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 Oscar winners that are available for your streaming pleasure.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Darkest Hour. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Strong as Wright’s work is, Gary Oldman’s performance as Churchill is undoubtedly the beating heart and indomitable ego of the film. Unlike Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher or Colin Firth as a different film’s George VI, Oldman is unrecognizable while playing one of modern history’s most influential figures, since he is immersed in make-up, prosthetics, and grumpy, snarky demeanor. It’s difficult to think of a case in which a relatively well-known actor was able to disappear so successfully into someone so historically significant, and it’s to Oldman’s credit even more than the costume and make-up team. Also excellent, but with significantly less screen time, is Kristin Scott Thomas as Churchill’s suffering but supportive wife Clementine. The chemistry between the two is fantastic, and despite not having enough time to fully explore their marriage, the film hints at a fascinating relationship in which Clementine openly acknowledges the secondary role she’s played in Winston’s life, but seemingly feels no bitterness over it.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (days of Oscar past edition):
- Lincoln (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
In the end, performances drive Lincoln. Daniel Day Lewis cements his credentials as greatest living – and possibly ever – film actor, delivering a soft spoken and genial Commander in Chief. In contrast to his chewy though outstanding delivery in There Will be Blood and Gangs of New York, there is never a sense you’re “watching Daniel Day Lewis do his thing.” He melts seamlessly into the role: you watch Abraham Lincoln in the flesh, in his final months and private crises. Tommy Lee Jones puts in strong work as Representative Thaddeus Stevens; his effort is worthy of the legacy of one of America’s greatest men, a hero decades before his time. The Pennsylvanian’s legendary wit, energy, and razor tongue are served well and naturally.
- Spotlight (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The other two members of Spotlight are Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James), a ruffled shoeleather reporter, and Robby Robinson (Michael Keaton), the leader of the team. Robby’s good friend is Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery), another editor who provides support at crucial moments. All the performances, including the bit parts by actors like Michael Cyril Creighton and Billy Crudup, are solid. But Ruffalo stands out as a classic journalism character: Mike is an introvert and a ball of awkward, nervous energy. But he’s also deeply empathetic and bull-headedly determined: he even sleeps outside a court office to get first crack at some documents when they go public. Meanwhile, Keaton is quietly moving as a Boston native – accent and all – who must reckon with how profoundly both his profession and he himself failed for so long to break the story.
- Moonlight (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Jenkins’ masterpiece is bound to draw comparisons to Boyhood, a film that did win Academy hearts two years ago. The parallels are certainly sound at a basic geometry level: Two coming-of-age tales about boys from broken homes, constructing friendships, and relationships that fray in time. There’s even a downward shot in Moonlight of Chiron and Kevin laying on their backs in the grass under a bright sky, and anyone who’s seen the poster for Boyhood would be hard pressed to ignore the echo. You can even carry the comparison down one level deeper. The movies share a tense tone, a kind of nervous anticipation that something terrible is about to happen to characters in whom the filmmakers and actors have forced us to invest deeply. It’s an artistic feat to embed such clench-and-release rhythms in stories that root their drama in simple humanity, rather than relying on good-versus-evil stakes imported via capes, spaceships, and assault rifles.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.