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. This week we’re helping you get more Adam Driver in your eyeballs:
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Chappaquiddick. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Astonishingly, only 36 at the time, Kennedy had already been in the Senate for six years. The script, penned by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan, portrays Kennedy as well-meaning, but unwillingly swept along by the momentum of his family’s ambitions and the public legend of the Kennedy name. The film occurs several years after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and barely more than a year after Bobby Kennedy’s death, and their ghosts hang heavy over the proceedings. As if fate wanted to rub it in, the moon landing — the crowning achievement of JFK’s space race — was two days after the accident. We do get to see Kennedy’s genuine political talent, particularly a gracious speech to the women at the cookout, who participated in Bobby’s campaign. But there’s also a moment during a television interview when Kennedy mentions living in his brother’s shadow. It’s clearly meant as a rhetorical flourish, but then the reporter actually asks, what’s that like? The frozen stare Clarke gives in response cuts right to the bone.
- A Quiet Place. Here’s yours truly over at The Washington City Paper:
Non-verbal acting is how John Krasinski made a name for himself. In his breakout role on The Office, his character would routinely break the fourth wall, staring silently into the camera to express his frustration, amusement, and terror. His expressive face serves him well in A Quiet Place, a horror film that has limited spoken dialogue. Krasinski’s hands are all over the film: He directed it, produced it, and co-wrote the screenplay. He takes a simple premise—a post-apocalyptic scenario where monsters can only hear you—and achieves impressive levels of suspense and dread with it.
- The Leisure Seeker. Here’s what we said in our original review:
There are a lot of lenses through which you can watch The Leisure Seeker. Those who see it as a dark comedy will probably laugh at times, even if they don’t remember any of the jokes the next day. Those who watch it as an honest portrayal of a decades-long love story will likely feel some of both the charm and the melancholy. Those who watch to see why Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland are so critically acclaimed will probably be satisfied by two strong performances, even if it takes Mirren a bit of time to settle in to her southern accent. But the audience that will really remember The Leisure Seeker will be the one that sees past the road trip comedy, the nostalgic life examination, and the emotionally manipulative score. The viewers who will be struck by – indeed, haunted by – The Leisure Seeker are those who see this movie for what it is at its core: a horror film.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Adam Driver edition):
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Gadgets and props define so much of the Star Wars galaxy. Longtime fans cannot think of Vader without his helmet, Luke without his lightsaber, or Han without his vest. Rian Johnson, the writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is keenly aware of what these objects represent. How he uses them – he venerates some, while disregarding others – serves as a statement of purpose. Unlike The Force Awakens, a fun film that relied on the original trilogy, The Last Jedi wants to tell a new kind of story. This is a deliberate shift away from the soap opera surrounding the Skywalker family, and instead has a grander canvas, with more ambitious themes. It is unclear how this film will rank among others in the franchise, but for now The Last Jedi’s wildly succeeds as entertainment, and being arguably the darkest Star Wars film yet.
- Paterson (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Adam Driver plays Paterson, and if there was ever a doubt in anyone’s mind that he WILL be an Academy Award winning performer one day, this movie should eliminate all of that. Tall and square, with a face that seems to be stretching in every direction at once, he both fills out the screen with a physicality that could be threatening but is actually comforting here, and moves around his days with a level of content that is zen, never smug. Every conversation he is part of (actively or passively) he makes better by being there. Ron Padgett provided the original poems he writes to anchor his day, and they are perfect for Driver: deceivingly simple, disarmingly honest, rooted in the smallest, fascinating details of life. Golshifteh Farahani luminously plays his wife, Laura, a swirl of hair and dreams and black and white everything, a messy but loving core in the center of Paterson’s life. She experiments, flip-flops, changes her mind, and yet she is always there. Her character may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but she does by contrast help us appreciate the quiet of Paterson’s inner and outer workings all the more. And since he loves her, we can grow to do the same.
- Silence (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Silence often feels elusive, but on deeper introspection, it is a film that is surfacing questions and emotions that are hard to articulate or respond to. This is not a film of answers, of guidance, of admonishment. This is a film that articulates many questions, but cares more about those that roil just beneath its deceptively-stolid surface. It is trite yet true to call its choice of both subject and approach genuinely brave; it is similarly trite but true to say that this is a film that is difficult to watch and difficult to love, even as its systematic puncturing of one’s defenses leaves an impact both visceral and spiritual. Silence is so determined and holistically what it intends to be, and its intentions are so particular and anathema to what we expect from Hollywood, that straightforward adjudication or recommendation feels wholly inadequate. I won’t tell you to see Silence; instead, I’ll tell you that you probably already know whether you should go see Silence. That in-and-of-itself is a very special, albeit hard to define, cinematic achievement.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.