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 Monuments Men. Here’s what we said in our original review:
George Clooney’s The Monuments Men is a prime example of the pedigree fallacy. It has a cast full of Hollywood’s A-list and likable character actors, including Bill Murray, and it wants to tell a story about the Greatest Generation. It is about professors and historians who fight to preserve culture in the face of actual evil: they’re sort of like Indiana Jones, except without the youthful exuberance of Spielberg’s imagination. This type of pedigree should lead to an exceptional war film, but The Monuments Men is mainstream entertainment at its most mirthless: inoffensive and tepid, this is so middling that it diminishes the achievements of the characters on which it’s based.
- Raze. Here’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky over at The AV Club:
Raze is a brain-dead exploitation flick in which barefoot, white-tank-top-clad women beat each other to death. There’s a throwaway plot—something about a secret society—and a few perfunctory nods toward feminism in the dialogue, which register as little more than excuses for what is, primarily, an ultra-niche fetish video. Shots of blood splattering on tank tops take precedence over real action; the fights, which make up the bulk of the film, are strictly of the handheld lunge-and-cut variety, interspersed with grisly close-ups. Aside from a few artsy visual ideas (like an opening scene that’s mostly lit darkroom-red) and some effective gore and makeup, the movie doesn’t have much to offer a viewer who isn’t already into the whole cage-fight/tank-top thing.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- In Secret. Here’s what we said in our original review:
It does not matter that everything in In Secret is derivative. Stratton and his cast commit themselves to a story that suggests the possibility of happiness, only to drain it away slowly. There are layers of frustrations, to the point where Therese finally is aware of the dark irony of her situation. Her last scenes with Laurent are full of proverbial truth bombs, only Laurent is not as quick to descend to her level. By the end, In Secret left me thankful I do not live in a society wit antiquated ideas of sex, marriage, and womanhood. This is not the sort of movie that leaves its audience with a warm fuzzy feeling. Instead, it’s like Stratton takes the idealism of Victorian love and drowns it in a lake.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- God Loves Uganda. Here’s what we said in our original review:
God Loves Uganda, a documentary by Roger Ross Williams, turns its lens onto a new kind of Western exploitation taking place in Africa. Spearheaded by American Evangelicals, the cultural exploitation is no less damaging or disturbing than the plundering of resources and people that has decimated Africa for centuries. The film is about much more than what caused Uganda to be the first country to introduce anti-gay legislation into Parliament that makes homosexuality punishable by death, although it makes the link between America’s hate-filled religious right rhetoric and the spread of homophobia in the country. God Loves Uganda is really about the insidious way in which something as seemingly well-meaning as missionary work has chilling implications for a country still attempting to shake the shackles of Western exploitation. It also is a very probing look into the workings of a mega church.
- Pain & Gain. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Of the dozens of infuriating things about Michael Bay – the absurd overreliance on explosions, the utter disinterest in quality dialog, the lazy objectification of women, to name just the most prominent few – the most irksome for cinephiles is the wasted potential. The man has a strong visual sense and fills even his dumbest work with excellently composed frames. His command of editing rhythms and logical storytelling is undeniable, even if he habitually turns those abilities to such trashy, unambitious purposes that he sucks the joy out of his blockbuster fare. If you’ve been wondering whether Bay would ever bring those skills to something interesting, and produce something more than empty calories, Pain & Gain is your answer: yes.
- Super. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Page’s performance in particular in particular is weirdly courageous. There is little attempt to make Libby likable, and her downright disturbing laugh embodies schadenfreude at its most repellent. There are brief moments of dark comedy – the Bolt’s catchphrase, “SHUT UP CRIME,” is too silly to ignore – but the dark humor is mostly uncomfortable. In the movie’s best scene, the Bolt splits a skull open, and the blood-letting has the right amount realism to make it unsettling. Gunn has his reasons, I think, to embrace such unhinged weirdness. While funny, his unflinching approach also offers an empathetic portrayal of severe mental illness.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide. Let us know what you’re watching in the comments!