This week offers a weird collection of late fall titles that either could have been Oscar contenders or something more. But most died on the vine. There’s Taken 2, and that should be the big hit this week, while Fox has a ton of catalog titles, and there’s a couple of new and classic Woody Allen’s. Take a look…

New:

  • 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Yes they still make these sorts of films, and after this weekend when A Haunted House made piles of money, it’s a proven genre. Someone watches these films.
  • About Cherry: This film stars Ashley Hinshaw and is about the porn industry. Twenty years ago this would have been a way to launch a career, and the exact sort of film where a starlet would tasteful nudity. Now it’s the sort of thing that goes direct to video, and anyone interested in seeing the starlet naked will google her with safesearch off.
  • Allegiance: Made by Veterans, Allegiance is summed up thusly: “After being granted a questionable transfer that will keep him stateside as his National Guard unit deploys for Iraq, Lieutenant Danny Sefton (Seth Gabel) becomes embroiled in a last minute AWOL attempt by one of his soldiers (Bow Wow) — forcing him to choose between his loyalties to the fleeing soldier, his unit and his fiancé.” Sounds like a lot of films made by well meaning amateurs.  
  • Branded, The Paperboy: I have been told these are the best WTF films of 2012, films that are so entertainingly off their rocker that they deserve to be witnessed, even if they aren’t classically good.  
  • The Possession: This Jewish exorcism film showed that good direction can make a familiar story that much more entertaining. With a cast of TV actors (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick), it shows a family that’s fallen apart only to come together when their youngest is possessed by a dybbuk box. It works really well considering how familiar the material is, and was one of the better horror films of last year.
  • Taken 2: Liam Neeson(s) delivers more of the same, but how can you complain about that? The man with the particular set of skills has to go up against even more bad guys and kill them. I don’t know how you could be disappointed by this film.
  • To Rome with Love: Woody Allen’s latest wasn’t greeted with the rapturous glow of Midnight in Paris, but that’s often the case with the writer/director. He hits one out of the park, and then makes something impossibly minor. Or that gets more respect years later.
  • Wake in Fright: Saved by the Alamo Drafthouse, Wake in Fright is the 1971 film by Ted Kotcheff that was resurrected last year as a possible cult classic, alongside Drafthouse’s other big find: Miami Connection. This is more of a “real” movie, so there’s that, and it definintely should be seen.
  • Won’t Back Down: If it weren’t for the Oogielove’s completely abysmal release, Won’t Back Down might have been considered the biggest bomb of the year as it has the lowest total and average for a film that went out on over 2,500 screens. The film stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis and will prompty be forgotten by history.

Classics:

  • Experiment in Terror, Our Man Flint: Twilight Time does it again with two classics. The former is one of Blake Edwards’ experimental movies where he told a thriller with Glenn Ford and Lee Remick. The latter is one of the best James Bond parodies ever made, and stars James Coburn as the unflappable Derek Flint. The Flint movies aren’t as good as the idea of them, but Coburn is definitely killing it in these films.
  • Gentleman’s Agreement, Hannah and Her Sisters, How Green Was My Valley, Sleeper, Titanic, Wild River: Fox Catalog titles for the week offer two great Woody Allen films, two great Elia Kazan films, a John Ford best picture winner, and one of the films that covered the sinking of the Titanic. That is to say, a great collection of films.
  • Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector: With these two coming from Shout! Factory, expect good presentations for these Chan classics.
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Tin Drum: The latest from Criterion offers one of the best British Hitchcock films and a controversial classic.

What are you picking up this week?