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:
- Table 19. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Merchant is a gifted comedian, but he’s aided by the inconsequential nature of his character’s storyline. And that’s the key to what separates what’s good about Table 19 from what is not: when the stakes are low – someone needs a self-esteem boost or to make some new friends – the movie just feels like a breezy comedy. But in an effort to add depth or maybe darkness to the comedy, the Duplass brothers falter by creating complicated relationships and plotlines that get wrapped up too quickly. The worst offender is the story of Jerry and Bina (Robinson and Kudrow), who seem to have very real marital problems that get a fast, pat resolution. Eloise’s conflicts seem too easily and questionably solved as well. Although if she doesn’t have friends to sit her down and tell her to seriously reconsider her options and decisions, maybe she has bigger problems than this 90-minute comedy revealed.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- The Lost City of Z. Here’s what we said in our original review:
As a task-oriented person, I’ve generally been inclined to call bullshit when people tell me “the journey is its own reward.” But while endlessly journeying is not an experience I myself want to pursue, it can be awfully interesting to watch someone else do it. Such is the case with the new film The Lost City of Z. British explorer Percy Fawcett spent much of his adult life journeying – toward validation and achievement, as much as toward the ancient city itself – and in telling his story, the well-written and well-made The Lost City of Z offers audiences a rewarding payoff.
- Their Finest. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The frustrating thing about reviewing Their Finest is that to have some of the most interesting discussions around the film and what it’s doing, you have to know how it ends, and giving that away in this review would make me a real jerk. Luckily, there are some things I can tell you about the superb casting, the self-referential nature of a film that features the making of a film, and how important it is that there were so many women involved in the making of this movie. So we’ll do that, and I’ll leave you to have some of those other discussions with friends and bartenders after you see Their Finest. Because you should see Their Finest.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (play within a movie edition):
- The Salesman (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Farhadi’s movies are known for their intimate moments, and this film dives deeper into a single relationship than any of his other more recent films. We get to see the struggle Rana faces after the assault, her desperation to get things back to normal, in ways both big and small. Likewise, we see Emad’s bravado, thinking he can single handedly capture her attacker, and all the subtle ways the people around him influence his decisions. The more distant and discordant they get from one another, the closer we get to the both of them. Of course, none of this could be pulled off without Hosseini’s and Alidoosti’s excelling acting. Hosseini is as charismatic and brooding as ever, while Alidoosti – who played the titular role in Farhadi’s About Elly – carries both kindness and inner strength, even at her most vulnerable, that is thoroughly impressive.
- Hamlet 2 (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s Nathan Rabin over at The AV Club:
It would have been easy for Coogan to play the lead with an air of condescension or ironic distance, but he imbues his cartoonish fop with daft innocence and strangely winning naïveté. His heart is in the right place, even if logic, decency, and common sense are utterly foreign concepts to him. Catherine Keener is largely wasted as Coogan’s sour scold of a wife, as is Elisabeth Shue (as herself), though the latter’s the subject of one of the film’s sharpest gags, which finds an apoplectic Coogan trying to drum up interest in Shue among his bored students by rattling off her credits, including, “Dreamer—with the fucking horse!” Coogan’s muu-muu-wearing dunce is an inspired comic creation, on par with Steve Carell in The Office. He’s a goofy man-child so boyish that, in the film’s funniest subplot, he looks up to his school’s pimply, dour, 14-year-old drama critic as a disapproving father figure. It’s easy to laugh at his self-delusion, yet still get sucked into his gloriously tacky theatrical dreams.
- Oh Hello on Broadway (now on Netflix). Here’s Erik Adams over at The AV Club:
The constraints of a script give definition to the relationship between George and Gil, in which the former is the screaming-mad alpha dog and the latter is the Looney Tunes terrier merrily hopping around his orbit. Lacking self-awareness at every level, neither will admit to how badly he needs the other, and that gives Oh, Hello its dramatic arc. But narrative is just gravy for Oh, Hello—and boy, is that ever apparent as the play-within-the-play slams through meteoric rises, catastrophic falls, and implied man-on-raccoon romance. (But hey: It’s supposed to be a bad play.) The show isn’t about story; it’s about displaying the connection between these two performers, who long ago struck up an inimitable dynamic, and have followed that dynamic to increasingly rewarding heights. No one else in this world could, or should, come up with characters like Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. Oh, Hello was the ultimate expression of those personas, and a singularly funny testament to Kroll and Mulaney’s creative partnership and personal friendship. And thanks to Oh, Hello On Broadway, the show lives on to amuse and mystify a whole new audience.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.