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:
- Point Break. Here’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky over at The AV Club:
With its chugging guitars and faux-bleach-bypass color palette, Point Break looks like a funeral wake set in a Surge commercial. Bigelow’s movie made inspired and colorful use of New Age and all-American iconography (college football, the FBI, president masks), but here, there’s nothing but empty signifying, none of it emptier than the script’s callbacks to the original film, meaningless without context. It’s ironic that this story about a search for deeper meaning—which the movie takes at face value—should be so completely cosmetic, from the tattoos that cover every major character’s skin to the empty mentions of environmental issues. It goes through the motions of a thriller (a bank shootout, a flight through the Alps, a waterfall showdown, etc.), but like the proverbial seeker who doesn’t realize the true path is within, comes out embarrassingly empty.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Jane Got a Gun. Here’s Inkoo Kang over at The Wrap:
Jane isn’t a natural ass-kicker — she’s no sharpshooter like Dan, who ends up rescuing her multiple times. But she’s flinty enough to drop some gunpowder into her husband’s wounds and light it on fire to cauterize his wounds, or to blow off a piece of an attacker’s cheek when he grinningly offers to “share” her with another man. Lilting beautifully in Jane’s native Missouri accent, Portman is in her default ice-princess mode here. She doesn’t quite pull off Jane’s maternal grit, but she (and the squinty, mumbly Edgerton) certainly nail the film’s dusty chic. (Sand in your eye never looked better.)
- Son of Saul. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Ultimately, Son of Saul is a bare bones narrative, with minimal dialogue, a simple plot, and no serious character relationships to speak of. It is Saul’s effort, nothing more: a stubborn, defiant act of human decency and meaning in one of the closest places we’ve ever had to hell on earth. Saul’s actions are rendered all the more moving by their complete disregard for the capricious and all-encompassing threat of death in the camp, and the complete powerlessness of Saul and his fellows before it. The film is more an experience than entertainment, and more technique than story. But it has weight and depth, buried down deep, and it never strays from its relentless commitment.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Pawn Sacrifice (now available on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The filmmaking of Pawn Sacrifice leans subtly into the parallels between the east/west geopolitical chess game and the ones that drove Fischer to madness, homelessness, and eventual death. After an opening coda showing an adult Bobby tearing his room apart in search of listening devices in Iceland, Zwick transitions into his childhood by way of a surveillance photographer’s shutter snapping away at the Fischer home while communists party inside. It’s just one of many ways the movie draws you into a strange sympathy for Bobby, not just as an American genius, but as a man constantly convinced those closest to him were saboteurs.
- Learning to Drive. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Patricia Clarkson is the star of my favorite video on YouTube. Four years ago she recorded an episode of Seven Minutes in Heaven, a comedy interview series hosted by Mike O’Brien. Clarkson is charming, giggly, self-deprecating, and a little bit drunk. At the end of the interview, O’Brien kisses Clarkson (he does this with every guest), but what makes Clarkson unique is she goes for it, too. O’Brien drops all the ironic artifice, and he has the look of a man who is romantically dumbfounded. After the video, I realized two things: Clarkson has the star power of Julia Roberts, despite being relegated to character roles, and she seems like better company than most actors. I thought about the video during Learning to Drive, the new drama/comedy starring Clarkson. She finally has a star vehicle, yet the somewhat charming movie is more timid than her Seven Minutes segment.
- Eden (now available on Amazon Prime). Here’s Scott Tobias over at The Dissolve:
What ultimately gives Eden its strength and continuity is the music, a wonderfully eclectic sampling of recognizable club hits (including four tracks by Daft Punk) and the sorts of soul-infused obscurities that Paul champions on the scene. Hansen-Løve lets whole years pass without emphatic markers, but the beats function as a tonal bridge, connecting the pieces of a narrative that would be rudderless without them. Edencaptures the sensation of being swept up in a wave and deposited on the shore along with all the other cultural detritus; by looking at “French touch” through the eyes of a marginal figure, Hansen-Løve gets a more common view of its seductions and the fates of those who weren’t Daft Punk. It’s pop history by way of a footnote.
That’s it! Let us know what you’re watching in the comments.