The 2005 film, directed by Pirates of the Caribbean's Gore Verbinski, is the actor's best work in recent years
The Oscars may now be in the rearview, but thankfully so is the annual studio dumping ground of January and February. This week offers what looks like a refreshingly not-awful slate of new releases, including the animated Western Rango and the Matt Damon-in-a-fedora conspiratorial thriller The Adjustment Bureau, in addition to soon-to-expand single-screen premiere Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, a Thai film that took top honors at last year's Cannes Film Festival.
And unlike so much recent theatrical fare, each of these three films would make a terrific jumping-off point for a fruitful weekend of home viewing. The Adjustment Bureau, the directorial debut of screenwriter George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum), might lead viewers to other sci-fi noirs adapted from the writings of Philip K. Dick, such as Blade Runner, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly; the beguiling Uncle Boonmee might inspire a selective survey of past Palme d'Or winners, which include some of the best films of all time.
For its part, Rango might point the curious to the short but sneakily eclectic filmography of its director, Gore Verbinski. Best known for having helmed the first three entries in the massively successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (one-time Oscar nominee Rob Marshall directed the series' fourth salvo, On Stranger Tides, which comes out in May), the 46-year-old Verbinski has also churned out a self-consciously edgy comedy (the 2001 misfire The Mexican) in addition to an unusually well-mounted horror remake (2002's The Ring).
All but hidden in the shadow of the Pirates tentpoles is 2005's The Weather Man, which came out in between The Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man's Chest. The downbeat comedy made no waves at the box office (its domestic theatrical gross was around $12.5 million), but the idiosyncratic, still-underrated film is well worth visiting upon the release of Verbinski's follow-up one-for-me project, which, it should be noted, has been getting