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’re focusing on films starring Nicolas Cage, a true cinematic treasure.
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Submergence. Here’s Simon Abrams over at The Village Voice:
You may even find yourself drawn in by the first half of Wenders and screenwriter Erin Dignam’s sensuous adaptation of J.M. Ledgard’s sprawling novel. The story follows idealistic Scottish spy James (McAvoy) as he, now kidnapped by Somalian Jihadi fighters, recalls his whirlwind romance with shy biomathematician Danielle (Vikander). Initially, Wenders finds in Dignam and Ledgard’s flashback-intensive scenario many opportunities to accent the enchanting sounds and textures of James and Danielle’s honeymoon-period romance, like the muffled clinking of their wine glasses or the soft creaking of their hotel’s hardwood floors.But you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself — or the filmmakers — if you keep watching after the sixty-minute mark. At that point, McAvoy vaguely — but angrily! — lectures everybody, including Danielle during mid-fling flashbacks, about the “educational” imperative underlying their respective professions. We can only guess what — or who — James is referring to when he instructs Danielle that “their world’s only about power. It’s only secondly about education.”
- Samson. Here’s Peter Sobcyznski over at RogerEbert.com:
Will Samon satisfy the faith-based audience that is clearly its key demographic? Perhaps, assuming that all they want is a simple retelling of a familiar story that doesn’t threaten by bringing anything new to the table. Those whose concerns are more cinematic than ecclesiastic, on the other hand, will find it to be a sincerely made but largely uninteresting and sadly cut-rate take on the tale. Whatever artistic sins the DeMille may have committed, it at least deigned to be interesting enough to hold the attention of devout and secular audiences alike. This one, on the other hand, is such a drag that viewers of all faiths will find themselves wishing that Delilah and her scissors could have somehow found her way into the editing bay and done everyone a favor.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (CAGE YOUR QUEUE edition):
- Mom and Dad (now on Hulu). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Now I know what you’re probably wondering: what about Nicolas Cage? When he is in the film, which is not often, he steals the show. His performance is chaotic, and always in high gear. At one point, Cage sings “The Hokey Pokey” while destroying his basement with a sledge hammer, his over-the-top acting is a perfect fit for the material. Still, there is little sense of chemistry – no one can cage the Cage – and his inhumanity makes his psychosis more plausible than him as a family man. No one can match Cage’s frenzied style, so Mom and Dad suffers when he is not on screen. It suffers in other crucial ways, too, until its smart ideas give way to something typical. And up until now, “typical” is a word Taylor’s work managed to avoid.
- Dog Eat Dog (now on Netflix). Here’s Peter Bradshaw over at The Guardian:
It’s the right director for the right project and the result is Schrader’s best for years: a lairy, nasty, tasty crime thriller built on black-comic chaos. Dog Eat Dog isn’t perfect: the opening scene could have been cut, the guys’ “party” montage could worryingly have come from a 90s Brit geezer film, and Schrader should have resisted the temptation to award himself a cameo as a mob boss. Or else he should have hired himself a dialogue coach. But it’s terrifically watchable, a high-octane automobile of a film with dodgy steering, but exciting in a world of dull and prissy hybrids.
- Bringing Out the Dead (now on Starz). Here’s Janet Maslin over at The New York Times:
The narrative structure, revisiting the same characters and hospital over the course of Bringing Out the Dead, has a deliberate but wearing way of chasing its own tail. But this is still a bustling, impassioned film with much to recommend it. Mr. Scorsese wrote the book on darkly evocative urban visions, and now he adds a new chapter; he deploys his huge visual vocabulary of camera movements, perspective and motion changes with unparalleled authority. Mr. Cage, with the look of an anguished medieval saint, gives a fine, haunting performance that makes Frank’s spiritual crisis very real indeed.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.