And just like that we are back to a tiny new release week! But a couple of stellar titles nonetheless kicking off with the new Paul Greengrass film, News of the World. Tom Hanks stars as Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a Civil War veteran, now moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, reading newspapers from the far reaches of the globe out loud to paying audiences. While in Texas Kidd comes across a 10-year-old girl named Johanna (Helena Zengel) who was taken in and raised by the Kiowa people and raised as one of their own, but has now been taken and is to be returned to her biological aunt and uncle as the law says she must be. Kidd is unwittingly tasked with her return and on the journey hundreds of miles through unforgiving wilderness, together they face tremendous challenges as they both search for a place to call home.
Paul Greengrass is known mainly for films like the Bourne films, United 93 and Captain Phillips, but with News of the World he brings his aesthetic to the old west and a fantastic tale of survival and finding family in strangers. Hanks, no surprise, is phenomenal here as the travelling newsman who for many is the only window into the rest of the world. He is a man who has seen much in his life yet has difficulty finding his own place in the world. Zengel is a young German actor making her North American debut here and she is simply brilliant. She brings a real authenticity to the role and has excellent chemistry with Hanks. Greengrass keeps the pace tight and the tension high as the two travel and even throws in some great action, but it is the relationship between Kidd and Johanna that anchors this movie and makes it something special. Very highly recommended.
Next up is the newest offering from Pixar, Soul. Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a talented pianist who lives for jazz and wants more than anything to make it big. But when a big break is on the horizon in the form of an audition with New York City's legendary saxophonist, Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett), Joe has an accident and finds himself suddenly trapped in a mystical plane of existence between life and death. Now fighting to find a way back to life on Earth, Joe gets the chance to re-evaluate his life, purpose and passion.
Soul is full of just that. Amidst some great laughs, the usual stunning animation from Pixar and some great storytelling, Soul also packs a punch dealing with life and death and making us as viewers also re-evaluate our lives, our purpose and our passions. Maybe more than any other Pixar film to date, Soul really makes you reflect and see yourself in the character of Joe. It is beautiful, heartfelt, not overpowering or preachy, and genuine. A wonderous look at the magic of life and why to embrace every day. Gather everyone together for this one.
Also of note this week is the new HBO drama The Undoing with Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant and Donald Sutherland, a new 4K edition of 2014’s Godzilla starring Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen, and a new Shout Factory Collector’s Edition of the bizarre Paul W.S. Anderson sci fi thriller Event Horizon with Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne.
Until next week movie lovers, stay safe!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday March 23, 2021
A Pain in the Ass a.k.a. L'emmerdeur (1973)*
Best Picture Essentials
Beverly Hills 90210: The Ultimate Collection
Breaking News in Yuba County (2020)
Castlevania Season 3
Death Promise (1977)*
Event Horizon (1997) - Collector's Edition
Friday the 13th Part 2 40th Anniversary Steelbook
Furies Sexuelles / Prostitution Clandestine (1976)*
Gattaca (1997) 4K Steelbook Edition
Godzilla (2014) 4K
Green Jelly (2016)
Isn't She Great (2000)*
Last Gasp (1995)*
News of the World (2020)
Rush Week (1989)*
Schoolgirls in Chains (1973)*
Sherlock Holmes and the Great Escape
Soulmates: Season One
The Undoing : An HBO Ltd Series
World of Wong Kar Wai (1988-2004)* - Criterion Collection
*Catalog Blu-ray debut