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:
- Joy. Here’s Matt Singer over at Screen Crush:
Lawrence fares better than her co-stars, who are underserved by Russell’s thin screenplay, and fall into two categories: gross caricatures (like Elisabeth Röhm as Joy’s shockingly cruel half-sister Peggy) or complete non-entities (like Orange Is the New Black’s Dascha Polanco, whose entire character can be summed up by the phrase “Joy’s best friend”). Still, Lawrence is all wrong for the part of a middle-aged mom who finally finds her niche despite the best efforts of her family of naysayers. And when she’s not putting the screws to the jerks trying to muscle her out of business, the movie feels like a glossy infomercial for the Miracle Mop and QVC; there’s more drama and heartfelt emotion about the American dream on an average episode of Shark Tank. Joy has none of the energy or precision of any of Russell’s recent efforts. Not even Joy Mangano could invent a mop good enough to clean up this mess.
- Gods of Egypt. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Gods of Egypt is, for a critic, perhaps the worst possible movie. It’s bad, yes, but so lazy it’s hard to tackle it with the gusto one can tackle an aggressively bad movie. It’s lazy, but not so lazy that it results in the kind of baffling eccentricities that could make a movie enjoyably bad. It’s offensive, sure, but so blithely and half-assedly that even cataloging its offenses feels excessive. Sometimes movies like Gods of Egyptmake me mad, because they proceed on the assumption that I (and anyone else unfortunate enough to pay money to see it) am stupid; Gods of Egypt, though, is itself so stupid that it doesn’t even have the internal coherence to register an opinion about its audience. It is mostly indistinguishable from 127 minutes of random GIFs set to a soundtrack of a crying infant clanging pots and pans. Scratch that: it’s distinguishable because it’s in 3-D IMAX, so it’s substantially worse.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Let’s be very clear right up front: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is exactly what it promises to be. This is a zombie-infused reinterpretation of what may be the English language’s best-known love story. It is no more, and it is no less. Since that’s a specific niche, you probably already know whether or not this movie is where you’re putting your disposable income this week. Luckily for those who are up for a bizarre, irreverent, and good-natured mash-up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is actually a fun movie. Although the film might disappoint those viewers looking for the zombie-laden, battle-heavy film advertised in the trailers, I appreciated writer/director Burr Steers’ more balanced approach. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is part comedy flick, part horror movie, part war film, and part love story – a solid jack-of-all-trades, albeit a master of none. Much like caramel and cheese in popcorn or a blue dress with and orange belt, Austen’s classic English literary romance pairs with a zombie action flick in a surprisingly charming way.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (now on Netflix). Here’s Simon Abrams over at The Village Voice:
This charming French neo-noir doesn’t deserve to be lost in the shuffle of December’s glut of ponderous Oscar bait and megalithic blockbusters. Based on an airport-light novel about an amnesiac secretary’s impromptu murder-and-intrigue-filled vacation, The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun is like a movie-shaped sudoku puzzle: an irresistible time-suck that’s more fun to puzzle over than it is to solve. Timid office worker Dany (Skins star Freya Mavor) isn’t a psychologically complex heroine. She suffers from short-term memory loss after she impulsively takes her boss’s Thunderbird out for a spin. As she passes through various southern-French villages, Dany gets hurt, has sex, and discovers a dead body. None of these seemingly random encounters poses an urgent threat. Instead, each run-in adds to a vague, miasmic feeling of dread that builds until Dany learns what’s really happening to her. Director Joann Sfar (Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, The Rabbi’s Cat) wisely emphasizes sunny ambience over intricate plot and realistic character development. Viewers are treated to a wealth of earthy pleasures, especially suggestive dialogue and adoring close-ups of Mavor while she poses in form-fitting summer outfits.
- Creative Control (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s David Ehrlich over at Slate:
Captivatingly confident, unsparingly wry, and agreeably cynical about how the black mirror of technology can reveal our worst qualities by reflecting our best selves, Creative Control is the rare blast of speculative fiction that has the temerity not to limit itself to rhetorical questions. “At any given moment there are a million things vying for our attention,” one character declares. “So where do we let our attention fall?” The answer, Creative Control suggests, is always on ourselves.
- sex, lies, and videotape (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s Roger Ebert:
The story of sex, lies, and videotape is by now part of movie folklore: how writer-director Steven Soderbergh, at 29, wrote the screenplay in eight days during a trip to Los Angeles, how the film was made for $1.8 million, how it won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, as well as the best actor prize for Spader. I am not sure it is as good as the Cannes jury apparently found it; it has more intelligence than heart, and is more clever than enlightening. But it is never boring, and there are moments when it reminds us of how sexy the movies used to be, back in the days when speech was an erogenous zone.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.