The 7 Best Streaming and DVD Releases of January
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The 7 Best Streaming and DVD Releases of January

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | January 31, 2013 | Comments ()


Skip these titles: Stolen, Hit and Run, Possession, The Paperboy, To Rome with Love.

Burn These Titles from Your Memory: Won't Back Down, House at the End of the Street.

These are the movies that will be worth your time, in ascending order.

7. InBetweeners Movie -- I include this movie only if you're a fan of the British series, and only if your'e a completist. As I wrote in my review: "If you haven't seen the television series -- and you should -- there's not much reason to check out the movie. Save for the attachment the audience has with those characters, The Inbetweeners Movie offers little more than a generic teenage gross-out movie. There are some amusing moments, to be sure, but multiplex screens are too big a platform for a television show about the small and awkward humiliations associated with trying to get laid as a teenager."

6. Cosmopolis -- Cosmpolis slipped into a few Best of 2012 lists last month, and Caspar speaks highly of it as well, specifically Robert Pattinson's laudable performance. "The film is as polished and great-looking as can be expected. Cronenberg responds well to his main actor, fitting him out in a suit that becomes a little wrecked by the end, and filming him in close-ups with harsh lighting. There are plenty of great shots -- Pattinson in close-up, lit by the fluorescent white tracking light of a gun, for instance. The cinematography excellently captures the sense of modern alienation, showing the city in all of its strangeness and dehumanizing state. All of the sets are beautifully designed, from the interior of Pattinson's limo to the grim cityscape in the last few scenes."

5. Dredd -- Like TK, I was a big fan of Dredd, although I wish I had not seen it so closely to The Raid: Redemption because the storylines were so similar. "For you fans of the comic, I'm delighted to say you can now wash the bitter, acrid taste of Stallone's Judge Dredd from your mouth. In fact, you can wipe if from your memory wholesale, because Dredd, directed by Pete Travis (Endgame, Vantage Point), stars Karl Urban as the Judge Dredd you've been waiting for. And better yet, it's a damn good movie. Not perfect, but still thoroughly enjoyable.

4. The Imposter -- This documentary was off-the-batsh*t-hook. Crazy. If you didn't know it was true, there's no way you'd believe it could be true. As Seth wrote: "This is one of those instances when the good and bad of the filmmaking just really don't matter. This is simply a story that you have to see to believe and, at the end of the day, Layton shows us this story. You may not know what to think about it, what to believe, or what "the truth" is, but you will sure as hell enjoy the journey."

3. Fat Kid Rules the World -- The film directed by Matthew Lillard (yes, that Matthew Lillard) never got a proper theatrical release, but those who have seen it have gone nuts for it, including Seth and Dan, who wrote in his review: "It would be so easy for Fat Kid Rules the World to take the easy way out. The film deals with high school terror, loneliness, and the frustrating way that caring for someone means giving them the power to break your heart: in other words, everything you've seen probably hundreds of times over. But Matthew Lillard, in his first turn as a director, taps into real pain and genuine joy in a deft exploration of the awkward relationship forged by two people who had given up on ever finding anything good in the world. What makes the film so wonderful is precisely the way it takes those old dramedy tropes and grounds them in utterly believable characters. These people are not archetypes, or examples. They come alive like the best film characters do, and you ache and celebrate with them at every turn. The script from Michael M.B. Galvin and Peter Speakman, based on the novel by K.L. Going, is hilarious and touching in equal measure, and the film thoroughly earns its uplifting ending."

2. End of Watch -- I think End of Watch was maybe the best movie of 2012 that practically no one talked about. Dan was a huge fan, too. "Beyond all its modern style, though, End of Watch is a strong, gripping police drama. It's almost an inversion of typical cop thrillers: It's slow where another movie might be fast, sad where another might only want victory. It favors silence over explosions, worry over certainty, character over spectacle. There's a pulse and texture to the film that's become rare in the genre, and so the found footage winds up being anything but distracting. In fact, it does what it's always been designed to do: it makes every moment feel totally real. You forget you're watching a movie."

1. Looper -- One of only three films that landed in our Best Films of 2012 and our Most Rewatchable Films of 2012 lists, Looper is the real dead. " It can be tempting to write off Rian Johnson as a writer-director who just likes mashing things up. His feature films -- Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and now Looper -- have shown remarkable skill at marrying two seemingly incongruous worlds and making them feel totally at home nested within each other. Brick wasn't just a high school drama masquerading as mystery, or vice versa; it was both at once. Yet he's able to pull this off because, as much as he loves mingling disparate genres, the mingling is never the point. He's more than just a gimmick. Johnson is profoundly interested in character and consequence, like good storytellers in every genre, and he's specifically drawn again and again to tales of people who buy and sell bullshit and whose biggest liability is believing their own hype. Joseph Gordon-Levitt anchored Brick as Brendan, a high schooler on the trail of a missing ex who twisted the truth as much as the people he was chasing, so it feels right for Gordon-Levitt to return for Looper, playing a man whose hunt for truth puts his own existence in jeopardy. Looper is many things -- a gripping action movie, an smart sci-fi story, a heartbreaking time-travel lullaby -- but most of all it's about a man watching himself go through a process most of us take for granted: he has to decide what he wants to believe, about the world and about himself, and then live with the consequences.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Basement Boy

    Shit, man, wait until you're in your 40's if you want some "small and awkward humiliations associated with trying to get laid!"

