Ride AlongThe biggest releases this week is one of this winter’s biggest Oscar also-rans and one of January’s biggest hits. On top of which, Universal is releasing some great catalog titles.

New:

  • Black Nativity: Fox Searchlight’s holiday ensemble got lost in the shuffle and didn’t do as well as Best Man Holiday, but perhaps it will find new life on home video.
  • Great Expectations, The Invisible Woman: This Ralph Fiennes double feature offers Fiennes’ second directorial effort, and one of a handful of adaptations of the Charles Dickens story. Both seemed to get lost at the end of year as neither seemed to gain any awards attention.
  • The Nut Job: This animated feature came out at the beginning of the year, and did just okay, though it supposedly has an interesting subtext, and is the sort of thing it’s hard to care about as an adult.
  • Philomena: The best picture nominee is better than it’s gentle older woman/Miramax packaging might suggest, though the script from Steve Coogan may underline that. He’s great as is Judi Dench.
  • Ride Along: Though the film ostensibly stars Ice Cube, it was Kevin Hart who became a movie star with this film, which is already working on a sequel.
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Ben Stiller stars in this adaptation of the short story (which already spawned one film adaptation), and it was meant to be his life affirming take on embracing life, though it got hamstringed by criticisms of its intense product-placement. It looks slight.

Classics:

  • Alice: Jan Svankmajer’s take on the Lewis Carroll classic is renowned for its weirdness, and it’s great to have the film on Blu-ray.
  • Breaking the Waves: This was the first gear shift for Lars Von Trier, which took him from the artier aspirations of his earlier films like Zentropa into a more Carl Theodor Dreyer-esque view of the world. It was an art house phenomenon, though I’ve always had problems with it.
  • Double Indemnity, Mallrats, Reality Bites, Touch of Evil: Though some will leap at the more recent releases, Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity is one of cinema’s greatest femme fatales, while Touch of Evil is one of Orson Welles’ greatest films.
  • Men in War, Sleep, My Love: Some good catalog titles from Olive Films.
  • Rock Star: I have no idea why Warner Brothers is reissuing this.

 What are you picking up this week?