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:
- London Has Fallen. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Unfortunately, the one place where London Has Fallen does have something to say is where the movie takes a hard right turn to the dark side. During the prologue, two years before the main action, an American drone blows up an entire Pakastani wedding to kill terrorist leader and arms dealer Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul). Barkawi survives, and goes on to mastermind the London attack. This sets up an interesting dynamic: the only decent and human response is to feel shame for the American action, and for the deaths of Barkawi’s daughter, her fiancé, and the other civilians. So perhaps London Has Fallen will be an action movie with a conscience, and an awareness of how evil is done to us because we do evil ourselves? That was my hope early on, at least.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Green Room. Here’s what we said in our original review:
There are some films I’m predisposed to like. I have a soft spot for claustrophobic thrillers and black comedies, for example, and if a film features a smart D.C. reference or a favorite song, I identify with the story more quickly. On those terms, anyway, Green Room scratches all the right itches. Its heroes are quick to point out they’re from the D.C. suburbs, not the city proper, and the film uses one of my all-time favorite songs as a significant plot point. But even with the predisposition, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier crafted an intense, brutal thriller that has smart, economical storytelling and a shrewd attention to detail.
- Everybody Wants Some!! Here’s AA Dowd in The AV Club:
There’s little room for villains in a Richard Linklater film; when the guy throws a party, even the assholes make for good company. Which is fortunate, because for a little while, just about every character in Everybody Wants Some, Linklater’s new timewarp of a hangout movie, comes across a bit like a douche bag. When we first meet the boys, a hard-drinking college baseball team living under one (slowly collapsing) roof, they’re behaving like the jocks of any old campus comedy: chasing skirt, hazing freshmen, and bonding through a never-ending Olympics of macho competition. They’re frat brothers in all but name, and a non-pledge might seriously wonder if they really want to spend two hours in a kegger simulation, but without a buzz on. Eventually, though, something strange and almost magical happens: Personalities start to form, banter starts to land, and—against all odds—this jovial broletariat starts to actually grow on you. That’s the Linklater touch. He makes open-mindedness infectious.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- The Invitation (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Like the best psychological thrillers, The Invitation escalates tension until it’s nearly too much to bear. What’s sneaky about the film, and makes it so involving, is that the tension is more about manners than anything else. The characters may be privileged, yet there is a universal component to the situation in which they find themselves. Director Karyn Kusama’s best asset is her patience – she knows that once the other shoe drops, her command of the film falls with it – so this is a thriller where the opening acts are more fun than the final payoff.
- The Big Short (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Big Short is an angry film. Director Adam McKay, who also wrote the script with Charles Randolph, certainly has a story to tell. But he also wants to educate his audience about how the financial crisis of 2008 went down. That furious, clenched-teeth mission infuses the film, forcing it past the ostensible boundaries of its biopic genre and into the realms of documentary and even the experimental. McKay has helmed pugnacious comedies like Anchorman and The Other Guys, but we’ve never seen anything like this from him before.
- Difret (now on Netflix). Here’s yours truly in The Washington Post:
That Difret is based on an actual case from 1996 comes as a shock, indicating that the Ethiopian government apparently tolerated child kidnapping for so long. The film’s prominence is due in no small part to Angelina Jolie, who served as executive producer. Yet “Difret” deserves recognition for more than a famous name. Bride kidnapping remains a problem in some parts of the world. This film is a necessary reminder of what can happen when people preserve tradition for its own sake.
Ok, that’s it, nerds! Get streaming.