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:
- Rogue One. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Rogue One represents a challenge for the ever-expanding Star Wars universe. It is the first big-screen entry that is not explicitly about the Skywalker family, so its failure could interrupt Disney’s plan for an annual Star Wars movie until well beyond our lifetimes. The best thing about Rogue One is that director Gareth Edwards and his team see the challenge as an opportunity. By focusing on a new-ish set of characters and goals, we are able to see the intergalactic civil war with more grit, danger, and heroism than we have from the previous seven episodes. Rogue One is not perfect, but it represents an exciting growth – in cinematic and narrative terms – of what a Star Wars film can be.
- The Salesman. Here’s what we said in our original review:
This movie ekes and bleeds with Farhadi’s style, and while I very much enjoyed it, I’m not sure how many more times I want to go down this path with Farhadi. Perhaps it’s because this film feels much slower than the rest. Every aspect (except for the assault) is drawn out in a way that occasionally becomes exhausting. If anything, The Salesman is missing Farhadi’s usually excellent pacing. The more I think about it, the more this film feels like the exact opposite of The Past, a movie I’ve come to appreciate more. Despite it’s heart wrenching story, that film was still full of moments that had a bit of optimism. Scenes that felt like a breath of fresh air. Nothing in The Salesman feels like that. If anything, it’s a movie that forces you to hold your breath, waiting for their marriage to completely disintegrate.
- I Am Not Your Negro. Here’s what we said in our original review:
I Am Not Your Negro admittedly has a dry premise, so Peck’s true masterstroke is casting Jackson as Baldwin. I’ve seen the film twice now, and the first time I had no clue I was hearing Jackson’s voice. He dials down his familiar, over-the-top cadence, speaking with the measured tones of a man with a pained conscience. Jackson does not attempt a Baldwin impression, exactly, and instead gives the words the dignity and heft they deserve. Peck includes a few flourishes that betray Jackson’s performance – some musical cues are incongruous – and yet those, too, draw from the same history as everything else. By the time Jackson reaches the final stretch, the language is so halting and spare the cumulative effect is devastating. I Am Not Your Negro can do more than change minds. It can challenge and disabuse your assumptions, recalibrating how you think.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (schlubby comedian edition):
- Don’t Think Twice (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Improvisational comedy relies on an ensemble having each other’s backs. When there’s support, it’s easier to try big and fail than it would be as a solo experience. As legendary improv teacher Del Close is quoted in Don’t Think Twice, “Fall, and then figure out what to do on the way down.” Writer/director Mike Birbiglia’s sophomore effort is a rare look at the improv comedy world that doesn’t treat the medium as a joke, rather looking at the very real stakes of what happens when one star shines while the others stay stagnant. Don’t Think Twice is Birbiglia actually killing two birds with one stone, showcasing a type of comedy that is terrifying in concept, while also seamlessly tackling when one’s life can be held back by embracing one’s dreams.
- Other People (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Writer-director Chris Kelly—who has written for Broad City and most notably was promoted to co-head writer for Saturday Night Live—has shown through his most famous skits the humor in returning home, nostalgia, and the awkwardness therein. “Back Home Ballers” and “(Do It On My) Twin Bed” showed how odd coming back to your childhood home and the people you left behind can be, while “First Got Horny 2 U” has a relatable specificity in a song about having a crush on the Menendez brothers or Robbie Sinclair from the ABC sitcom Dinosaurs. Kelly takes such precise memories and somehow makes them accessible in these musical skits. We haven’t all a childhood infatuation with killers or anthropomorphic dinosaurs, but the unusualness of our pasts makes these bits hilarious and empathetic.
- Casa De Mi Padre (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
No matter how bizarre it gets, Casa de mi Padre would fall apart without carefully-tuned performances. Everyone involved, particularly Bernal and Luna, succeed by playing it completely straight. There are no surreptitious winks to the audience from any actor because Piedmont has all the self-awareness covered. The actors who do speak English, including Nick Offerman as a DEA agent, do not appear to know they’re in a comedy. And then there’s Ferrell, who manages to be funny by over-pronouncing his rudimentary lines. He plays Armando as an innocent, one whose simple understanding of the world may mask a deeper intuition about what his family needs (it probably doesn’t). A satire like this is not for everyone. But if you like to laugh at bad movies or love ¡Three Amigos! as much as I do, Casa de mi Padre is funny, even clever, about its stupidity.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.