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:
- Good Kill. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Niccol’s script and direction in Good Kill are consistently heavy-handed. He’s often films Egan and his home overhead, in the exact same way Egan looks over the areas he’s tasked to bomb and the majority of the script is just characters reciting bullet-points of the film’s message. Even Bruce Greenwood, who plays Egan’s boss and is almost always fantastic, is tasked with mentioning the program’s flaws at every opportunity, pointing out facts that any idiot could observe if they were paying attention. Unfortunately, Greenwood becomes iconic of Good Kill’s largest problem: its inability to trust the audience’s intelligence.
- Dark Star: HR Giger’s World. Here’s what we said in our original review:
In the relationship between a filmmaker and their subject, reverence can be deadly. Sure, there are problems when there is a lack of respect – documentary subjects routinely complain about distortions after the fact – but an overabundance of respect seems to plague a subset of documentaries. It usually happens whenever the documentary’s subject is a genius, or the film is the director’s first. Dark Star, the new documentary about the famed Swiss artist HR Giger, is guilty of both. First-time director Belinda Sallin handles her material with too much delicacy, as if probing into Giger’s mind would be disrespectful. The film has its pleasures, even a couple surprises, yet it has more in common with a home movie than the documentary form.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- True Story. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Maybe True Story *is* about “the truth” and how elusive that actually is. As a character study, the film is incredibly compelling. James Franco’s acting is especially superb: in his tete-a-tetes with Mike, Franco is the very embodiment of the word “mercurial.” Forget two-faced, he’s three faced. Polar opposite emotions literally flitter across his face every second. He’s chilling, sincere, introspective, alluring, repulsive, calculating, heartless… it is all there. In their push-and-pull relationship, it seems that both men hope to get to learn more about themselves, actually. We get the sense that the excuses Finkel offers to himself for why he lied in the story are as much of a sham as Longo’s. The film seems to suggest that though the gravity of their transgressions is nowhere near the same caliber, both of them know a thing or two about being a pariah.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- White God. Here’s what we said in our original review:
A significant percentage of audiences will avoid White God, the new Hungarian film by Kornél Mundruczó, because they have too much empathy for it. The phrase “dog revenge fantasy” describes the film in a crude way, although that only hints at its intensity. Before they enact their revenge, the dogs are put through several forms of cruelty. Pet-owners are not the only people who have trouble with on-screen animal suffering. Many of us project feeling and emotion onto our furry friends, so our imaginations go into overdrive when they feel pain. While White God is not an easy film, it also plays fair with the audience, so its allegorical climax is extraordinary.
- Flame and Citron. Here’s Noel Murray over at The AV Club:
Danish director Ole Christian Madsen freely borrows elements of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army Of Shadows for the Nazi-resistance adventure Flame & Citron, though really, Madsen is indebted to Melville in a much broader, deeper way. Based on the true story of the Holger Danske—one of the more active and successful native sabotage agencies of World War II—Flame & Citron stars Thure Lindhardt as “Flame” and Mads Mikkelsen as “Citron,” two infamous resistance fighters who remain close even as their movement gets consumed with infighting and betrayal. Given the Holger Danske’s extreme secrecy, the Gestapo found the group easy to infiltrate and manipulate. In the movie, Lindhardt and Mikkelsen begin to question each other, as their assignments increasingly seem directed at Danes, whose level of complicity with the Nazis is unclear. Racked with doubt, Lindhardt and Mikkelsen harden up, like Melville protagonists, focusing more on performing their duties with coolness and precision, and less on the reasoning behind their missions.
- Timbuktu (now available on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Timbuktu presents the jihadist occupation in a surprisingly subdued way, with little reliance on emotionality from any of its characters, yet it is not devoid of emotional pull. The scenes are carefully composed, with a desert blues cadence to them. The line between singing and howling/wailing in pain is blurry. Perhaps its greatest strength is how it renders the disruption of living under such turmoil seem so ordinary—something superimposed on the people there like a foreign cloak on the already pious fabric of their society.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!