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 god, or a lack thereof. We’re giving you some of our spiritual crisis streaming picks.
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Roman J. Israel, Esq. Here’s Odie Henderson over at RogerEbert.com:
Roman J. Israel, Esq. is rather insulting to folks like me who are on the spectrum. Washington gives one of his rare bad performances here, turning Roman into an improv sketch filled with tics, mannerisms and an overreliance on his attire. He’s never a real person, even when he’s having a paranoid episode or, in a fit of terror, trying to outrun a sports car in a U-Haul truck. The most memorable thing about him is his Eddie Kendricks ringtone, which plays “Keep on Truckin’” whenever his flip phone lights up.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Wonder. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Wonder looks as if it was made by a committee to manipulate its audience into crying as much as possible. As if casting Jacob Tremblay wasn’t enough, his character of Auggie has facial deformities that makes his eyes look like actual tears, while his father – played by Owen Wilson – feels straight out of Marley & Me, complete with lovable dog. Wonder should be a saccharine, pandering film that tries at every turn to leave its audience in tears – and at times it comes dangerously close to being just this – but Wonder instead becomes a inspiring and sincere film about kindness and caring for others that transcends the usual YA adaption trappings.
- The Ballad of Lefty Brown. Here’s Danny King over at The Village Voice:
Moshe relates his tale of can-do vengeance with an unfussy clarity and an obvious fondness for the oaters of yesterday’s Hollywood — an affection that, as in Burden, imparts a winning sincerity. What elevates The Ballad of Lefty Brown above that effort is the peculiarity of the hero, an oddball full of contradictions and charms. Even taking into account his decades-long association with the celebrated Edward, nobody thinks much of Lefty, a stumbling, awkward man who delivers many of his sentences in a mumble, his voice cracking with uncertainty. (This proves doubly the case when people start considering, with growing suspicion, that Lefty himself might have had a role in the murder.)
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (“Where’s your God now?” edition):
- Silence (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Silence often feels elusive, but on deeper introspection, it is a film that is surfacing questions and emotions that are hard to articulate or respond to. This is not a film of answers, of guidance, of admonishment. This is a film that articulates many questions, but cares more about those that roil just beneath its deceptively-stolid surface. It is trite yet true to call its choice of both subject and approach genuinely brave; it is similarly trite but true to say that this is a film that is difficult to watch and difficult to love, even as its systematic puncturing of one’s defenses leaves an impact both visceral and spiritual. Silence is so determined and holistically what it intends to be, and its intentions are so particular and anathema to what we expect from Hollywood, that straightforward adjudication or recommendation feels wholly inadequate. I won’t tell you to see Silence; instead, I’ll tell you that you probably already know whether you should go see Silence. That in-and-of-itself is a very special, albeit hard to define, cinematic achievement.
- Aguirre, the Wrath of God (now on Filmstruck). Here’s Peter Bradshaw over at The Guardian:
It looks more magnificent and mad than ever, one of the great folies de grandeur of 1970s cinema, an expeditionary Conradian nightmare like Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Just as for that film, the agonies of its production history have entered into legend, almost equivalent to the movie fiction itself. (Herzog’s 1999 documentary My Best Fiend, about his leading man Klaus Kinski, tells the incredible story of the insanely dangerous shooting conditions and near-murderous rows between director and star.) It is based loosely on the true story of 16th-century conquistador Lupe De Aguirre (Kinski), the second-in-command of a Spanish force journeying down the Amazon in search of the mythical riches of El Dorado. Driven half-mad by the heat, hunger and danger from native attack, the commander declares a retreat – but Aguirre mutinies, kills the leader and announces they must carry on. Kinski’s piercing, china-blue eyes are those of a natural-born tyrant, a visionary who can see only his delusions.
- The Childhood of a Leader (now on Netflix). Here’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky over at The AV Club:
Scott Walker’s score for The Childhood Of A Leader (only his second, after Pola X) is a work of dark, twisted genius, skin-crawling and bombastic in equal measure, and first-time director Brady Corbet does his damnedest trying to mount a movie to deserve it. And, mirabile dictu, he eventually pulls it off with the epilogue, a left turn into dystopian nightmare, titled “A New Era.” If only for a few minutes, The Childhood Of A Leader becomes its own film, a tour of the printing presses, paternoster elevators, and mazes of power that ends with a convulsive blur of bodies crowding in a public square. A viewer can’t help but think, “What took so long?”
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.