Welcome to December! Another year almost in the books. We start the week with the new thriller Ready or Not. Grace (Samara Weaving) is over the moon to be marrying the man of her dreams, Alex (Mark O'Brien). As Grace basks in the beauty of his family’s sprawling mansion for the wedding, Alex reveals that there is one catch after they tie the knot. Alex’s family, who made their fortune creating board games, has a tradition of playing a game the night of any family nuptials. But their game of hide and seek turns deadly as Alex’s family hunts her throughout the massive house armed with weapons in an old tradition to try and stave off a family curse. Now Grace must try to turn the tables on the psychotic family if she is to survive til morning.
Ready or Not is a fun filled thrill ride with an Agatha Christie twist and a killer cast. The cat and mouse thriller is filled with some great gags, a nice dose of tension and great performances especially by Samara Weaving, Andie MacDowell and Henry Czerny. And the bonus for all of the Canadian readers, especially those East of Toronto, most of the movie is filmed at Oshawa’s Parkwood Estates, the former home of Colonel Sam McLaughlin founder of General Motors of Canada. For anyone like me who grew up in and around Oshawa, this is a real treat getting to see such a familiar historic site featured so prominently in a film. Ready or Not is a blast and a solid pick for your next group movie night.
Next up is The Goldfinch. Theodore Decker (Ansel Elgort) was 13 years old when his mother died in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In the aftermath of the bombing Theo is instructed by a dying man to take a ring and painting and to leave the site. Those events change the course of Theo’s life sending him on a journey to come to terms with his loss and to find his place in the world while others try to find out the mystery of what really happened to the valuable painting.
The Goldfinch is a beautifully constructed tale of one person’s life and how decisions and the people one comes in contact with can change the direction of their life. Elgort is proving to be one of the absolute best young actors out there. His performance here, as well as that of Oakes Fegley who plays the young Theo, are both exceptional and enigmatic. There is also a fantastic supporting performance by Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard as Theo’s childhood friend. Director John Crowley, who previously helmed the excellent Brooklyn with Saoirse Ronan, crafts a detailed and multilayered story of Theo’s life that is really engaging and fascinating. The Goldfinch is a sprawling tale and a journey worth taking.
Lastly this month is a new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of John Carpenter’s uncategorizable classic Big Trouble in Little China. Kurt Russell plays truck driver Jack Burton, who stops in Chinatown, San Francisco to hang out with old friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun). But when he accompanies Wang to the airport to pick up his green-eyed fiancée Miao Yin (Suzee Pai) all hell breaks loose as Miao is kidnapped by a street gang for an evil sorcerer called Lo Pan (James Hong). Now Jack, Wang and their group of friends to face an otherworldly force and his minions to rescue Wang’s love and maybe save the world.
Big Trouble in Little China is one of the most original films ever made. It pays tribute to many movies of the past, especially kung-fu movies, but it is wholly its own thing thanks to the wild imagination of John Carpenter. The cast is first rate from Russell’s unforgettable and eternally quotable Jack Burton, Kim Cattrall’s fiery Gracie Law, Dun’s loyal Wang Chi, Victor Wong’s lovable Egg Shen and more. The action is wonderfully staged with brilliant old school kung-fu, the fantasy elements are well executed and outrageously fun, and the humor is frequent and hilarious. You would be hard pressed to find a more entertaining movie than Big Trouble in Little China. This new Collector’s Edition comes with two discs absolutely packed with new and vintage special features sure to elate any fan. This one should be on many fan’s Christmas lists.
Also of note this week is Game of Thrones: The Eighth and Final Season of the cult hit HBO show, Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Celebration collection and the new genre-bending anthology Portals.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday December 3, 2019
2019 World Series Champions: Washington Nationals
Battle of Leningrad a.k.a. Saving Leningrad
Big Trouble in Little China: Collector's Edition
Bleach (TV) Set 5
Burn Your Maps
Camille Claudel (1988)*
City on A Hill: Season One
Doctor Who: Colin Baker S2
Dog Day (1984)*
Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection
Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season
Glorifying the American Girl (1929)*
How to Train Your Dragon Homecoming
IMAX Turtle Odyssey
Joan the Maid (Part 1: The Battles and Part 2: The Prisons)
Ready or Not
Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Celebration
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Seasons 1-3
The Magic Sword (1962)*
The Story of Temple Drake (1933)* - Criterion Collection
Tunes of Glory (1960)* - Criterion Collection
*Catalog Blu-ray debut