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:
- 10 Cloverfield Lane. Here’s what we said in our original review:
10 Cloverfield Lane is a brilliant little suspense film: intense, well-acted, and satisfying. Given its namesake and the involvement of producer JJ Abrams, that satisfaction may not exactly jibe with expectations. The title does the film no favors: it is not a direct sequel to Cloverfield, and it completely jettisons the found footage conceit that helped give that film its raw terror. While director Dan Trachtenberg films with a more traditional style, there is a subjectivity to the story so that it still provokes a steady sense of unease. Trachtenberg quickly defines what type of film he has made, and addresses any potential dissatisfaction with steady, claustrophobic groove.
- 45 Years. Here’s what we said in our original review:
45 Years is a story that begins with quiet comfort and ends with quiet alienation. Parts of it are moving, even suspenseful, and yet writer/director Andrew Haigh mostly keeps the drama in the minds of his two lead characters. Haigh is no stranger deep studies of everyday romance: his breakout film Weekend drips with insight, and the HBO series Looking is more astute about modern relationships than anything else on television. But while Looking and Weekend are about young gay men, 45 Years is about a straight couple that’s well past retirement age. Indeed, part of the point of 45 Years is that no matter the age, couples can experience genuine passion and depth of feeling. Haigh is not cruel, exactly – the point of the film is not to dismantle relationships – yet his inexorable conclusions are brutal.
- Hello My Name Is Doris. Here’s what we said in our original review:
American pop culture is not comfortable with old age, and more specifically old age for women. It’s pretty adroit at navigating it’s way around the issue, with tweeness and irony and studious avoidance of certain scenarios. But Hello, My Name Is Doris has no patience for such evasion. It hunts that discomfort down, ties it to a chair, and goes at it with a hammer and tongs.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK:
- The Kings of Summer (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Look a little closer, and The Kings of Summer is more ambitious than the typical coming-of-age film. The young protagonists are not vessels of profane dialogue, nor do they fit into any typical mold of friendship. Screenwriter Chris Galletta and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts supply a standard conflict – three kids run away from home – and deepens it with flawed, thoughtful parents. These filmmakers understand how children can inherent bad habits, so unlike most films about teenagers, family bonds run deep. But The Kings of Summer is not just a drama about teenagers. It’s also a terrific comedy, one that shies away from the easy laugh for something more interesting and strange.
- The Way He Looks (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Way He Looks is so slight that it needs strong performances or else it’d seem inconsequential. The three young actors at the center downplay their outward feelings of alienation, which makes it easy to identify with them. Amorim has the more thankless role, as Giovana’s main purpose is to act like a stick in the mud, then step out of the way at the precise right moment. Lobo and Audi, on the other hand, have genuine chemistry as boys who are too timid to be lovers. Late in the film, the tension escalates with a shower scene that could have become unintentional comedy, if weren’t for the fact that Leonardo and Gabriel are so scared of what the other might think. While Leonardo’s blindness is a novelty in this genre, it ultimately serves as a reminder that all kids go through the same bullshit, disability or not. The Way He Looks has an inevitable ending, although it is not conventional, exactly. The pair do not end up together just because the plot requires it. It’s also because they realize they deserve to be happy, which is what makes the film’s rewards simple, and also rich.
- He Named Me Malala (now on Hulu). Here’s what we said in our original review:
He Named Me Malala is a solid encapsulation of Malala’s life and activism, and any viewer looking to understand why Malala is a household name will find it educational, enjoyable, and moving. Audiences can expect to learn more about Malala and see a different side of her, though the film is at its most engaging when it pokes at the more ambiguous fringes of the story, away from Nobel prizes and discussion with President Obama. It would have been a different, richer film if Guggenheim had decided to explore impacts more deeply. As it is, it succeeds in telling Malala’s story, and for many viewers, that’s likely to be enough.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.