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:
- Rough Night. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Rough Night is not a terrible movie. It’s also not a very good one. As I was thinking through head injuries, womankind, and how I could avoid ever again going on a bachelorette weekend, there was a part of me that was wondering whether there isn’t some feminist success in a lackluster female-focused feature film. After all, as long as there are tens of thousands of screens showing movies every weekend, there are always going to be underwhelming options. Turns out, mediocrity isn’t just for Kevin James and Vince Vaughn anymore.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- My Cousin Rachel. Here’s what we said in our original review:
My Cousin Rachel is a showcase of Rachel Weisz’s ability to captivate an audience, but her performance is not enough to save the inevitable disappointment of the story’s conclusion. The film is only the second filmic adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s 1951 novel. The film itself is a tightly written and acted flurry of scenes, in which the audience is then purposefully thrown off-beat for the longer scenes. Director Roger Michell develops a lush vision of the cliffs of 19th century England and Italy, with an attention to detail that will reward a second viewing.
- Megan Leavey. Here’s Sheila O’Malley over at RogerEbert.com:
Last year, four military dogs received medals for valor in the inaugural American Humane K-9 Medal of Courage Awards, with American Humane President Robin Ganzert saying at the ceremony on Capitol Hill, “We feel it is time to recognize and honor the extraordinary feats and acts of devotion these heroic animals perform every day.” Military dogs are valued for their noses, their ability to sniff out IEDs, weapons caches, other buried explosives, as well as their loyalty and high intelligence. There’s a YouTube clip showing a soldier reuniting with his military dog, and as the soldier approaches the dog’s cage, the dog starts howling with joy and excitement. She can smell him coming. Once the cage door opens, the dog—a scrappy black Labrador—circles endlessly around her former handler, not even stopping for pats or kisses. If the bond between human and dog is already intense, dogs being what they are, then the bond between a military dog handler and his or her canine partner is even more so. Megan Leavey, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, tells the story of the profound bond between a Marine corporal and her war dog Rex.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (semi-competent fathers edition):
- Graduation (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
For generations of Romanians, the decision to have children was more difficult than usual. The years before and after the 1991 revolution left difficult questions: what kind of country did Romanians want for their children? Could they see a future in it? Those questions and their aftermath are central to Graduation, the Romanian drama from Cristian Mungiu. Its hero has a narrow focus – he wants nothing more than his daughter to leave Romania for a prestigious UK university – except one obstacle after another gets in his way. This is primarily about pervasive corruption, and how it seeps into every transaction, no matter how perfunctory or personal. Mungiu observes this with his trademark low-key style, letting the muted tones serve as a haunting metaphor for what it’s like to live in a country that seems beyond hope.
- The Squid and the Whale (now on Netflix). Here’s Nathan Rabin over at The AV Club:
Emotionally pitched somewhere between anguished sobs and bitter laughter, The Squid And The Whale is funny at times, but it never sacrifices verisimilitude for laughs. Eschewing the twee, sometimes precious stylization of Anderson’s movies, Baumbach creates scenes that feel ripped wholesale from the most agonizing moments of his young life. It’s an unflinchingly raw and honest look at a family splitting apart, and it seldom strikes an unconvincing or inauthentic note. Though it surveys rocky adolescent emotional terrain from the safe distance of adulthood, The Squid And The Whale still resonates with the sting of a fresh wound.
- Captain Fantastic (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
As someone who grew up in western Washington State with five siblings, I could tell you that Captain Fantastic does not represent the normal childhood experience in a large Pacific Northwest family. But you don’t need my first-hand account. This is a film wherein children become adults by killing deer with knives, an eight-year-old knows more about Noam Chomsky than soda, and “interesting” is a banished word but “fuck” is not. Anyone will be able to tell quite quickly that Captain Fantastic is an atypical movie about an atypical family. The fact that it’s also very good helps to make it a welcome departure from the norm.
That’s it! Maybe call your dad, huh?