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 some bone-crunching action films.
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Mile 22. Here’s what we said in our original review:
In interviews before Mile 22’s release, Wahlberg and Berg floated it as the first entry in what they see as a franchise. It’s easy to see Wahlberg’s envy: He might’ve starred in two Transformers films, but he’s got no role in the Marvel, DC, Star Wars, or Fast & Furiousuniverses that dominate moviedom. And that’s a bit of a shame for an actor who’s been so compelling in films as varied as Boogie Nights, The Departed, The Other Guys, and The Fighter. But there’s no snappy joke, prosthetic device, or action sequence to make Mile 22deserve a Mile 23.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Ant-Man and the Wasp. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Ultimately, Ant-Man and the Wasp isn’t about saving the world, or fighting bad guys, as it is about families trying to put themselves back together. Hank and Hope are on a mission to rescue Janet; Scott wants to be the ideal single dad who’s still embraced by his ex-wife and her new husband (the underused Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale); even Fishburne’s alliance with the phase-shifting Ghost is well-intentioned. And yet for an entry in a movie series that’s all about spectacle, this one’s greatest asset is its relative smallness. There’s nary a mention of some big purple jerk hunting magic rocks. There are dazzling set pieces, sure, but the best moments come when characters mend ties or—more often—roast each other. In a summer of indistinguishable franchise entries, it’s one not to swat away.
- BlacKkKlansman. Here’s what we said in our original review:
It is a good thing BlacKkKlansmen is often fun, since the scenes with the Klan are frequently disturbing. This film is brimming with racial epithets, and misguided declarations of white supremacy. This particular chapter of the Klan is full of sad, uneducated people who see the civil rights movement as a threat to their default societal dominance. Some Klansman are more passionate than others: Paul Walter Hauser is memorable as a mouth-breathing buffoon with a propensity for violence, while Ashlie Atkinson plays a true believer. In a particularly intense scene, the Klansmen and their wives gather for a screening of The Birth of a Nation, and it serves as a reminder there is nothing quite as terrifying as a hateful, impassioned white woman.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (brutal action edition):
- The Raid: Redemption (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
All that said, the action is a hell of a ride. In contrast to the almost monk-like calm of Stephen Soderbergh’s visual deconstruction of the genre in Haywire, Evans directs and edits within current action conventions. But he does it exceedingly well, using camera moves and cuts to reinforce the visual impact of what his camera is capturing, rather than trying to artificially create that impact out of whole cloth a la Michael Bay. He and his cast create relatable, sympathetic characters out of a few broad strokes, and thus effectively build the tension around the physical violence. And as the leading man, Iko Uwais hits the sweet spot for this kind of film. He carries a natural gravitas and everyman humility, while being completely physically believable in the midst of the combat. I’d be happy to see him make an action-movie career out of this. The Raid has it flaws, but as a delivery machine for cinematic violence, it’s at the top of its game.
- Headshot (now on Netflix). Here’s Dennis Harvey over at Variety:
There’s little narrative surprise or suspense once that trajectory kicks in, and “Headshot” is the kind of movie where you have to overlook myriad credulity-stretching aspects to buy the premise at all. Not only does Ishmael/Abdi constantly elude hails of close-range automatic gunfire and bounce back from bone-crackingly brutal punishment, but he rises from a coma looking like someone who’s just spent those same 60 days doing abdominal crunches. Of course, realism is hardly on the menu with a pure adrenaline fantasy like this one. What it does serve up in massive quantities is showy action of both the bullet-ballet and martial arts variety, with other implements (including chopsticks) thrown in to further ratchet up the frequent digital spurts of blood.
- Kick-Ass (now on Hulu). Here’s what we said in our original review:
If there’s any doubt left in your mind, let me reiterate Kick-Ass is a dark, dark movie. With the “heroes in the real world” premise taken to its logical conclusion, some final scenes are downright uncomfortable. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie inspires some to walk out of the theater. Still, Vaughn’s nervy tight wire act pays off – the fact he won’t lose (most) audience members is a testament to his direction and the work of his cast. Simple pleasures like violence and naughty words are often their own reward, and the movie ably succeeds in that regard. For those who prefer more complex entertainment, it will serve as an exaggerated character study. No matter what level of scrutiny given, Kick-Ass hilariously reminds us why we lead comfortable lives, and just how deranged/painful heroism can be.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.