Literally something for all tastes on DVD this week as we’re getting a new thriller (The Next Three Days), rom-com (Morning Glory), indie comedy (Four Lions) and this year’s Best Documentary Feature winner (Inside Job). Hard to argue with that selection it fits all moods. And if you’re a horror fan, you even have this year’s buzziest TV series, The Walking Dead, unleashing its zombie-filled first season on DVD.

Oh. Yeah. There’s also this little movie called Jackass 3 coming to DVD today as well. I’m not sure what exactly to call that fanbase, but I imagine they’ll be enjoying the film at home with about a crate of Mountain Dew.

Check it out below…

Feature Films

The Next Three Days

Picture this moving coming out in 2006:

Paul Haggis, fresh off winning (roughly) 457,000 Oscars for traffic. Russell Crowe, still hot off residual love for his three-straight nominations to start the decade and the (weirdly) rave reviews for Cinderella Man and Master and Commander.

They probably grab somebody like Charlize Theron (another Oscar winner) to fill the Elizabeth Banks role since they have a lot more clout. The rest remains the exact same. The exact same movie, just at a different time for buzz and the corresponding clout to get a more award-worthy actress.

With that movie and that team at that time – this is an Oscar contender. With 10 nominees, it probably gets Best Picture – because critics would instantly have Haggis and Crowe penciled into the “good” category and grade them on enough of a curve that a pretty flat thriller instantly moves into “Oscar-worthy” status on their reviews simply because they’ve been told they must think that anything Crowe and/or Haggis does is exceptional.

Don’t believe me? A Good Year nearly got Crowe a nomination in 2006 for a movie that absolutely nobody remembers. Paul Haggis’ In The Valley of Elah (which co-starred Theron) earned its lead, Tommy Lee Jones, an Oscar nomination and almost got Paul Haggis another triple crown of Picture, Director and Screenplay for a very run-of-the-mill murder mystery that came out in 2007. If there were ten nominees that year, it definitely would have been nominated for Best Picture.

Now, Crowe and Haggis make a film together that gets completely ignored because their stars have tarnished a bit and critics are now able to think about them rationally again.

The point? Know-nothing critics who write their reviews based on conventional wisdom rather than any sort of insight have an alarming amount of power with regards to the Oscars. No, they don’t vote, but their reviews, opinions and the buzz they create often dictate which movies the voters see and fuel campaigns.

And if those critics had gotten a hold of this film in 2006, it likely would have ridden their wave of cloyingness all the way to the Kodak.

But, hey, you might’ve liked it. In that case, you can buy The Next Three Days on DVD.



“The Walking Dead”: Season 1

Can you name Frank Darabont’s last film?

That would be The Mist, the unevenly received Steven King adaptation that smacked of studio interference and last minute changes. It came out 4 years ago.

Before that, there was a six-year gap between his films as his very personal The Majestic bombed and undoubtedly erased the goodwill he’d built up with The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption before that.

We’ve only gotten four films from Darabont, and now he’s relegated himself to working for television. And y’know what? That’s an upgrade.

For creative forces behind-the-scenes such as Darabont, there isn’t a better playground for their minds to frolic than on the small screen. Budgetary pressure is normally gone, turnaround time is so fast that the studio doesn’t have time to meddle, and networks have now begun encouraging show-runners and creators take the auteur path of creative control that defined film’s renaissance in the 70s.

After all, AMC is the network that reportedly told Vince Gilligan that Breaking Bad was the worst idea they’d ever heard and then immediately told him to go make it.

This is why television has surpassed film in terms of quality in recent years. Advances in filming technology has allowed it to achieve the quality of the big screen, allowing creative visionaries to head to television and tell their stories without anyone hanging over their shoulders. This gives us shows like Lost, The Wire, The Sopranos and Arrested Development – all better than any movie I can remember coming out in a long while.

Now we have The Walking Dead maybe the best example of a cinematic superstar moving to television and jumping in full-stop. Not as an executive producer or simply lending his name, but running the whole show.

If this continues, studios may lose all their best minds to television in short order.

And if you prefer Darabont’s work on the small screen, you can buy Season One of The Walking Dead on DVD.

And Just So You Know, This DVD Exists…