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:
- The Great Wall. Here’s Eric Kohn over at Indiewire:
Assailed in the West for presenting a white savior at the center of an Asian cast, the movie’s racial violations aren’t as egregious as some early critics claimed. Instead, the bland story finds Damon and two other white actors surrounded by a largely Asian cast in a Chinese-approved adventure (where it’s already generating strong, though not blockbuster, box office). A bad movie by any culture’s standards, The Great Wall mostly goes to show that if the future of the business lies with Hollywood -China alliances, it doesn’t bode well for either side.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- My Life as a Zucchini. Here’s what we said in our original review:
It’s hard not to admire the film’s craft. For those inclined to take it for granted, claymation is hard. Almost more than any other kind of cinema, everything must be planned in concert in every detail, with no margin for error; the sheer labor of producing any output at all is boggling. And lest I be accused of flattening the art of stop-motion animation, modelling, and design, Ma vie en Courgette is indeed exquisite. It’s not just rife with detail, but telling detail. It’s not just alive with color and motion, but thoughtful with them. It truly fashions a little world, and inhabits it fully. It finds a pitch-perfect balance between evocation and economy, playing with angles and light, and it’s lovely, every inch.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Best Picture winner edition):
- Moonlight (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The visual world Jenkins and Laxton craft here deserves recognition. Laxton’s camera is the best kind of invisible, moving when it needs to but never calling attention to the wizard-hands behind the audience’s experience of a scene. The filmmakers are restrained, content mostly to recognize a potent, emotionally resonant framing of a scene, and then photograph their actors within it. Jenkins’ control of the film’s palette is cable-tight, clicking between open-air naturality and a dingy green-yellow hue set for scenes inside schools and offices. Supported by careful sound design – both musical choices and diagetic audio –the filmmaking team here never yanks you from one feeling to the next, but sets them up to flow into one another magma-like.
- Spotlight (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
With careful brush strokes, Spotlight paints how deeply Catholicism saturated the fabric of Boston, crowding out any possibility of suspicion or critique. When the film opens, it’s clear all the pieces of the scandal are already there, right below the surface, just waiting to be seen. A columnist at The Globe has published an article on one instance of abuse, and everyone knows there’s a court battle going on to see if the records can be made public. But its Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), who is Jewish and The Globe’s new chief, who intuits that the Spotlight team should redirect itself to that story. Later, a crucial source is Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), an Armenian lawyer who worked with abuse victims for years. There’s a strong implication that it took outsiders like these to initially pierce the veil, and ask the questions that needed to be asked.
- No Country for Old Men (now on Netflix). Here’s Keith Phipps over at The AV Club:
Only this time, there’s a trail of blood that grows darker and wider as the film winds toward a revelation about the overwhelming realness of evil, and its persistence in the modern world: Its essence changes, but not its form. As Jones prepares for retirement, he slips into talk about the way the world used to be, as opposed to the harder shape it’s begun to take. (Both film and book are set, not accidentally, as the ’70s give way to the ’80s, and the drugs-and-money cycle of violence began to escalate.) But the ultimate vision here is of a hard world in which civilization is the aberration, and the things we fear are always waiting for an excuse to make life normal again.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.