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:
- We Are Your Friends. Here’s what we said in our original review:
And that is maybe the film’s biggest strength and weakness: for all its buzzy voice-over narrations, and beat breakdowns, and animated drug sequences (actually, there is only one), deep down We Are Your Friends is an old-fashioned movie: it asks you to stick it out with these characters, it asks you to trust the filmmakers, it even invites an old-fashioned tearjerk moment or two towards the end. It is all the things I imagine 19 year olds going to the Electric Daisy festival (or whatever) may hate (do those kids even go to the movie theatres anymore?). Yet it seems too young and glitchy on the surface for the non-19-year olds to be attracted to it. We Are Your Friends is somehow, against all odds, an underdog of a film. Let’s hope it finds its legs and stays the distance, at least a little.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Here’s what we said in our original review:
At the screening of Rogue Nation I attended, a young man around age 18 sat next to me. He would quietly comment on all the “big hits” in the movie, saying stuff like “Oh shit!” to no one in particular or his friend next to him. It wasn’t a distraction at all: he was clearly enjoying the movie, and kept his voice down. By the time Cruise and McQuarrie got to their breathless climax, the young man’s demeanor changed. He didn’t make a sound; he leaned forward instead, hands over his mouth, in complete anticipation over what might happen next. What he experienced is exactly what I love about the movies: it makes us forget we’re in a dark room, so that we’re wholly immersed through the quality of the filmmaking, not cheap gimmicks. Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation is a reminder of what summer blockbusters can accomplish at their best.
- Wolf Totem. Here’s Scott Tobias over at The Village Voice:
When the wolves run free, however, Annaud supplies all the breathtaking panoramas promised by a big international production set loose in the wilds of Inner Mongolia. In IMAX 3-D, you can practically feel the wetness of a wolf’s snout as it scans the grasslands, looking for strays in a passing herd or a poorly monitored sheep pen. There are striking images: a previously untouched lake blackened by careless settlers from the east; frozen gazelle carcasses preserved by being wedged into the ground, which serves as a makeshift wolf refrigerator. Wolf Totem itself becomes a pitched battle for supremacy between the breathtaking glories of nature and the grinding banality of man. Here, as ever, nature loses.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Phoenix. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Most American films about World War 2 have a clear-cut divide between good and evil. Americans have the luxury of two massive aquatic barriers, which create and “us and them” dynamic between the soldiers and those they fought. Europeans and Japanese, particularly those Europeans in Axis countries, cannot rationalize their wartime behavior with such ease, and the films from those countries reflect that. Phoenix, a German postwar drama from director Christian Petzold, slowly enters a world of betrayal, love, and despair. Like last year’s terrific Ida and Petzold’s recent Barbara, here is a film that requires patience, yet concludes with quiet power, forcing us to reconsider the delicate mastery of what preceded it.
- Dinosaur 13. Here’s what we said in our original review:
A few years before Steven Spielberg made it cool again, paleontologist Pete Larson and his colleagues found a mostly complete T-Rex fossil in the South Dakota Badlands. Up to that point, no paleontologists were able to find an wholly intact T-Rex skull, which made their discovery all the more exciting. Dinosaur 13, a new documentary directed and produced by Todd Douglas Miller, the story of the fossil’s discovery and much more. Around the half hour mark, Miller’s attention shifts toward a complex legal quagmire, one that leads toward injustice. Miller’s handles the material in a one-sided way, leaving some nagging questions, yet this is a compelling account of how an overzealous justice system got in the way of a major scientific breakthrough.
- Tangerine. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Tangerine pulls off a pretty remarkable feat. It deals with a segment of life most Americans are unfamiliar with, and whose day-to-day rhythms many of us would find absurd or alien or worse. It subtly acknowledges that this is how its subjects may be perceived, and in its early stages it even uses the absurdity to kickstart its narrative momentum. There were early moments when I worriedTangerine was punching down by making fun of its subjects. And then, ever so slowly, something remarkable happens. Tangerine’s circumstances remain absurd and often laugh-out-loud funny, but its characters emerge with clearly defined natures and fearsome senses of dignity. It becomes something quietly moving and deeply compassionate. I guess you could call the genre absurdist humanism. Tangerine isn’t the only film I’ve seen pull it off, but I’ve rarely seen it done with such superb-yet-gentle craftsmanship.
That’s it! Let us know what you’re watching, nerds.