Here hoping everyone is making the best of the new world situation and catching up on some much needed movie watching. This week’s kicks off with one of the very best films of 2019, 1917. April 6, 1917. On a battlefield in Northern France, Lance Corporal Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) with the British Army is asked to choose one of his battalion colleagues to join him on an assignment, he chooses his best friend, Lance Corporal Will Schofield (George MacKay). Together they must deliver an urgent message to an isolated regiment on the front lines for Colonel MacKenzie (Benedict Cumberbatch) to abort his troop's attack then on the supposedly retreating Germans who are in reality lying in wait with a deception that was months in the planning. The two men must traverse dangerous enemy lines alone with thousands of lives on the line.
Director Sam Mendes has crafted a war film that, on every level, is like none I have ever seen with 1917. First off Mendes constructs the film in real time with an appearance of having no edits, so for two hours, you are immersed with these soldiers on their journey and very quickly become invested in their well-being. The two leads, Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay are just astounding. Both men have an incredible authenticity and turn in two of the very best performances in film in recent memory. The other thing that really stands out about 1917 is the absolutely jaw dropping production design and cinematography. This is simply one of the best looking films of the year, and maybe ever. Every single detail in this film is meticulously constructed to feel as real as possible and the hard work of the crew pays off in spades. I honestly don’t remember the last time I was this invested in a film. If your home theatre is equipped with 4K, definitely seek out that edition as the picture is just spectacular with an all-encompassing audio track that will be the home theatre highlight of your year. I can’t recommend 1917 highly enough.
The other title this week is a new horror flick starring the genre’s current favorites, Elijah Wood, called Come to Daddy. Wood plays Norval, a troubled young man struggling with alcohol addiction who receives a letter from his estranged father requesting a visit. When Norval arrives at his Dad’s secluded waterfront home, something seems off about his father (Stephen McHattie) and the entire situation. Soon Norval finds himself in a spiralling nightmare that makes him question everything about his life and makes him fight for his very survival.
Come to Daddy is another of Wood’s recent forays into horror and is quite possibly his best one yet. The film instantly has a feeling of isolation and dread about it from the first scenes of Norval trying to impress his father with lie after lie about the level of success in his life. But once the layers start peeling and the story unfolds as to who Norval’s father is and why he is there, it is quite the nightmare of survival. Wood is great in the lead role, he really seems to shine when playing outsiders who are thrown into insane situations. It is also great to see McHattie in such a juicy role, he really is one of the most underutilized and fantastic character actor’s out there. Director Ant Timpson really crafts a claustrophobic nightmare here with some great twists not many will see coming. Highly recommended.
Also of note this week is the new reboot of the popular horror franchise The Grudge with Andrea Riseborough, John Cho and Lin Shaye, the Blu-ray debut of the cult 1989 adventure fantasy The Wizard starring Fred Savage, and the new Amazon Prime series based on the Jason Bourne franchise, Treadstone: Season One.
Until next week movie lovers, stay safe!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday March 24, 2020
3-D Rarities Volume II
April Fool's Day: Collector's Edition (1986)*
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
Beyond the Door*
C.S. Lewis On Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert
Come to Daddy
Don't Be A Dick About It
Downtown 81 (2000)*
Endless Night (1972)*
Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)*
Leave Her to Heaven (1945)* - Criterion Collection
Little Women (1994)*
Murder in Greenwich Village (1937)*
My Gun Is Quick (1957)*
Return from the Ashes (1965)*
Shooting the Mafia
The Cranes Are Flying (1957)* - Criterion Collection
The Grudge (2020)
The Passion of Darkly Noon*
The Song of Names
The Wizard (1989) - Collector's Edition*
Treadstone: Season One
Vindication: Season One
*Catalog Blu-ray debut