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 new classics for you to discover.
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Papillon. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Hunnam is blandly handsome, unconvincing as a leading man outside a few scenes where he gets to be a brawler, faintly echoing the motorcycle gang boss he played for seven years on Sons of Anarchy. Malek, who in previews looks magnetic as Freddie Mercury in the upcoming biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, spends this movie attempting to transport the tweaky mannerisms that won him an Emmy as an aloof hacker on Mr. Robot to a French penal colony. Why these two would keep coming back to each other for help is a mystery, even in the most brutal of situations.
- Gaugin. Here’s Simon Abrams at The Village Voice:
The decision to cast — and keep the camera pointed at — magnetic leading man Vincent Cassel is the most novel aspect of the otherwise staid French biopic Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti. It’s a Lust for Life–like period drama, following master artist Paul Gauguin as he abandons his wife and children and moves to French Polynesia, convinced that a change in environment will improve his fortune. Cassel (La Haine, Sheitan) dominates virtually every shot, except the sequences in which his character observes (from off-screen) his paintings’ subjects: the shores of Tahiti as well as his Polynesian mistress/muse Tehura (Tuheï Adams). Director Edouard Deluc and his three co-writers focus on Gauguin’s perspective, often reducing Cassel to an emotional lightning rod for their trite post-colonialist narrative. Even worse is when Gauguin dwells on Tehura’s sexual relationship with his Tahitian apprentice Jotépha (Pua-Taï Hikutini), an affair that never happened in real life.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Claire’s Camera. Here’s David Sims at The Atlantic:
Claire’s Camera is the 20th film from the South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo, whose work regularly features that vague air of cosmic mystery. Is Claire purposely engineering something by approaching these three mixed-up souls, or should audiences just take the serendipity of these encounters at face value? This director doesn’t nudge the viewer one way or the other. And though this latest project might feel like a trifle (it’s only 69 minutes long and was filmed at Cannes to take advantage of a press appearance Huppert was doing there), it’s also a clear statement of artistic intent. Hong is one of the most exciting directors working right now, but his reputation feels undersung, perhaps because of how light and disposable his movies often seem. In reality, they’re anything but.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (new classics edition):
- The Other Side of the Wind (now on Netflix). Here’s Lindsay Zoladz over at The Ringer:
We have a tendency, as critic Lili Loofbourow pointed out earlier this year in an excellent essay about “the male glance,” not just to overlook the work of female artists but also to “overread” the works of male artists, particularly those we are primed to see as auteurs—as male geniuses. Oddly enough, at the end of the movie, Jake Hannaford (and Orson Welles) comes to a similar conclusion. “Who knows, maybe you can stare too hard at something, huh?” Hannaford says, to an audience who’s been waiting 40 years to consume and pick apart this very film. “Drain out the virtue, suck out the living juice.” Maybe it really is much more simple. “You shoot the great places and pretty people. All those girls and boys. Shoot ’em dead.” This movie is a funeral for the old, restrictive idea of the untouchable male genius and its impossible expectations—the brazen, maverick filmmaker who can get away with whatever he wants. The Other Side of the Wind has arrived 40 years late. But in its odd way, it’s right on time.
- Night Moves (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s Roger Ebert:
What [Gene Hackman] brings to Night Moves is crucial; he must be absolutely sure of his identity as a free-lance gumshoe, even while all of his craft is useless and all of his hunches are based on ignorance of the big picture. Maybe the movie is saying that the old film noir faith is dead, that although in Chandler’s words “down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid,” when this man goes down those streets he is blind-sided by a plot that has no respect for him.
- They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (now on Netflix). Here’s Andrew Lapin over at NPR:
With stylistic shades of Welles’s F For Fake, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead seizes the moment to ask grander questions about its subject’s immense life and work.It weaves together themes of deception and betrayal, anger and resentment, and asks whether “creating accidents” is the same thing as devolving into madness. Welles was a maverick alone in a conformist industry, but he could also be selfish and petty, and if even he didn’t know what he wanted in his film, who could really be blamed for the whole thing falling apart?