Since we know how important at-home-entertainment is for all of us, every Tuesday we’re going to do a little “what’s getting released on DVD/on demand/Netflix this week” round up for you, with nice little excerpts of our past reviews and more. You’ll love it. Trust us. Now–all you need is someone to watch these movies with.
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- V/H/S – here’s what we said in our original review:
“After the lamentable proliferation of torture porn movies, horror is going through a mini-renaissance.The Cabin in the Woods and Resolution are pushing the genre to its limit, and AFI’s upcoming Spooky Movie festival will showcase horror at its most disturbing and fun. But with its deliberately poor production values and simple characters, V/H/S is a step in the wrong direction. It’s an interesting experiment, yet found footage does not play to the strengths of the directors. They have no chance to develop unique style since this conceit is the style.”
OUT THIS WEEK & (MOSTLY) RECOMMENDED:
- Al Weiwei: Never Sorry - here’s what we said in our original review:
“Still, it is terrifically compelling viewing, make no mistake about it. The movie’s only issue is that, well, the story is not over. Ai WeiWei is in the headlines (again) as we speak, fighting for his appeal against tax evasion charges (which were clearly placed in an effort to shut him up) and the saga of one man’s effort to use his art to make the world a better place will keep developing for a while to come. As I type this and later as you read this and later still as you make your way to E Street to see this movie, WeiWei will not be stopping. While Klayman had to finish somewhere, this does feel just like Episode 1, with a cliffhanger. So, here’s to a sequel? Because, why not? WeiWei certainly deserves one, if not even an omnibus.”
OUT RECENTLY AND DEFINITELYWORTH YOUR TIME:
- The Dark Knight Rises – here’s what we said in our original review:
“Batman, Michael Caine’s Alfred, Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Officer John Blake all wrestle with right and wrong, trying to make sense of a mixed-up world that may be nearing its end. Nolan’s set up a conclusion for this storyline that keeps the audience guessing at every turn, trying to sort out our own beliefs about the characters’ allegiances and motivations before, inexorably, the Gotham universe collapses in on itself.”
- Samsara – here’s what we said in our original review:
“No doubt every person will view the film in their own way, as biases are impossible to leave at the door. But overall Samsara is like viewing our place in the universe through a powerful telescope: we’re all just arbitrary beings on a rock hurtling through endless space. You’ll feel tiny, you’ll wonder what the point of anything and everything is. After being overwhelmed by this film, even with no narrative in place, you’ll no doubt have a multitude of stories to tell.”
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- American Horror Story, Season 1
Those who know me personally are almost all aware of the fact that I appreciate horror in the way a sommelier appreciates wine; those who know me even better know my favorite television show–and what I regard to be the greatest series in TV history–is The Twilight Zone (also Instantly Watchable, I might add). I suffered through the relaunches of this and The OuterLimits in the ’90s. I enjoy the darkness in Dexter. I can appreciate what Grimm is trying to do. Sort of. But somehow no contemporary show understands the importance of terror, suspense and a episodic structure like American Horror Story. While each episode is not unto itself a universe of curiosities, strange happenings and malevolence in the heart of humanity, each season is. The first season, which takes place in a grotesquely haunted home in Southern California, finds its footing a few episodes in and never loses it again. It is acted by an incredible cast (Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Zachary Quinto, to name a few) whose star performances are given by the scene-stealing Jessica Lange. It’s gory, it’s horrifying, it’s obsessive. Try it on for size.