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 Nut Job. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Young kids will laugh at The Nut Job because most of its humor comes from whirling slapstick and fart jokes. Slightly older ones will get its message of honoring your word and success through cooperation. Parents will yearn for summer, when children’s movies tend to have a little more creative oomph behind them.
- That Awkward Moment. Here’s what we said in our original review:
It’s rare when I can pinpoint the precise moment where I’m taken completely out of a movie, yet it happens in That Awkward Moment. It is in the middle, when Jason invites Ellie to his apartment. Daniel and Mikey protest – they want to have a bro night where they play Halo – but make nice when she arrives. She’s holding a bottle of Bulleit Rye and says, “I brought scotch” in lieu of an apology. Here’s the issue: rye is not scotch, and all three bros would know this, especially given how much drinking happens in this movie. No one corrects her mistake. In a better movie, Daniel would make a joke at Ellie’s expense, then use the joke to develop a rapport. Instead, Gormican glosses over the mistake as if does not matter. Here is a director who does not know his characters, nor his audience by implication.
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Stiller’s films always feel like they’re just missing that one thing that will make everything come together. Most of Stiller’s films have felt so close to greatness, but can never quite achieve such status. For every brilliant war parody idea strewn with self-insulting award jokes, there’s always a fat, sweaty, dancing Tom Cruise to muck everything up. Like Mitty, Stiller is always chasing after that one tiny element that turns everything that came before it into magic, yet all his films always leave that nagging feeling that something is lacking. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty comes so close to combining the elements of Stiller that make him not only a star but also an interesting actor, yet it’s bogged down by over-explained ideology and lacking characters. Hopefully one day Stiller can track down that extra piece and make something truly great since he’s already so close.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Stranger by the Lake. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Ever since I started watching Looking, the HBO dramedy about young gay men in San Francisco, I’ve been thinking about this deleted scene from Knocked Up. In it, Jonah Hill takes issue withBrokeback Mountain there’s not enough explicit sexual content (an indicative line is, “What am, six years old? I can’t see a guy getting sucked off by another guy?”). While Looking would frustrate Jonah for the same reason as Brokeback, the French thriller Stranger by the Lake would treat him like an adult – in his own words, that is. It is full of explicit sexual content between men, yet the film is not art house pornography. All the sex has a purpose: the consequences of lust interest writer/director Alain Guiraudie, whose idea of human behavior mirrors Hitchcock.
- Muscle Shoals. Here’s what we said in our original review:
My high school biology teacher used to be a sound engineer. He mentioned this matter-of-factly, and one day I stayed after class to hear stories about the musicians he recorded (I’ll never look at Billy Joel the same way again). These details are fascinating because the creation of music is such an elusive process: even Hall cannot articulate what he wants to hear where he demands yet another take from his musicians. But engineers and session players have a better chance to articulate their process more than celebrities who weren’t even there. Muscle Shoals works best when it uses the studio is a prism for mid-twentieth century American history, and its weakest when it tries to mythologize the studio space. It should go without saying, but the people who were there are capable of the strongest storytelling. As the recording of “Respect” demonstrates, it does not matter if they’re average-looking white dudes.
- Like Someone in Love. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The camera, spare and uncompromising, regards a posh restaurant in Tokyo. There is no one in the center of the frame; all the diners are in the corners, so it’s unclear where to focus. Then there is one side of a conversation from a disembodied voice. Or is it? Looking around, it’s unclear whether the women in the shot match the overheard voice. This is the clinical opening of Abbas Kiarostami’s absorbing drama Like Someone in Love. It tells a story about lies and empathy, and while its style is unsettling, it grows more serene until its shocking final moments.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide! Let us know what you’re watching in the comments.