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:
- Jurassic World. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Writer-director Colin Trevorrow and his stable of fellow scribes are smart about how they handle their central beasty. Her design has to be grounded to avoid camp – the Indominus Rex simply looks like a Tyrannosaurus Rex with a few added flourishes – so they rely on mood, camera work and portent-laden dialogue to establish the threat the creature poses. She’s extremely intelligent (the way she uses Owen’s inspection visit to break out is fiendishly clever), she’s violent (she ate her one sibling and, once loose, starts killing other dinosaurs for sport), and there’s a particular poignant suggestion that she may be psychotic (she has never known anything but captivity, and was raised without parents or any sort of social structure). That last idea has real thematic potential, especially since Jurassic World follows its predecessors in questioning mankind’s confidence in manipulating and controlling nature. But the film never really goes anywhere with it.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Paper Towns. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The high points – and the best chemistry – in the film belong to the scenes between Quentin and his friends Radar and Ben. The friendship seems trusty and true to the adolescent experience, and the reactions to various requests, clashes and conflicts are real. There’s also an interesting push and pull between the comfortable version of Quentin who plays video games with his friends, and the newly adventurous Quentin, inspired by the hunt for Margo. Figuring out whether those two parts can be compatible is a major part of Quentin’s journey through the film.
- The Stanford Prison Experiment. Here’s what we said in our original review:
There have been at least two films inspired by the Stanford Prison Experiment, the infamous 1971 role playing study where ordinary young men experience psychological trauma by pretending to be prisoners or prison guards. There’s Das Experiment, a German thriller from 2001 where the guards openly discuss humiliation as an effective control technique; the German movie was the inspiration for the American remake, The Experiment, that starred Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker. The difference between those films and this year’s The Stanford Prison Experiment is accuracy: while the original study inspired the older films, the latest draws directly from original study, including the shocking young age of its participants. In the confident hands of director Kyle Patrick Alvarez, The Stanford Prison Experiment is disturbing because any of those young men could have been us.
NETFLIX INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- The Wolfpack. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Fear changes how we think. The Wolfpack is a documentary about a family whose entire life is dictated by fear, not of the unknown, but of the known. A husband and wife move to the Lower East Side of New York City, start a family, and virtually end contact with the outside world because of fear. This film follows their children: seven young people who are beginning to come of age and develop their own ideas about the world because of their collective obsessive relationship with film and music.
- Dior and I. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Contrasting past and present – whether it’s Christian versus Raf, matte muslin shapes versus their glimmering gown counterparts – Tcheng creates tension when little actually exists.The venerable house of Dior will keep on trucking, as will the skilled artisans tucked away, laboring into the night overpicotage. Dior may be one of the last two remaining “true” couture houses in the world, but the story of art versus business is a timeless tale. Patrons support the artists who create magic that delights the masses. It’s a nice look at the process that precedes a final product that seems at once impossible and effortless: a couture runway show. As one seamstress explains of the gowns, “It’s flat. Then it all comes together.” The same can be said of Dior and I.
- Anna Karenina. Here’s what we said in our original review:
My “watch test” is usually a good metric for deciding whether a movie is any good. If I can get through the first hour without looking at my watch – something I do compulsively – then my overall feelings are positive. Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina is the rare movie that passes the watch test but falls apart anyway. The first hour is downright rapturous: working from a script by Tom Stoppard, Wright’s handling of Tolstoy’s novel is eye-popping and unique. For its second half, Wright eschews uncommon style in favor of a conventional adaptation. The oddly abrupt shift weakens the sense of tragedy.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide! Let us know what you’re watching.