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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:

  • Equals. Here’s yours truly over at the Washington City Paper:
    When it comes to dystopian science-fiction, the devil is in the details. What makes these worlds compelling are pitch-perfect exaggerations that serve as warnings as what may come if we aren’t careful enough. With Equals, the new dystopian romance from filmmaker Drake Doremus, the director focuses more on emotion—or the lack thereof—instead of world-building, and it comes off as undercooked. Silas (Nicholas Hoult) lives in a pristine, austere world where emotion is considered a disease. He and his colleagues eke through life as automatons, but then something strange starts to happen once he meets Nia (Kristen Stewart): he falls in love. Unwilling to quash their connection, Nia and Silas conspire to abandon society so they can live together. There’s a Shakespearean element to Equals, including plot points lifted right out of Romeo & Juliet, except their forbidden love is too inert for tragedy. Hoult and Doremus don’t sell the depth of feeling this story requires (Stewart, meanwhile, can suggest a great deal with a small gesture). The secondary characters offer alternative consequences of living without feeling, yet the film never explains why emotion was abandoned in the first place. A short film need not answer this question, but a feature needs an abundance of thought.

OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • Love and Friendship. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Love and friendship are themes that run through many of Jane Austen’s books, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to me that the seemingly blandly titled new film Love & Friendship was based on a little known Austen work from early in her career. It didn’t take me long into the screening, however, to realize that name was actually used ironically. This film is a bit about love and a little about friendship, but to be accurately titled, it would have needed to be called Cunning & Manipulation or Genius & Deceit. PossiblyDelusion & Desperation. If they really wanted to hit the nail on the head, they would have called itComedy & Complicated Hairstyles. But there’s no fun in a straightforward title, and Love & Friendshipis, above all, fun.

  • Money Monster. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Still, what Foster has crafted here is an enjoyably old school bit of cinematic entertainment. Money Monster is at turns moving, frightening, funny, and politically aware. All the performances are solid, effectively balancing the characters’ strengths and weaknesses, and playing everything straight. And the logic of the plot convincingly draws its characters from a state of antagonism to one of camaraderie. Money Monster may wobble a bit when it tries to stick its landing. But it’s still a fun ride.

INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:

  • The Finest Hours (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Despite not getting the telling that this story deserves, The Finest Hours is a perfectly serviceable action adventure alternative to all of the Oscar nominees currently screening more widely. If you go, just sit quietly with your popcorn, let the score and lack of subtlety wash over you like so many 3D waves, and try not to wonder how someone who has been completely submerged half a dozen times in a tempestuous sea manages to still be wearing a hat.

  • High-Rise (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
    One thing high-minded critics often complain about is too much exposition in movies: Audiences being spoon-fed everything they need to know about the plot through dialogue, rather than allowing the information to emerge organically from character conversation and behavior. High-Rise feels like it took that criticism to heart, to the point that it erred catastrophically in the opposite direction. It’s a movie so committed to its satirical vision that it’s damn near impossible to follow. Which doesn’t mean that vision isn’t still giddy, and at times even captivating.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYmY2tBYins

  • Wiener Dog (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Danny DeVito, Greta Gerwig, and a wiener dog walk into a bar. Punchline: People are garbage floating around an indifferent universe! Not laughing? Fine. But don’t skip Todd Solondz’s lovingly misanthropic black comedy Wiener Dog just because it defies easy summary, and I’m writing while on painkillers. It’s an ideal mix of treacle and battery acid: one part gut-buster, one part heart-breaker, plus a splash of vermouth.Solondz stitches together four 20-minute vignettes about the lives a small brown dog passes between, mostly without bothering to explain her transfers of ownership. The film is, naturally, less about the dog than her owners, each broken or breakable or hapless in their own ways. Grimly funny, achingly humane to even its most unlovely humans, the latest from the Welcome to the Dollhouse director is a brick wrapped in thin candy coating and thrown through the window of fabled American ideas: Success resides in suburbia, or in the arts, or actually – stop laughing – it’s all about love and family.

That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.

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