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:
- Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Here’s what we said in our original review:
With Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, the name really says it all. Reacher loses the original’s writer-director Christopher McQuarrie—a man that has written and/or directed some of Cruise’s best recent work like Edge of Tomorrow and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Never Go Back has Edward Zwick taking over the franchise, the director who made such fun romps as Defiance and Blood Diamond. What Zwick brings to the franchise, alongside writers Richard Wenk, Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz, is one of the blandest and dated action films in years.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Queen of Katwe. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Mississippi Masala) takes what could have been a generic film into a rich and colorful panorama of life in Katwe. The children of the slum have an incredible liveliness that is awakened by learning, just the same as any other child. They are not pity cases; they are not to be ogled. They are whip smart, often adding hilarious lines to conversations, and have energy that is purposefully in contrast to the struggles of the main characters. When Phiona’s self esteem starts to bloom, her smile is infectious, and leads to her mother’s understanding of the importance of the game to her children.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (FUCK THE PATRIARCHY edition):
- Antibirth (now on Netflix). Here’s yours truly over at the Washington City Paper:
Antibirth is like a cross between David Cronenberg and the Gathering of the Juggalos, except with a feminist slant. Making his feature-length debut, experimental video artist Danny Perez takes his flair for the bizarre and fits it into a parable about female self-determination. Lou (Natasha Lyonne) is a party animal, and one evening a man squirrels her away to a private room. She does not remember much, except for disturbing flashes, but soon her body starts to betray her. Her friend Sadie (Chloë Sevigny) suggests she may be pregnant, but Lou’s going through worse than that, so she fights for the nasty truth before it’s too late. Perez films Antibirth with vivid colors and disturbing absurdist imagery: there are multiple sequences where adults in furry costumes perform creepy rituals for reasons I’m not sure even Perez understands. Lou’s changes, however, are front and center, and they may be too much for most viewers. There’s a scene where Lou notices a gigantic blister on her foot, and Perez steels his camera on its blood and pus when Lou pops it. Dark comedy informs Antibirth, thankfully, so even the gory scenes are not too serious. And when the film reaches its inevitable bloody conclusion, Lou arrives at a defiant sense of peace. Others may have violated her, yet she’s going to decide what happens to her next, government experiments be damned.
- Ixcanul (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Like colonialism at its peak, American and European filmmakers often turn to the jungle for a sense of adventure. Films like The African Queen and Fitzcarraldo, and countless others are about interlopers in a strange, exciting place. That does necessarily mean they are bad – many of them are indeed excellent – but the natives generally do not have their stories told. Part of the appeal of Ixcanul is that gives a voice to those who are often subjugated: director Jayro Bustamante hires non-actors from his native Guatemala, many of whom do not speak Spanish. That novelty notwithstanding, Ixcanul is an arresting tragedy about what happens to a young woman who has too few options.
- Force Majeure (now on Netflix). Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
Force Majeure, in other words, is a kind of disaster movie, one in which buildings are left standing while a marriage—and a fragile masculinity—buckles at its foundation. The film’s director, Ruben Östlund, ticks down the aftermath in days, showing how Tomas’ failure of nerve—which he vehemently denies for as long as possible—reverberates through every subsequent scene. Ebba, frustrated by her husband’s refusal to own up, begins confronting him about it in mixed company, turning polite dinners into gauntlets of social awkwardness. (In a particularly shrewd touch, many of the bystanders to these spats rationalize Tomas’ actions, even as they assure themselves that they’d respond differently.)
That’s it! It’s been a rough couple weeks. You owe yourself a movie night.