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:
- 3 Days to Kill. Here’s what said in our original review:
Somehow or another, I got it into my head that 3 Days To Kill involved an ex-CIA operative who gets injected with a drug that will kill him in three days – unless he gets the antidote by carrying out a hit job. That’s not actually the plot. But that’s kind of indicative of the movie’s problem, because my imaginary premise is actually a lot tighter and more coherent than the actual one.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- The Machine. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Under the direction of Caradog W. James, The Machine never looks like it has a modest budget. Its hallways are grimy and atmospheric, and the simple special effects are effective (the robot’s eyes radiate in an unnerving way). His plot leads toward a counter-intuitive conclusion: so many science fiction films are about the perils of robotics, and this one turns the premise on its head. We come to care about Ava/the machine because of what befalls it, and how its innocence transitions into hardened anger. James waffles in his middle act, however, when he dwells on an obvious sub-plot and the ambiguity over whether Vincent’s employer is pure evil (he is). But once the lines are drawn, the body count rises along with the thrills. The Machine ends on a curious note. Vincent finds some measure of piece, even if it means that the human race is probably doomed as a result.
- Ernest & Celestine. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Around the time of Shrek in the early 2000s, animated films largely were filled with cynical characters and pop-culture references as hand drawn animation also started its decline of popularity. This change also took a sense of warmth and care out of the whole process mostly, which is a big reason why Pixar stood out amongst the lesser animation studios. But even with the successful melding of computer animation and emotional power, there often still feels like a lack of heart to animated filmmaking. For those looking for hand drawn animation, there’s little beyond Studio Ghibli or the occasional Oscar nominee that gets a wider release, such as recent gems like A Cat in Paris, The Illusionist or Chico and Rita. The latest of these rarely seen animated films – Ernest & Celestine – is also one of the best in years.
INSTANT NETFLIX VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Run & Jump. Here’s Mike D’Angelo over at The Dissolve:
One of 2013’s most surprising casting decisions found Saturday Night Live comedian Will Forte at the center of Alexander Payne’s moving drama Nebraska, expertly playing the straight man. A month before that film premièred at Cannes, however, Forte had already turned up in an even more explicitly dramatic role—and in an Irish film, no less. Run & Jump got little attention at the Tribeca Film Festival, but anyone who saw it would have already known that Forte is capable of embodying a quiet, charismatically ordinary guy; viewed in tandem, the two performances suggest a rich career ahead, with less mugging than MacGruber fans would ever have imagined. But where terrific acting was a starting point in Nebraska, it’s the sole attraction of this tepid quasi-romance, which never succeeds in creating a compelling context for the lost souls it shoves together. In fact, it never even finds a sensible reason to be called Run & Jump.
- Jug Face. Here’s Nick McCarthy over at Slant:
By the end, Jug Face can feel a bit like a short film stretched thin, yet its loaded commentary on an offbeat, allegorical world governed by evil remains fascinating—loopily confronting a group that’s less afraid to commit sacrificial murder than it is to question the faith of their lineage. With the mania and communal entropy that ensues from Ada’s decision to hide her jug-decreed destiny, Kinkle subversively hints at a need to honor tradition, but thankfully he—much like his brazen main character—finds it best to frequently follow risky, uncharted paths.
- Museum Hours. Here’s Callum Marsh over at The Village Voice:
It’s tempting, after watching the exceptional new film Museum Hours, to describe director Jem Cohen’s visual style as chiefly “observational.” The film, a kind of hybrid between understated drama and essayistic tourism, approaches its subjects with uncommon patience and curiosity, lingering over objects and faces as if to savor their aesthetic qualities, eager to convey truths without authorial imposition. As Cohen’s camera makes its rounds through the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (the interiors shot digitally, the outside on 16mm) it seems remarkably attuned to everyday details, soaking in local flavor and, in essence, defamiliarizing a world we might think we know.
That’s it for our weekly Netflix guide! Let us know what you’re watching in the comments.