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:
- Hyde Park on the Hudson. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Bill Murray is probably one of the most beloved film entertainers living today. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is probably one of the most towering characters of the 20th century politics. Hyde Park On Hudson‘s early trailers and teasers promised to show us Murray (in his first lead role since Broken Flowers) as a humane and humorous FDR, if a little petulant, surrounded by a lively tale of a royal visit to United States, picnics, and a dash of both political and romantic intrigue. I, for one, was very excited at the prospect. It looked to be juicy, fun, smart and even, yes, very funny at times. Sadly, instead, we got this well, merely adequate film on our hands. Hinging almost too heavily on FDR’s maybe-affair with (5th-or-6th cousin) Daisy Suckley (a dowdy Laura Linney) it meanders between attempts to be salacious (much fuss has been made over a hand job between the two in a blooming field) and downright dragged out (even at a neat 1:34).
OUT THIS WEEK & (MOSTLY) RECOMMENDED:
- Revenge for Jolly! Here’s what we said in our original review:
Jolly is absolutely adorable. She’s a mini-doberman with eager eyes and a big smile; Harry (Brian Petsos) loves her more than life itself. When he comes home one day and finds her strung up, Revenge for Jolly! is all he can think about. Alongside cousin Cecil (Oscar Isaac), Harry follows a string of clues. They ask whores and other lowlives where the dog murderer is, gunning down anyone who is in their way. They also drink a lot – mostly beer, with the occasional shot of tequila. Revenge for Jolly! has one type of scene that it does well, and it does the scene over and over. Harry and Cecil meet some people, they yell at each other, then someone gets shot. This creates some structural problems. The movie feels like a series of shorts rather than a cohesive feature. Still, there are enough macabre asides and blood-soaked surprises so that the funny moments compensate for larger issues. Jolly’s untimely death was not in vain.
OUT THIS WEEK & DEFINITELY WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Upstream Color. Here’s what we said in our interview with writer/director Shane Carruth:
Like Primer, Upstream Color has a challenging narrative, yet attentive audiences will find it accessible. It tells the story of Kris (Amy Seimetz), a woman who’s the victim of a dangerous kind of mind control. A thief (Thiago Martins) infects her with a worm, which leaves her completely open to the power of suggestion. She hands over her livelihood while she’s under hypnosis, and her life is in shambles afterward. Kris tries to rebuild afterward, and then she meets Jeff (Carruth), who instinctively feels a kinship with her. The two form a bond, one that’s fractured by their respective pasts. Kris and Jeff also connect with the Sampler (Andrew Sensenig), a mysterious scientist who uses the Thief’s victims for bizarre experiments. All these elements coalesce into a narrative that’s more life affirming than it is obscure. In addition to writing, directing and starring in the film, Carruth also composed the score.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- A Royal Affair. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The costume drama is an unrightfully criticized genre. Since the cast is stiff and rigid in corsets and other uncomfortable clothes of the period, surely the film must be equally as stuffy and uncomfortable, or so most audiences seem to think. Without even knowing the premise of a film, one can see the costumes and automatically assume that this may not be the film for them. For costume dramas, clothes can sometimes make the film instantly uninteresting. I’ll admit to falling into the same trappings upon watching the trailer for A Royal Affair. For me, my mind snaps when I see flowing dresses and powdered wigs and think, “how is this going to be different from The Duchess/The Other Boleyn Girl/Bright Star/costume drama of this year.” Foolishly, I shouldn’t have let clothes dictate my feelings on this film. My prejudices almost held me from seeing one of the best foreign films of the year. I shouldn’t have judged this book by its cover.
- 2 Days in New York. Here’s what we said in our original review:
2 Days in New York moves at such a breakneck pace that it’s easy to forgive its semblance to dozens of other comedies. The American characters are bewildered, the French characters are outrageous, and at the center are a couple who cannot seem to have a moment alone. Director and co-author Julie Delpy has everyone speak with a manic combination of French and English; it’s a wonder that we can follow dinner conversation since the dialogue overlaps the subtitles. By plunging the audience into a world of European eccentrics, the heartfelt humor is nearly exasperating.
- eXistenZ. Here’s Scott Tobias over at the AV Club:
Perhaps the key reason Canadian director David Cronenberg has remained the most intelligent and effective horror stylist of his generation is that his stories, however outrageous and gruesome, are often just a hairsbreadth from the everyday. Samantha Eggar’s mutated offspring in The Brood are the product of a failed marriage, Videodrome taps into television’s undeniable hypnotic power, and Crash literally fused two ordinary passions, cars and sex. eXistenZ, his clever and witty take on virtual reality, is built on the not-altogether-implausible premise that if a video-game system is cool enough, users will gladly have it plugged into their spinal cords.
Let us know what we missed in the comments!