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:
- Step. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Step is personal, and it’s beautiful. To watch them create something special, using the platform they’ve been given, sends a positive message to people experiencing hardship. For adults, it also emphasizes how just showing up matters, but it isn’t always enough, and that mentorship can be as simple as taking the time to listen.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The movie goes on for some time, switching back and forth between two tones of realism and comic book heroics. The problem is that the film feels unnecessarily long: it’s over two hours of watching Spider-Man finding trouble and being woefully unprepared for what’s around the corner. The writers of the film address Peter’s inexperience directly through the meta-casting of Donald Glover, who plays Miles Morales in a cartoon series. He appears, seemingly only to tell Peter, “You gotta get better at this.” Truer words. If the question is whether this is worth watching in the theater, the answer is a “Yes.” But don’t be surprised when you find yourself checking your watch.
- Landline. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Given that Landline is so firmly grounded in the 1990s – so firmly that there are Blockbuster, DustBuster, and skipping CD references – it’s sort of a nice coincidence that the film reminded me of a plotline on a 1998 episode of the television show Friends. In the episode, “The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS,” Phoebe and Joey have an ongoing argument about whether there is such a thing as a selfless good deed. The way Joey keeps turning the positive feelings of a kind act into its own self-interested reward was, to me, reminiscent of the way Landline explores relationships and what people put into and get out of them. Landline isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s a more interesting examination of the way we invest connections we have than just about anything you’ll see in theaters this season.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Middle East cinema edition):
- City of Ghosts (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Shame and alarm are the primary tools of the citizen journalist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently(RBSS). Started in the wake of ISIS seizing the Syrian city, young men armed with phone cameras shared unspeakable brutality with the rest of the world. ISIS labeled them as enemies, so they went into seclusion. Directed by Matthew Heineman, the documentary City of Ghosts follows these men from their early efforts, onward to exile and recognition as the world’s most vital journalists. Unlike his earlier effort Cartel Land, Heineman does not plunge us into the milieu of RBSS. His ambition is deeper than that: he shows us how an ignored, isolated city eventually became a blueprint for how ISIS plans the West’s annihilation.
- Dheepan (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Comparisans to Peckinpah and Scorsese are easy, and fruitful, but to me Dheepan is in some ways reminiscent of one of the most fascinating and misunderstood periods in the oeuvre of one of our most talented but challenging filmmakers – Steven Spielberg’s early ‘00s. These were dark films – at least as dark as Spielberg could be – and each involved a protagonist in flight, one who found themselves crawling through the worst things they could imagine before finding themselves in sudden, unexpected, and perhaps otherwordly grace. Dheepan’s celestial (is it?) conclusion harkens to this, and yet it’s more ambiguous tone, following the blood and fire in corridors that preceded it, also harkens to Barton Fink, and it’s no surprise it was the Brothers Coen who led this film to the Palme D’Or. In a year where it looks like the rent-seeking, bloated CGI slugfest that purports to be about civil war is the rent-seeking, bloated CGI slugfest that will Win the Box Office, cashing easy checks at a bank slowly being swallowed by a sinkhole, Dheepan is a film that’s actually about actual civil war – about PTSD, about what it means to have one’s whole family die, about alcohol and violence and what one can and can’t, should and must do to rebuild a broken life. Too trite to call something so timeless timely, too blithe to call something so timely timeless, call it, simply, awesome in the most timeless sense of the word. I am in awe.
- The Salesman (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
This movie ekes and bleeds with Farhadi’s style, and while I very much enjoyed it, I’m not sure how many more times I want to go down this path with Farhadi. Perhaps it’s because this film feels much slower than the rest. Every aspect (except for the assault) is drawn out in a way that occasionally becomes exhausting. If anything, The Salesman is missing Farhadi’s usually excellent pacing. The more I think about it, the more this film feels like the exact opposite of The Past, a movie I’ve come to appreciate more. Despite it’s heart wrenching story, that film was still full of moments that had a bit of optimism. Scenes that felt like a breath of fresh air. Nothing in The Salesman feels like that. If anything, it’s a movie that forces you to hold your breath, waiting for their marriage to completely disintegrate.
That’s it, folks! Get streaming.