This week we’ve got a best picture winner, one of the year’s best comedies, a foreign film Oscar nominee, a near-Bollywood musical, a forgettable horror movie, one of this year’s bigger noisy would-be blockbusters. On the classic front, there’s Hitchcock, samurai adventure, and the movie that made dueling banjos something to be slightly scared of. Check it out…


21 Jump Street:  One of the best mainstream films of the year (so far), 21 Jump Street delivers laughs and strong character work. And though it’s a Jonah Hill comedy, if anyone walks away with the film it’s Channing Tatum, who does a great job of playing a likeable lunkhead. The film is massively entertaining, and it will be fun to see the deleted footage on this one.

The Artist: Last year’s best picture (according to Oscar) is going to find more of an audience on home video that it did in theaters, where it was one of the lowest grossings big winners in Academy history. It’s a slight film, and doesn’t way well under the academy’s gravitas, but it’s a mostly charming film that plays well to those who don’t know much about silent films.

Bullhead: Drafthouse Film’s foreign film academy award nominee has been described as The Wire of cattle movies. As with Four Lions, it’s likely this will be on Netflix Instant shortly. I can’t wait to play catch-up.

Mirror Mirror: The year’s first Show White picture didn’t do the business of the one in theaters now, but word is that it wasn’t that terrible. Julia Roberts plays the wicked witch, and it’s been described as Bollywood-esque. I have no interest.

Silent House: This horror movie came out earlier this year, and disappeared without a trace. Elizabeth Olsen toplined it, but she doesn’t have the same heat as Jennifer Lawrence (though she deserved an Oscar nomination for Martha Marcy May Marlene). Likely this film will be quickly forgotten by everyone involved.

Wrath of the Titans: Wow, this is a dull terrible movie, and a sequel to a film that wasn’t very good in the first place. Sam Worthington and Liam Neeson return in this continuing adventure that only gets exciting in the last twenty minutes, when it most closely resembles the video game God of War.


The 39 Steps / The Samurai Trilogy: These come from Criterion and the former is the Alfred Hitchcock film that really broke him. Pauline Kael talked about how this movie used to one of the great repertory classics, always a success when it played, and it’s easy to understand why. At around 90 minutes, it’s Hitchcock at his light and frothy best, with a plot that will be familiar to anyone who knows his work. The Samurai Trilogy has Toshiro Mifune slicing through people. Enough said?

Deliverance: 40th Anniversary Edition: If Deliverance didn’t come out the same year as The Godfather, it might have been the picture of that year. It’s a solid story about a bunch of city folk who end up on the wrong side of some hicks. The film may be more famous for its banjos and its sodomy than the rest of the film, but it’s a great cast, and a perfectly delivered narrative by director John Boorman. The day for night photography is probably the only thing to hold against the film.

What are you picking up this week?