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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:

  • Pan. Here’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky over at The AV Club:
    It’s hard to make the case that any of this means anything, or is even supposed to, and how much a given viewer gets out of Pan is probably proportional to how much they enjoy pure bric-a-brac and the occasional silly sight gag—or, conversely, how much they can stomach nudge-nudge references to Barrie’s source material. At once thinly conceived and maddeningly over-designed, irreverent and over-serious, and chock-full of strained references (to World War II, environmentalism, and drugs, among other things) and creepy violence, Pan is an elaborate flight of fancy with no vision—which makes it strangely compelling in spots.

OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • Mistress America. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    I am not going to share any more of the plot, because the dizzy ride is worth experiencing head on, and it is done masterfully. No beats are skipped, no punches spared, no lines delivered with anything short of perfect panache (in fact, this movie is probably one of the more quotable gems of the decade), and no one is safe even when enveloped in the sparkling dancepop soundtrack provided by Britta Phillips and Dean Warenhaim. He has a small, but pivotal role in the film. And somehow, while the movie is perfectly orchestrated, much like that pivotal scene and that lovely score, manages to ring true, just like Brooke and Tracy do, we see underneath all that veneer and armor. Because the theme is universal: we, the people, are collectively hopeful and sad, and vulnerable, and selfish and a 1000 other things we don’t want to project to the world. Some of us just find better masks to wear.
  • Bone Tomahawk. Here’s Dom Sinacola over at Paste:
    Bone Tomahawk is a film more fun to think about than it is to watch. It’s impressive too, a directorial debut for S. Craig Zahler that seems to fit perfectly into both the man’s obviously deep-seated adulation for the medium, as well as into the kind of viewing experience one would expect from someone willing to indulge in the old-timey practice of adding an initial to a name that doesn’t really need one. Not so much indebted as in thrall to a whole host of traditions, genres, and micro-niches—some of which fit perfectly into the current season of celebrating all things scary—Zahler handles each of his cinematic loves as wonderfully as a well-studied devotee should. If Bone Tomahawk is a neo-cannibal-western-thriller-romance (if the film has more in common with The Green Inferno than any other movie to come out recently), then it’s always fun to watch a filmmaker pull off the film he’s probably always wanted to make. Which Zahler seems to do his first go-round.

INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:

  • Queen of Earth (now on Netflix). Here’s Chuck Bowen over at Slant:
    Queen of Earth presents itself as a thriller that might end with Catherine killing someone, but that’s a deliberate misdirection used to deny us catharsis in a manner that parallels the protagonist’s irresolute misery. Perry’s prior films are stylish and intelligently pitiless, but they don’t go entirely below the surface of their characters’ cruelty and self-absorption in the way Queen of Earth does. The film is a ruthlessly hyper-tactile examination of a character who, for her clinical depression, experiences everything differently, and more severely, from her theoretically well-adjusted peers, who, in turn, are blinded by class envy and resentments of their own.
  • How to Survive a Plague (on Netflix again). Here’s what we said in our original review:
    How to Survive raises fascinating questions about civil society and the role of activism. The film opens with then-mayor of New York Ed Koch (glibly) quipping that fascism and well-intent are not mutually exclusive.  The initial tactics are undeniably fascist, and we see back in time to a kinder, gentler NYPD less militarized and apparently better-trained to police the line between civil disobedience and the preservation of order.  The lens is not rose-tinted; later reels introduce the present-day principals coping with the fact that many of their efforts were counterproductive, and probably cost lives. Overall the activists come out ahead: advocacy groups of many diseases push to speed drugs to market that turn out to be ineffective or harmful, but few of them auto-install a PICC line and self-administer experimental medication.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwhFS1mUaVY
  • Mississippi Grind (now on Amazon Prime). 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.

That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.

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