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 & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- The Spectacular Now. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Everyone knows a kid like Sutter Keely. Bright and gregarious, he thinks he can talk his way into a girl’s pants or out of trouble. Kids like Sutter never really excel at school – they think it’s a party, not an opportunity for education – so coming of age is foreign to them (or at least difficult). The Spectacular Now is the story of how Sutter drunkenly fights against adulthood. It is also the story of how, in spite of himself, he falls in love. Director James Ponsoldt has the patience to watch his characters talk and grow, so there’s an organic, gentle transition from breezy comedy to serious drama.
- Short Term 12. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The best and worst thing about Grace is that she cares too much. She works in a halfway house for teenagers, and she has abundant reserves of empathy. She can get the most hardened kid to open, and can calm down the mentally disturbed with a simple, caring stare. But Grace has her own issues, which ironically are what make her so gifted. Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12 is the story of Grace and how one particular teenager unearths dormant feelings of pain. Cretton relies on an effective formula – the plot unfolds with gentle but predictable reveals – but the performances and thoughtfully-developed characters are what stand out.
- Prisoners. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Throughout Prisoners, Villeneuve repeats a shot where the camera looks toward its subject but a flat object disrupts the view, whether it’s a prison cell door or a car window distorted by glass. He creates a series of mini-prisons, capturing people when they’re literally stuck or cannot think their way out of a tough situation. Small details like this have a way of drawing us in: there’s no denying this is familiar territory, although it does not matter when suspense takes over. Prisoners answers all the important questions about its premise, even if the final minutes lack the grim elegance of investigation scenes. This is an effective thriller, one brimming with menace, but its substance fails to match its confident style.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Our Nixon. Here’s Matt Zoller Seitz over at RogerEbert.com:
Our Nixon charts changing times and generational attitudes simply by showing us particular moments. Introducing the milquetoast Ray Coniff singers at a 1972 dinner to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Reader’s Digest, Nixon defensively boasts, “If the music is square, it’s because I like it square.” To Nixon’s horror, one of the Coniff singers prefaces the performance by holding up a “Stop the Killing” sign, proclaiming solidarity with the antiwar movement and Pentagon papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, and chiding the president as a bad Christian for not pulling out of Vietnam. “If Jesus Christ were here tonight,” she says, “you would never dare drop another bomb.” It’s amazing that the group could go on to sing its songs after sucking the air from the room. In 1972, even young people who seemed square were rebelling. Nixon couldn’t win.
- Deceptive Practices. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Even though he’s been in movies for over twenty-five years, you may not recognize Ricky Jay. In 2001’s Heist, he had the memorable line, “[My friend] is so cool that when he sleeps, sheep count him.” In Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, Jay had a minor part as a minor magician, one whose trick accidentally causes a young woman to drown. He may have a career as a character actor, but magic is his true calling. Ever since he was a boy, Jay has perfected sleight of hand and card tricks.Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay is not exactly a biographic documentary. Instead, it shows a world of forgotten magicians, and how Jay fights to preserve their memory.
- The Hunt. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Vinterberg uses Mikkelsen as the foundation for his movie, and the character is more dynamic than the typical weirdos that the Danish actor usually plays. Lucas begins The Hunt is a happy man, one who knows he’s a good person and also the subject of pity. After Klara lies to her principal – Wedderkopp gives an especially creepy performance – Lucas essentially runs through the five stages of grief, except on a larger scale. The performance is naturalistic and never too cloying: Mikkelsen does not go out of his way to have us identify with him, and we come to care for Lucas because it’s the townsfolk, not him, who are monsters. The Hunt settles once Theo looks past the accusation to see his old friend, but Vinterberg is unafraid to show that the damage is irreparable. This movie is the antithesis of Lars and the Real Girl. The town does not help their token oddball; they scorn him after a baseless accusation. By letting The Hunt unfold without mercy for its hero, Vinterberg unintentionally makes the case for urban life.
That’s it for your weekly Netflix guide. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!