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:
- Seventh Son. Here’s what we said in our original review:
In a movie as studiously bad as Seventh Son, it can be hard to pick out precisely the right opening anecdote. Nonetheless, the diligent critic will try, and shares this moment which is perhaps more subtle in revealing the lazy idiocy of Seventh Son. Shortly after their incoherent flirting leads to sex so PG-13 it’s entirely off-screen, Our Hero Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) intones to his half-witch paramour (Alicia Vikander) yet more dialogue so canned you’d half-expect to find it in survivalist’s bunker: he wants to take her somewhere far away from where present problems can find them. At that moment, we don’t know where they are, where that would be, or where any of this is happening. Indeed we don’t know how any of it relates to anywhere else, spatially, geographically, temporally, politically, economically, culturally. Seventh Son isn’t even two-dimensional, as that would imply that, though it lacks depth, at least it has width.
- The Loft. Here’s Katie Rife over at The AV Club:
Besides being an early contender for the worst date movie of 2015, The Loft is a film that can’t decide what it wants. It’s a male fantasy, and a cautionary tale. It’s sleazy in concept, and timid in execution. It punishes its protagonists for their transgressions, then lets them off the hook. And, perhaps most maddeningly, it insists on painting those protagonists as pretty okay guys, deep down, even as their behavior repeatedly challenges that conclusion. (For some of the characters, anyway—despite The Loft’s many attempts at red herrings, the observant viewer could predict the final outcome simply by who gets a humanizing subplot and who doesn’t.)
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- TiMER. Here’s Ashley Hillard over at Moviehole:
Dating is a pain in the ass. It’s irritating that there is still somewhat of a stigma of women over 30 being single, like a woman’s best years are her prime reproductive years and after that it’s over. Dating can be a painful process and Timer gives a peek into what life would be like knowing who “the one” is and skipping all the hearbreak to find them. The film also shows, though, that relationships that fail help shape us and let us know what we are looking for, so even though it can be frustrating and sad, it can also offer insight into who a person is. For anyone out there navigating the polluted dating ocean, this film offers some comfort that you will get through and be better for it as a result.
- On the Road. Here’s Alphonso Duralde over at The Wrap:
The real Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs (played here by Viggo Mortensen as “Old Bull Lee”) lived long enough to become vivid figures in their own right in documentaries and performances of their work, so portraying them onscreen is no easy feat. Kudos to Sturridge and Mortensen, then, for avoiding caricature.
- Muscle Shoals. Here’s what we said in our original review:
My high school biology teacher used to be a sound engineer. He mentioned this matter-of-factly, and one day I stayed after class to hear stories about the musicians he recorded (I’ll never look at Billy Joel the same way again). These details are fascinating because the creation of music is such an elusive process: even Hall cannot articulate what he wants to hear where he demands yet another take from his musicians. But engineers and session players have a better chance to articulate their process more than celebrities who weren’t even there. Muscle Shoals works best when it uses the studio is a prism for mid-twentieth century American history, and its weakest when it tries to mythologize the studio space. It should go without saying, but the people who were there are capable of the strongest storytelling. As the recording of “Respect” demonstrates, it does not matter if they’re average-looking white dudes.