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:
- Entourage. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Maybe the best compliment to give Entourage is that it’s consistent with the series. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible. Entourage just conveniently rides that like of “okay.” Entourage is essentially an unofficial season nine that undoes some of the development the show had smartly made. By the end of the show, these characters were on their way to bigger and better things, but the film reverts these characters back to their more basic, simplistic versions of themselves. For those who didn’t watch the show, there’s not much here, unless you want to see the one film that features both Warren Buffett and Kid Cudi. For fans of the show, it’s nice to see these characters again, but maybe it’s not to their benefit if is obliterates some of the progress the show made.
- Pixels. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Maybe the biggest loss, and the thing the film should obviously have tried for, given its setup, is that it never really nails the feeling of being inside a video game. There are moments where it brushes up against that experience, especially when Sam and Ludlow are blasting away at the centipedes descending from the sky. But Columbus, while a competent director, merely stages the action, and doesn’t stretch himself to the point of actually entering the camera into the video game experience. As a result, Pixels is just a subpar satire on the alien invasion genre, one that happens to have some respectable special effects and some exceedingly unusual aliens.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Southpaw. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The script by Kurt Sutter isn’t terribly creative – it of course ends with Billy’s climactic return to the ring – but it’s yeoman-like work that gives the actors and Fuqua a solid foundation. Thanks to the performances especially, Southpaw is considerably better than it would sound on paper. What’s especially good is watching Billy rebuild his shattered relationship with an enraged and grief-stricken Leila, and the way he learns to conjure within himself the balance and control that Maureen gave him. The rest of Southpaw’s success is thanks to the power of McAdams’ performance, and her early scenes with Gyllenhaal. I have never seen a film where the early death of a character hangs with such visceral emotional weight over the rest of the proceedings. Late in the film, when Tick tells Billy “Maureen is watching you,” it must have looked utterly corny on paper. But in the context of the performances and direction, it totally works.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Results (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Results initially appears to be writer/director’s Andrew Bujalski first major foray into the mainstream. Bujalski, who cut his teeth with mumblecore classics like Mutual Appreciation and Funny Ha Ha, broke free from his twee niche with Computer Chess, a deeply weird period comedy about computer programmers who take over a hotel in the early 1980s. His first films all have grainy black and white photography, with non-actors in roles that are so carefully observed they seem like documentaries. His latest may look like a sprint in the opposite direction, yet Bujalski’s compelling peculiarities are prevalent in every scene. It is a strange, specific film with a glossy mainstream exterior.
- While We’re Young (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our interview with writer/director Noah Baumbach:
You can see Josh Hamilton’s recent liberal arts grad Grover in Kicking and Screaming being a foreshadowing of Eric Stoltz’s insecure 30 year old Lester in Mr. Jealousy (who, lets face it, was the original Hannah in Girls, whether or not Lena Dunham will ever admit to it or not) who could, depending on which particular turn that Iowa writer’s program took become Malcolm (or Margot herself, a rare Baumbachian female alter ego) in Margot at the Wedding, or Jeff Daniels’ Bernard inSquid and the Whale. Or, for that matter – Ben Stiller titular fuck-up in Greenberg or his Josh in Baumbach’s latest While We’re Young (which opens this weekend in finer movie theatres everywhere). It is always the younger characters (the high school girlfriend, the son, the brother’s assistant…) that serve as a maturity litmus test for these angry young-and-not-quite-so-young men-anymore and it is in this latest effort, more so than ever, that Baumbach allows for that relationship (and tension) to be front and center.
- Barbara (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The communist Germany setting gives Petzold the opportunity to insert a political message intoBarbara, yet that kind of story does not interest him. The secret police and the constant expectation of loyalty are a way for him to drill into the minds of his characters. For Petzold, commitment to East Germany is not nearly as deep as the Hippocratic Oath. Barbara and Andre treat two young patients, both of whom are broken victims, and there is understated suspense when it’s uncertain what will become of them. It’s ultimately handled in an elegant way, and the final moments suggest a transition within Barbara even as she preserves her core. Like a great short story, Barbara is quietly evocative. It will stay with you long after it’s over.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide!