What to Watch: Aug. 20-26, 2013

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CHICAGO – This week’s What to Watch on DVD, Blu-ray, Netflix, Amazon, On Demand, and more features one of the best programs on television, a great indie drama that had its Windy City premiere at the Chicago Critics Film Festival, something for the family, and two of the worst movies of 2013. Pick your favorites.

This is Martin Bonner
This is Martin Bonner
Photo credit: Monterey Media

“This is Martin Bonner”

Chad Hartigan’s perfect little drama, one of the best films at the first annual CCFF, may not have enough speed or tension for those addicted to Hollywood blockbusters but it is an entrancing drama about what people do for one another just through kindness and support. By presenting believable, lived-in characters, Hartigan creates a genuinehuman story. And the film is now available not just on DVD but Netflix streaming. Watch it. Then buy it.

From my theatrical review: “There’s not a false beat in “This is Martin Bonner”; not a line that feels out of place or forced. These characters have complex pasts that aren’t completely spelled out and futures that feel like they exist beyond the roll of the credits. They are memorable characters not because of what they do but because of how completely we believe who they are.

Where to Watch: DVD, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Netflix

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season
Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season
Photo credit: HBO

“Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season”

The third season of HBO’s hit drama seems to have been greeted as a letdown by a lot of viewers, marking the first time the program wasn’t nominated for the Emmy for Best Drama. Nonsense. This is the best season to date of the Martin Scorsese drama with Steve Buscemi’s best work and a fantastic supporting performance from Bobby Cannavale, who gives the program the energy it lacked in the first two years. It’s also a great fit for Blu-ray/DVD as it’s a program best watched in binge sessions, accompanied by great special features and a digital Ultraviolet copy of the season.

Special Features:
o Distilling Season 2: Look Back At Season Two With This 14-Minute Recap Featuring Creator/Executive Producer Terence Winter
o Boardwalk Empire: Director’s Chair - Hear Directors Tim Van Patten and Allen Coulter Break Down Key Scenes As Well As How They Approach Taking The Series From The Script To The Screen
o Scorsese On Season 3: Award-Winning Director And Executive Producer Martin Scorsese Provides a Unique And Detailed Perspective On The Third Season
o New Characters: An Introduction To Gyp Rosetti, Billie Kent, Gaston Means, Dean O’Banion, and Benny Siegel
o Audio Commentaries: Six Audio Commentaries With Cast And Crew Including Terence Winter, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannavale, Gretchen Mol and More
o Boardwalk Chronicle: Track The Major Players And Locations Within Each Episode, and Learn More About The Historical Threads Woven Into The Season Three Storyline With This Interactive, In-Feature Guide
o Newsreels: Explore Some Of The Real-World Events and Historical Figures That Inspired Boardwalk Empire Season Three With These 24 Exclusive Featurettes
o Digital Copy Included

From my season three premiere review: “After the first two seasons of “Boardwalk Empire,” I felt like there was a bit of dramatic urgency missing despite the show being one of the best looking and best designed in the history of television. I don’t feel that this year. The show feels more dangerous and more dramatically sound than ever.

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, HBO Go

Peter Pan: Return to Neverland
Peter Pan: Return to Neverland
Photo credit: Disney

“Peter Pan: Return to Neverland”

“Peter Pan” has remained one of the most consistently beloved and iconic characters in the Disney rolodex. Trust me. I have a son who adores not only the original 1953 animated classic but loves watching the hit “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”. There’s something about the myth of the flying boy who never grew up and his magical fairy that will never grow old. Having said that, “Return to Neverland” is a footnote in the history of this icon, missing the magic of its inspiration, replaced by lackluster songs and weak stabs at humor and manipulation. Loyal readers will know that I’m a big Disney fan but this is lesser Disney, and even that’s being kind. Hardcore collectors will be happy to have the 2002 sequel on Blu-ray but everyone else would be wiser to consider other recent Disney vault releases like “Robin Hood” or “The Sword in the Stone.”

Special Features:
o Pixie Previews
o Deleted Scenes
o Digital Copy

Where to Watch: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, Amazon Instant Video

Scary Movie V
Scary Movie V
Photo credit: The Weinstein Company

“Scary Movie V”

It’s almost hard to fathom that “Scary Movie V” isn’t the worst movie sitting on new releases shelves this week (see below for that “prize”). Or that it’s not the worst referential comedy of the year (that title goes to “A Haunted House”). The fifth and worst “Scary Movie” cobbles together references to films that have nothing in common, building most of its “plot” from “Paranormal Activity,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Mama,” and “Black Swan,” believe it or not. If that sounds random, you have no idea how much so. The movie proves something I’ve been saying for years — Just making a reference to another movie is not the same thing as actually writing a joke.

Special Features:
o Deleted and Extended Scenes

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes

The Big Wedding
The Big Wedding
Photo credit: Lionsgate

“The Big Wedding”

The pain. This awful, manipulative, unfunny train wreck of a comedy only serves to cause sympathy pains for the talented cast stuck in arguably the worst script of 2013. This is a movie that thinks grown men and women talk about sex by using the word “boinked.” It is culturally insensitive, ridiculously unbelivable, and unforgivingly sentimental. It only leads one to wonder what the legendary cast’s former iconic roles would think of it. If Annie Hall and Jake LaMotta could see their portrayers now in junk like this? Expect this to be the most common denominator on “Worst Films of 2013” lists. Either this one or “Movie 43.” Yes, that’s the territory we’re in at this horrid affair.

Special Features:
o Coordinating The Big Wedding

From Patrick McDonald’s theatrical review: “The movie is incredibly indecisive. It relishes it’s “R” rating, serving up the aforementioned carnality, as well as a dash of nudity, innuendo and crass absurdity. But at the same time, it wants to be a sentimental statement about love and extended family, and with this element it falls on its face. All of the characters blow with the wind between the two assignments, and the whole thing is a reminder of how, even with a cast of familiar movie stars, if the script stinks the movie stinks. Oddly too, Robin Williams again takes on the role of wacky Catholic priest, as he did in “License to Wed.” One more such role and he will be eligible to skip the first two years of the seminary.

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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