The Conjuring - Warner Bros. - Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
Director: James Wan
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Hayley McFarland. Full cast + crew
Regardless of how you feel about the real-life exploits of the Warren family, it's hard to deny that they inspire great horror movies. The Conjuring is a near-perfect blend of traditional horror techniques with modern production values, and it's easily James Wan's most accomplished film to date. In fact, it's so good it'll make you sad that Wan is turning his back on horror movies for the foreseeable future, as he really is one of Hollywood's best in that ballpark.
The actual script is a bit familiar and becomes a tad convoluted once more and more supernatural elements get introduced, but Wan's direction and a remarkable cast really elevate the whole thing. In anyone else's hands this would be just another haunted house flick, but in Wan's hands it's already well on its way to being a new classic of the genre.
Special Features: "A Life in Demonology" (16 minutes), a look at the real Ed and Lorraine Warren; "Face-to-face with Terror" (seven minutes), a brief EPK-worthy piece that finds the original family talking about what it was like living in the farmhouse at the heart of everything; "Scarying the Blank Out of You" (eight minutes), a featurette on the patterns that go into making a good horror scene.
Other Notable New Releases
If you're a fan of Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise trilogy, then Before Midnight is probably going to turn you into a blubbering puddle. What he's done with this series of films is simply beautiful, and his latest is a funny, heartbreaking, endearing work of genius.
And speaking of genius, Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives is also out this week. If you're expecting it to just be Drive in Thailand, you'll be severely disappointed. This is a dark, lucid film about the monsters in men, and our cinematic relationship to them. It's a brilliant film that will keep bubbling away long after you see it. But it's also far from everyone's cup of tea, so if you only liked Drive and hated Valhalla Rising or Bronson or Pusher, this probably isn't your cup of tea.
If you did indeed dislike all of those films, then maybe something like The Internship is more your bag. Every Google-related joke under the sun has already been made about this movie, so we'll spare you all of them and simply say that we hope Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn made rather large charitable donations after making this paycheck comedy that, even for a broad comedy, just falls far short of being funny. If you are in the mood to laugh this week, you'll probably have better luck with the British I Give It a Year, which is a sort of antirom-com featuring some very funny ladies and gentlemen.
Overall your safest bet this week (outside of The Conjuring) is The Way Way Back, the directorial debut of the guys who wrote The Descendants. It grabbed a lot of attention at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it's easy to see why: It's a simple, unpretentious coming-of-age comedy about an incredibly likeable kid having the best summer of his life. It's probably not going to blow you away, but it'll definitely get you smiling.
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