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.
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- A Hologram for the King. Here’s Keith Uhlich over at The AV Club:
The film avoids offensive exoticization, though mainly because of its overall inconsequence. A Hologram For The King is a 97-minute movie that feels like it was cut down from two-hours-plus, with whole subplots reduced or jettisoned in what was likely an arduous post-production period. (It was filmed in the spring of 2014.) Alan’s life in America is seen in awkwardly incorporated flashbacks, and one awful sequence involving his blue-collar father (Tom Skerritt) lambasting him for the outsourcing of American jobs is quite literally phoned-in. (Better that, perhaps, than being beamed-in like Ben Whishaw, making a cursory cameo as the hologram of the title.) A wolf-hunting side-trip with Yousef, meanwhile, plays like something added to pad the running time and make some superficial culture-clash commentary, though it at least affords a few picturesque shots of the camel-strewn desert, courtesy of cinematographer Frank Griebe. The rest of the film will fade from memory like a mirage.
- Fathers and Daughters. Here’s Abbey Bender over at The Village Voice:
Fathers and Daughters would be a far more intriguing film if it painted Katie as something more than a quick psychological study and didn’t rely on sexist platitudes. Her strongest moments come during meetings with a foster child she mentors (Quvenzhané Wallis). Wallis brings a welcome stoicism to the role, and in speaking candidly to her, Seyfried’s character reveals a degree of complexity. While Fathers and Daughters has a strong cast (including a brief appearance by Jane Fonda), it largely saddles them with one-dimensional roles and too-obvious emotional cues.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- The Confirmation (now on Netflix). Here’s Mark Dujsik over at RogerEbert.com:
This is a smart, effective coming-of-age tale about a boy figuring out that there are gray areas to life’s moral choices. The priest may say it’s a sin to lie and, hence, dishonor one’s parent, but what if that sin is committed in order to prevent a parent who’s a recovering alcoholic from taking a drink? Wouldn’t the greater sin be not lying? Is there a point at which a “sin,” in the black-and-white view of the priest, would cease to be a sin, because it’s done in the name of something good?
- Inside Llewyn Davis (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Coen’s trademarked humor is still there, with its dropped phrases, crossed communication wires, and odd verbal tics. But it’s less in evidence than in their other work. Inside Llewyn Davis is a slow, quiet, and observant film. It might be too painful to watch if it weren’t for the music, and for the modest capacity for kindness Llewyn learns. “That’s all I got,” Llewyn tells his audience after singing the film’s final song, and the declaration comes with a friendliness and generosity we haven’t heard from him before. But the line still lands with all the awful weight the Coens intend.
- Night Owls (now on Netflix). Here’s Sheila O’Malley over at RogerEbert.com:
Slapstick comedy is practically a lost art. It’s sad, because there’s such anarchic pleasure in watching, say, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn plunge into the deep river in “Bringing Up Baby,” Hepburn gasping as they swim to shore, “The riverbed’s changed!” Or Hepburn capturing Grant in her butterfly net. Or Grant setting his wet socks on fire. Love is chaos, men and woman are separated by an abyss, and to get to one another they have to leap. But then they find the riverbed’s changed and they’re in over their heads. Screwballs feature cranky, nerdy men whose dignity is ripped away by wisecracking Dames of Mayhem, but somehow the nerds start to like it. Night Owls has this sensibility running underneath it, the script understands it, and Hood knows how to film it. Actors Adam Pally and Rosa Salazar, who carry the entire film, are not just game for this kind of material, they feel born to it. Their dynamic sparks all over the place. They don’t just have romantic chemistry, they have that much rarer kind: the chemistry of conversation.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.