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WEEKLY BYT GUIDE TO DVD RELEASES / ON DEMAND / INSTANT NETFLIXING
July 2, 2013 | 12:00PM

Since we know how important at-home-entertainment is for all of us – every week we 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:

  • Identity Thief. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Which is all a shame, because like I said, there are some potent ideas ready for the taking here, and Identity Thief has the set-up and characters to take advantage of them. But it doesn’t, and the laughs and moments of lively storytelling are too far apart for it to work as pure entertainment, either. By the time the ending rolled around, and some acts of honor and kindness are performed, and flashes of genuine character moments are had, I just couldn’t muster the energy to care anymore.
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OUT THIS WEEK & DEFINITELY WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • 56 Up. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    More than anything else, the Up series is a way for us to examine our own lives. I’m half the age of everyone in 56 Up, so it’s surprising how their lives at 28 were so different from mine right now. The one encouraging thing is how Nick, Jackie, and all others aged gracefully. They are rounder and with more wrinkles, sure, but they have grown into themselves and their warm smiles are life-affirming. While I may watch 56 Up and leave it with hope, my parents would have an entirely different reaction and it would still be totally appropriate. That’s genius of Apted’s documentaries, which will probably never be replicated again. These snapshots are mostly superficial, yet by asking the right questions, Apted helps us look to the past and future with depth.
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  • The House I Live In. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    In political documentaries, there is a spectrum of personalization. On one extreme, there is Michael Moore. He sometimes inserts himself into his films so he can provide narration and rely on anecdotal evidence. Charles Ferguson, director of Inside Job , is the other extreme. He relies on experts and facts, pointing to the precise causes of a large problem. The House I Live In, the new documentary about the War on Drugs, combines both extremes. Eugene Jarecki uses personal anecdotes and large-scale analysis to uncover the institutional racism behind America’s biggest law enforcement catastrophe.
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INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:

  • Re-Animator. Here’s Mike D’Angelo over The AV Club:
    HP Lovecraft wasn’t generally a barrel of laughs, and his serialized short story “Herbert West: Reanimator,” originally published in 1921-22, was such a desultory paycheck effort that even the author himself reportedly disowned it. That may be precisely why it works so beautifully onscreen, transformed by the young Stuart Gordon—making an impressive feature debut—into a straight-faced gore comedy. Retaining only the title character and a handful of basic plot elements, the movie stars Jeffrey Combs as a hilariously dry, amoral medical student who’s found a way to revive dead tissue, using a neon-green fluid rather than Dr. Frankenstein’s jolt of electricity. This goes about as well as it usually does, and before long Miskatonic University is overrun by an early prototype of the rage zombie, most of which have also been super-lobotomized and are in the diabolical control of a decapitated but still mobile scientist (David Gale).
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  • Bullhead. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    You don’t see him approach the cow farm, but when an unsuspecting man closes the trunk of his car, there he is. Filmed from below, he is a massive wall of muscle and coiled anger. We’re just as surprised to see the beefy man as the other guy is, so his deliberate threat is all the more menacing. This is the bravura opening to Michael R. Roskam’s Bullhead. A startling thriller, the movie centers on Jacky, the muscular man played by Matthias Schoenaerts, and the world of illegal, hormone-driven cow farming.
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  • Casa de mi Padre. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    No matter how bizarre it gets, Casa de mi Padre would fall apart without carefully-tuned performances. Everyone involved, particularly Bernal and Luna, succeed by playing it completely straight. There are no surreptitious winks to the audience from any actor because Piedmont has all the self-awareness covered. The actors who do speak English, including Nick Offerman as a DEA agent, do not appear to know they’re in a comedy. And then there’s Ferrell, who manages to be funny by over-pronouncing his rudimentary lines. He plays Armando as an innocent, one whose simple understanding of the world may mask a deeper intuition about what his family needs (it probably doesn’t).  A satire like this is not for everyone. But if you like to laugh at bad movies or love ¡Three Amigos! as much as I do, Casa de mi Padre is funny, even clever, about its stupidity.
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What are you Netflixing this week? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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