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:
- The Prophet. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Kahlil Gilbran’s The Prophet is obviously a labor of love, an attempt to spread the poems that the widespread collection to an even wider audience. Director Roger Allers, co-director of The Lion King, collects animated takes on eight of Gibran’s 26 poems, each from a different director that focuses on everything from children to death. There’s undeniable beauty in the words being recited and there are gorgeous visuals that adapt this prose onto the screen. With a series as diverse as The Prophet that deals with all matters of life and what makes it so compelling, by trying to connect all of these ideas into a movie a sole narrative that spans less that 75 minutes, it’s a losing battle in bringing the power that is obviously in the words to film.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Truth. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Blanchett’s performance is the core of the film, and it’s towering work in its emotional heft. Redford is good as Rather, and Truth gently suggests the deep reserves of trust between the two coworkers (it also drops more than a few hints that Rather was a boozehound). Vanderbilt is a smart writer who keeps things moving, only rarely indulges in flashiness, and he shoots the proceedings with a confident and artistic hand. Overall, it’s a well-executed drama with a ferocious sense of purpose.
- Freeheld. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Freeheld is firmly committed to Laurel’s cause all the way. But it’s also compassionate with those who take a while to join the fight, and even with those who never join at all. The film is a modest and elegant affair, ultimately a small story on a small stage in one small town. It contains a lot of the usual beats and climactic speeches, but Peter Sollett’s direction does not ask these moments to shoulder more weight than they can bear. Its best quality is its recognition that Laurel’s fight – and any fight for justice – is not made of heroes. It’s made up of normal, flawed human beings who each touch heroism briefly, momentarily, and it’s all those moments that add up to justice.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Stranger by the Lake (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The cruisers tolerate Henri because he sticks to himself, and they seem ambivalent about the murder at least until the investigation gets more personal. Does Guiraudie think the men are indifferent to straight men, or death? Not at all. Instead, he wants us to think about what can happen when a community thrives through silence, not inclusion. Franck lets Michel get away with murder, for a while anyway, because this is a place where the expectation is that you turn around when you do not belong. This is not an indictment of cruising because Guiraudie is too curious for that. Instead, Stranger by the Lake is about how silence creates a potential for predators. Franck knows Michel is dangerous, and by the end, it’s too late for him to do anything about it. With its devastating final shot, Franck seems as alone as ever, and maybe it dawns on him that unchecked lust has its consequences.
- Mommy (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s Mike D’Angelo over at The AV Club:
If it merits no other superlative, Mommy is unquestionably the most hyperactive movie of the year. It begins at a fever pitch and maintains that degree of in-your-face intensity for well over two hours, to either exhilarating or exhausting effect, depending on one’s tolerance level. Imagine an entire film that takes its cue from Brad Pitt’s performance in 12 Monkeys. Such reckless energy could only come from a youngster, and, indeed, French-Canadian writer-director Xavier Dolan is just 25 years old, though this is already his fifth feature. He’s made better films, and he’ll likely make worse films (given his prolific nature and general fearlessness), but it’ll be hard for him to top this one for sheer maniacal exuberance.
- The Spectacular Now (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Everyone knows a kid like Sutter Keely. Bright and gregarious, he thinks he can talk his way into a girl’s pants or out of trouble. Kids like Sutter never really excel at school – they think it’s a party, not an opportunity for education – so coming of age is foreign to them (or at least difficult). The Spectacular Now is the story of how Sutter drunkenly fights against adulthood. It is also the story of how, in spite of himself, he falls in love. Director James Ponsoldt has the patience to watch his characters talk and grow, so there’s an organic, gentle transition from breezy comedy to serious drama.
That’s it for this week! Get streaming, nerds.