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:
- Passengers. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Passengers might as well have been made by robots using Google. After the success of Gravity and The Martian, people love space movies, right? Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are immensely loved by the public, so they can’t do wrong! Let’s take a director straight off an Oscar nomination (The Imitation Game’s Morten Tyldum) and a writer coming off a big-budget spectacle (Doctor Strange’s Jon Spaihts), mix all these elements up, then see what happens! Passengers is the worst sum of its parts, a film that screams of crowdsourced ideas, focus group testing, and watered down concepts. Passengers is a sci-fi romance that doesn’t have any original ideas and is far creepier than loving.
- Elle. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Isabelle Huppert has commanding screen presence. She exudes intelligence, and seems ambivalent about everyone around her. The effect is not unlike a predator who is about to deliver a fatal blow. She is a good fit for Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, who worked in the Hollywood system for about a decade, only to return to Europe. His work is always challenging and wicked, except for maybe Showgirls, as if his films include jokes only he will get. The psychological thriller Elle is their first collaboration, one that unfortunately mistakes a misanthropic attitude for drama.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Edge of Seventeen. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Although I have some reservations about what it’s doing, The Edge of Seventeen does what it does very well. Craig brings a smart humor to the coming-of age flick formula, and the cast does their part, bringing as much sincerity to the movie as it can hold. The Edge of Seventeen will bring out a sense of nostalgia among adults. Any teenage viewers will likely be skeptical, but this movie isn’t for them anyway. At least not for another decade.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Korean thriller edition):
- The Handmaiden (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Some directors are fetishists. In film after film, they return to the same fears, quirks, and perversions. Hitchcock was obsessed with the wrongly accused men, and women who look and dress in a certain way. Russ Meyer liked women with big breasts. Another one to add to the list is Park Chan-Wook. In films like Old Boy and Stoker, Park looks at the high drama of revenge with an unflinching gaze. His latest film The Handmaiden is like that, too, except now he goes for broke. His period drama is a romance, a heist thriller, and high-end pornography. The goal is simple: he wants his fetishes to be ours, and he succeeds with the year’s most sumptuous film.
- The Host (now on Netflix). Here’s Scott Tobias over at The AV Club:
Bong Joon-ho’s vastly entertaining creature feature The Host shattered box-office records in its native South Korea, which counts as an encouraging sign that Hollywood has lost its monopoly on effects-heavy escapism. But even that achievement sells short the film’s specific virtues, like a daylight monster attack that could stand toe-to-toe with anything in Spielberg’s oeuvre or the playful mix of tones that made Bong’s previous film, Memories Of Murder, so distinctive. It can also be appreciated as a sweeping metaphor for America’s toxic intervention abroad, though never to the point where it could be accused of high-mindedness. Most of all, The Host functions as a popcorn movie par excellence, loaded with the most familiar conventions, but shot through with such conviction and visual panache that even its clichés seem invigorating.
- The Housemaid (now on Filmstruck). Here’s Kyung Hyung Kim over at Criterion:
There has long been a tendency in film culture to think of the cinema of Third World countries as dominated by trite melodramas. In many ways, The Housemaid—made by Kim Ki-young in South Korea in 1960, when the country was still part of the developing world and reeling from brutal Japanese colonial occupation, a civil war, and extreme poverty—certainly fits the melodramatic mold: its story concerns a marital crisis (a staple of the genre) precipitated by the hiring of a new maid, and its emotions often run violently high. But it is far from the product of an underdeveloped cinematic sensibility; with its stylistic restraint and self-deprecating humor, it deviates from the excesses and self-seriousness commonly associated with melodrama, giving it an unyielding power. And it reaches beyond its glossy surfaces to question the validity of conservative family values and class divisions.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.