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:
- Independence Day: Resurgence. Here’s Chuck Bowen over at Slant:
Like many of Roland Emmerich’s disaster epics, Independence Day: Resurgence assembles a variety of thin character sketches, pitting several pairs of unconnected stereotypes against an apocalypse, busily cross-cutting between them and fashioning an endless series of redundant starts and stops. In a characteristically reductive contrast, a white American nerd (Nicolas Wright) teams with a black tribesman (Deobia Oparei) who stands in for all of Central Africa because that part of the world is, per standard American blockbuster implication, a singular, undifferentiated mass of unfamiliar customs. Rounding out the 1990s-era blockbuster nostalgia package, there’s also a plucky love interest, several imperiled children, a lovable dog, and Judd Hirsch doing his obnoxious “old Jewish man” routine, which reaches its nadir when his character says something along the lines of “What? It takes an alien invasion to get you to visit your father?”
- Alice Through the Looking Glass. Here’s what we said in our original review:
I was struck partway through Alice Through the Looking Glass by how much it reminded me of the kids shows that were on during the 1990s: bright colors, talking animals, both live action and animated elements, and simplistic lessons about family, forgiveness, and friendship. The movie has three hours worth visual appeal and 45 minutes worth of script and story. The average of the two is the end result: two hours of a visually enchanting and singularly expensive children’s program.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Sing Street (now on Netflix). Here’s Tasha Robinson over at The Verge:
At this point, no one who watches John Carney’s movies is likely to mistake his feelings about the transformative power of music. His debut film, the raw and aching Once, features Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová as two lonely people making music together to express the emotions they can’t voice to each other. Carney’s more visibly commercial 2013 film Begin Again was initially called Can A Song Save Your Life?, and the plot is one long series of affirmations around that question. Its protagonists, played by Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, are both dealing with broken romances and failed careers, and they find the satisfaction and success they’ve been missing by teaming up to record an album. And now, Carney’s new musical Sing Street finds new ways to play the same chords in new combinations. Once again, Carney rhapsodizes about the redemptive power of music. And once again, his story turns into an extended concert, where the characters’ performances take over the film, to joyous and giddy effect.
- Green Room (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Jeremy Saulnier is the antithesis of Oscar-winning filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, and I mean that as a compliment. While Iñárritu fills his otherwise pulpy films with haughty bullshit, Saulnier strips away all that portentous fat. Like Blue Ruin, Green Room is lean and entertaining, without a wasted shot or aspiration other than to entertain, thrill, and shock its audience. And since Green Room sticks to its premise without ponderous shots of the stars or whatever, Saulnier unearths deeper themes along the way. He has more to say about violence, vengeance, and friendship in 90 minutes than Iñárritu had to say in double that time (the soundtrack is better, too). To top it all off, there’s a kiss-off line that’s funny and weirdly profound. This is one of the year’s best films.
- Krisha (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
Named for its central agent of chaos, herself named for the terrific unknown actress who plays her, Krisha may be the most explosive family-reunion drama since Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married—another film, incidentally, about a difficult, destructive relative seeking forgiveness, even as she teeters on the precipice of a relapse. But in this even smaller project, expanded from a short into a first feature by writer-director Trey Edward Shults, tensions don’t just rise with tempers; they’re woven into the very fabric of the film’s style. Take, for example, the film’s second shot, which depicts the arrival of our heroine (Krisha Fairchild): In a single, winding take, she crosses the driveways and manicured lawns of a suburban neighborhood, muttering nervously to herself until she finds the right house. Shults doesn’t even cut when Krisha is finally ushered inside and greeted one at a time by the family. He just sits on the moment, basking in the discomfort.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.