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:
- Transcendence. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Transcendence would rather be smart than entertaining, which is a rare thing in mainstream entertainment. Its literate script is cerebral to a fault: there are moments where it avoids genre conventions, to the point where it’s difficult to follow the damn premise, much less care about it. Director Wally Pfister is famously skeptical of technology – in the documentary Side by Side, Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer proclaims his preference of celluloid over digital film – and this reluctance to embrace new technology is a pervasive thread through his debut. The trouble is that the script from Jack Paglen is too middling. Stuck between an art-house experiment and a science fiction thriller, there is frustrating inhumanity to the action and that’s not just when one creates a singularity.
- Filth. Here’s David Ehrlich over at The AV Club:
Like all of the very worst dark comedies, Jon S. Baird’s insipid and self-satisfiedFilth isn’t content to merely tap into viewers’ most odious desires. It also insist that it’s revealing them. Adapted (and softened) from the 1998 Irvine Welsh novel of the same name, Filth combines the sleaze of Bad Lieutenant with the gauche giddiness of Dom Hemingway, eventually metastasizing into a desperate movie about a desperate man. Exhausting every trick in the book to illustrate the depravity of its protagonist, the film grows as out of control as its washed up anti-hero.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Locke. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Screenwriter Steven Knight likes to see what happens when ordinary people in England find themselves in extraordinary situations. In Dirty Pretty Things, immigrant workers in a London hotel discover a sinister criminal underworld, only to use it for their own gain. Eastern Promises is all about a young nurse who finds herself in the middle of a feud between Russian mobsters. Now there’s Locke, which Knight also directed, and he adds formal daring to the story of an everyman who experiences unenviable stress. Locke takes place entirely inside a car, with a hero taking phone calls from his co-workers and family. It’s a bold experiment, and does not have the payoff of the usual thriller.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Enemy (now available on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Enemy, the latest collaboration between director Denis Villeneuve and his star Jake Gyllenhaal, is not as ambitious as last year’s Prisoners, yet it’s just as menacing. Prisoners is an ensemble-driven thriller, with about a half dozen important speaking roles, while Enemy has only a handful (depending on how you count). Villeneuve’s latest is also an adaptation of the novel The Double by Portuguese novelist José Saramago, except it strips away major plot points in favor of darkly funny surrealist imagery. Like the best thrillers, Enemy is constantly building toward an inevitable resolution, and the startling result will certainly be divisive.
- Teenage. Here’s what we said in our original dispatch from the Tribeca Film Festival:
Whereas the Haneke documentary takes a traditional approach, Matt Wolf’s Teenage is riskier. The only imagery is stock footage from the early twentieth century, and well-known character actors (Jena Malone, Ben Whishaw) provide an impressionistic, melancholy voiceover. Based on a book, “Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture 1875-1945,” Teenage describes how the West’s idea of youth and young people evolved. In the early twentieth century, the transition from childhood to adulthood was seamless: young men would abandon school for factory work, and soon create families of their own. That all changed with World War I. Soldiers were celebrated as heroes and this renewed an emphasis on youth. Trends grew popular in the post-war years – including swing and “Bright Young Things” – although this shift in culture took a darker turn in Germany.
- Proxy. Here’s Brian Tallerico over at RogerEbert.com:
There’s a whole branch of thriller/horror literature and film that works to keep those engaged with it guessing as to where it’s going, but most of it seems random or haphazard in its structure. Proxy never does. It’s a film that opens with the death of a baby and yet that isn’t really even what it ends up being about (even if everything that follows wouldn’t without that incident). It’s a film that I kept trying to get ahead of—THIS is what it’s “about,” where it’s going, what the title means, etc.—but Parker kept going left when I expected him to go right. It’s a daring, confident, absolutely brutal film that takes no prisoners. It’s the kind of film that will likely be loathsome to those morally unwilling to not only accept its descent into darkness but also accept that the darkness that makes it so riveting is based on human need.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide! Let us know what you’re watching in the comments.