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.
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Dinosaur 13. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Dinosaur 13 does an excellent job of recreating the thrill of discovery. The archival footage shows the painstaking nature of paleontological work, which was done in brutal conditions, and the details of Sue’s skeleton are fascinating. Miller’s documentary falters since he does not have the same pursuit for knowledge when it comes the battle over Sue. Beat for beat, Dinosaur 13 seems to omit facts and context so that we come to see Larson as a martyr. I had sympathy for him: there is little doubt that Larson was made an example in an unfair way. I just wish Miller trusted his audience enough so that we could reach that conclusion after considering the facts, and not through brazen manipulation.
- Two Night Stand. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Two Night Stand suggests a rift of experience between Alec and Megan. He simply cannot believe that he’s her first casual hook-up, and she’s offended by the implication that she’s a slut. The implication of this impasse is that Alec has slept around more, whereas Megan is the more pure of the two (we never learn how old Alec is meant to be). Hammer abandons this key difference during the frank sex conversation: Megan acknowledges that she’s only dated and slept with one person, yet she discusses her sexual likes/dislikes like a seasoned pro. Men – especially young men – only have a few weapons in the proverbial arsenal, so it’s hard to believe her only boyfriend could lead her to articulate her preferences so clearly. This is a minor misstep in Two Night Stand, which could have been better if it weren’t for some major missteps. But for ten glorious minutes or so, there’s an open discussion of sex that reminds us that, yes, hooking up is about more than calisthenics with our genitals.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Calvary. Here’s yours truly over at The Week:
Whether a hero succumbs to his base nature or fails against a corrupt institution, all noir is about the hard fight against evil — and the victories are never wholly complete. At first, Father James accepts his eventual slaying as a form of martyrdom. But by the time the end of the week rolls around, he has become a kind of ultimate noir hero: the kind who realizes that his death, no matter what form it takes, can have little meaning. It’s an arc that places Calvary as the latest evolution of film noir, raising the important and troubling questions of our own era — and suggesting the impossibility of resolving them satisfactorily.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit knows its place in the canon of spy films, and has fun with it. Ryan, a creation of the late Tom Clancy and the hero of four previous films, lacks the charm of James Bond or the quiet intelligence of George Smiley. Director Kenneth Branagh knows Ryan is a middling character, so there are moments where he embraces tropes of the genre and others where he abandons them altogether. It’s a pleasant exercise, but is not enough to sustain a slight story, one riddled with unintentionally hilarious holes. The actors slyly break the fourth wall with this material, yet their subtle winks to the audience are not enough to sustain this franchise.
- The Apartment. Here’s James Berardinelli over at ReelViews:
The Apartment works primarily because of the interaction between Lemmon and MacLaine. In the best tradition of low-key romances, there’s plenty of chemistry, but it’s not necessarily sexual. Their relationship is based not on physical attraction but on a kinship of souls. Consider, after all, that the defining element to generate something deeper from their friendly banter and lighthearted flirting is a suicide attempt. They reveal a lot to one another during those 48 hours in Baxter’s apartment, some of which they don’t realize until events have separated them.
- Great Expectations. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The performances of a few of the characters also provided spots of enjoyment for me. Joe (played by Jason Flemyng) was so endearing and one of the few characters that was develop enough for me to feel some sort of bond with him. Herbert (Olly Alexander) was ADORABLE but for some reason I couldn’t quite believe that he would have a fiancé that’s a woman. A great performance nonetheless. Then of course Magwitch (Ralph Fiennes) and Helena Bonham Carter were excellently portrayed and were strangely the two characters with the most examined back-stories, despite them being more of peripheral characters (or so this movie would have me believe).
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!