This week brings one of the year’s little arthouse successes, a comedy from this summer that didn’t connect with audiences, one of 2011’s best films, and a number of “classic” Disney animated films. Not a bad week all told, so check out the best and brightest of this week’s releases.


Bernie: Richard Linklater reunited with his School of Rock star Jack Black for this little slice of Texas true crime, in which a nice assistant funeral home director (Black) is charged with murdering an old woman (Shirley MacClaine) who had him as a kept man. Also notable for Matthew McConaughey’s performance, the first in a string of great work this year.

Chimpanzee: This Disney nature documentary came out earlier this year and should look gorgeous on home video.

The Dictator: I never bothered with the Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle, which had its fans, but mostly detractors, because it felt like warmed over schtick. Perhaps home video will make it seem a bit fresher than that. I’ll probably be watching Tony Scott movies this week, anyway.

A Separation: 2011 turned out to be a pretty great year for cinema, and it’s possible that Asghar Farhadi’s film A Separation was the best of the bunch. The story of an Iranian couple who want a divorce, and the assistant the husband hires to take care of his sick father, this was a great film that rightfully won the best foreign film Oscar.


The Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure, Pocahontas / Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World, The Rescuers / The Rescuers Down Under, The Tigger Movie: Disney has been great this year at releasing a number of films to Blu-ray, and this week we’re seeing a number of their minor animated titles. But when it comes to Disney, and people’s childhoods, it’s hard to call any of their films lesser when young kids have had lyrics and moments engrained in their DNA through repeated viewings.

Good Will Hunting: 15th Anniversary Edition: I’ve always liked this film, though I often refer to it as “agreeable bullsh*t.” At the time, people were amazed how screenwriters and stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were able to craft such a film, now so many big moments feel like auditions scenes and Oscar clips. That sounds negative, but this is a very entertaining and emotionally manipulative movie.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers: These aren’t the best of Michael Myers, but they also aren’t the worst of Michael Myers, and so these later Halloween sequels (which tried to return to the roots of the character and/or rip off the still popular Friday the 13th films), and these films have their fans. Eh.

WarGames: This is one of the great geek films of the 1980’s, as it has Matthew Broderick hacking into the government to play video games, and ultimately nearly unleashes global thermal nuclear war. As an accident. Charming and smart, it was a cable perennial, and a minor classic of its kind. And it should be fun to watch now as a period piece.

What are you buying this week?