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 & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Last Flag Flying. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Despite this, getting three great actors together and having them play off each other – especially with Linklater’s dialogue – should be more enjoyable than it is here. For one of the few times in the writer/director’s career, his writing is stiff and contrived. Carell fares the best, but that’s due to his reserved, sullen reaction to his son’s death. Cranston, however, is brash, frustrating and loud – yet this is played as humorous and part of the character’s “charm.” Cranston excels when he can play toned down in the way Carell is here, but when he’s turned up to 11, without any reins to pull him in, he can be hard to deal with.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- The Square. Here’s what we said in our original review:
I once heard a graduation speaker implore her listeners to seek out “squishy experiences.” She defined them as moments where you don’t feel entirely comfortable or frightened, where the traditional fight or flight response does not apply. The Square, a new dark comedy by Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, is made up entirely of squishy experiences. We are meant to feel awkward, to have our assumptions and biases challenged. Set mostly around a modern art gallery, Östlund raises the tension until our only recourse is to wince or laugh. Each scene unfolds elegantly, even if the satire has the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face. This film unearths the ugliness of inequality, racism, and masculinity, making its points way more times than necessary.
- Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Here’s April Wolfe over at The Village Voice:
Writer-director Angela Robinson’s Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is achingly normal, in a good way. Robinson has proven herself capable of melding her sincere and often endearingly campy sensibilities to any cinematic style — spy spoofs (D.E.B.S.), Disney family flicks (Herbie: Fully Loaded), comic-dramas (The L Word), sexy vampire melodramas (True Blood) — but her choice to play safe with this romance is inspired. Professor Marston is the true story of a revolutionary couple that would become a committed, polyamorous threesome that would then go on to invent the lie detector together before creating the Wonder Woman comic from their shared interest in bondage. That Robinson manages to present these convention-flouting characters in entirely conventional terms while still telling their story faithfully from beginning to end — spanning decades — just as anyone might do with a regular old heteronormative romance…I have to say “wow.” Even your prudish grandparents might find themselves cheering on this crew.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (young heroines in dark films edition):
- Ingrid Goes West (now on Hulu). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The film is well-paced, not too long, and sharply crafted. Spicer’s direction and the cinematography by Bryce Fortner are effective but unobtrusive. The best visual moments observe Ingrid in close-up, her hollow eyes bathed in the sickly light of her smartphone, desperately searching for that next ephemeral hit of affirmation. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Ingrid Goes West grim, but it is a tough film. Spicer and Smith bravely deny their audience a conclusive character arc. Ingrid is saved, but whether she is redeemed is another matter. You could arguably watch the film on repeat, the catharsis of the climax bleeding right into the crisis of the beginning, in an endless loop of hashtags, emojis, and false connections on and on forever.
- But I’m a Cheerleader (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s Roger Ebert:
Megan is thunderstruck. It has never occurred to her that she is a lesbian, although indeed she may be. “But I’m a Cheerleader!” is about her sudden transition from pompons to indoctrination, from high school silliness to a desert camp ruled by the fierce and unsmiling Mary Brown (Cathy Moriarty). The movie seeks the general tone of a John Waters film, although Waters might have been ruder and more polished. Director Jamie Babbit goes more for the raucous and the slapstick, and succeeds, mostly; some of the jokes don’t work but satire is always chancy, and best when it’s closest to life.
- Marie Antoinette (now on Netflix). Here’s Lisa Schwarzbaum over at Entertainment Weekly:
Marie Antoinette uses Antonia Fraser’s marvelous 2001 biography as a reference, but Coppola’s movie views the world through the young queen’s eyes. And eventually, that narrow POV loses focus and veers toward distractedness as the seriousness of the brewing revolution becomes clearer. Instead, friendless in an adopted country strangled by its own demands of etiquette (Judy Davis is a hoot as the worst of the sticklers, the Comtesse de Noailles) and unable to arouse her husband, Marie turns to luxury as solace — cakes, jewels, parties, shoes. Was she a flibbertigibbet, a casualty of gossip and mean press coverage, a Princess Diana before her time? Coppola’s stranded royal suggests that at heart, Marie Antoinette was just a simple girl who wanted to have fun, and got her head handed to her.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.