wakefield as it never opened in Arkansas despite the fact I was quite eager to see how this strange experiment of movie turned out. It seemed as if the premise was too thin to actually sustain a feature (a cool short story, sure), but the nearly two hour runtime said differently. And while the reviews generally weren't glowing for the film I can't help but want to find out how this movie might satisfy my curiosity. In the film Bryan Cranston plays Howard, a man who has a loving wife (Jennifer Garner), two daughters, a prestigious job as a Manhattan lawyer, and a comfortable home in the suburbs. Inwardly though, he's suffocating and eventually snaps and goes into hiding in his garage attic leaving his family to wonder what happened to him. He observes them from his window - an outsider spying in on his own life - as the days of exile stretch into months. Is it possible to go back to the way things were?

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