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:
- Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Part of the reason we must accept the premise of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is because it’s true. There is a real Mike and Dave – they’re more handsome than Devine and Efron – and they really used Craigslist to find dates for their sister’s wedding. The real Mike and Dave seem like utter douchebags, so we know the writers took license by making them likable. Devine riffs on his man-child persona from Workaholics, while Efron plays Mike with the manic seriousness he honed in Neighbors. Indeed, all the actors have strong instincts, including Sam Richardson who nearly steals the show as Jeanie’s mild-mannered, long-suffering fiancé. When a film undermines the talent of its actors, then it’s time for rewrites. After the laughter dies down, you’ll end up wishing they would make better choices, or fire their agents.
- Nerve. Here’s what we said in our original review:
If you’ve ever wondered what Emma Roberts and Dave Franco could possibly have in common with modernist literature, there is now a small nod in your general direction. For some reason, the film the actors star in, Nerve, makes a big deal out of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, if only to attempt to gain cool points with nerds the way Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight did with Bronte fans. Nerve has little to do with the interior life of the characters that populate To The Lighthouse and is more concerned with warning teens against the dangers of peer pressure and condemning the perception of anonymity on the internet. It’s like a D.A.R.E. program in film form, except it’s not about drugs so much as it is about the dangers of literal dares.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Central Intelligence. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The pitch for Central Intelligence must have lasted twenty seconds, if that. Its premise is simple: two immensely popular actors, one big and one small, are buddies in an action comedy. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber and his screenwriters know this basic idea dates all the way back to Abbot and Costello, so they also trust the natural charisma of their leads. Central Intelligence has that, along with some inventive comic situations, but what elevates the premise above its quick summary is how recognizable angst informs the characters. Thurber requires his leads to act, developing semi-plausible characters, and so a human component informs all the slapstick.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Love and Friendship (now on Amazon Prime). 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. Possibly Delusion & Desperation. If they really wanted to hit the nail on the head, they would have called it Comedy & Complicated Hairstyles. But there’s no fun in a straightforward title, and Love & Friendshipis, above all, fun.
- Knight of Cups (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Knight of Cups can’t tell you anything you don’t already know about life. But it can make you feel things – namely frustration, but not limited to it – about how human beings pursue a sense of permanence and belonging in order to stave off death. Malick seeds the screen with many different modes of religious iconography. In the hour or so of movie beyond Rick’s tarot reading, he whirls you past the pre-fab Roman gods of Caesar’s Palace casino, past the droning sermon of a Christian minister, past an elderly Hollywood success’s Buddhist compound. Rick grows no more content at any of these stops, no less aimless in his quest for the quasi-titular Grail of Understanding.
- The Dark Horse (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s Bilge Ebiri over at The Village Voice:
The main attraction in the engaging, largely predictable chess drama The Dark Horse is the gripping lead performance by Cliff Curtis, a part-Maori actor from New Zealand who has spent over two decades doing notable character parts in big films. You’ll likely recognize his face: His look suggests, at least to Hollywood’s eyes, no single ethnicity, and so he’s been cast as Pablo Escobar in Blow, as the founder of Hezbollah in The Insider, as Jesus Christ in the recent biblical drama Risen. He’s also appeared in plenty of films from New Zealand, including The Piano, Whale Rider, and Once Were Warriors. In The Dark Horse, he plays real-life figure Genesis Potini, a severely bipolar Maori championship-speed-chess player who was in and out of mental institutions for much of his life.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.