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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 & WORTH YOUR TIME:

  • Almost Christmas. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    “Funny-but-moving-family-comedy” is a tough needle to thread, particularly when you add in the “holiday film” baggage. But writer/director David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim) seems to understand that the key to success is infusing enough subtlety and cleverness to balance out the broader, more physical comedy. The story follows the family Christmas comedy script for sure – even up to the moment of redemption in a shelter for the homeless – but Talbert enhances the formula by finding way to connect each of his main characters with the audience and making them feel relatable. That’s especially tricky in a 2-hour movie with such a large cast, but Talbert is judicious in deciding where to spend his time.

  • Loving. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    The marriage between Richard and Mildred Loving occurred three years before Barack Obama was born. Their lives – and what it meant for so many Americans – is inextricably tied to what this country would become. Loving is not an issue film, exactly, since it more about ordinary goodness than the fight for ideals. The film does not celebrate institutions, although shots of the marble, austere Supreme Court (seen from the ground perspective) almost seems like a grim joke nowadays. To Jeff Nichols, family is always more important than country. The Lovings did not lead by example, and instead reasonably expected their country to tolerate their mutual respect. Once the highest court recognized their right to love one another, America truly began its road to greatness.

INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Herzog edition):

  • Into the Inferno (now on Netflix). Here’s Mike D’Angelo over at The AV Club:
    Much like Whit Stillman adapting Jane Austen earlier this year, Into The Inferno—a documentary about volcanoes directed by Werner Herzog—seems like such a no-brainer that it’s hard to believe it didn’t already exist. Actually, this one did already exist, albeit in shorter forms: Herzog’s short doc “La Soufrière” (1977) saw him rush to the evacuated Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in order to record an impending volcanic eruption, and his 2007 feature Encounters At The End Of The World introduced him to volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer, who worked so extensively on Into The Inferno that he and Herzog share its opening “a film by” credit (though only Herzog is credited as its director). Footage from both of those films gets recycled here, which contributes to a general feeling of déjà vu that’s increasingly common in Herzog’s movies. He seems very much aware that he’s become as much meme as filmmaker, and his heavily accented, philosophically pitiless voice-over narration, in particular, has begun to turn into shtick.

  • Lo and Behold (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
    A few  weeks ago an interviewer told Werner Herzog about Pokemon Go. I highly recommend reading that piece, regardless of your familiarity with Herzog’s work, as it is a perfect primer to his most recent film, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, an informative history of the Internet. Herzog’s well-documented resistance to technological advances has earned him the label of neo-Luddite, but his film indicates both a newfound appreciation for the radical future envisioned by computer scientists, as well as an apprehension to it.

  • Happy People (now 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1pOjj49d9Y

That’s it, folks! You know you need more Herzog, so get on it!

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