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. Now all you need is someone to watch these movies with:
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- The Great Gatsby. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Baz Luhrmann would have been a great silent film director. Back then the emphasis was on sets, gestures, and faces. Luhrmann could have thrived if he was working at a period where peers built ornate rooms, but did not yet have the grammar for complex narrative. I bet the characters of The Great Gatsby might have even enjoyed a Luhrmann film from the silent era. Alas, here he’s an absurd stylist who squeezes source material into his little comfort zone, when a better director would have the humility to do it the other way around. The Great Gatsby does a disservice to high school students and readers everywhere because Luhrmann might as well have adapted the CliffsNotes version. At least English teachers will be able to tell when their students skipped the book for the movie.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- In the House. Here’s what we said in original review:
English teachers around the country will have their hearts burst with joy when they see In the House, François Ozon’s latest wry thriller. Through smart characters and an emphasis on literature, Ozon goes high-concept but never loses grasp of an emotional core. Small moments are suspenseful because it’s impossible to tell how or when the characters will have the proverbial rug pulled from under them, and Ozon’s restraint with the material is remarkable. Even when the fourth wall gets broken, In the House works because it has the confidence to go for the laugh, and not anything deeper.
- The Kings of Summer. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Look a little closer, and The Kings of Summer is more ambitious than the typical coming-of-age film. The young protagonists are not vessels of profane dialogue, nor do they fit into any typical mold of friendship. Screenwriter Chris Galletta and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts supply a standard conflict – three kids run away from home – and deepens it with flawed, thoughtful parents. These filmmakers understand how children can inherent bad habits, so unlike most films about teenagers, family bonds run deep. But The Kings of Summer is not just a drama about teenagers. It’s also a terrific comedy, one that shies away from the easy laugh for something more interesting and strange.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Something in the Air. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Something in the Air is the not the first time a top filmmaker looked back fondly on his youth. In 2003’s The Dreamers, Bernardo Bertolucci used blossoming sexuality and a decaying apartment as a metaphor for all the tumult during May 1968 in Paris. This year David Chase came out with Not Fade Away, wherein a talented musician gives up fame for adulthood. Gilles has a similar transition: he’s always interested in film, and after his brief stint as a radical, he finds himself on a movie set where he sneaks cigarettes from the crew. Gilles will grow up to be a filmmaker, and who knows? Maybe his cinematic revisit of his youth will actually include some internal conflict.
- Don’t Stop Believin’: An Everyman’s Journey. Here’s what we said in our original review:
At the end of Don’t Stop Believin’, Silverdocs’ opening night film, title cards explain how every major city plays a Journey song every single day of the year. Even with a staggering statistic like this (I’d still like to see the raw data), their ubiquity cannot be overstated. And now that there is a rags-to-riches story at the center of the band, their staying power will rival critically-acclaimed rock royalty. Director Ramona S. Diaz focuses on the group’s YouTube sensation singer and his humble beginnings in Manila, but the overlong human interest story is nowhere near as fascinating as the daily rituals of a touring rock band.
- Resolution. Here’s what we said in our original review:
With creepy twists and plausible characters, Resolution is like what would happen if Michael Haneke directed a buddy comedy. Curran and Cilella have lived-in chemistry, and their easy rhythm suggests they have been friends for years. The addict story is where Benson and Moorhead find humor and pathos; Chris can be funny or desperate in his pleas with Mike, depending on what the scenes require. The mix of dramedy with horror also works on a meta-level, since Mike becomes convinced he and Chris are stuck in a narrative and the string-pullers require an ending. It’s heady stuff, yet Benson’s script veers from one tone to the other with ease. What helps preserve the movie’s grip are the effects, which are subtle and effective. Towards the end there is a creepy image that’s so well-timed that it literally sent a shiver down my spine. That sort of reaction is part of why I love going to the festivals like this. Amid predictable indie fare, something visceral comes along and movie fatigue becomes a distant memory. Resolution is the real deal.
That’s it for this week’s Netflix guide. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!