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 helping you see more romances that don’t got for the easy payoff:
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Tomb Raider. Here’s what we said in our original review:
What ultimately derails Tomb Raider is how seriously everyone handles the material. There are hardly any jokes, and a premise this absurd needs actors to chew the scenery a little bit. This is doubly disappointing because Walton Goggins, a delightful character actor who chews scenery better than anyone in Hollywood, is utter comatose as the villain. Unlike Ernie Hudson in Congo, for example, no one seems to realize they are supposed to have a little fun. And you know why? Square Enix, Uthaug, Vikander, and the rest forget they’re not in a video game. A film won’t have the same payoff when you’re not controlling your avatar. At best, Tomb Raider is like watching your friend play on a Xbox controller.
- Pacific Rim: Uprising. Here’s what we said in our original review:
When Pacific Rim was released in 2013, it was the latest film from Guillermo del Toro honoring the classic monsters of his childhood. Whereas the Hellboy franchise and Pan’s Labyrinth played to his world building and creature creation, Pacific Rimwas del Toro’s vision on a much larger scale, and what seemed like on paper to be the thinking man’s mechs versus monsters film. But maybe most importantly, it was a big, loud film about giant beasts fighting each other that wasn’t Transformers. There would still be giant robots battling equally huge monstrosities in highly populated areas, but del Toro knew how to craft an action film, and not make it as mind-numbingly stupid as Michael Bay’s incessantly present series.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Love Simon. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Even though Simon kind of has it all, the audience still roots for him because Robertson is just so cute. In fact, almost every character in this film is cute. Jennifer Garner is wonderfully mushy as Simon’s mother, while Josh Duhamel has dopey, sweet father bonding moments. As a side note, Natasha Rothwell is possibly the best part of this film as the seen-it-all theatre teacher Ms. Albright. She has some of the funniest lines in the whole film and even just her withering facial expressions bring serious laughs. The only slightly sour acting notes were Miles Heizer as Simon’s classmate – he just needs to stop being cast as a teenager because he’s 24 – and Tony Hale as the annoying assistant principal (who plays the same kid of over-eager role he’s played too much already and this time comes off as bordering on predatory and pushy).
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (poignant romance edition):
- God’s Own Country (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
As just a love story, God’s Own Country is magnificent, but when Lee focuses on the relationship between Johnny and his father Martin (Ian Hart) and his grandmother Deidre (Gemma Jones), God’s Own Country becomes great in a whole new way. This dynamic is immensely powerful – Johnny doesn’t want to disappoint his family, while still wanting to live his own life – but his family knows of Johnny’s pain, and must be rough on him for them farm to survive. Like the love at the core of the film, this family aspect has a flawless parity to it, where every side is valid, yet still painful. Especially in the third act, this family and their shared pain steals the show, emotionally resonate with a rare honesty.
- The Age of Innocence (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s Roger Ebert (who would have turned 76 yesterday):
Each performance is modulated to preserve the delicate balance of the romantic war. Daniel Day Lewis stands at the center, deluded for a time that he has free will. Michelle Pfeiffer, as the countess, is a woman who sees through society without quite rejecting it, and takes an almost sensuous pleasure in seducing Archer with the power of her mind. At first it seems that little May is an unwitting bystander and victim, but Winona Ryder gradually reveals the depth of her character’s intelligence, and in the last scene, as I said, all over is revealed and much is finally understood.
- Princess Cyd (now on Netflix). Here’s Emily Yoshida over at Vulture:
There is something vaguely utopian about Princess Cyd, the new film by writer-director Stephen Cone. In a way that I can only describe as Miyazaki-esque, there is, for the most part, a noticeable lack of onscreen threat in its sleepy suburban Chicago setting. The story’s main act of violence remains offscreen, referred to in the film’s opening moments via a 911 call reporting a murder-suicide that left our protagonist motherless and brotherless at age 8. With that tragic and half-remembered act in the distant past, Cone’s film feels like it’s willing the world to be a benevolent place his characters can believe in, the kind of place where the neighbors come over to recite poetry and you can walk into a coffee shop and meet a cute stranger. Not a lot happens in Princess Cyd, but it’s hard not to watch this film without feeling changed.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.