With tax season upon us, it appears that studios are taking a break on collectors by not offering too much this week. That said, there’s a good Steven Spielberg film, and Roman Polanski‘s Chinatown – which is in the running for the best film of the 1970′s. There’s also Cameron Crowe‘s latest, and a Madonna concert film are among the notables, check it out…

New:

  • War Horse: Though a little hampered by the bio-pic structure of the film, Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is his homage to John Ford, David Lean, and the old school masters who’ve long informed his work. Jeremy Irvine  stars as the boy who owns the horse, which he raises it until it’s drafted for World War I, and then the film follows the  horse on its journey. It’s schmaltzy – like much of Spielberg’s filmography – but it’s very entertaining and has a great cast.
  • We Bought a Zoo: Cameron Crowe‘s return to cinema after the botched Elizabethtown is both a step forward and back.  Matt Damon plays a widow with some kids who becomes the zoo-buyer, and there he meets Scarlet Johansson‘s zoo worker. As a widow, that means he doesn’t just jump her right away when she gives him signals. As to be expected, the  soundtrack is great.

Classics:

  • Chinatown: Roman Polanski’s masterpiece, this 1974 film features career-best work from its director, its writer Robert Towne, and stars Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunnaway. A P.I. (Nicholson) is set to investigate if a man is cheating on his wife, but uncovers a murder and a conspiracy that effects all of Los Angeles. Simple, elegant, but very much a 1970′s picture, this is the definition of a classic.
  • Madonna: Truth or Dare: A big deal at the time of release, I’d bet the film feels quaint now. Madonna went on tour and was followed by a documentary crew. There’s a game of truth or dare at the end, brief appearances by other famous people, and a lot of masturbation – both literal (Madonna’s then rendition of ‘Like a Virgin’ involved simulating the act during the show) and figurative (the whole film).
  • The Poseidon Adventure: This 1970′s disaster movie is probably the best of that trend of movies, so if you’ve ever wanted to see one of the big disaster films, this is way more entertaining than The Towering Inferno or The Swarm. Gene Hackman leads an all-star cast as an ocean liner goes upside down and the survivors try to get out before they die. Well paced and well directed by Ronald Neame, it’s nonsense – but entertaining nonsense.
  • Titanic (1953): Ah, with the theatrical reissue of James Cameron‘s film, I guess we’re getting all the Titanic-centric films on Blu-ray. This is the least of them, but it does star Barbara Stanwyck, so it’s better than Titanic 2.

What are you picking up this week?