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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.


  • Leviathan. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan is the sort of drama that’s also densely allegorical. While the characters and situations have some specificity to them, they’re all part of a larger commentary on Russia. The targets are dizzying: Zvyagintsev critiques bureaucracy, corruption, provincial life, urban life, Putinism, youthful apathy, and drinking culture (to name a few). The only reason Leviathan does not feel bloated is because it also happens to be funny. The director and his co-screenwriter Oleg Negin have sympathy for their characters, even the boorish ones, and there is affection in the way the camera listens to them talk and argue. Its hero may feel like he has the worst luck in the world, yet the film looks to other, more earthly causes that are beyond his control.
  • Inherent Vice. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Lets start with the eyes: to say that Inherent Vice is beautiful feels lazy, even though it is. In fact, it is WILDLY beautiful (and sometimes wildly ugly) to looks at. The colors come together and apart in ways that feel so of the moment for the moment they are supposed to be in, perfectly defined and fuzzy at the same time, a crystal clear haze that makes you feel you ARE experiencing everything through Doc’s bleary eyes. Everyone involved looks great AND real too: Joaquin Phoenix and his muttonchops were born to play Doc, the coolest disaster of a private eye since Elliot Gould in The Long Goodbye, Katherine Waterston (Sam’s daughter!) as Shasta is a sinewy revelation, and the characters they are surrounded with (cops, robbers, private eyes, DAs, corrupt dentists, recovering addicts, sexual massage parlor owners, saxophone players, real estate moguls, to name a few) are all exactly as they need to be: fabulously memorable within seconds of laying your eyes on them, and easily forgettable once they stop being useful to us, and the movie. Just like real life.
  • Cymbeline. Here’s Keith Uhlich over at The AV Club:
    In 2000, writer-director Michael Almereyda took on the best of William Shakespeare, transposing the seminal tragedy Hamlet to modern-day Manhattan and the world of corporate cutthroats. (Ethan Hawke’s moody young prince declaiming the “To be or not to be…” speech in a Blockbuster video aisle was just one of the film’s many inspired re-stagings.) Fifteen years later, Almereyda tackles one of the Bard’s lesser-regarded later works, the plot-heavy tragicomedyCymbeline, and again unearths untold depths.


  • The Homesman. Here’s Inkoo Kang over at The Wrap:
    Tommy Lee Jones, who gave himself the far showier role as the jigging, quipping, ass-scratching anti-hero, charms as he inevitably warms to Cuddy and their three passengers. Briggs enjoys one very traditional revenge storyline, but the character is anything but. His brief encounter with dignity tragically proves to be only a flirtation, but it’s precisely that mercurialness that makes him such a truthful and compelling figure.
  • Fruitvale Station. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    “Unflinching” is another of those critic words that may soon lose all meaning, but it’s the right one for Coogler’s filmmaking. A moralistic take on Grant’s tragedy would be an unbearable exercise in point-making, but the calm visual approach Fruitvale takes matches the clear-eyed storytelling of the screenplay. Coogler mostly relies on handicams and close-ups, placing rightful trust in his script and his actors. Occasionally he gets bolder, as when the camera follows Oscar around the side of the house where his daughter Tatiana goes to preschool, luxuriating in lens flare en route. But whether it’s Oscar’s charming-but-unsettling attempt to bypass his beloved Sophina’s anger over an infidelity, or Oscar emotionally savaging his mother (Octavia Spencer) during a flashback prison visit, or the crucial late-night train platform killing, Coogler puts the audience’s eyes relentlessly close to the humanity on display. By avoiding slick camera movements and keeping the editing rhythm languid, Coogler forces the viewer into honest reckoning with ugly and beautiful moments alike.
  • Girlhood. Here’s Sheila O’Malley over at RogerEbert.com:
    What Sciamma is interested in is “moments.” There are many moments that linger in the mind long after the film has ended. The epic slo-mo all-female football game of the opening. An early scene showing a raucous group of girls heading back to the projects, all talking at once, until they fall into silence, collectively, when they approach a group of boys lounging on the steps. The repeat shots of the back of Marieme’s head throughout, breaking Girlhood up into unofficial “chapters.” Marieme washing dishes, emerging into the concrete yard outside, the camera following her, her head facing out. (Sciamma started Tomboy with the back of a head as well, a head with shorn-short hair, looking away, creating an automatic confusion as to whether it was a boy or a girl, the whole theme of the film.) In Girlhood, there are fight scenes and a hilarious miniature-golf excursion, as well as many painful reminders that no, they will not be left alone, the world cannot leave the girls alone.

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