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:
- 13 Hours. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The fallout from the Benghazi attacks led to some intense political theater, with several hearings in which then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced angry questions from members of Congress. Bay does include scenes in the Pentagon and nearby military bases, yet 13 Hours is mostly from the perspective of the CIA outpost. This tunnel-vision is its own form of politics, suggesting that American exceptionalism is always the answer (there are short references to the government’s initial disinformation campaign). It’s to Bay and Hogan’s credit that they do not even attempt to humanize the enemy – Pearl Harborcondescended to the Japanese – and instead keeps them as faceless wraiths who seemingly never run out of firepower. If Bay cut a couple of superfluous sub-plots and too many secondary characters, 13 Hoursmight have unfolded with the same tense verisimilitude that defined Black Hawk Down. The six “secret soldiers of Benghazi” indeed fought bravely, yet for Bay that is never enough.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Deadpool. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Someday, in the midst of explaining “how things used to be” to our children and our children’s children, those of us old enough to remember Y2K may be called upon to explain an unimaginable era when comic books – even those featuring superheroes – branded their readers as social outcasts. Along with concepts like “keyboards” and “glaciers,” this idea may be tough to grasp in 20 or 30 years, but we’ll try to convey a different time and the shift in culture. We’ll recall how the age-old battle between Marvel and DC moved to the big screen, and we’ll debate whether Twilight was the downfall of Comic Con. Then, when our robot children ask us when we truly knew that comic books had come to live in the trendier part of the mainstream, we’ll tell them about Deadpool. Because whether or not you end up liking Deadpool, there is absolutely nothing nerdy about this film. From the very beginning of the marketing, this is a movie that was made to be cool.
- Anomalisa. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Anomalisa is the perfect melding of form and function, of medium and message. George R.R. Martin has said there are two types of writers – gardeners and architects. Charlie Kaufman is proof that the best gardeners are architects. He very precisely, according to a very particular, very methodical, very complex plan builds something. It is always unique, unpredictable, even inexplicable. But in it, always, life grows. Life with sorrow, life with joy, life with scary alienation and confusion and the black hole that is love and death and the search for meaning. But, more than any other filmmaker, it is life, all of life, complete and thorough. Anomalisa is probably going to be the best movie you see this year, and it’s definitely going to be the least like any other movie you see this year.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- Cold in July (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
There are many movies that are critic-proof, and the Adam Sandler comedy Blended is the most recent example. No matter what the Rotten Tomato score or how vicious it’s ripped apart, Sandler and his producers can be reasonably certain that their latest will have modest-to-good box office returns. What’s more rare, and what should be celebrated accordingly, are movies that are the opposite of critic proof: movies that need champions so that they find the audience they deserve. Jim Mickle’s Cold in July is like that. It’s a superbly-directed thriller, one with rich performances, black comedy, and flashes of brutal violence. It deliberately apes John Carpenter-thrillers, including a score full of moody synthesizers. Cold in July is brimming with confidence, not ambition, so it’s unseemly fun from the get-go.
- Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue (now on Netflix). Here’s Peter Bradshaw over at The Guardian:
She endured horrendous treatment from the reactionary bullies in her Texas high school. Incredibly, she showed up at the 10-year reunion with TV cameras – which capture all her anxiety and need for retrospective validation and victory over the past. What this movie introduces us to, indirectly, is the possibility that self-destruction is a genre in art and in life, requiring two addictions: to applause (causing agonizing cold-turkey after the show) as well as to drugs. Joplin was a heroin user most of her adult life, and perhaps this is so powerful that it obliterates all personalities and defies all analysis. Or perhaps it is a symptom of the celebrity hunger or social dysfunction that John Lennon says was the real problem, in a Dick Cavett TV interview about Joplin, shown here. A brief, fierce life.
- The New Girlfriend (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Duris and Demouster are well suited for this game: him a lanky, caddish man, her a porcelain, neurotic cross between Rampling and Huppert. They enter this dance of temptation and desire, confusion, and lust. Where David ends and Virginia begins is never quite clear and while Claire throws herself into it, a sense of dread and anticipation washes over the audience. This, of course, cannot possibly be a sustainable life model? Or can it? If there is one problem with Ozon’s latest it is that it never quite decides between the chilly thrills Rendall’s story provides, and his own tendencies for social satire and playful humor. Maybe keeping the audience as baffled and confused as the characters is part of the game. Regardless, this is a great, little, slightly nasty slice of cinematic cake. Enjoy.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.