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 & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- The Double. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The world of The Double is aggressively bleak. It’s always night, for one thing, and pale pools of yellow light make everyone look sickly. The film’s retro science fiction is a reminiscent Brazil, except Terry Gilliam at least had the mercy to populate his sets with inventive flourishes. Working from a Dostoevsky novella, director Richard Ayoade is more relentless: there is a minimalist vision here that’s admirable. The look of his film is depressing, through and through, but at least he has a sense of humor about it his main character. The hero of The Double is easy to identify with, and the joke is that he also happens to be a loser.
- Young & Beautiful. Here’s what we said in our original review:
There’s obviously a good deal of sex and nudity, and yes it’s a bit weird that it’s supposed to be an underage character (even though Vacth herself is in her early 20s). Some of it cannot help but be arousing, but again Ozon knows what he’s doing, maintaining a clinical stance that is neither inflamed nor scandalized by Isabelle’s behavior – just intrigued. Vacth herself is a former model, and arguably not gifted with immense acting range. But she internalizes Isabelle well, and between her performance, the script, and Ozon’s direction, Young & Beautiful turns Isabelle into a challenging and impervious riddle.
- Korengal. Here’s what we said from our interview with filmmaker Sebastian Junger:
Sebastian Junger’s new documentary can’t answer why America hurls itself into wars. His questions center on how those wars actually are for the people who get hurled into them. The critically-acclaimed Restrepo, which was released a year before co-director Tim Hetherington was killed while documenting the battlefields of the Libyan civil war, did more to familiarize civilian Americans with the visceral experience of war than anything else produced for the multiplex during the Global War on Terror. Now Junger is going back to the wealth of footage he and Hetherington produced during almost a year in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley to cull a second documentary with a very different feel, focus, and purpose.Korengal doesn’t try to sew together a narrative of these soldiers’ year in the titular valley in the same way Restrepo does, though some of its events will be familiar to those who saw the first film. Instead of sketching out the tactical experience of policing a key trafficking route for the Taliban, Junger focuses his attention in Korengal on the emotional lives of the soldiers through long and unpredictable cycles of boredom, terror, adrenaline, and more boredom.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- You’re Next. Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
A cost-effective merging of The Strangers, Straw Dogs, and the original Scream, Adam Wingard’s You’re Next adds a bracing dose of eccentricity to the home-invasion thriller. What the film lacks in originality it mostly makes for in personality—a quality fatally lacking from too many contemporary extreme-horror offerings. The setup, too, is novel: Aussie nice-girl Sharni Vinson accompanies her bearded professor boyfriend (AJ Bowen) to his childhood home, where the whole family is gathering for his parents’ 35th wedding anniversary. Were it not for the film’s opening bloodbath, as well as hints of something menacingly amiss in the old country house, it would be possible to confuse this early passage for the opening act of an indie farce—especially once filmmakers Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies) and Amy Seimetz (Sun Don’t Shine) join the party. Yet just as the dinner table has erupted into a flurry of argument, a razor-sharp arrow pierces the group’s sitcom bubble—and the soft eyeball of one of its guests.
- Blue Ruin (now streaming!). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Countless films depict violence, to various degrees of grisliness, but too few films are about violence. In the past month, the stylized action in The Raid 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier were meant to provide a sense of exhilaration through well-choreographed thrills, without much thought toward plausibility and real-world consequences. This is a feature of the action genre, not a criticism, yet it’s sometimes worthwhile to have a film that focuses on ugly realism instead of well-choreographed excess. Blue Ruin, the new thriller from writer/director Jeremy Saulnier, may be about violence due to budget constraints more than anything else. Still, there’s a blunt, melancholy forcefulness here that elevates the premise beyond a mere revenge tale.
- Strange Days. Here’s Cindy Fuchs over at the Philadelphia City Paper:
Jacked-in, jangly and ambitious, the film has a lot on its mind. It’s terrific as spectacle (beautifully filmed and edited), not so good as narrative, but it’s most compelling as something to think through after you see it. It’s an imperfectly hyper-realized nightmare, the collision of at least three central storylines: the impending millennium, psychokilling and the L.A. Uprising revisited. Living in L.A. 1999, Lenny’s an ex-cop street hustler, dealing in SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) disks, which allow users to download sensory experiences recorded by someone else (someone committing, for instance, robbery or rape). While he won’t deal in snuff disks, Lenny’s product is strictly black market, which means his clients are rich and/or desperate, they’re suits and junkies. “It’s about what you can’t have,” he tells one anxious wiretrip-virgin. “I’m the Santa Claus of the subconscious.”
That’s for this week’s Netflix guide. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!