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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 bask in the genius in one of America’s most versatile directors, Steven Soderbergh:

OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • Tag. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Sometimes you hear a story so absurd that it has to be true. Tag is based on a real group of adult friends that, as of 2013, play the game once a month for what I can only assume will be the rest of their lives. Twenty-three solid years of tag. The winner is everyone who’s not the loser. Enter Jon Hamm, whose character name (Callahan) kind of doesn’t matter because I’ll just call him Jon Hamm. Hannibal Burress (Sable), Jake Johnson (Chili), Ed Helms (Hoagie), and Jeremy Renner (Jerry) have been playing this game since the 80s. Hoagie’s wife Anna (Isla Fisher) might as well be playing. Funnily enough, Hannibal was born the year that the game starts in the movie; everyone else is more age-appropriate. This version of tag is intense.

  • American Animals. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    If you only had blurbs to go on, you’re probably ready to give American Animals a pass. Dumb. Don’t do that. I’m pleased to report this is one of those great, funky-cheese flicks where the ad gurus just didn’t know what to do. It’s not a documentary quite, it’s not an “old guys knock over a bank” thing, and it’s not going to let you off the hook.

  • Upgrade. Here’s Alan Scherstuhl over at The Village Voice:
    Leigh Whannell has set his vicious, stylish sci-fi pulp thriller Upgrade in a near future of self-driving cars and fully Alexa-ruled homes, telling a story of revenge and possession while wittily targeting contemporary anxieties. It asks, between its whip-fast head-splatters and face-knifings, “Is something essentially human lost when we turn ourselves over to technology?” In form and function, though, Upgrade is as committed to the pulp past as it is the tech dystopia to come. Teeming with abandoned buildings full of thugs to be dispatched, ruled over by shadow corporations and wicked artificial intelligence, Whannell’s film plays like the smarter-than-you’d-think 2018 version of some 1988 kill-’em-all VHS cheapie. It even kicks off, I regret to say, with the murder of the hero-dude’s wife, a retrograde stake-raising trick that’s only slightly less embarrassing here than it was in Deadpool 2, but only because Upgrade at least doesn’t pretend it’s satirizing such stale beats.

INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Steven Soderbergh edition):

  • Unsane (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
    The most striking aspect of the film is the way it’s shot, and I’m not talking about any of that iPhone nonsense. Soderbergh is one of the most recent directors to shoot a movie on a iPhone and while I’m sure it’s a great inspiration to the wanna be directors out there who don’t have to means to shoot on anything else, it always feels a little gimmicky to me. What’s fascinating is that every scene in the first half of the movie is shot like it’s security camera footage. The weird, unmoving camera angles quickly create a feeling of paranoia that makes you feel incredibly sympathetic to Sawyer’s problems. She’s not crazy, she is being watched all the time, only we’re her stalkers. We’re the ones tracking her every move. When Sawyer is eventually locked in a room with real security cameras and she finds out they’ve all be cut, it feels like the worlds cruelest joke. The one time Sawyer wants an audience, the only time she really needs someone to be watching her, she’s alone.

  • The Informant! (now on Netflix). Here’s Tasha Robinson over at The AV Club:
    One of the many baffling wonders of Steven Soderbergh’s lively dark comedy The Informant! is that thanks to a running voiceover it’s almost always clear what’s going through the protagonist’s head—but that doesn’t help viewers decode him, or get any closer to him as a person. Even in high-stress situations, his mental processes are a nervy, hilarious babble of musings about polar-bear hunting techniques and poisonous butterflies. He seems a million miles away from his own life, which helps explain how he makes such a profound yet fascinating mess of it.

  • Logan Lucky (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Soderbergh is an invaluable director, and not just because of his casting genius. He eschews a lot of storytelling convention, using camera placement and editing to convey a lot of information in an economical way. His camera pivots, twirls, and avoids familiar angles altogether. There is a late scene where Jimmy and Clyde’s sister Mellie (Riley Keough) walks to the trunk of her car, and he handles it with such elegance that it tells us a lot about both Mellie and the big plan. There are also some delightful comic vignettes, with one so lovingly arranged that it could serve as a standalone comedy sketch. One of Jimmy and Clyde’s distractions is a prison riot, and one of the convicts’ demands is that they have access to the still-unpublished George RR Martin novel The Winds of Winter. The scene plays out deliberately, culminating with so much frustration that it may unintentionally cause Martin to abandon his next book altogether.

That’s it! Get streaming, kids.

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