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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:

  • Paul Blart Mall Cop 2. Here’s Nathan Rabin over at The Dissolve (RIP):
    In the past, James at least had likability on his side. He was a big, lumbering oaf, the ideal drinking buddy. But there’s an arrogance to the way he treats people here, particularly a gorgeous hotel employee he’s convinced is in love with him, that renders him strangely unsympathetic. With Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, James has made the same joyless, laugh-free comedy twice, albeit this time in a more fun location. Perhaps he’ll finally sort it out by the time he shoots the final entry in the Paul Blart: Mall Cop trilogy, 2021’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3.

OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • It Follows. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    On one level, anyway, this is a horror film about a sexually transmitted disease. But unlike the slasher films of the early eighties, Mitchell is no prude who views grisly death as comeuppance for promiscuity. Jay and the others are sophisticated about sex – insofar that kids their age can be – and there are no mean-spirited jokes, nor do any characters conflate sex with love. By letting his characters Mitchell treat sex as a matter-of-fact part of their lives, he’s free to abandon grandiose themes and instead lead his characters/audience through an entertaining, cathartic mix of tension and relief. As long as they don’t accidentally learn the premise beforehand, It Follows is so good that it has the potential to convert non-fans into full-on aficionados.
  • Ex Machina. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Ex Machina is executed flawlessly; anchored by four fantastic performances (a shout-out to Sonoya Mizuno, whose excellent work here is sure to go underheralded relative to the rest of the cast), the film has a confident swagger. It’s slick when it needs to be, but has an eye for sensitive moments; the sound design is impeccable (Ava sounds kind of like a soothing electric car), and interweaves the almost-ambient score with grace. The dialogue is uneven, but when its occasional sparkles give way to ponderousness or plodding melodramatic pauses, the pitch-perfect performances more than carry it.

INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:

  • Hard to Be a God. Here’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky over at The AV Club:
    Even when one isn’t entirely sure what’s going on in Hard To Be A God, there’s at least something to look at, be it a mass procession of soldiers in Don Quixote helmets or a man swinging a flamberge sword over his head like a helicopter blade. And, in the end, what leaves the strongest impression is what German crams into the frame; regardless of its themes of political repression and its undertones of religious inquiry, Hard To Be A God is first and foremost a vision of human misery, brutality, and ignorance. Except, of course, none of these people are human and this isn’t Earth. It just looks like it.
  • Seven Psychopaths (on Amazon Prime). Here’s yours truly over at Tiny Mix Tapes:
    Playwright turned director Martin McDonagh’s work is always gleefully offensive. In his films and plays, his characters joke about the disabled, racism, and torture. Blood and profanity nearly have a one-to-one ratio, so his work will never be for the timid. In Seven Psychopaths, McDonagh’s latest, he adds a cerebral streak while preserving his sharp dialogue and dark comedy. There are times where he pushes his film into head-scratching meta-territory; it doesn’t always make sense, but the laughs remain abundant.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOsd5d8IVoA
  • Slow West (on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
    He’s not even nineteen years old, and somehow Kodi Smit-McPhee might be the most typecast actor in movies today. Whether it’s The Road or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or Young Ones, Smit-McPhee somehow always plays a wide-eyed innocent who must contend with hard people in a hardened landscape. He has the right look for such material: he is downright gaunt, with large eyes that make him look younger than his actual age. Slow West may not take place in a post-apocalyptic future, but its outlaw characters exist outside society in a similar way. John Maclean, making his feature-length debut, has an eye for composition, particularly when Smit-McPhee and the other actors strike a silhouette in Big Sky country. This is the sort of meandering road movie where the destination is more important – and more exciting – than the journey itself.

That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide!

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