March just keeps getting better with a packed lineup this week that starts with this year’s winner for Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars, The Shape of Water. Sally Hawkins stars as Elisa, a lonely janitor at a top secret high security government laboratory. Despite her friendships with co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and Giles (Richard Jenkins) Elisa feels isolated and in search of meaning. When she discovers a mysterious amphibious man-like creature being held captive at the facility, Elisa forms a bond with it and eventually decides she must find a way to free him from captivity and the cruel clutches of Government Agent Strickland (Michael Shannon).
The Shape of Water won Guillermo Del Toro two Oscars this year and it is about time, Del Toro has been creating some of the most wonderfully imaginative movies anywhere for the past quarter century. The Shape of Water is a beautifully crafted fairy tale full of equally beautiful performances, but Sally Hawkins really shines here as the timid Elisa who finds her voice, her purpose and her great love when she finds the creature at her workplace. The production design is gorgeous, the filmmaking darkly lush and old fashioned, and the story endearing and touching. And throw in some phenomenal make-up work and you have one unique movie.
Next up this week is the newest film in the DC Cinematic Universe, Justice League. After the events of Batman v Superman, Bruce Wayne has been inspired by Superman’s sacrifice and along with the help of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), is enlisting a group of metahumans to stand against a newfound threat to mankind.
After the great success of Wonder Woman, DC was aiming for another huge hit and for the most part, Justice League did the trick. It may have underperformed against expectations but still took in almost $700 million worldwide. And it is a hell of a fun movie. Affleck’s Batman is still the best Batman ever, Gadot’s Wonder Woman continues to easily be the most kick ass DC character ever put on screen, and new additions Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman are all great additions with Momoa’s Aquaman and Miller’s Flash getting all of the best lines in the movie. Lots of humor, spectacular action sequences and Superman scenes that made me 8 years old again makes Justice League a winner.
Lastly this week is an anomaly among television shows, Fear the Walking Dead: Season Three. This season finds Madison (Kim Dickins), Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) joining a group of survivors at Broke Jaw Ranch, led by Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie) and his sons Jake (Sam Underwood) and the temperamental and violent Troy (Daniel Sharman). The community survives by everyone pitching in, but outside forces and waves of undead, not to mention unpredictable residents of their own threaten all they have built.
What I mean by a television anomaly in regards to Fear the Walking Dead: Season Three is that after Season Two, I was thinking about ditching the show as it only had moments of greatness but was losing me fast. But this new season re-energized the entire storyline and made not only the best season of this show, but one of the best seasons in the AMC Walking Dead franchise thus far. The mechanics of life at this ranch is really well thought out, the additions to the cast are all excellent, and the action and suspense are top notch. The departure of Cliff Curtis from the series was a huge bummer, but they managed to really ratchet things up even without him. For anyone out there not sure of the series or who was ready to abandon it as I was, stick with it and check out Fear the Walking Dead: Season Three, it is so worth it.
Also of note this week is I, Tonya with the Oscar nominated performance by Margot Robbie and the Oscar winning performance by Allison Janney, the also Multi-Oscar Nominated/Winning film Call Me by Your Name starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet and the much-hyped James Franco film The Disaster Artist. And if you are still itching for some great action TV, also check out Into the Badlands: Season Two, another show that topped its own previous season.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday March 13, 2018
Are We Not Cats
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt*
Birdboy: The Forgotten Children
Call Me by Your Name
Channel Zero: No-End House - Season Two
Children of the Corn: Runaway
Downfall: Collector’s Edition
Evil Bong 666
Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season
Into the Badlands: The Complete Second Season
Knightfall: Season One
LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures: Season Two
Major Crimes: The Complete Sixth Season
Monsters at Large
Path of Blood*
Penny Pinchers, The Kings of No-budget Horror
Season of the Witch
Suspiria: Special Edition
The Disaster Artist
The Good Fight: Season One
The Hand That Feeds the Dead
The Handmaid’s Tale: Season One
The Heart of Man
The Lion in Winter: 50th Anniversary
The Orchard End Murder*
The Shape of Water
The Twilight People*
There’s Always Vanilla
Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary
While the City Sleeps*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut