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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.


  • Alien: Covenant. Here’s yours truly in the Washington City Paper:
    There are lots of surprises in Alien: Covenant, namely in terms of how the crew is killed. Actually, the word “surprise” is not quite correct. Scott knows his audience is familiar with all the beats and tropes of the franchise, so part of the fun is the anticipation of the inevitable. No one deserves extra credit for figuring out what happens, since Scott and his screenwriters shrewdly develop themes and situations alongside the ever-escalating sense of horror. Alienjump-started Scott’s career, and after so many years, he now infuses the franchise with a welcome dose of gallows humor. The implication of the film’s final minutes are downright wicked, even haunting, and may serve as nightmare fuel for years to come.

  • Everything Everything. Here’s what we said in our original review:
    It occurred to me while attending a screening of Everything, Everything that the only job more thankless in filmmaking than adapting a beloved novel may be adapting a beloved YA love story. On one hand, you have an audience of excited young fans ready to cry foul as soon as you leave out a single plot detail, line of dialogue, or dreamy description from the book. On the other hand, no matter how good the book is, it’s awfully tough to please a contingent of snobby film critics with the movie-studio-approved versions of the endearing coming of age stories that are page turners among today’s teenagers. Given the impossibility of pleasing everyone and the very real possibility of pleasing no one, Everything, Everything director Stella Meghie chooses to cast her lot with the readers and aligns the film closely with her source material in both narrative and tone. It’s a wise move, given that the novel Everything, Everything was a very well-reviewed bestseller.

INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Matthew McConaughey edition):

  • Gold (now on Netflix). Here’s Jesse Hassenger over at The AV Club:
    The Weinstein Company’s exploration of outré business practices continues with Gold, which, like its sibling in commerce The Founder, is receiving an awards-qualifying Los Angeles run ahead of a wide release in January. Comparison between the two films isn’t entirely fair; Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is less famous than McDonald’s wheeler-dealer Ray Kroc, in large part because he is made up. Gold is based on a true mining-company story from Canada in the mid-’90s, which has been transposed to the United States in 1988, with an apparently fictionalized cast of characters. It’s just as well: While it’s not quite a signature McConaughey role, after watching Wells for a couple of hours, it’s hard to picture anyone else animating him, on screen or in real life.

  • Kubo and the Two Strings (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
    Kubo and the Two Strings is also a technical marvel. I do not know how the animators blend stop-motion and computers, but the effect is totally immersive. I am certain, however, that the main characters are all stop-motion creations, which means they move with buoyancy and heft. There is also a tactile element to the animation that we do not normally see in CGI: feathers, fur, and trees move with heightened realism. In the climax, Kubo stands up to a figure that is significantly bigger than himself, and there is terror to it because Knight forces a sense of scale. Animation typically gives a chance to indulge their imaginations, except the physical constraints of stop-motion mean Laika’s animators find innovation through other means.

  • Frailty (now on Netflix). Here’s Stephen Holden over at The New York Times:
    Ultimate cinematic horror — the kind that slithers through your mind leaving a slimy residue of paranoia — is not a matter of trying to pass off a larger, more monstrous lizard than the one before as the latest and scariest incarnation of evil. It’s usually something unseen, a force lurking in the darkness and left to the imagination. In Frailty, a metaphysical thriller with few special effects, that horror is the righteously homicidal agenda that a God-fearing father instills in his children when his relationship with God suddenly warps into a fearful psychosis.

All right all right all right.