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:
- American Sniper. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Similarly, director Clint Eastwood — along with screenwriter Jason Hall, editors Joel Cox and Gary Roach, and cinematographer Tom Stern — deliver this combat action-drama with aplomb. It’s too long and ultimately not terribly deep on its own storytelling terms, but the visuals are crisp and immediate. Individual sequences are well-executed, and the two lead performances are strong. It’s just the whole movie feels like moral doublespeak.
- Welcome to Me. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Welcome to Me is a younger, more intentionally funny Nebraska. Similar to Bruce Dern’s Woody character, Kristen Wiig’s Alice is delusional, surrounded by mostly well-intentioned people and a few not so well-intentioned opportunists. Alice should not be on television. But Alice has money to finance a television show, and production companies need money, so why shouldn’t Alice have a show? Should anyone with a desire to live their life on television have a show?
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Wild Tales. Here’s what we said in our original review:
In black comedies, civilization is always the joke. They take a world that’s mostly similar to ours, distort it in a slight way, then giggle as the veneer of society gives way to abrupt, violent chaos. This worldview is not depressing, at least not to me, because it’s refreshing like a cold shower. Wild Tales, Argentina’s entry for this year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar, pushes black comedy to the limits of good taste. Director and screenwriter Damián Szifrón has sympathy for his subjects, yet that does not stop him from exploring humanity at its ugliest.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Nightcrawler. Here’s yours truly over at Tiny Mix Tapes:
With an obsession over the local news and Louis’s low-tech climb up the professional ladder, it’s tempting to see Nightcrawler as a dated film. Sure, there are references to FTP drives and Louis knows how to use a laptop, yet Gilroy’s themes are more like a reaction to the White Ford Bronco era, not a tech-savvy media landscape where a hashtag starts a cultural conservation (for better or worse). Still, there is something undeniably timeless about Louis’s footage and Nina’s willingness to drag the news into the journalistic gutter. Their misanthropy serves a base need that’s unmoored by technology, and it’s undeniably human fun to indulge in it. Nightcrawler does not invite us to point at Louis and condemn him. Instead, it forces us to applaud Louis’s efforts, even as we fight off the nausea.
- Rosewater. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The character notes in the give and take of conversations are probably Rosewater’s greatest strength. Stewart nails the dry, halting conversation that cements the business relationship between Bahari and Davood: both are opponents of the regime, but they have to feel one another out first. Meanwhile, Bahari’s mother (Shohreh Aghdashloo) has already lost a husband and a daughter to the quest to reform the Iranian regime, and as the elections go down and the violence starts, she hides her fear for her son’s safety behind a veil of political cynicism. Then there’s the Iranian who oversees Bahari’s interrogation, nicknamed “Rosewater” (Kim Bodnia), who proves to be a single-minded brute with no awareness of the wider world beyond the regime’s propaganda. He refers to every DVD Bahari owns as “porno,” wants to know why The Daily Show segment referred to Bahari as “a spy,” and is convinced Bahari’s references to Anton Chekhov on Facebook (“The playwrite?!”) hold some dark clue to Bahari’s collusion with anti-Iranian forces. Later, Bahari decides to screw with his tormenter by telling Rosewater tall tales about his sexual escapades at brothels around the world, and the war in the interrogator between disgust and prurient fascination is obvious.
- Life of Crime. Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
Technically speaking, Life Of Crime is not a prequel to Jackie Brown. The former, a chill new caper from writer-director Daniel Schechter (Supporting Characters), is based on Elmore Leonard’s 1978 novel The Switch. The latter, Quentin Tarantino’s superbly loquacious encore to Pulp Fiction, drew inspiration from one of Leonard’s later works, Rum Punch. Thing is, though, for anyone familiar with the Tarantino film, this less remarkable picture will totally seem like a prequel, peering back as it does on younger versions of characters audiences got to know in Jackie Brown. Far from a liability, the cross-movie echoes actually improve Life Of Crime, whose minor pleasures are amplified by a familiarity with the central players and a knowledge of what the fictional future holds for them.