It's an oddly light week for releases, both new and old. There are only a handful of films in either category, but thankfully there are a few fine films in the mix. The first is The Campaign, the Will Ferrell versus Zach Galifianakis political comedy that's actually better than it looks. The trailers made it out to be a string of one-off jokes all playing straight to Ferrell and Galifianakis' expertise at playing idiot men-children, but it's got a bit more heart and substance to it than just a volley of crude jokes. Sure, there are still scenes where it seems like everyone is improvising and director Jay Roach just couldn't decide on the funniest bits so he kept 'em all in, but there's a decent story here and it all comes together well enough in the end.
The rest of the week's new releases are led by a pair of critical darlings, Safety Not Guaranteed and Ruby Sparks. The former, about a man who claims to be a time traveler, is a clever twist on romantic comedies, while the latter, about a novelist who wills his new female character into existence, is, well, a clever twist on romantic comedies. They're certainly not the ideal Halloween releases, but if you're looking for some alternatives to horror movies this week, both are certainly worth your attention.
Perhaps less so is The Reef 2: High Tide, a straight-to-video CGI kids film featuring the voice talents of Fran Drescher, Andy Dick, Rob Schneider and more. Though if you're looking for something a bit more adult, check out the indie drama Americano starring Salma Hayek.
Hopefully you've been saving your lunch money like we warned you. Universal has released its rather mighty Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection Blu-ray box set. It contains Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy and Family Plot. That averages out to a reasonable $15 a movie, but the $225 price tag is certainly daunting.
A little cheaper, but surely of the utmost quality, is the Criterion Collection release of Roman Polanski's horror classic Rosemary's Baby. And then there's the straight-to-video A Christmas Story 2, a flagrant cash grab if there ever was one. But don't let its release bum you out. Just grab the Katharine Hepburn-starring, Sidney Lumet-directed Long Day's Journey into Night on its Blu-ray debut. Or The French crime farce The Brain.