  • raeraefred

    does it really say, "Looper ... is the real dead" ? i mean, i suppose it could work, in a "fake dead were not used in the production of this film" sort of way.

  • junierizzle

    End of Watch was my favorite movie of 2012. I can't recommend it enough. I was hoping Peña would get an Oscar nod but I think the "found footage" style turned people off. I know I almost didn't see it because I personally hate the "found footage" style. But it works here. Actually it's so good that you forget it's " found footage."

  • bewegung951

    I work in a video rental store. It is one of the last of its kind, independently owned, and a glorious treasure of a shop. Every day, I recommend Looper to a skeptical someone who brings it back days later to tell me how much they loved it. While it amazes me some of the garbage that flies from our rental shelves, most people are genuinely receptive to recommendations, and open to seeing something they may have otherwise discounted. It gives me faith that the strong will survive.

  • Daniel Valentin

    Cosmopolis is an infuriating turd of a movie. It is the most pretentious, pseudo-philosophical garbage I've seen in years. And this is coming from a Cronenberg fan.

  • Repo

    No Seven Psychopaths? Really? Because that was my number one January release. Rewatching it at home only affirmed my love for it.

  • ,

    Thanks for reminding me I need to see that. It was in my theater for a minute, and when I went to see it, poof.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I just watched it today and loved it. I laughed many times and even cried once.

  • Repo

    TK loved it too in his review. It would appear this one is going to suffer the same fate as In Bruges. Apparently I'm set to be the champion of Martin Mcdonagh's work.

  • Puddin

    I kind of wish that you guys would delineate which of these movies were streaming and where.

  • NateMan

    Edit: I mean, if you don't know, that's cool. But the first few times I read these posts I got all excited thinking the movies were available on Netflix or similar, and then when they weren't I got all depressed. I'm emotionally unstable like that.

  • Mrs. Julien

    We recently watched Lawless and it was terrible.

    Last night, we watched the documentary The Queen of Versailles on Amazon Instant and it was fantastic. I tuned in for the conspicuous consumption, I stayed for the hubris!

    I know neither of those were mentioned, but I have access to Pajiba from work today and therefore have to find something to spew about. At least, it was on topic.

  • John G.

    I've recently discovered the bounty that is Netflix documentaries too. Beyond The Queen of Versailles, there are a multitude of fantastic documentaries now available on streaming.

  • $27019454

    I love hubris. I hug it. I eat it for dinner. It's my second-favorite mainline drug, next to schadenfreude. I, too loved QoV. Hubris for all!! Huzzah!!

  • Mrs. Julien

    Hubris is delightful, but I am transfixed by rich people, especially the ones are doing it "wrong". They have more money than God, so their clothing cost $15,000, but it is no different from what I can get at Target. Heaven. If I were that rich, I would be swanning about in Naeem Khan and eating from La Maison du Chocolat for breakfast.

  • Exactly that. It's like rich people don't know how to do it right. I should be rich because I would TOTALLY spend that money in the most awesome ways ever. None of which would rhyme with plotox or flip flumping.

  • Love Cosmopolis. It's full on Cronenberg weirdness slathered on a very inventive spin on Homer's Odyssey. The acting is amazing across the board. The affected tone is a very deliberate device to force you to actually pay attention to context and the context itself becomes the substance of the film.

  • $27019454

    Count me as a lovuh as well. Cronenberg is one of my objects of twisted desire and this was one beautiful film. Pattinson is so much more than OK in it. Worth it on every level. It brings the weird.

  • NateMan

    We finally got to watch Looper this weekend, and I was very impressed. They got some things wrong if you thought about it too much - and I started to write out an example, but I don't want to spoil it if someone hasn't gotten to watch it yet. But overall it was great. Gordon-Levitt did a great job of adopting Willis's mannerisms, and whatever prosthetics they used to make him look more like Willis were very passable, as long he wasn't standing in full daylight. I was quite impressed, and pleased to get some fairly intelligent scifi out there with a budget.

    Edit: And Dredd was fantastic too. Lena Headey extruded brokenhearted malevolence like nothing I'd seen. And Urban was exactly as hardcore as the character demanded.

  • Amy

    Cosmopolis was fucking terrible. But it's great if you're a fan of that try-hardy-I'm-so-weird-it's-cool Cronenberg crap. End of Watch is great.

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