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 scope out true stories about angry, flawed young men.
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Taylor Sheridan, screenwriter of the Sicario films, presents the southern border is a lawless hellscape where terrorism and warfare run rampant. A lot has happened since Sicario first hit theaters. The guy who said “[Mexican immigrants] are rapists” is now our President. At our southern border, the government separated thousands of immigrant children from their parents, with no clear plan to reunite them. In other words, Sicario: Day of the Soldado could not have come at a worse time. A large cohort of the movie-going public is not in the mood for a nasty thriller about cartel warfare. But if Day of the Soldado does poorly at the box office – and it probably will – it won’t be just because of the political climate this summer. It will be because the movie is terrible.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- The First Purge. Here’s what we said in our original review:
When The First Purge does finally find its footing around the third act, it’s a true treat. Instead of jumping from one part of the neighborhood to the next, building up energy just to blow it all on mediocre bouts of action, all the important characters are finally together, leading to a tight and tense series of sequences that include some of the best kills in the franchise. By the time the credits roll and Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” blares through the speakers, you’ve forgotten about the missteps of the beginning of the film. You’ve also forgotten that nothing is going to be alright. The protests won’t work. People will continue to purge, the government will continue to kill poor people and minorities for sport and Ethan Hawke will be there for some reason. But The First Purge still manages to capture that rush that makes us come back to the series again and again. Throwing (some of) horrors most conservative tendencies out the window and giving us some balls to the wall scenes where racist, obnoxiously rich white people get murdered in spectacular fashion is sometimes all you need.
- Leave No Trace. Here’s what we said in our round-up of the year’s best films:
Ever since Six Feet Under, Ben Foster has been a reliably intense character actor. He never chooses easy roles, whether he plays Lance Armstrong or a deranged Western outlaw. This drama, written and directed Debra Granik, is a showcase for Foster and newcomer Thomasin McKenzie. They play a father and daughter who live off the grid in the Oregon Mountains, at least until law enforcement intervenes and forces them back into society. The drama unfolds quietly, with Foster and McKenzie only hinting at their bond and backstory. The final scenes, among the most moving I’ve seen all year, are poignant because they are handled in such an unaffected, natural way. Anyone who loved Winter’s Bone, Granik’s previous film, or the work of Kelly Reichert should absolutely see this.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (biopics about angry, flawed men edition):
- Chappaquiddick (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Kennedy handily won re-election to the Senate in 1970. He would go on to become one of the longest serving members in the chamber’s history, instrumental in a sweeping array of progressive reforms. But the filmmakers are not really concerned with whether Kennedy’s political accomplishments make up for his actions at Chappaquiddick. They’re interested in something much more intimate. When the possibility of resignation comes up, the implication isn’t one of high principle; anyone who made these mistakes shouldn’t be in office. Rather, resignation is what’s needed for this particular man to save himself. If he doesn’t, he’ll be surrendering to the machine forever.
- Stronger (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
Jeff Bauman can be a fuckup. That, anyway, is how Stronger sometimes opts to portray him: not just as a courageous survivor, not just as a symbol of perseverance, but as an immature knucklehead, too. Bauman was there at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April of 2013, when two homemade bombs detonated; he awoke a couple days later to discover that he had lost both of his legs in the terrorist attack. Stronger, adapted from his bestselling memoir of the same name, recreates the difficult aftermath of these events, including the uneasy celebrity bestowed upon Bauman, thanks to an iconic photograph of him being rushed to safety by a stranger. And yet far from simply rubber-stamping the prevalent, uplifting narrative of his experience—his public transformation into the living embodiment of Boston Strong—the movie emphasizes flaws, the stuff they don’t engrave on statues or work into human-interest tributes.
- Borg vs. McEnroe (now on Hulu). Here’s Alan Scherstuhl over at The Village Voice:
Now, a couple of years into his exile from a Hollywood that kept tasking him with anchoring charmless blockbusters, LaBeouf at last has a showcase suited to his talent for parsing and processing anger. Playing John McEnroe in Janus Metz’s Borg vs. McEnroe, LaBeouf fully exhibits a wounded, soulful rage that, in retrospect, can be seen simmering beneath the surface of many of his earlier performances. There’s an element of parroting here, as he spews out McEnroe’s staccato curses and complaints, but it’s never mere mimicry. Each sputtered fuck seems to explode right from the gut, even as each also is precise and weighted in its meaning and impact. LaBeouf demonstrates both a rare command of the psychology of male fury and a canny sense of the complexities of American swearing. Sometimes, screaming about a line call, his McEnroe sounds viciously, hilariously rueful, a man certain that it’s everyone else on this planet who’s lost it — it couldn’t be him.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.