This is the week where almost all the studios are dumping their awards hopefuls and success stories. Most successful among them is The Shape of Water, which I seemed to love more than most of the people on this site. Least successful is The Disaster Artist, which I liked initially but have found myself souring on, especially now that it’s come out that James Franco has about as much regard for women as Tommy Wiseau does. And somewhere in the middle is I, Tonya, which I found a viscerally disturbing depiction of abuse married to a so-so To Die For/Goodfellas wannabe. But very best of all is Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name. The first time I saw it, I had a bit of a “when are they getting to the fireworks factory?” reaction to the movie’s languorous pacing, but the home stretch knocked me on my ass and my subsequent two viewings completely wiped away my reservations about the rest. It is now at least tied for my favorite film of 2017, and Timothee Chalamet gives bar none the best performance any actor or actress gave that year. I look forward to revisiting it again and again, luxuriating in its hangout vibe and getting newly devastated by its end. Maybe on one of these future viewings, I’ll finally find out if it was a video or not.
Amusingly, Call Me By Your Name is getting released the same day as the standard edition of the newly 4K-remastered Suspiria, which is the source material for Guadagnino’s next film (he even lured Jessica Harper out of retirement to play a part). And that’s just one part of a pretty good line-up of catalog titles, including the long-awaited Criterion release of Martin Scorsese’s perennially underrated The Age of Innocence, the Warner Archive Collection’s releases of Fritz Lang’s While the City Sleeps and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and Flicker Alley’s definitive release of A Trip to the Moon. But there are also some prominent missteps this week, namely Shout Factory’s release of Downfall, which is smothered in grain-reduction and a green tint, and Kino’s release of The Lion in Winter, which features a pretty faulty, allegedly 4K, restoration from our old enemies, StudioCanal. But neither of those are as faulty as this week’s ostensible showcase title, Justice League, a Frankenstein’s monster of Zack Snyder’s brooding, stylish deconstruction of superhero iconography (please don’t take that as me saying that I like that approach, just that at least it’s an ethos) and Joss Whedon’s quip-a-minute workmanlike style. It’s a big, honking testament to the dangers of studio interference, and may its example never be followed again.
The Age of Innocence (Criterion)
The Ambulance (Shout Factory)
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (Warner)
Call Me by Your Name (Sony)
The Disaster Artist (Lionsgate)
Downfall (Shout Factory)
The Handmaid’s Tale: Season One (Fox)
I, Tonya (Universal)
Justice League (Warner)
The Lion in Winter (Kino)
The Shape of Water (Fox)
A Trip to the Moon (Flicker Alley)
While the City Sleeps (Warner)