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:
- God’s Not Dead. Here’s Sam Fragoso over at Film School Rejects:
The motives propelling God’s Not Dead become clear as time goes on. In an interview with The Blaze, executive producer Russell Wolfe explains that the film is intended to make viewers ask the question we’ve been wrapping our brains around since time immemorial: “Is there or isn’t there a God?” explaining, viewers must “answer that themselves.” Unfortunately, what God’s Not Dead serves up on a silver platter is not freedom of choice or philosophical discourse about the existence of a higher power, but militant Christian propaganda. That answer is already provided for audience members, leaving no room for dissenting opinions or thoughts.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Ping Pong Summer. Here’s Drew Taylor over at The Playlist:
These moments are few and far between, but they invigorate “Ping Pong Summer” and bring it ever so slightly out of the realm of pastiche and into a genuinely affecting coming-of-age story. At some point the nostalgia becomes something authentic and real and mixes with the kind of ramshackle charm of the rest of the movie (it’s got a “One Crazy Summer”-style animated title sequence for crying out loud). It would have been nice if Tully and his collaborators had tried to do something more than just a straight recreation. Even when the movie veers off into tangents, like one involving Amy Sedaris as the boy’s inappropriately sexy aunt, everything seems hermetically sealed and tightly controlled. In a weird way “Ping Pong Summer” represents the decade perfectly: full of promise, brightly colored, willfully upbeat, with a carefully cultivated soundtrack of synth pop and proto-hip hop and stuffed with wacky characters that want more than they have. Unfortunately, it’s just as empty.
- Divergent. Here’s Kevin McFarland over at The AV Club:
In the rush to a conclusion, Divergent shifts gears rapidly from world-building to training to all-out war. Anything the film has to say about dystopian regimes or the harm in squelching individual expression gets lost in the rote romantic entanglements and inter-governmental conspiracies, all of which have been borrowed from other sources. The ultimate irony is that a series predicated on diverse individuals rising up against totalitarian regiment falls so completely in lock step with all other post-apocalyptic young-adult franchises.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Here’s James Berardinelli over at Reelviews:
The bottom line is that Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is fun to watch, even if you don’t care about the visual style or Conran’s affinity for old movies and serials. There’s a Raiders of the Lost Ark quality to the action and cliffhangers, and in the way that humor is used to offset tension (there’s an ongoing joke about Polly having only two more shots left on her current roll of film, so she never takes a picture for fear of using them up). Law and Paltrow have great chemistry and they play their roles like a pair of ’30s stars. Plus, there’s a fine comeback for one of the greatest actors of the last century. The whole package, a labor of love for the director, offers a lot to every viewer who takes a chance on a movie with such a kitschy title.
- Perfect Sense. Here’s Glenn Heath Jr. over at Slant:
Perfect Sense, David Mackenzie’s sobering romance saga posing as a mini-disaster epic, opens with a sunny montage of adults in motion and children at play—life witnessed through familiar sensory patterns and rhythms. The cinematic collage represents “the days as we know them,” according to Susan (Eva Green), an epidemiologist whose frank but lyrical voiceover will act as the one stable force in a film about increasingly emotional and social volatility. Almost immediately, Europe is hit with multiple cases of a strange new disease where the victim experiences an interlude of heightened grief before losing their sense of smell. Scientists don’t know how or why it’s spreading, whether it’s ecological terrorism or environmental disaster. Global panic seems bound to erupt, but then Perfect Sense throws a narrative curveball at the viewer: People adapt to their new limitations and move forward, despite expectations of a brewing apocalypse.
- Rachel Getting Married. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Jonathan Demme, one the most humane directors, has the right approach for this kind of material. His hand-held camera plunges right into the middle of things, making you feel like you’re at the party. There is no soundtrack, but there is always music – either from guests practicing or performing. Sidney and Rachel are clearly in love. When everyone celebrates with them, I couldn’t help but get wrapped in everyone’s exuberance. But during scenes of ugly truths, the camera is soberingly still, allowing the audience to listen to hurtful words. The screenplay is Jenny Lumet‘s first, but it doesn’t show. Perhaps she got the creative chops from her father. Every word is closely observed, and within minutes you understand who these people are. There are abrupt shifts in tone, but they are not dizzying. During one scene, Sidney and Paul determine who is better at loading dishes, and in an instant, spontaneous glee gives way to mournful regret.
That’s for our weekly Netflix guide! Let us know what you’re watching the comments.