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:
- Krampus. Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
Neither particularly frightening nor especially funny, the Yuletide horror-comedy Krampus scrapes by on the novelty of its setup, in which an antagonistic Christmas movie of the Family Stone variety is hijacked by beasties straight out of a Full Moon entertainment. That might sound like foolproof fun, but the film has only one really good moment of anarchic nastiness: two preteen legs, jutting from the toothy maw of some elongated, oversized clown doll—a jack out of its box, gulping down children. Otherwise, this holiday-season fright flick never leaps far enough outside of its own box; the movie flirts with going full-on monster mash, with really cutting loose, but the mayhem is too little, too late.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Risen. Here’s what we said in our original review:
For its first hour, Risen really is pretty good. Staying carefully, er, agnostic on the budding theological mysteries at its heart, it is a well-directed, well-acted, and thoughtful political period piece, as well as a detective story. Director Kevin Reynolds (yes, that Kevin Reynolds) does yeoman’s work keeping the story moving with good rhythm, and giving space to his cast to breathe that crucial third dimension into characters that, as written, could have easily fallen flat. While Fiennes is clearly the anchor, it is Firth as a rational, amoral, thoughtful, harried, and ultimately empathetic Pilate that lends the film the key complexity it needs to generate human interest through that first hour, and if the film suffers for other reasons in its conclusion, it’s no less because of his absence. If some of its attempted moments of comedy fall flat, it’s only slightly the worse for wear.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- In the House (still on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
English teachers around the country will have their hearts burst with joy when they see In the House, François Ozon’s latest wry thriller. Through smart characters and an emphasis on literature, Ozon goes high-concept but never loses grasp of an emotional core. Small moments are suspenseful because it’s impossible to tell how or when the characters will have the proverbial rug pulled from under them, and Ozon’s restraint with the material is remarkable. Even when the fourth wall gets broken, In the Houseworks because it has the confidence to go for the laugh, and not anything deeper.
- Happy People (still on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Prior to Happy People, the last thing I would ever want would be to live like these men. In an early voiceover, Herzog notes how the hunters are far from the law and are only guided by their code, and the appeal was still lost on me. But as the film continues, it is plain to see why Herzog chose this title. The hunters are too grizzled for effusive happiness, yet there is contentment through independence and knowing the precise limits of your life. Most people would look at these hunters and think they’re crazy. Through Herzog’s measured awe, Happy People forces the realization that we’re probably the crazy ones.
- Enter the Void (still on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
With audacious imagery and sound, Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void hammers away at traditional narrative until it becomes pure experience. Noé will never, ever be known for his subtlety, and his self-described “psychedelic melodrama” takes risks that few directors would dare even imagine. There are long stretches of fantastical imagery that have the real potential of altering one’s consciousness. There are moments where Noé and his international team deconstruct everyday events so they’re felt in revelatory ways. And in the middle of all the splendid visuals, a heartfelt core keeps us engaged with the admittedly half-baked characters. Noé’s hypnotic work is more potent than most narcotics, so Enter the Void negates the need to take drugs beforehand.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.