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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:

  • Foxcatcher. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Foxcatcher would rather receive respect, not praise. Filmed with chilly cinematography, director Bennett Miller maintains a tasteful distance from his subject. While many true crime films focus on lurid details, here is one that goes out of its way to remain obtuse. The three main characters never discuss how they feel, at least not in a direct way, which means Miller wants us to read between the lines. The only trouble is that Foxcatcher maintains its distance to a fault, to the point where the nuanced, terrific performances are nearly lost. Given the somber tone and look of the film, however, it’s ironic that its best moments are also the most funny.
  • The Better Angels. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    The Better Angels, the debut feature film from A.J. Edwards, is a certain kind of movie, and therefore demands a certain kind of review. It’s a movie that’s impenetrable to a lot of different ways one might review a movie, and therefore I won’t try to review it any of those ways. I think this will still help you decide whether to see it or not (which is a very important function of a movie review, if not the only one) but, at least in part because that’s a fairly easy task and I have a substantially larger quantity of digital real estate I am at once both privileged and obligated to fully develop, this review will wander. I hope that’s all right. It’s also appropriate, because The Better Angels is a wandering kind of movie about a wandering people.

OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part One. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    In one fascinating scene, the District 13-ers are trying to formulate a great propaganda video for Katniss. They ruminate over her more moving moments, musing about her volunteering as Tribute to save her sister or befriending the young Rue in the first games. It’s a wink to the audience. Remember when Katniss made you tear up before? Well, she’s about to motivate you again. If not to start a revolution, at least to get you to buy a movie ticket.

INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:

  • The Overnighters. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    It is always interesting to see how documentary filmmakers happen upon their true subject. When Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky began Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, they intended a straight forward “making of” documentary and ended up with a strange, unintentionally hilarious examination of rock stars and their need for therapy. When Wim Wenders began Pina, he had no way of knowing that choreographer Pina Bausch would pass away during the production, and so he was left with an elegy to her. Jesse Moss is the latest documentary filmmaker who starts filming one story, only to discover one altogether. The Overnighters is compelling because no one seems to know just how the story will unfold.
  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Here’s Jim Emerson over at RogerEbert.com:
    Why I love this story, I do not know. Why I have read the book twice and given away a dozen copies of the audiobook, I cannot explain. There is nothing fun about the story, except the way it ventures so fearlessly down one limited, terrifying, seductive dead end, and finds there a solution both sublime and horrifying. It took imagination to tell it, courage to film it, thought to act it, and from the audience it requires a brave curiosity about the peculiarity of obsession.
  • The Two Faces of January. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Crime novelist Patricia Highsmith is responsible for some of the brilliant most thrillers of the twentieth century. Her books typically involve handsome bespoke Americans in exotic European locales, with money as a catalyst to explore the uglier sides of human behavior. The most famous adaptation of her work, The Talented Mr. Ripley, is fascinating because the anti-hero squirms out of one trap after another. The Two Faces of January, the latest Highsmith adaptation from writer/director Hossein Amini, emphasizes psychology over plot. Sometimes there is suspense, particularly when we try and second guess what the characters will do next, but the predictable twists overshadow their careful development.

That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide! Let us know what you’re watching in the comments.

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