­­February kicks off with a packed week starting with a real surprise treat of a movie, The Sisters Brothers. Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly play Charlie and Eli Sisters, two brothers in the mid-1800’s who make their livings as killers for hire. When they are hired to meet up with tracker John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) to find and bring back gold prospector Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed) to The Commodore (Rutger Hauer). But when they all discover Warm has a sure-fire way of finding gold, they all reconsider their futures and loyalties.

I was really taken by surprise at how good The Sisters Brothers was. I half expected a straight forward western and half expected a comedy, but what I got was a beautifully directed and acted character study with an engaging and unpredictable storyline, original and fascinating characters, some great humor as well but overall a tightly written story of complex characters in a complex time. All wrapped up in a highly entertaining western. The Sisters Brothers is one of the best films of the past year for sure.

Next up is The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the newest film to feature popular character Lisbeth Salander. Claire Foy plays Salander, the vigilante hacker hired by a computer programmer to retrieve a program capable of accessing the world’s nuclear codes. But after securing the program then having it taken by a mysterious foe, Lisbeth finds herself a target and must enlist the help of friend Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) to retrieve the program, but their journey may lead them to secrets from Lisbeth’s past as well an endanger both of their futures.

All big screen versions of the Dragon Tattoo stories have been excellent thus far, from the incredible original Swedish trilogy starring Noomi Rapace to the American remake with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, and this new entry keeps the quality bar high with another excellent portrayal of the iconic character, and an entertaining and exciting new story. The Salander stories are definitely full on adult thrillers and well done ones at that. Lots of intrigue, action, violence and mystery, and all done with flair and style. Now I just wonder if they will continue the series with this new Lisbeth or recast yet again?

Lastly this week is a new thriller called Widows. Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) have one thing in common. They are all married to career criminals who work together. But when a new heist their husbands are executing goes horribly wrong and leaves a huge debt behind, the women must pick up where their husbands’ left off  in order to pay off the debt and secure their own uncertain futures.

Widows could have really ended up being a straight up heist movie but co-writer and director Steve McQueen made sure his fantastic cast had much more to work with than a cookie cutter script. The film ends up being a pretty amazing dramatic thriller that really digs into the characters and their motivations for trying to secure their livelihoods and futures after their husbands’ illicit careers leave them with nothing. The film really examines the lengths they must go to, the ingenuity they must use, and the determination to do it all themselves when they have no one left but each other. Widows is a heist thriller with an emotional core and a mind of its own. Very highly recommended.

Also of note, this week is the sci-fi thriller The Cloverfield Paradox, the new Illumination animated feature The Grinch featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, and the Blu-ray debut of the 1995 crime drama Higher Learning.

Until next week movie lovers!

DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday February 5, 2019

40 & Single

A Private War

Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas

Black '47

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Robot Riders

Charly (1968)*

Cloverfield 3 Movie Collection

Der Hund von Baskerville a.k.a. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1929)*

Diamonds for Breakfast (1968)*

Double Dragon – Collector’s Edition*

Dr. Seuss' The Grinch

Grand-Daddy Day Care

Higher Learning*

John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection

Kotch (1971)*

Lu Over the Wall

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Mermaid: Lake of the Dead

Mid90s

Poetic Justice*

Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost

Shame* - Criterion Collection

Shameless: The Complete Eighth Season

Teen Titans Go! and Friends Collection

The Cloverfield Paradox

The Deuce: The Complete Second Season

The Fifth Cord - Special Edition*

The Girl in the Spider's Web

The Guilty

The Long Dumb Road

The Possessed - Special Edition*

The Sisters Brothers

The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella

Widows

WWE: TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2018

Zachariah (1971)*

*Catalog Blu-ray debut