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:
- Free Samples. Here’s Drew Taylor over at Indiewire:
For some reason, independent movies, especially the current wave of mumblecore with its earthy existentialism and waxy photographic quality, have the reputation of somehow being more “real” or “honest” than movies in the mainstream. Because these smaller movies arrive at some emotional truth more directly, they don’t have to dodge movie stars or CGI monsters. But watching a movie like USC grad Jay Gammill’s Free Samples, which proudly wears its indieness on its sleeve like a badge of honor (when it’s really more of a disfiguring war wound), all you get are feelings of artificiality. It’s so phony and forced and cloying and cute that you wonder how anyone could misdiagnose a movie like this as being more representative of the human experience than, say, something with werewolves or Tom Cruise.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Monsters University. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Disney-Pixar studios hit a slump last year, with the somewhat unfocused and largely forgettable Brave, but returns to the Dean’s List with their latest project, Monster’s University. To discuss this movie as its putative offering as a children’s outing, I can say categorically that your kids should see this. The children at the screening were completely transfixed, given to wanton displays of investment and applause throughout. The film’s morality is safe, generally conservative with dashes of “teamwork” and “stick up for the little guy.” It’s hard to understand how kids fed a diet of this stuff could ever turn out to be assholes without being wired that way or trained to such by asshole parents. It’s just magical fifties nostalgia without the racism and sexism.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Snow on tha Bluff. Here’s Nick Schager over at The Village Voice:
Synthesizing fact and fiction, Snow on tha Bluff details the day-to-day misadventures of fast-talking dope-slinger Curtis Snow, a ne’er-do-well who opens Damon Russell’s docudrama by stealing a camcorder from college kids and proceeding to record his life in Atlanta’s notorious the Bluff neighborhood. From jarring videotape edits to unprocessed audio, Russell’s film has a convincingly rugged home-movie quality and a narrative to match, as Snow parties and provides for his baby mama and young son by selling drugs and robbing competitors at gunpoint. Frequently scored to hip-hop heard through car speakers, Bluff‘s portrait of street life has a grungy off-the-cuff realism that’s only compromised by some obviously staged incidents, which include the aforementioned stickups and moments in which friends make direct mention of the omnipresent camera. Profane and unrepentant, Snow cuts cocaine with his son by his side while, positing criminality as a genetic trait, reminiscing about how he inherited his career from his father.
- Beyond the Black Rainbow. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Cosmatos keeps the action surreal and glacial. The production values are effective though not particularly showy – this vision of 1983 is unadorned and bleak. Colors fill the frame – his favorites are sickly green and exit sign red – and it becomes clear the movie works better as a sensory experience. When Barry crosses the threshold of our reality, austere black and white images dominate the screen; eventually, psychedelic swirls of smoke make it clear this movie is not best enjoyed while sober. Lines are spoken deliberately, without conviction, which only add to the detachment from the characters. Once Elena embarks on her escape, Beyond the Black Rainbow stops meandering becomes somewhat engaging, yet there is little suspense because what precedes it is not relatable in any conventional way. There is definitely an audience for Beyond the Black Rainbow, but I’m sure it’s fairly small. At the screening I attended, one guy even announced this was his second time seeing a movie. For most people, however, I suspect the movie is simply too weird to enjoy. The novelty factory certainly helps it along, as does the throbbing musical score. But just like Daft Punk’s Electroma, it is easy to lose one’s patience.
- Salinger. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Salinger, the ten-years-in-the-making documentary by Shane Salerno, is a surprisingly moving and thorough look at the life of one of American’s most beloved iconic writers. It is a must-see film for anyone who appreciates the child birthing-like nature of writing and its nearly supernatural ability to give voice to our shared humanity. Surprisingly because there was a veneer of sensationalism/celebrity-chasing in the marketing of the film as a “never before seen” and uncomfortably probing wide-angle-lens-like expose on a man who purposely shunned the spotlight.The Catcher In The Rye captured the hearts and minds of generations; the very relatable angst of Holden Caulfield and his condemnation of all things fake made this seminal work timeless and dearly loved and not just one of those other classics you were forced to read in English class but never really enjoyed. Salerno’s documentary certainly covers a lot of ground—as for the attention-grabbing ploys, we can chalk those up to misguided publicity efforts because the strength of the film is certainly not in unearthing unseen footage but in painting a holistic portrait of the enigmatic Salinger.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!