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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 & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • Inside Out. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Inside Out, the latest film from Pixar, takes a seemingly simple premise as an opportunity for creativity, wisdom, and wry humor. The animation is both cartoonish and ornate, so kids can laugh at the broad physical gags while adults will notice the dizzying attention to detail. That attention to younger and older audiences is the movie’s driving force: directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen add layers of depth here – sometimes literally – so that someone at ages ten, twenty, thirty will have completely different, yet genuine emotional responses to every joke and outlandish situation. Pixar is responsible for some of the best films of the last twenty years, not just in animation, and yet they have outdone themselves. This is their best film since Toy Story 3, and easily ranks among the studio’s best.
  • Amy. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Amy does not play out like a cautionary tale – Kapadia is too curious about his subject for that – nor is it a biopic in a traditional sense. I have no sense of what omissions and liberties the documentary takes, and instead Amy is about the wrongheaded connection between talent and suffering. Amy Winehouse was at her productive when she was clean, when she was happy, and when she was with the right people. Photos of her emaciated from heroin, while heart-wrenching, do not add to her mystique. Amy ends with wise words from Tony Bennett, a peerless talent who was also one of Amy’s idols. It is easy for the mainstream to take Bennett for granted – I know I certainly do – but Amy never once did, and his earned wisdom adds depth to his songs, Amy’s songs, and the melancholy duet they once recorded together.
  • Mississippi Grind. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Gamblers exist outside the typical binary of optimism and pessimism. On one hand, they’re relentlessly upbeat about their chances – anything can be a charm, or a sign – yet they somehow feel unnerved by winning because the more they win, the sooner they lose. This dynamic defines Mississippi Grind, an appealing road movie about a gambler who makes an unlikely friend when he needs it most. Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, the writing/directing team who brought us Half Nelson, again find nuance and grace in a character who is typically seen as a one-note degenerate. And since the two lead performances are excellent without making a big deal of it, it means audiences will probably miss its low-key charms.

NETFLIX INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:

  • Best of Enemies. Here’s Bilge Ebiri over at Vulture:
    You might see a film about William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal’s ten televised debates during the 1968 presidential conventions as an opportunity to bask in eloquent, pointed repartee. You might also enjoy the spectacle of two of the foremost intellectuals of their time coming very close to physically beating the crap out of each other. You might notexpect, however, to find yourself weeping — for the state of the republic and the poisoned media landscape, for the decay of the American social contract. Yet here we are. Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville’s masterfulBest of Enemies leaves you with an overwhelming sense of despair. It’s not just a great documentary, it’s a vital one.
  • 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.
  • 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. What makes these children different is more than just that they were kept away from the world; it’s how they created their own universe. The boys re-enact films within their own home for fun. One transcribes the dialogue by hand and types it out in script format using a typewriter, and the others work on creating costumes out of anything they can find, including old yoga mats and cereal boxes. They create their own props as well, so gunfights come complete with aluminum foil replica weapons, and six-shooters with a swing out cylinder.

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

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