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:
- Mine. Here’s yours truly in The Washington Post:
High-concept movies present a particular challenge to the filmmaker: Since establishing the premise typically eats up the first 30 minutes of a story, screenwriters and directors must figure out a way to expand on their concept without losing audience interest. Co-written and co-directed by Italian filmmakers Fabio Guaglione and Fabio Resinaro, the wartime psychological thriller Mine is a classic example of a high-concept film that painstakingly sets up its unusual premise, only to squander it.
- The Space Between Us. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Space Between Us is formula-based and awfully predictable. There are tropes galore, and a few of the lines are legitimately cringe-worthy. But there are also things about it that are charming and entertaining. If you have something better to do this weekend than watch Asa Butterfield get used to Earth gravity and human interaction, please do that instead. But if not, sit back, watch, and just remember: an actual Elf remake would be way, way worse.
- John Wick Chapter 2. Here’s what we said in our original review:
In terms of sating cinematic bloodlust, John Wick: Chapter 2 is immensely satisfying. The action is relentless, with enough dark visual wit to distance us from the carnage. Some of Wick’s more creative kills will certainly have audiences howling with shock, and not just because there are macabre callbacks to the original film. Still, for all its strength and thrilling power, Chapter 2 never reaches the heights of the original, arguably perfect film. You’ll recall that John Wick spends about half an hour before we see our hero’s talents. For that half hour, John Wick is a character study, focusing on a man consumed by grief who lacks the resources to cope with it. Chapter 2 abandons all that, so Reeves’ only modes are either professional deference, or rage. Absent any truly righteous cause – namely, the death of a puppy – Wick’s globe-trotting rampage is ultimately for our benefit. That’s true of the first film, too, but at least that film took its time so it felt like Wick’s reasons were more important than ours. John Wick: Chapter 2 is like an exploding bullet: thrilling in its service, and also hollow.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (defiant women edition):
- Catfight (now on Netflix). Here’s Sheila O’Malley over at RogerEbert.com:
Money doesn’t make you mean and being poor doesn’t make you nice. Jerks cross class lines. Jerks are born, not made. At least that’s partially the premise of writer/director Onur Tukel’s semi-satirical Catfight, starring Sandra Oh as Veronica, a wretchedly unpleasant trophy wife, and Anne Heche as Ashley, a struggling angry artist who is equally awful. The two women hated one another on sight when they met in college, and that hatred blossoms into something even more toxic when they run into one another by chance at a catered affair. It’s so toxic that the two women have a brawl in a stairwell that leaves Veronica in a coma for two years. When she wakes up, her whole world has changed. And that’s just the beginning.
- Nymphomaniac vol. 2 (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Between Nymphomaniac and Melancholia, Von Trier has found counterintuitive ways to tell stories about empowered women. As Kirsten Dunst’s character stands before oblivion in Melancholia, she achieves courage in the classic Ernest Hemingway definition, while the others recoil in fear. That same grace is in Nymphomaniac, yet it’s more challenging since it revolves around a woman who would rather be defiant about her sexuality than conform toward a world that denies her nature. Von Trier is cruel with his ending: after a moment’s peace, he denies Joe any camaraderie and shows her the true cost to her exceptionalism. At least the scene is funny in a macabre way, and it gives Joe the tools to move from victimhood toward genuine, stark individuality. This is about as heart-warming as Von Trier is ever going to get.
- I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. Here’s Erin Whitney at ScreenCrush:
I Don’t Feel At Home, part quirky comedy, part gruesome thrill ride, finds the always-charming, always underrated Lynskey in full-on ass-kicking mode, carrying the film from start to finish. When the police fail to investigate the break-in, she recruits her weirdo neighbor, a rat-tailed weapons enthusiast named Tony (Elijah Wood), to track down the thief. The two find comfort in their mutual awkwardness, and the first half of the film plays like a standard Sundance dramedy, but eventually things take on a more absurd tone as a film morphs into a violent thriller. Relatively calm situations turn dangerous in a matter of seconds – a finger suddenly get snapped backwards, body parts are blown off by a shotgun, and a handful of nasty punches will jerk you out of your seat.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.