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. Now all you need is someone to watch these movies with:
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- RoboCop. Here’s what we said in original review:
Paul Verhhoeven’s RoboCop is a strange beast. It’s become a cult classic because of its relentless violence, its gallows humor, and its over-the-top performances. Now there’s a remake of RoboCop, one that only preserves the skeleton of the original. Director José Padilha and his screenwriter Joshua Zetumer are a little more thoughtful about the idea of a robotic man, and explore heavy ideas like the soul and free will. But this is an action film, too, so there are protracted gun battles with all the mayhem and none of the blood.
- Son of God. Here’s Keith Phipps over at The Dissolve:
Son Of God doesn’t work as a narrative, either. The choppy rhythms settle down once Son Of God moves on to Jesus’ persecution and crucifixion, but even as things take a turn for the worse, director Christopher Spencer (Nazi Mega-Weapons, Stonehenge: Decoded) seems like he’s dutifully moving from one familiar scene to the next without really connecting them. That Morgado plays Jesus as more smug than beatific doesn’t help, nor do the thinly developed characters and some awkward bits of original dialogue. (Pilate’s wife to Pilate: “You’ll live to regret this!” Jesus to a disciple; “Stop doubting, Thomas.”) The Bible played to great ratings on TV, hence this repackaging. If Son Of God finds a similar audience in theaters it will say more about the absence of better, more thoughtful religious films than its own virtues.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- The Unknown Known. Here’s Godfrey Chesire over at RogerEbert.com:
The Fog of War and The Unknown Known are a strikingly matched pair, one a modernist masterpiece, the other dizzyingly post-modern. Robert McNamara’s testimony in the first film offers the satisfactions of a genuinely deep and penetrating self-analysis, and that’s obviously because he came from a world where there were clear distinctions between right and wrong, good and bad, success and failure – words that at one time actually meant something and had real personal consequences. Rumsfeld in contrast belongs to a world in which there is no real accountability, either public or private, in large part because words can be bent to mean anything, or nothing. The proof of this in The Unknown Known amounts to a valuable if tremendously damning commentary on our current political culture.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK (AMURICA EDITION):
- God Bless America. Here’s what we said in our original review:
And while the movie is funny at times and definitely an apt look into the sad, sad state of how America these days spends their time, it never QUITE has the bite you expect (hope?) it to have. Reality TV is a nightmare, and shows like “American Idol” (or “American Superstarz” as the God Bless America’s version of it is called) are destroying what little good taste is left in the mainstream entertainment, but are they, really THAT EVIL? Is embarking on a murderous rampage across America really the solution to anything if in the end, you become some form of entertainment for the unwashed, ADHD-adled masses yourself and not that much more shocking than what we see on reality TV anyway? With a movie like this, you either have to go DARKER than pitch black or not go there at all. And Goldthwait never quite plunges deep and dark enough for our 2012 desensitized selves to care (even though, YES, there is plenty of blood and plenty of everything else).
- Olympus Has Fallen. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Olympus Has Fallen is a weird beast of a movie. It’s overcooked, even in comparison to other “patriotic” action flicks. It can’t just stop at shots of American flags, or even shots of tattered flags. No, it has to actually show the terrorists hauling down the flag from the White House roof andhurling it to the ground below, all set against a blood-red sunset. I can only conclude the screenwriters – Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, with some help from director Antoine Fuqua and lead actor Gerard Butler, apparently – have never heard the term “subtext.” Also, the ending descends into action movie pablum. Yet, weirdly, to a surprising extent, the movie works.
- Lawless. Here’s what we said in our original review:
There are two other actors in Lawless I haven’t mentioned yet. Gary Oldman plays Floyd Banner, an important gangster, and Noah Taylor is his deputy. Together they maybe have twenty lines in the entire film, which leaves me wondering a) why Hillcoat even included them in the first place, and b) what was left on the cutting room floor. With its lengthy coda and unexpected bouts of humor ,Lawless unfolds more like a yarn, not a taut gangster picture. That particular brand of quirkiness works from scene to scene, but falls apart as a larger narrative. Give me tight plotting over a meandering structure any day.
That’s it for uber-patriotic Netflix guide. Let us know how you’re celebrating our nation in the comments!