Joystiq Box Office has been away for a couple of weeks due to BlizzCon and other supernatural events, but we're back with a vengeance for the PAX edition. Double up, pop some corn, and enjoy the three-day weekend.
Recommendations of the Week:
Mad Men: Season 3 – My Old Kentucky Home (PSN: $2.99 HD or $1.99 SD to own)
If you haven't been watching AMC's Mad Men, then you've been missing out on the cultural phenomenon that's making everyone wish they were living back in the early 1960s. Men wore suits and fedoras and had three-martini lunches, and women wore dresses and enough underwear to construct an entire parachute. Don Draper has replaced James Bond as the cool man every guy wants to be ... and he's a freaking ad executive. Highly recommended.
World's Greatest Dad (840 HD, 560 SD to rent)
This movie ran the festival circuit and had a lot of good buzz, which is rare for a Robin Williams movie these days. I missed this when I was at Sundance, but enough of my movie-going critic friends loved it that I feel comfortable recommending it. It's a black comedy starring Williams, is directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, and had a small theatrical opening on August 21. Now you can already watch it on Xbox Live. Not too shabby. Maybe we're not too far away from theater and at-home release dates being the same day all the time.
Xbox Live Video Marketplace (Xbox 360)
Eden Log (480 HD, 320 SD, to rent)
Ever read a movie description that sounds like a perfect video game? In this sci-fi movie, a man wakes up deep underground, naked and suffering from amnesia. He has to try and escape, and find out who he is in the process. It would make a perfect survival horror game. It's not a clean cut "Oh, so that's what happened" movie, but is instead rather cerebral like Primer or Cube. Both of which are highly recommended, by the way. If you like dark sci-fi, you'll enjoy Eden Log.
The Guild (a smattering of episodes from Season One and Season Two, in HD and SD, all free)
It's hard to beat the low price of free, especially when you're talking about The Guild. Although you can (and should) buy seasons one and two on their website, why not sample a few? The Season 3 premiere episode was first made available for Gold members only, but as of September 1st it has opened up to Silver as well. It's a series about gaming, features dorks, nerds, geeks, and hot girls. Do we really need to sell this any harder? Additional geek credit with the new addition of Wil Wheaton as the leader of a rival guild.
Netflix Watch Instantly (Mac/PC or Xbox Live, subscription required: starts at $8.99 per month)
Remains of the Day
Anthony Hopkins has been in a million films, give or take a few, and this is one of his finest, just after Silence of the Lambs. He's a dyed-in-the-wool British butler who painfully doesn't know how to express his true feelings, and he only lives to serve. By the time he realizes this, he's in the twilight of his life. I'm not normally one for sappy movies like this, but this one goes beyond the barrier of schmaltz and exposes the human condition. Christopher Reeve has a small role that he shines in as well.
Aside from the goofy cover art, this movie should be one of the most quotable in your entire arsenal, and if you don't yet have at least one Carl (Bill Murray) impersonation under your belt, then you haven't truly lived. It's a pitch-perfect comedy, especially ripe for the dog days of summer, and while it might not make you want to take up golf, it'll certainly make you consider a career as a wiseass.
PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3 or PSP)
Batgirl: Year One Motion Comics (9 issues, SD, $1.99 per issue)
Barbara Gordon has had a rough life in the comic books. Besides being Commissioner Gordon's daughter, she also had notable career as Batgirl from 1967 to 1988, before The Joker shot a hole in her spinal cord and rendered her paraplegic in Alan Moore's Batman: The Killing Joke. Since then she's been Oracle, the code-breaking, computer-hacking voice in Batman's ear. However, in 2003 Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon decided to bring back the costumed version of Gordon, and now you can enjoy the retcon in digital form.
Coraline ($5.99 HD or $3.99 SD to rent, $14.99 to own SD)
In addition to being the author of the excellent Sandman comic books from DC, Neil Gaiman has written several fantastic novels, including Neverwhere, The Graveyard Book, and American Gods. However, none of those have made the leap to the big screen yet (Neverwhere was actually a BBC television series written by Gaiman, who later wrote the novel). Well, until Coraline, that is. It's a charming stop-motion animated film directed by Henry Selick that manages to capture what Gaiman put on paper. Like some of Gaiman's other material, it might look like it's made for children, but the themes run deep.
Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3)
I Love You, Man ($39.99 SRP)
There were hints of the comedic screen sparks between Paul Rudd and Jason Segel in Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but I Love You, Man is the first time you get a full-on bromance between the two. Blu-ray watchers will notice it extends to the commentary on the film as well, and the Rush concert scene makes this movie worth it. Segel's line, "Yeah, and it smells like fart" is one you'll want to store in your bag of go-to jokes. Segel's slightly more reserved in this movie, which is really Rudd's vehicle. Which becomes evident in the "Slappin' de bass," scene. Funny stuff.
Adventureland ($44.99 SRP)
Equally funny, but also painfully poignant, is Greg Mottola's coming of age comedy Adventureland. While there's straight-up comedy in here (is Martin Starr ever not funny?), Jessie Eisenberg shows why he's Michael Cera's spiritual brother. The guy makes you painfully aware how awkward your teenage years are, and he's believable as everyguy. In fact, you might think he's channeling yourself. Great extras, including a rocking 1980s soundtrack (film is set in 1987) and a featurette on ball-tapping.
What will you be watching?