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:
- Everly. Here’s what we said in our original review:
There is an abrupt shift Everly, the new action film starring Salma Hayek, when it transitions from “pretty good” toward “outright bad.” The problem is not with its premise; in fact, it’s fairly ingenious, at least in terms of derivative action. The problem is with the screenplay by Yale Hannon, who adapts a story by director Joe Lynch. The film starts as a critique of exploitation, only to become exploitative to a fault. Coupled with meandering scenes and a sense of self-satisfaction, Lynch somehow manages to make a gun-wielding Hayek seem dull.
- The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. Here’s yours truly over at Tiny Mix Tapes:
The strange thing about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the last part of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the short children’s fantasy novel The Hobbit, is that the film starts with the book’s climax. For about two and a half hours, The Battle of the Five Armies is all fallout, with various factions jockeying over ownership over a wealth of treasures. Jackson patiently lays out the stakes, including disagreements on massive and intimate scales, yet he once again pads out the action with unnecessary comic relief, superfluous action, and more damn elves.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Into the Woods. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Into the Woods plays with fairy tale tropes, squaring away the morbid elements in the Brothers Grimm and the more neutered, Disney-fied version to create a tone that is both funny and insightful. Chris Pine shows unforeseen comic chops in deconstructing the archetype of Prince Charming, showing some of the downsides of marrying the equivalent of the guy ripping off his shirt on the cover of a romance novel. “I was raised to be charming, not sincere,” he says. The movie also shows how awkward it is for Rapunzel to have people climb up her copious hair, and the messiness of having birds do Cinderella’s bidding.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Noah. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The worst thing Darren Aronofsky could have done with Noah, his big-budget biblical epic, is to make it timid. The story of Noah’s Ark is one of the oldest in Western Civilization, and while the cutesy Sunday school version is digestible for kids, the story still deals with God’s wrath and the extinction of humanity. These ideas require confident direction, and Aronofsky rises to the task with a mix of action, awe, horror, vulnerability, and intellectual depth. Unlike The Fountain, Noah does not veer toward gorgeous folly territory, although Aronofsky’s ambition does get the better of him. This is an epic with purpose, one that will challenge and frighten the devout and non-believers alike.
- Bastards. Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
Her first feature not shot on film, Bastards also promises a fine future for the artist in pixels; she exploits the textures of digital just as seductively as she did the grain of celluloid, thanks to the expert eye of regular cinematographer Agnès Godard. If this grim tale of exploitation falls a little short of the duo’s prior collaborations, it’s only because peeling back its layers of misdirection proves more rewarding than seeing the big picture underneath. Yet, while Bastards is scarcely profound in its critique, aimed at powerful men who take what they want from the world, there’s still a nihilistic kick to its conclusion, which recalls the bracing bleakness ofChinatown. Only in the film’s final moments does Denis reveal the full meaning of her title, in all its damning plurality and inclusiveness.
- Goodbye to Language. Here’s Matt Zoller Seitz over at RogerEbert.com:
The film continually circles back to its rhetorical center—the idea that existence is about trying to reconcile the “real” world with the subjective experience of the world, and the names and notions we use to catalog and define the world—but the digressions are what make it sing, or scat-sing. “I will barely say a word,” says a voice on the soundtrack—maybe Godard?—adding, “I am looking for poverty in language.” Given that the film is itself so richly expressive in every sort of language (written, spoken, visual) this seems like yet another wonderful joke, one that somehow doubles as a lament. Goodbye to Language will be catnip to anyone who continues to appreciate Godard and find him fascinating, and toxic to anyone who read this review and thought, “No thanks.” It’s a rapturous experience, mostly, though tempered by a certain Godardian crankiness. Watching it is, I would imagine, as close as we’ll get to being able to be Godard, sitting there thinking, or dreaming. It’s a documentary of a restless mind.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide! Let us know what you’re watching in the comments.