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:
- Sicario. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Before director Denis Villeneuve gets into his latest thriller, a grim title card informs us the word “Sicario” is a common term for a hit-man in Mexico. We have no idea of knowing whether this accurate, of course, although I like to think the title-card has the same authority as the one that prefaces Ronin.Both Ronin and Sicario are about hardened, violent men who ignore the typical rules of engagement and diplomacy. While Ronin is an excuse for a protracted chase, Villeneuve and his screenwriter Taylor Sheridan are more ambitious. Their examine the amoral consequences of a lengthy drug war, although the plot does not always match the Villeneuve’s powerful, oppressive filmmaking.
- The Visit. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The first thing you do when you start watching The Visit is laugh. You laugh for a while, maybe a little nervous at first, because isn’t this a scary movie? But then you settle in, you laugh some more. Then the laughter becomes more nervous. You don’t remember when you stopped laughing, but all of a sudden you are definitely not laughing anymore. Until you are! It is a testament to the abilities and commitment of one of America’s most talented and committed filmmakers that, rather than a simple slide from comedy into horror, The Visit never stops juggling any of its balls; the thing you might remember most about the movie isn’t the scares, but the winning and genuine threads of knowing comedy it weaves.
- Experimenter. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Most biopics nowadays have a Great Man problem. They shoehorn complex lives into discreet acts, omitting crucial details in favor of broad entertainment and gold statuettes. The end of the year is lousy with biopics – The Theory of the Everything is last year’s most inoffensive example – so Experimenteris refreshing since writer/director Michael Almereyda breaks every biopic convention. His film is unabashedly bizarre, at times theatrical, and designed to get us thinking like his titular experimenter. Since the experimenter is a psychologist who unearthed disturbing patterns of human behavior, anything conventional would not do him justice.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- We Need to Talk About Kevin (now on Netflix). Here’s Scott Tobias in The AV Club:
For her radical adaptation of Shriver’s book, director Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar) dispenses with the epistolary format altogether and attempts to access the mother’s troubled psyche without a breath of narration. And in its best sequences, Ramsay puts her duress in dazzlingly visual terms, collapsing the past and present in an associative rush of red-streaked images and piercingly vivid moments out of time. When the film finally settles, it eases into scenes of a zombiefied Swinton, post-massacre, trying to carry on with her son (Ezra Miller) in jail and her neighbors openly expressing their hostility. It also tracks the mother-and-son relationship from the beginning, as an unresponsive infant and toddler grows into a sullen, violent, frighteningly remote teenager—all while his oblivious father (John C. Reilly) looks away.
- The Devil’s Double (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Devil’s Double is a cross between Scarface and The Last King of Scotland, a thriller that mixes fact and fiction to tell the engrossing story of a real-life monster. At its center is Dominic Cooper, an English actor whose dual-role performance deserves to be mentioned alongside similar ones from Nicolas Cage and Jeremy Irons. Director Lee Tamahori’s effort does not match Cooper’s, so the movie drags with superfluous twists and the occasional clunky scene. Still, the exploits of Uday Hussein (son of Saddam) are captivating in a sleazy way, and I found myself entertained by the film’s sheer audacity.
- Horse Money (now on Netflix). Here’s Matt Zoller Seitz over at RogerEbert.com:
The rating at the top of this page is for originality and conviction, not for entertainment value, as if that phrase could mean anything when applied to such a gravely serious and mysterious movie. This is not a movie that comes to you. You have to go to it. There are long stretches of “Horse Money” in which you will have no idea what’s going on or how the movie wants you to take it, if indeed it wants you take it in any particular way, and on the basis of Costa’s past work, that seems unlikely. The best approach is to surrender to it as you might a dream and let the images overwhelm you.
That’s it for our weekly guide!