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:
- Mojave. Here’s
- Victor Frankenstein. Here’s Bilge Ebiri over at Vulture:
“You know this story. A crack of lightning. A mad genius. An unholy creation.” Those are the words that start off Victor Frankenstein. They’re repeated at the very end, at which point you might be muttering to yourself, “If only we’d seen that story instead.” A catastrophic miscalculation of a movie, Victor Frankenstein is a perfect example of a Hollywood revision that, in trying to outsmart an original, reveals what worked about said original in the first place.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- In the Heart of the Sea. Here’s what we said in our original review:
In the Heart of the Sea never goes so far as to say the whale is attacking the men as an act of collective vengeance for its species, but the thematic implication is certainly there. At the same time, neither Howard nor screenwriter Charles Leavitt present the whale as a figure of wronged innocence. So both the whale and Chase become figures of struggle and rage, competing for the audience’s empathy, and both seeking their own measure of peace. It’s a nice flourish to what is often a straight-forward adventure yarn, told with welcome compactness by Levitt. Combined with the evocative score by Roque Baños, and Howard’s punchy direction, In the Heart of the Sea makes for some solid Grade B entertainment. If you go in expecting Rush, except with whales and harpoons, you’ll probably be well served.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- He Never Died. Here’s Simon Abrams over at RogerEbert.com:
You don’t need to know anything about Henry Rollins to appreciate his tongue-noticeably-in-cheek action hero performance in horror/superhero genre hybrid He Never Died. Rollins, the more charismatic of the two former frontmen of American punk band Black Flag, has a Schwarzenegger-ian, block-o’-meat-style quality to his performance. He plays Jack, a musclebound mystery man who keeps to himself until he feels obligated to investigate the kidnapping of Andrea (Jordan Todosey), his estranged, 19-year-old daughter. Jack isn’t super-strong, but he is built like a tank, and he emotes like one too. Nothing phases him, save perhaps for when he reveals that he understands, and can even talk sarcastically. Still, Rollins plays Jack as if he were the demonic love-child of the Terminator and Starman, a stranger from afar who is unaccustomed to, or perhaps just uninterested in human niceties.
- Kilo Two Bravo. Here’s yours truly over at The Washington Post:
Katis films this with unflinching realism. In addition to the men’s screams of agony, the makeup effects are disturbing. We’re shown viscera and dangerous-looking internal injuries. In one intense scene, a soldier with a collapsed lung begs his friend to stab him with a long needle so that he doesn’t suffocate. Pushed past common sense, the medic hops through the minefield to help as many men as he can, flinching every time he lands safely. Yet the filmmakers aren’t interested in exploitation. Instead, Kilo Two Bravo unfolds like a war procedural. Practical problem-solving, not heroics, will save these men.
- The Assassin. Here’s what we said in our original review:
This film was awarded the award for Best Director at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, an award whose past recipients are a deeply intimidating list of all-time classics, and Hou has spent decades being lauded by critics around the world as among the best practitioners of the cinematic arts. But The Assassin is a film only a critic could love. It offers characters one can neither root for nor empathize with; a mythic story it refuses to mythologize; and beautifully choreographed scenes of combat with which its creator is clearly deeply uncomfortable in a way that’s totally unproductive and renders them a toxic combination of inert and uninquistive. This is a film destined to be fiercely admired among a certain circle while never being truly loved, the kind of art object the singing of whose praises is mostly a shibboleth. The Assassinis perfect, and perfectly boring.
That’s it! Enjoy the streaming, nerds.