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 2018 indie movies featuring young women:
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Bad Times at the El Royale. Here’s what we said in our original review:
But that’s the risk inherent in Goddard’s puzzle-box style of filmmaking. Every twist demands another. It’s an approach that’s served Goddard well in the past. His screenplay for Cloverfield stacked pre-recession millennial aspiration, monster mayhem, and a franchise-spawning scientific conspiracy. The Cabin in the Woods, his 2012 directorial debut, revealed bitingly hysterical critiques of the horror genre and the real world’s everyday voyeurism every time it peeled back one of its many layers. This time, Goddard’s let his visual feasting overwhelm the storytelling and extend the running time long past the audience’s patience. Bad Times at El Royale is sumptuously weird, and Goddard wants to show off every last detail he conjured, but it’s a narrative-killing decision. The final reveal — involving the hotel’s lone employee (Lewis Pullman) — is so convenient that it’s offensive. If the El Royale had a TripAdvisor page, that’d be its top complaint.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- What They Had. Here’s Monica Castillo over at RogerEbert.com:
There’s an inherent longing in Elizabeth Chomko’s stunning feature debut, What They Had. The story will reveal that the phrase refers to the kind of undying love of a man for his wife, even as her memory of their life together cruelly slips away from her because of disease. What they had is not what any of their children have had, both of whom are struggling with connection and happiness in various ways. But what they had is also a reference to the old couple’s time together—the priceless moments they shared between dates, marriage and children—now coming to an end with memory loss. It was once a deep and vibrant love that has moved into the past tense.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (indie films starring young women edition):
- Eighth Grade (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said when we called it one of the year’s best films:
Like Leave No Trace and Blockers, Eighth Grade is also about a young girl’s relationship with her father. What makes this film unique – written and directed by comedian Bo Burnham – is its total commitment to the girl’s painful, highly subjective experience. This is not a “cringe” comedy, where you laugh through the awkwardness, but a compassionate dramatic comedy that gets at how thirteen year olds handle the feelings they barely understand. Burnham is a natural filmmaker, with some choices and music cues that downright shocking, but what’s most surprising about this film is how it is meant to be allegorical. Everyone will relate to Kayla, the film’s young hero, more than they may care to admit.
- Heart Beats Loud (now on Hulu). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Haley – co-writing with his frequent collaborator Marc Basch – crafts an earnest, sweet, and charming story in Hearts Beat Loud that centers around a father’s love for his daughter. It’s hard not to smile when Offerman and Clemons unite over their shared love of music, and their few performances together – especially their final one – is heartwarming and simply wonderful. Haley and Basch, however, forget to add any real urgency to their story. While Hearts Beat Loud has every element that one would expect fro a typical indie comedy – and sure, it is that – it’s the film’s sense of heart and phenomenal music that makes it a tad better than the genre’s usual fare.
- Support the Girls (now on Hulu). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The new workplace comedy Support the Girls might look like Office Space or Waiting. It is set in a deliberately generic sports bar, one where the staff – mostly women – do not get the respect they deserve. The staff have some cheeky hijinks, and the restaurant’s regulars are minor characters. The ambition and scope of this film, however, is anything but typical. It is written and directed by Andrew Bujalski, a director who helped start the “mumblecore” movement and has since become a chronicler of working classic indignities. Support the Girls continuously upends expectations of where it will go, until it becomes a comedy of specific, deep empathy.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.