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:
- Into the Forest. Here’s Diego Semerene over at Slant:
Patricia Rozema’s Into the Forest, based on Jean Hegland’s 1996 novel of the same same, begins as though it were its own awkward trailer, or a spoof of sappy Hollywood stories starring young women. The introductory montage features brief shots of the characters being adorably oblivious to the impending tragedies that are sure to befall them, with Evan Rachel Wood’s Eva doing an interpretative dance and Ellen Page’s Nell surfing the Internet on an inexplicably holographic desktop computer. All of this is slapped together by a Cat Power cover of “Wild Is the Wind.” Wood and Page play sisters marooned in their souped-up forest home with their happy-go-lucky father (Callum Rennie) when a power outrage hits the region, and apparently the country, or the entire world, in an eerie but underexplored War of the Worlds scenario.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Swiss Army Man. Here’s what we said in our original review:
I didn’t know what to think of Swiss Army Man when I saw the trailer, and now that I’ve seen it, I still don’t know how I feel. I had heard that people walked out of the Sundance screening, but who actually trusts people who go to Sundance? If anything, that made me think the movie probably wasn’t as weird or bad as I people claimed. I was deeply incorrect. While I’m still sort of processing my feelings (even though it’s been two weeks since I saw it), I’m pretty sure I didn’t hate it… but I have no interest in watching it ever again. It is every bit as weird as you have imagined. Actually, scratch that. It’s much weirder.
- A Bigger Splash. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Tilda Swinton is a cinematic treasure. Her roles include an androgynous archangel, a sexy vampire, and everything in between. In Luca Guadagnino’s melodrama A Bigger Splash, she plays a rock star, which makes begs the question, “Why didn’t she play one earlier?” The answer is ultimately immaterial, as Swinton eases into the role with effortless grace. This marks her second collaboration with Guadagnino – the first was I Am Love where she played a Russian-Italian matriarch – and again Guadagnino’s taste for sensuous intrigue means the film is a pleasure to behold. There is also something deeper, an exploration of vulgarity, celebrity, and what it means to consecrate youth always. And since there are few surprises, the film’s trajectory toward the inevitable feels operatic.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Dheepan (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Comparisans to Peckinpah and Scorsese are easy, and fruitful, but to me Dheepan is in some ways reminiscent of one of the most fascinating and misunderstood periods in the oeuvre of one of our most talented but challenging filmmakers – Steven Spielberg’s early ‘00s. These were dark films – at least as dark as Spielberg could be – and each involved a protagonist in flight, one who found themselves crawling through the worst things they could imagine before finding themselves in sudden, unexpected, and perhaps otherwordly grace. Dheepan’s celestial (is it?) conclusion harkens to this, and yet it’s more ambiguous tone, following the blood and fire in corridors that preceded it, also harkens to Barton Fink, and it’s no surprise it was the Brothers Coen who led this film to the Palme D’Or. In a year where it looks like the rent-seeking, bloated CGI slugfest that purports to be about civil war is the rent-seeking, bloated CGI slugfest that will Win the Box Office, cashing easy checks at a bank slowly being swallowed by a sinkhole, Dheepan is a film that’s actually about actual civil war – about PTSD, about what it means to have one’s whole family die, about alcohol and violence and what one can and can’t, should and must do to rebuild a broken life. Too trite to call something so timeless timely, too blithe to call something so timely timeless, call it, simply, awesome in the most timeless sense of the word. I am in awe.
- Chevalier (now on Netflix). Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
The smartest paeans to male camaraderie acknowledge an embarrassing truth: Get a group of guys together and stupid pissing matches may ensue. Blame nature or nurture, testosterone or generations of social conditioning, but the most sensitive and enlightened of dudes—the kind who have never shoved anyone into a locker or paddled a pledge or used the term “white knight”—sometimes find their competitive streak amplified in the company of other men. Because, tough as it is to admit, even us beta males occasionally want to be the alpha. That’s the whole point of Chevalier, a bone-dry Greek comedy about a group of aging friends competing in a nonstop social Olympics of their own creation. The film is set aboard a luxury yacht, but it could just as easily take place in a hunting lodge, the hotel-room home base of a bachelor party, or even in a basement man cave during a long weekend of pizza and video games.
- Honeytrap (now on Netflix). Here’s Emma Simmonds over at The List:
There are moments of slightly amateurish uncertainty in this low budget effort – a pool montage springs to mind – but, for the most part, Honeytrap is all too real. Layla’s turmoil is delicately and meticulously conveyed by the astonishing Sula; such a beautifully subtle performance is so rarely seen at the centre of a movie that it feels courageous. Johnson has experience working with the area’s teens and it shows, with her film speaking for those caught up in crime. It acts as a beacon of compassion in a society blind to hardship, where it’s tough to stand apart from those around you and where crimes are reported without context. This is a little film with a lot of power.
That’s it for this week! Get streaming, nerds.