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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:

  • Tomorrowland. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    It’s the internal moral tensions in those themes that are Tomorrowland’s most interesting aspect, and arguably its biggest failure. Bird is clearly out to indict our pop culture’s current obsession with apocalypse and dark and dreary futurescapes. But he can’t decide if the dreamers he champions need to be rescuing the world of everyday humans or sequestering themselves from its influence. There are two speeches in the script about how amazing Tomorrowland is, and how much the regular world and all its non-special people suck by comparison, and Bird makes the interesting choice to put both in the mouths of his villains. But his heroes never contradict these moral assessments; they just object to the actions the villains draw out of that logic. It’s a weird unspoken dynamic: “We basically agree with you that we’re better than those other people, but please be nicer about it.”
  • The Gallows. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Do not go see The Gallows in a movie theater. Watch it in the comfort of your own home, with lots of booze and snacks. In fact, it’s totally fine if you don’t watch it at all. Unlike The Babadook, It Follows,The Conjuring, or even any of the Insidious films (I love all of them dearly so yes, watch the sequels too), you won’t be missing out on much. The Gallows is the same sophomoric shitty horror film you used to be able to catch on Fear Net. There is absolutely nothing original or creative about it. For a horror junkie like me, that’s okay. I just need something to fill my incredibly lame addiction to being scared, but this is not for people who enjoy doing things that are actually meaningful. Go watch As Above So Below instead.

OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • Dope. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Since the abysmal Me and Earl and the Dying Girl left a regrettable aftertaste, the energetic coming of age comedy Dope is like a soothing tonic. The latest from writer and director and Rick Famuyiwa also references classic films, even integrating iconic shots into his film’s plot, yet there is a tone and sense of space here that’s entirely unique. There are not many movies out there that could weave classic hip-hop and the advantages of bitcoin into its plot. Dope does exactly that, albeit with varying degrees of success. Still, it is hard to begrudge Famuyiwa since he never once condescends to his unique characters, or the audience by extension.

NETFLIX INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:

  • Stranger by the Lake. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Ever since I started watching Looking, the HBO dramedy about young gay men in San Francisco, I’ve been thinking about this deleted scene from Knocked Up. In it, Jonah Hill takes issue withBrokeback Mountain there’s not enough explicit sexual content (an indicative line is, “What am, six years old? I can’t see a guy getting sucked off by another guy?”). While Looking would frustrate Jonah for the same reason as Brokeback, the French thriller Stranger by the Lake would treat him like an adult – in his own words, that is. It is full of explicit sexual content between men, yet the film is not art house pornography. All the sex has a purpose: the consequences of lust interest writer/director Alain Guiraudie, whose idea of human behavior mirrors Hitchcock.
  • 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.
  • Like Someone in Love. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    The camera, spare and uncompromising, regards a posh restaurant in Tokyo. There is no one in the center of the frame; all the diners are in the corners, so it’s unclear where to focus. Then there is one side of a conversation from a disembodied voice. Or is it? Looking around, it’s unclear whether the women in the shot match the overheard voice. This is the clinical opening of Abbas Kiarostami’s absorbing drama Like Someone in Love. It tells a story about lies and empathy, and while its style is unsettling, it grows more serene until its shocking final moments.

That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide! Let us know what you’re watching in the comments.

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