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:
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The film has the potential to appeal to viewers of all ages from a purely fantastical perspective, but Rowling never hides the problems of humanity from her readers, nor does she hide them in her script. Child abuse is a big theme here, as is persecution and violent outbursts. Some viewers make take issue with the treatment of some of these issues because of how they are dealt with; it is not Rowling’s most nuanced take.
- La La Land. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Ever since his first film, the imperfect-yet-promising modern musical Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, Damien Chazelle’s films have all been about the way music can change everyday life. Guy and Madeline presented a bland present day, occasionally brightened by the presence of music through the boredom of chain restaurant shifts and walks home. Whiplash showed music’s power on a path to greatness, creating an environment where you can be a rusher in a world full of draggers. In his newest film La La Land, Chazelle makes his love for the impact of music its most vibrant, creating a technicolor dream, a masterpiece of musicals, that revitalizes the genre for the first time in decades. In Chazelle’s hands, music can make rush hour traffic a choreographed wonder or turn a search for a parked car into a transcendent experience.
- A Monster Calls. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Not many movies contemplate the importance of rage. They do not contemplate rage at death, the callous chaos of the universe, ourselves and those around us. A Monster Calls was written by Patrick Ness, and is based on his award winning children’s book. So it does its duty in making you reach for the tissues. But it includes, well, a monster. So it gives that darker emotion its due.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (sexy horror edition):
- The Love Witch (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Love Witch is more than camp for camp’s sake, more than a demonstration of elaborate command of the design and production techniques of a bygone era. Biller’s tugging at still-active threads of gender essentialism, and their marring effect both on individual relationships and societal power structures. But like the kaleidoscopes she invokes in a recurring visual effect, what you see and take away from the critique/revenge/elegy mode of social commentary embedded here is a twisting, subjective thing, likely different for everyone who sees it.
- Antibirth (now on Netflix). Here’s Simon Abrams over at RogerEbert.com:
This movie is peculiar. Its pacing is all-over-the-map. Violence sometimes threatens to break out, but it rarely does in the ways you might expect. Sex is creepy, but sometimes gross in a funny way. Secondary characters, like conspiracy theorist and good samaritan Lorna (Meg Tilly), come and go without much consistency. And while protagonists are often characterized through realistic dialogue (lots of cursing, vernacular, and naturalistic pauses), they’re just a dream sequence, pot-induced flashback, or song cue away from becoming subsumed by elusive dream logic. Oh, and this film is also kinda funny, but never in a laugh-out-loud way. It’s icky, mean-spirited and bizarre. And I left it feeling like I had just seen something new; I wanted more.
- The Eyes of My Mother. Here’s yours truly over at the Washington City Paper:
This film is not a voyeur to Francisca’s crimes because Pesce’s camera is its own form of commentary. There is a long, strange shot where the camera is attached to a tarp that Francisca’s mother drags (young Francisca watches this all unfold, naturally). There are flashes of the outside world and civilization, yet Pesce cuts away from anything reasonable because that would distract from his slow push toward abject madness. The Eyes of My Mother has an ending, as it must, but Pesce prefers no catharsis. He puts Francisca on a disturbing path, and after asking us to share it, he realizes the only way to stop her is cutting her off at the knees. There are no answers, only the demand that we find empathy for someone who perpetrates decades of suffering.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.