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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 Hangover Part III. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    So here’s the thing. I’m not quite sure how to recommend The Hangover Part III. Its comedy is more subdued than its predecessors, it goes for fewer laughs, it isn’t as ambitiously bizarre as The Hangover, and it certainly isn’t as bizarre as The Hangover Part II. So I worry a lot of fans may find it a letdown. But unlike so many sequels, Part III feels like it got made because director Todd Phillips and his fellow actors and filmmakers genuinely had one last thing to say about these characters before they closed up shop. In its modesty, dark humor, and character arcs, I could almost see Part III succeeding as a weird indie flick.

OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • White House Down. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    But part of the joke of White House Down, whether intentional or not, is just how often we’ve seen these characters/plots/ideas before, to the point that it almost becomes a parody of action films from the 80s and 90s. Political ideas are boiled down to such simplicity that they’re laughable, and villains are so villainous, described as rednecks, extreme right-wingers, white-power advocates and master hackers, it’s hard not to crack up at the lineup. Plus being in D.C. will cause its own set of jokes, such as when helicopters heading to White House soar through Chinatown, then seem shocked to see the Friendship Archway. White House Down isn’t serious, nor should it be taken as such, as everything is so extreme and ridiculous, it could almost be considered an action-comedy. Much like Independence Day, it’s one of those perfect summer films that’s a blast if you’re willing to check all common sense at the door and go along for the ride.
  • Computer Chess. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Computer Chess is slightly more ambitious than an anthology of a particularly specific moment in nerd culture. Bujalski messes with the narrative, and his stylistic digressions get in the way of the plot. There are moments where the audio does not sync up to what the characters are saying, and there’s a sub-plot that’s in color whereas the rest is shot with sterile black and white photography. These digressions are more than just pretense, although they’re that, too. Through Computer Chess, Bujalski grapples with order and chaos. The rules of chess are simple, for example, yet there’s logic to the infinite permutations of a chess game. And the sex cult exists in ideological opposition to the chess tournament: whereas the players worry about the best program, the cultists want to free themselves of all society’s trappings. The film reflects that tension. There is sly comedy here, and also an art-house curiosity that’s fighting for our attention. Bujalski has not evolved from his mumblecore roots, exactly. This is more of a lateral move, and it’s refreshing how he turned his attention from one group of awkward self-aware characters to ones who are just awkward.

INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK (FRANCOPHILE EDITION):

  • The Lovers on the Bridge. Here’s J. Hoberman over at The Village Voice:
    True enough, but Lovers on the Bridge is as exalted as it is ridiculous—an outrageously contrived paean to freedom, a crazy mixture of scabby naturalism and rock-video mescaline staged on a movie set worthy of Stroheim. Carax expended most of his budget reconstructing a chunk of Paris—including the Pont Neuf, the quays along the Seine, the facade of the Samaritaine department store, and part of the Ile de la Cité—as the backdrop for the grand passion that consumes two of the world’s scruffiest lovers, the half-blind street-artist Michele (Juliette Binoche) and the alchoholic street- performer Alex (Denis Lavant). Making their home on Paris’s oldest bridge, the couple create their own world and so does the movie. They embrace on the grass in the glare of whizzing headlights and stroll through a city lit only by the strobe of a subterranean disco.
  • Private Property. Here’s Scott Tobias over at The Onion AV Club:
    A typical shot in the subtle, tightly controlled family drama Private Property finds a single mother, played by the great Isabelle Huppert, sitting at the dinner table with her grown-up twin sons, Jérémie Renier and Yannick Renier, flanking her. Writer-director Joachim Lafosse holds this static shot for the scene’s entirety, as the two boys, in their own way, level abuse on their mother, who has long lacked the assertiveness to put them in their place. This simple setup is key to the film’s surprising dramatic tension, because the frame binds them in dysfunction and forces viewers to sit tight during extremely uncomfortable situations. It wouldn’t be accurate to call Private Property a thriller, but it has a slow-burning intensity that’s oddly suspenseful, and it shifts gears effectively once the tense family dynamic suddenly changes.
  • Point Blank. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    At  eighty-four minutes, Point Blank is relentlessly taut. What makes it so thrilling is not the chases or shoot-outs – though they are plentiful and well-shot – but how characters improvise and their motivations constantly shift. The mutual trust between Samuel and Hugo develops slowly; at first, they try and trick/murder each other, but an uneasy bond grows from their shared desperation. Director Fred Cavayé shrewdly defines the characters in a matter of seconds, which affords him more time to complicate the situation and rev up the deadly stakes. No one moment stands out. Instead, the tension and action develops inexorably, leading to a breathless climax that has a sense of inevitability (like introducing a gun in a play’s first act, a pregnant character must go into labor before the movie ends).

That’s our Netflix guide for the week. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!

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