Hello, readers! We’ve made it to November and for the first time in this column’s history we have a true battle between two gigantic films going down at the box office this weekend. In one corner we have a space epic from one of the most renowned directors working today. In the other corner we have a Disney animated feature based on a Marvel Comics property. This is a true battle of the titans if there ever was one.
Actually, strike that. I don’t actually want to pit these two films against each other.
Let’s instead look at it as being given the gift of two films worth being excited about and not care which one ends up making more money. But here are the details if you only have time this weekend to see one of them:
I was able to see Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s wildly ambitious sci-fi adventure, earlier this week on an immense IMAX screen in 70mm and if you’re at all interested in science fiction that is the way to see this movie. My full review of the film can be read by clicking HERE but in short its a visual marvel that will leave you with a lot to chew over when the final credits start to roll. As you’ll see in my review, I wasn’t instantly enamored by every aspect of the movie but I think its one that will grow richer with subsequent viewings and the passage of time.
On the flip side of that we have Disney’s Big Hero 6, a bright and colorful action comedy that gets to bear the Marvel stamp. Disney’s animation team is still riding high from the success of last year’s phenomenon, Frozen, and they would no doubt like to repeat that success with Big Hero 6. It somewhat hard to believe that they’ll reach the same box office heights as Frozen but so far the reviews are pointing to lots of love coming its way thanks to an 89% score on the Tomatometer.
We’ll have a proper review of Big Hero 6 up later this weekend so stay tuned for that!
What Else Is New?
This weekend also sees the release of two notable films in limited release. One of them is generating Oscar buzz. The other one…isn’t.
On the positive side is The Theory of Everything, a biopic about probably the world’s smartest man, Steven Hawking and his working relationship with his wife who has been at his side through all of his health troubles. Playing Hawking is Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Marilyn) who seems almost destined for a Best Actor nomination based on word of mouth from early screenings. I’ll be seeing the film tomorrow and will let you know The Workprint Verdict as soon as possible after the fact, but based on its 78% Tomatometer score, I’m in for a likely positive reaction.
On the other side of the spectrum is A Merry Friggin’ Christmas, the first blatantly holiday-themed film to come out now that Halloween is in our past. The film isn’t getting a wide release (its also available OnDemand) and the reviews thus far haven’t been particularly strong but what makes it worth mentioning here is that it represents one of the last works by the late, great Robin Williams. I don’t need to tell anyone that Williams was a national treasure and any remaining work of his left behind is probably worth taking a peek at. We’ll have a full review up later this weekend to confirm how high you should place it on your priority list.
Don’t Feel Like Leaving the Couch?
Out on Blu-Ray and DVD this week is Peter Jackson’s Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which adds 27 minutes to the film that was released in theaters last December. When it came to the Lord of the Rings trilogy the Extended Editions really were the preferred versions of the films thanks to their added characters, content, and context enriching them to whole new level. The extended edition of the first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey, didn’t exactly live up to that legacy since these Hobbit films are probably already a bit longer than they need to be BUT what makes these extended editions worth checking out is the completely immersive behind-the-scenes content available. The documentaries that are put together on the making of these films are absolutely brilliant and give us such an invested perspective on the work that went into them by the cast and crew. I’m not even ashamed to admit that they’ve made me cry on numerous occasions.
Well…maybe I’m a little bit ashamed.
Hobbits, dragons, and dwarves not your thing? In that case I recommend picking up the Complete Second Season of HBO’s The Newsroom which was also released for home entertainment this week. If you’ve yet to see it I highly suggest marathoning through as fast as you can so you can dig in to the third and final season which premieres on Sunday night at 9. I’ve got your review of that episode right HERE.
And then stay tuned for the return of Lisa Kudrow’s The Comeback (review of the first five new episodes HERE) and the hilarious Getting On.
In a nutshell it’ll be a great night for watching HBO. But then again, when isn’t it?