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:
- Strangerland. Here’s Jesse Hassenger over The AV Club:
In its first half, Strangerland works as a character-based procedural, even before a possible crime enters into the narrative. Kidman—appearing in her first Australia-set movie since, well, Australia—remains fearless, willing to both trade on her beauty and interrogate it ruthlessly, as she looks at her daughter with a mix of affection, helplessness, and even jealousy. When Lily disappears, Catherine performs a frantic re-evaluation of her life, and Kidman unravels with raw emotion. Fiennes has less room to maneuver, mostly playing up his character’s paranoia about his daughter’s sexuality and intimations that said sexuality is all Catherine’s fault: “She’s almost as out of control as you were,” he barks at one point. Even when the supporting characters falter, director Kim Farrant, making her fiction feature debut, offers a vibrant sense of place with the film’s rural setting. There’s plenty of the usual scorching sun and natural outback filth, including a heavy dust storm that coincides with Catherine’s initial panic over her children, but Farrant also includes interiors shot with heated-up colors. The green, pink, and blue hues that fill various rooms contrast with both the dusty browns of daylight and the shadows that fall over the town and desert at night.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- 5 to 7. Here’s what we said in our original review:
It can be difficult to tolerate the implausible parts of a romantic comedy because their world is so similar to ours. Characters in romantic comedies are neurotic and well-meaning just like us, but their personal and professional lives are full of impossible charm. Remember Harry’s pad in When Harry Met Sally? There’s no way a young political consultant could afford that lavish Manhattan apartment, with windows that big (it was a fantasy of Rob Reiner and his production designer). Victor Levin’s 5 to 7has many of the same implausible parts, and Levin knows it, too. Still, this is a gentle, cloying romantic comedy with soft-spoken sincerity that’s somehow disarming.
- The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Here’s what we said in our original review:
100 is funny in the exact opposite way that something like Pitch Perfect 2 is funny. The latter makes you laugh aloud on an instinctual level right before your intellect catches up with you, shaming you. 100, while technically a comedy, has no real comedic timing, no real jokes. Its humor is all in wry intellectual irony, inviting you to chuckle and embrace a smug satisfaction in superiority over the events unfolding. Its resistance to the standard plot beats is as admirable as it is befuddling; the ending deus ex machinais a snooze, long periods of Allan’s past go completely skipped, and the Chechov’s gun of Allan’s love for explosion goes unfired in the third act. There may be some sort of moral in the fact that what saves the whole gang of protagonists was an act of generosity by Allan years prior; but that act itself was so casual, to the point of almost unthinking, that it seems deliberately staged to undermine the point it may be trying to make. Good karma is arbitrary, building lifelong friendships is luck, everything is pretty much random, and you’re as likely to end up in a car crusher as a beach in Bali.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Pariah. Here’s Allison Willmore over at Movieline:
What sets writer/director Dee Rees’s sensitive feature debut Pariah (expanded from her 2007 short of the same name) apart from the standard coming out story is that Alike is just as much an outsider at the club as at home, adrift and uncomfortable while her more outgoing best friend Laura (Pernell Walker) picks up girls on the dance floor. She hasn’t found the place in which she feels she can be herself. Alike knows that she’s gay, but her understanding and acceptance of that fact doesn’t mean she knows where she fits, in the scene or out of it — she doesn’t easily fall into the divisions of butch and femme, and she doesn’t seems to do any better at school, where she’s a good student in whose writing a teacher has taken a special interest, but other dangles outside the established social groups. Pariah is a coming of age story that’s uncommonly aware of just how heartbreakingly important the trappings of fashion, of music choices, of hobbies are when you’re young — they’re symbols of everything you think you are or aspire to be, even as they’re woefully inadequate shortcuts to establishing your identity.
- Being Flynn. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Being Flynn is also a film about homelessness, literally and metaphorically. Director Paul Weitz uses his lens to show the brutal Bostonian winter landscape with a gut-wrenching intensity and poignancy. Long after Jonathon leaves prison and descends into alcoholism, Nick meets him at a homeless shelter. Snippets of Nick’s writing provide a literary backdrop to the film. His description of his father’s going to sleep on a Metro grate as “an invisible man in an invisible room in an invisible city,” is a trenchant metaphor for the blind eye toward homelessness. The shelter is a microcosm of the struggles of the outside world and a testament to how hard it is to stay changed. The way up is long but the way down quick and always lurking around the corner. When Nick takes on the job in the shelter, maybe subconsciously he’s hoping to see his father. As Nick says, “if both of you are lost, you both end up in the same place, waiting.”
- The Hunter. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Watching and then mulling over The Hunter — a film which is part corporate thriller, part environmental elegy, and part character drama — was a strange and conflicting experience. In terms of its visuals, construction, performances, and the primordial basics of its narrative, it’s a moving film about rediscovering the capacity to value and thus to grieve loss. At the same time, some of the more specific plot machinations struck me as bizarre, obtuse, or both. Thinking about the film afterward, some of its other choices also creep to the edge of the fatuous, and in a lesser film would have emerged as glaring errors. But because The Hunter’s control over its tone is so measured and precise, its largely able to slide past these errors. I found the film emotionally moving and intellectually suspect.