Hello, Stonehenge! Joseph here with what’s new in Blu for August 21, 2012. This is going to be a shorter one than the previous two, but that’s only because there weren’t a whole lot of movies that caught my attention. But, we will certainly talk about those that did. So, let the games begin!
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 17%
Released to theaters on October 25, 1996, this movie – based on a Stephen King novel of the same name – is a horror movie set in Maine…much like all of Stephen King’s properties, because there is no more frightening place on earth than Maine. Trust me; I’ve been there. The basic premise of the story is about an overweight, hotshot lawyer (is there any other kind?) who accidentally runs over a gypsy while receiving some – ahem – services. In a fit of rage, the gypsy’s father puts a curse on the lawyer, telling him he’ll continue to rapidly lose weight, regardless of how much he eats. The lawyer then spends the rest of the movie trying to find a cure for the malady. The movie got completely negative reviews, and it did a quick three week nosedive from the box office. It debuted at #3, and disappeared two weeks later. It barely went over $15 million, which means it squeaked past its estimated $14 million dollar budget. If horror movies are your bag, and the name Stephen King doesn’t make you want to run out and beat up a van in his honor, this is for you.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%
This was an exciting movie when it came out on June 3, 1983. The thriller stars Matthew Broderick as a hacker who inadvertently hacks a computer known as the War Operation Plan Response (WOPR). The danger of this – outside of the obvious – was that this was taking place during the Cold War, and tensions were incredibly high. Costarring Ally Sheedy and Dabney Coleman, the movie was very successful upon its release, spending 17 weeks in the theaters. It topped out at #3 in the Top 5, but the interesting thing is how it dropped out of the Top 5 for two weeks only to come right back for two more. It ended its theatrical run pulling in almost $80 million, which is a considerable increase to its $12 million budget. The movie also brought the phrase “firewall” to our lexicon, which is nice. The movie is a certified classic, and it deserves a place in your Bluray collection.
The Dictator wants to inspire outrage and hilarity in equal measures. Sacha Baron Cohen rose to fame through Borat, a sort of Candid Camera movie that let real people reveal their prejudices in response to an outrageously conceived character. Here, Cohen acts in a scripted story about an equally outrageous character, a brutal dictator named Aladeen, ruler of the fictional North African country of Wadiya. While in New York to protest United Nations sanctions against him, Aladeen is kidnapped by a scheming underling (Ben Kingsley) and stripped of his beard, rendering him unrecognizable. A vegan co-op manager (Anna Faris, pretty unrecognizable herself in a black wig) takes him under her wing, leading to a change of heart… sort of. Cohen’s lowbrow humor is oddly intellectual. He’s a student of comedy, analyzing the current boundaries so he can push at them, seeking something that will still shock. The result? Jokes about rape–lots and lots of jokes about rape–along with an anthology of gags about body functions and racism. The effect is more calculated than comical. Cohen’s deeply cynical perspective suggests that, in a world where everyone has a price (one of the movie’s running themes), the audience will cheer on a murdering megalomaniac because at least his narcissism is pure. But The Dictator seems like a movie only a murdering megalomaniac could really love. —Bret Fetzer
Well, that’s all she wrote for this week’s edition! As always, if you have any questions or recommendations please, feel free to enter them in the comments below.
Until next time…