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:
- Pele: Birth of a Legend. Here’s yours truly over at The Washington Post:
Pelé frames its subject’s talent as a form of divinity. In scene after scene, unimpressed spectators are gradually overcome by a joy approaching awe. The pattern gets repetitive; it’s already something of a cliche the first time we see it. What’s worse, the camera muddles the elegant ballhandling that Pelé was known for. Medium shots of his moves obscure parts of his body, so that we never get a clear look at how brilliantly he was able to glide past defenders. The actors who play him may capture his radiant smile, but there’s little visual evidence to suggest what he’s so happy about.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- The Nice Guys. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Someday, hopefully, we’ll get an unabashedly guy’s guy movie that also keeps its moral footing. I think that’s a possible thing to accomplish. Meanwhile, The Nice Guys is one of those films that’s too rare these days: a personal work, modest in its ambitions, clear in its intent, unapologetically adult in its subject matter, and not based on any pre-existing franchise or product. Though it would be nice if Black’s intent was a bit more ambitious.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Here’s what we said in our original review:
That said, the film is surprisingly subtle with the turtles themselves. Being CGI, they don’t always feel entirely grounded. But each turtle has a distinct physicality, voice, face, and personality — Donatello is the genius, Raphael is the hothead, Michelangelo is the jokester, and Leonardo is the troubled leader. In the hyper-cut onslaught off a movie trailer, the turtles might blur together. But spend two minutes in a coherent scene with them, and they emerge as relatable and recognizable, with a natural four-way chemistry. The main emotional thread is the turtles’ increasing sense of isolation from the world above, and the possibility that Krang’s technology might make them human. The conflicting emotions threaten to tear the team apart, and it’s up to Leonardo to keep them all together. A lot of Appelbaum and Nemec’s asides are genuinely funny — even Megan Fox seems to be having fun with some of the dialogue — and the whole thing comes in at a punchy 112 minutes. Despite Bay’s heavy hand, there are scenes where Out of the Shadows succeeds in being exactly what a film like this should be: joyous.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
Kill-Zone 2 (now on Netflix). Here’s
- The Witch (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The horror film The Witch arrives like a revelation. It ignores traditional structure, and finds new ways to frighten us. Robert Eggers’ feature-length debut made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival – he won a top directing prize, which is unusual for a genre film – and the command of his craft is mesmerizing. He does not rely on special effects. Eggers instead trusts his actors, production design, and shrewd editing to reach a conclusion that’s both inevitable and deeply disquieting. Most horror films aspire to be fun. This one will make your skin crawl, and it sometimes feels downright evil.
- Zootopia (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Anthropomorphized animals are the bedrock of animated Disney films. Starting with 1928’s Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse captured the popular imagination with his cute face and human personality. The popularity of talking animals continued onward through Robin Hood andThe Lion King, but these films never considered world-building. The plot would inform animal behavior, not the other way around. Zootopia, the latest film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, has more in common with Orwell’s “Animal Farm” than previous cartoon they have produced. The film is highly allegorical, with an emphasis on what it would mean if mammals functioned in society together. In between clever gags and photorealistic animation, there is a sharp procedural about racial profiling. Yes, really.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.