Sooner or later, everybody runs. Even if they’re one of the biggest movie stars on the face of the planet. For this edition of Reel Rumbles, grab your popcorn and prepare for the run of your life as we go on the lam with Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise in an attempt to prove their innocence (and cinematic superiority) with The Fugitive vs. Minority Report.
These two thrillers both feature a cinema superstar accused of murder and on the run from the law. One is a tense cat-and-mouse game between a surgeon out to find his wife’s real killer and the dogged U.S. Marshal on his tail; the other is set in the not-so-distant future, and features a law enforcement officer trying to clear himself of a murder that hasn’t even been committed yet. One is an almost unexpected masterwork from a director whose other best-known credits are the Steven Seagal vehicle Under Siege and a Coast Guard movie starring Ashton Kutcher. The other is a superb thriller-with-a-sci-fi-twist from one of cinema’s greatest living legends that, despite how great it is, somehow still doesn’t seem to quite match some of the director’s previous cinematic efforts.
So which is better? Run–don’t walk–into the Reel Rumbles ring and find out…
Here are this week’s new DVD, Blu-ray, and Netflix Instant Watch titles. Obviously, Thursday’s Avatar release is the highlight of the week but the overall slate of releases is strong as well. Select films will include their Flickchart global statistics (where available), as well as three direct links to rank the title against similar movies (one good, one average and one bad) to help nail down where the movie belongs on your chart.
Avatar – (Thursday, April 22 – Blu-Ray and DVD)
I broke a 32-month theater-free streak to see this one. Yeah, the tickets were free, but the effort of getting off the warm couch on a cold Midwestern Winter morning shows you the influence this one had on casual theater goers (I watch at least 2 movies a day, but usually from the comfort of my house). It’s a decent movie, but it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays on the small screen when you’ll focus more on the story than the visuals. You might want to exercise some caution buying this bare-bones disc, as a four-disc set is coming in November – although apparently there will be special codes in the box that will let you watch all the upcoming special features online over the coming months.
Like the universe itself, film is a fragile medium that can produce monumental changes with just the slightest tweaks, twists, or turns. In life, a decision to stop off for a loaf of bread and a six-pack of beer on the way home from work can mean the difference between a lonely weekend and meeting the love of your life. Likewise in film, a change of genre can result in a vast improvement over a weaker effort or a new creation of wonder and excitement equivalent to its original source. Such is the case in this week’s Reel Rumbles as two modern classics go head-to-head, each taking a previous film comedy and twisting the concepts into different genres for fresh, exciting, and provocative filmmaking. Taking its cue from the less than stellar Dana Carvey comedy Clean Slate (1994), Memento revitalizes the film noir genre with a mystery told in reverse, while a touch of teenage angst and ominous foreshadowing makes a classic like Harvey (1950) into a dark and supernatural tale of apocalyptic proportions. So question your identity, follow the clues, and leap through the time travel continuum, it’s time for Donnie Darko vs. Memento.