Since we know how important at-home-entertainment is for all of us – every week we’re going to 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. Now all you need is someone to watch these movies with.
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Broken City. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The disappointing thing about Broken City is that there’s actually a lot to like. This is a genuine, honest-to-God modern noir: The protagonist, Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg), is an endearingly clunky, old school private eye. The plot begins in matters both seedy and mundane. Most of tension is built around secrets and stealth rather than violence. Tonally, the whole thing is just the right amount of overcooked. Even the names conjure up a Humphrey Bogart flick: Taggart, Valliant, Hostetler, Fairbanks. The film makes a real — and at least somewhat successful — play for deeper political meaning and relevance.
OUT THIS WEEK & (MOSTLY) RECOMMENDED:
- Silver Linings Playbook. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The silver linings abound in the impossibly endearing Silver Linings Playbook, a glorious mash-up of a mental health issues-rom-com film that is far too cheeky and whip smart to, surprisingly, be a mainstream release. Director David O. Russell (Three Kings, I ♥ Huckabees, The Fighter) adapts Matthew Quick’s 2008 novel about a down-on-his-luck former high school teacher fresh out of an 8 month stint in a mental health hospital. Hell-bent on “winning back” his estranged, restraining-order-wielding wife, Pat (Bradley Cooper) is staging a Rocky-like comeback physically (complete with jogging with a garbage bag on top of his running clothes so he can sweat more) and mentally, by reading his way through the high school English syllabus. Oh, and there is this “dance thing” too that he has agreed to do with the self-described “crazy slut with a dead husband” Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). While Silver Linings Playbook does rely on some tried and tested rom com tropes, this is a far cry from jam-in-every-underdog-story-cliche film.
OUT THIS WEEK & DEFINITELY WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Not Fade Away. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Not Fade Away, David Chase’s follow-up to The Sopranos, is too vibrant and strange to be nostalgic. Sure, the movie takes place in the sixties and centers around a garage band, but unlike That Thing You Do, characters interests Chase more than the simple trajectory of a one-hit wonder. The slow-moving plot and questionable camera-work sometimes calls too much attention to itself – Chase’s focus wanders the way a sprawling TV show might – yet his deep affection for his subject draws us into a world of guitars, long hair, and Cuban heels.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Gerhard Richter Painting. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Creation should be solitary. A collaborator may help, although their input does not stymie the process. What matters is most is the lack of observation, which is why a documentary like Gerhard Richter Painting is so rare. Director Corinna Belz has unparalleled access to the prolific painter, a prolific, abstract minimalist who still creates massive works at age 80. In one way, the documentary unfolds as a slow pace and seemingly little happens on the canvas or in Richter’s mind. But for those who cannot imagine how an artist transforms a blank canvas into a masterpiece, there are few documentaries so fascinating.
- Old Joy. Here’s the incomparable Manhola Dargis over at the New York Times:
There are roughly 90 viewing days left till Christmas. By that point most of the big studio movies will have opened for the consideration of the paying public and Academy Award voters, and untold numbers of words will have been spilled about the same handful of serviceable or perhaps even brilliant films of the sort that dominate the discourse every fall. Odds are that none of those contenders will capture the tenor of these difficult times with more sensitivity or greater attention to beauty than Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy, a triumph of modesty and of seriousness that also happens to be one of the finest American films of the year.
- Top of the Lake. Jane Campion directed this BBC miniseries, and it’s uncommonly addictive. It’s a thriller – a detective in New Zealand (Elisabeth Moss) tries to find a missing 12-year old girl once it comes out that she’s pregnant – but it’s more ambitious than that. Campion also shows us the weirdos of a small town, and how weirdly connected they are. The local crime kingpin (Peter Mullan) is buddies with the chief detective (David Wenham), and an American weirdo (Holly Hunter) leads pseudo-cult full of damaged women. We see New Zealand in all its mountainous glory, and the actors all give intense, visceral performances. The plot does not quite coalesce well (it’s needlessly dark and there are many false endings), but you’ll plow through this just like you did with House of Cards.
Let us know your recommendations in the comments: