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WEEKLY BYT GUIDE INSTANT NETFLIXING: NICOLAS CAGE EDITION
January 7, 2014 | 1:00PM

Since we know how important at-home-entertainment is for all of us – every week we do a little “what’s on Netflix this week” round up for you, with nice little excerpts of our past reviews and more. You’ll love it. Trust us. Now CAGE YOUR QUEUE:

INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:

  • Face/Off. Here’s Janet Maslin over at The New York Times:
    Before we go numb from such prefab excitement, here comes a mega-movie that actually delivers what mega-movies promise: strong characters, smart plotting, breathless action and a gimmick that hasn’t been seen before. High-tech identity tricks are nothing new (”Terminator 2,” ”Total Recall,” etc.), but they aren’t usually presented with the acting ingenuity of ”Face/Off,” from John Woo. Mr. Woo is such an action wizard that he can make planes or speedboats kick box, but his surprising strength this time is on a more human level. Diabolical cleverness shapes the way that John Travolta’s nice guy and Nicolas Cage’s sleek criminal trade faces. And trade lives. Beyond the bold strokes of casting these roles perfectly and creating a field day for his shrewd superstars, Mr. Woo (moving way up from the cartoonish dynamics of ”Broken Arrow”) accomplishes something near-impossible. He makes the viewer buy this film’s loony premise, and buy it with a smile.
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  • Face/Off. Here’s David Edelstein over at Slate:
    The action inFace/Off is dazzlingly fluid, the link between gun burst and bullet impact shockingly compressed, so that objects seem to explode instantaneously. (The editor is Christian Wagner.) Yes, Woo’s over-familiar pet motif is hauled out: the symbiotic relationship of hunter and hunted, embodied by men with guns pointed, arms at full extension, winding around each other in a distinctly homoerotic pas de deux. This time, however, the Wooisms are reinforced by a crafty script (by Mike Werb and Michael Colleary) that is chock-full of gorgeous symmetries. When Cage and Travolta taunt each other through a two-sided mirror, finally firing into their own reflections, you want to whoop at the bravura.
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  • Face/Off. Here’s Stephen Hunter over at The Washington Post:
    As an example of the art of casting, the movie is brilliantly engineered. It allows two major stars to each play the showy villain for a time, and also for each to do an imitation of the other. Travolta must ultimately play Cage playing Travolta, while his brother in fame must play Travolta playing Cage. It’s absurd, of course, but such is the filmmaker’s magic that it makes rational objection beside the point. It’s kind of amusing to watch the dueling charismatics: Both see Castor as a dancer whose body language suggests complete liberation from any save the most nihilistic adolescent impulses. But Cage works mainly through his eyes: His occasionally bulge with the rapture of madness like blackened deviled eggs. His face lengthens and tilts. He looks like a basset hound on amphetamines.
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  • Face/Off. Hey, remember that scene where Nicolas Cage gets all creepy about a peach?
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  • Face/Off. Or that scene where Nicolas Cage’s character really needs some therapy?
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  • Face/Off. Really, this movie is just gun porn, speedboats, and doves in slow motion. I love it anyway.
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That’s it for this week’s Netflix Instant guide. Now don’t forget to CAGE YOUR QUEUE!

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