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:
- Deliver Us From Evil. Here’s Amy Nicholson over at The Village Voice:
Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us From Evil is an atmospheric but anemic spook story about a New York policeman named Ralph (Eric Bana) who stumbles across a demon-possessed crime spree, which traces back to a battlefield in Diyala. Luckily for Derrickson, this devil hates light bulbs, causing Ralph to spend countless scenes wandering around in the dark waiting to be startled by a cat. Even when he goes outside, he can’t catch a break — cinematographer Scott Kevan shoots this slick and sinister cityscape as if the streets themselves are possessed, and on the rare days when it isn’t raining, the sun is as weak as if Satan himself had drained it like a pimple.
- Child of God. Here’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky over at The AV Club:
Child Of God, for one, could potentially work well on its own terms, as an exercise in bad taste; there’s an early, seemingly unsimulated shitting scene—composed in close-ups, and capped off with Ballard scraping the remaining feces from between his ass cheeks using a large, knobby branch—that is designed to provoke gasps from anyone who’s come into the movie expecting a prestige literary adaptation. But the film is too much of a shambles; it moves and sounds like a rough cut. Formal conceits—like title cards bearing excerpts of McCarthy’s prose—come and go, and most scenes are linked by awkward dissolves to black, which suggest Franco never found a way to seamlessly bridge the narrative. Still, the sheer volume of Child Of God’s tastelessness is at least enough to qualify it as unique.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Chef. Here’s David Ehrlich over at The Dissolve:
The rare commercial film that’s almost completely devoid of meaningful conflict, Jon Favreau’s Chef has all the drama of a Cuban sandwich, and yet there’s something truly bold in how this cuddly tale sticks to the frying pan and stays out of the fire. Where most ostensibly conventional three-act films sink their hero—and, by extension, their audience—to rock bottom as they enter the story’s final third, Chef gently slopes into a mild depression straight out of the gate, then spends the rest of its running time watching happy people gradually grow happier. Where most movies at least attempt to be a full meal, Chef is content to be a soufflé, steadily rising until it fills out. It may not be for all tastes, but there’s genuine value in a feel-good film that works this well without making viewers feel bad first.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- E-Team. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Perhaps the greatest strength of the film is in its insider look at exactly how this sort of work takes place, the perils involved and also the authenticity and rigor expected. More specifically, the team is careful to get thorough (multiple) eyewitness accounts, which preempt questions about the veracity of the reports produced by Human Rights Watch. We meet Anna Neistat and Ole Solvang, a husband-and-wife team, who are literally on the ground as bombs are going off around them in Syria. The viewer gets a keen sense that this is not the fare of an armchair philosopher IR wonk; Anna and Ole do not wait until “conditions are safe” to make their way to the conflict areas.
- We Are the Best! Here’s what we said in our original review:
Aside from references to Brezhnev and Reagan, We Are the Best is a perfect movie for teenagers. Thirteen year-olds may shut down when they watch the travails of kids who use adult words without fully understanding what they mean, while older kids have a strong enough sense of identity to realize they’ll (probably) never have to endure those situations again. This kind of energetic comedy would be catastrophe without complete performances, and it’s to the credit of the young cast that I cannot imagine them as anything else. Barkhammar, Grosin, and LeMoyne do not act like typical teenage protagonists; they’re too weird and smart for that. Moodysson does not ruin the story of these girls with unearned poignancy or tragedy. They are going to be just fine, so We Are the Best is about how they slowly but surely realize that about themselves.
- Django Unchained. Here’s your truly over at Tiny Mix Tapes:
Until Django and Schulz head to Mississippi, Django is essentially a comedy with flashes of over-the-top action. The bounty hunters enter a dangerous area, outsmart racist white people, and leave without a scratch on them. Posing as investors in mandingo wrestling, their first encounter with Candie is genuinely shocking. Schulz and Candie watch as two large black men beat each other to death and the controlled camera-work forces us to take the blood-battered, torn flesh. The scene is all the more disturbing because Candie is having a great time while Schulz must pretend to (Django hangs out at the bar). So when Django finally exacts his revenge, Tarantino puts the audience in Candie’s position: we’re meant to be entertained by the violence even though we recoiled earlier. We’re culpable in a world of brutality, just like his characters.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!