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.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Blade Runner 2049. Here’s what we said in our original review:
What works: Every performance. Every shot. Every editing choice. Every stern yet subtle shift in color palette as our scenery flits from Bakersfield to Los Angeles to San Diego to Las Vegas. Every effect and casting choice and pitter-pat of is-he-or-isn’t-he interrogation of what it means to be a human. The truest note Villeneuve strikes is also his quietest. Scott’s original worked so well as world-building because it projected our future outward with feet planted in the present. None of the sighing doors and sleek comms badges of your shinier sci-fi franchises. The impossible digitality of an imagined future met the hereditary clunk of mechanical reality.
- The Killing of a Scared Deer. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Killing of a Sacred Deer only toys with being about revenge and guilt, never quite settling on a cohesive idea. In practice, Lanthimos utilizes the distant, calculated work of Stanley Kubrick or Michael Haneke’s horror stylings in what ends up being far more a mood piece than anything resembling a bigger unifying idea. Lanthimos’ deadpan atmosphere-creating is always an exciting ambiance to be a part of, and his singular remains unlike anything in cinema today. The Killing of a Sacred Deer – despite being slightly toned down for Lanthimos compared to what he’s done in the past – is one of the most captivating and savagely amusing films to come out in years.
- Thank You for Your Service. Here’s your truly over at The Washington Post:
A veteran’s assimilation into civilian life comes with high expectations — ones made even higher when the returning warrior has wounds that can’t be seen. With limbs intact and no significant scarring, so the thinking goes, adjustment should be easy. Yet it’s the expectations of the former soldiers themselves — not society’s — that are set the highest. That’s a small piece of the wisdom behind Thank You for Your Service, an observant drama about returning veterans based on the nonfiction book by David Finkel, an editor and former reporter at The Washington Post. Feelings of guilt and shame — to say nothing of post-traumatic stress — often pervade the lives of former soldiers. Writer-director Jason Hall astutely conveys these and other facets of the modern veteran’s experience, generating authentic drama, in scenes that play out in unexpected ways.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Oscar catch-up edition):
- The Big Sick (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Big Sick is a film defined by its specificity. In all its characters and sub-plots, screenwriters Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon zero in on a unique experience, and yet the emotions that guide this experience are universal. Of course, this film is also a true story, with Nanjiani and Gordon basing the plot on their unconventional courtship. They find humor in awkward, sometimes intense situations, and yet The Big Sick is not a film that distinctly veers between comedy and drama. Jokes are weaved throughout the story, so part of its delight is laughing in a moment where the expected payoff is the exact opposite. I knew The Big Sick would be funny. I did not expect to hear the best 9/11 joke I’ve ever heard, in an gut-bustingly inappropriate moment.
- Mudbound (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
We tend to think of loneliness as synonymous with being alone, but it’s actually quite different. Loneliness has far less to do with a lack of physical presence of other people, than it does with a lack of mental and emotional connection with other people. As Mudbound shows, in some ways it can be even more isolating to be surrounded by others if those people don’t understand who you are or where you’ve been. This film is so crowded with loneliness that some of the characters seem to be in danger of drowning in it.
- Icarus (now on Netflix). Here’s Noel Murray over at The AV Club:
Bryan Fogel’s Netflix documentary Icarus tells such an eye-opening story that it almost doesn’t matter when the storytelling itself gets a little sloppy. An actor and playwright best known for the comedy Jewtopia, Fogel is trying his hand at feature-length non-fiction filmmaking for the first time with Icarus, and he just happened to stumble onto the kind of relevant, ripped-from-the-headlines scandal that investigative journalists spend years trying to dig up. What starts out as a Super Size Me-esque stunt—with Fogel injecting himself with performance-enhancing drugs to compete in an amateur cycling race—becomes a wider-ranging exposé of doping in organized sports. And then it takes a darker but in retrospect inevitable turn, as the filmmaker’s foray into the shady world of PEDs brings him into contact with a network of Russian scientists who’d rather not get caught on camera.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.