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:
- The Glass Castle. Here’s Jake Cole over at Slant:
As in Cretton’s previous feature, Short Term 12, the oscillations between sociological horror and misty-eyed sentimentality call attention to how meticulously the film arranges its emotional punches. Nonetheless, some of these moments do resonate, most notably in a scene in which a monstrously drunken Rex returns home with a deep gash in his shoulder that he makes the teenaged Jeannette sew close as she cries at the sorry sight of him. After she finishes, Jeannette quiveringly asks him to stop drinking with all the caution of someone placing their hand in a lion’s mouth, and the quick battle of resentment and shame that flashes across Rex’s face immediately captures the man’s lifetime of pain and his simultaneous gratitude and incomprehension of someone who cares so guilelessly for his well-being.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- The Beguiled. Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
Something has to give, and eventually it does, plummeting the characters into thriller territory. Of course, Siegel’s movie did the same. There are hints of a deeper drama here about rationalization—the way our brains justify the decisions made by our hearts (and other organs)—but that’s all reading between the lines of the film’s seesawing power dynamic. The Beguiled is, well, beguiling enough to make one wish Coppola had made something truly revisionist out of it; rather than radically reconceive the text, she just strips it down to an elemental 94 minutes—and the ending, mostly unaltered, seems to arrive too abruptly, extinguishing the simmering conflict. Still, The Beguiled’s vision of an almost mythically primitive America, lit by rays of sunshine and the dancing glow of candlelight, is never less than transporting; losing the anachronisms that defined her effervescent Marie Antoinette, Coppola immerses us in a world of verdant outdoor beauty, hushed indoor quiet, and dutiful routine. It’s a nice place to visit, but we can see in the yearning glances of the women—forgotten behind the gates of their near-deserted manor—that living there would be another matter entirely.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Tracy Letts edition):
- The Lovers (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
In the hands of lesser leads something like this wouldn’t work. But the ease with which Letts and Winger work as actors – both of whom should be in more films – deal with the awkwardness of the situation is applause-worthy. And the chemistry flip flops between the four leads keep the viewer unsettled, even during the genuinely funny parts. The tempo of the film is partially responsible for this. “I listen to a lot of music when I write”, said Jacobs, “and a lot of it is reggae, which may explain why things happen sort of slower in my movies than in some others.” The leisurely pace of dealing with non-leisurely things is definitely amplified by the actual up-tempo sweeping score that is reminiscent of Old Hollywood, but often misleading when it comes to what is actually happening.
- Christine (now on Netflix). Here’s Eric Kohn over at IndieWire:
Campos tracks Chubbuck’s progression toward resentment and depression with a measured approach, though his typically cerebral style is somewhat out of sync with Craig Shilowich’s talky screenplay. Nevertheless, the movie develops a palpable tension as Chubbuck growing anxious about her career prospects and her desire for self-fulfillment. Hoping to get married but romantically inept, eager to innovate but incapable of clarifying her ideas for the network, she seems lost in a series of half-formed conceits. The standout moment arrives when her co-worker drags her to a group therapy session that turns up the suspense at a masterful pace. Campos pushes in on Chubbuck’s face and her eyes bulge so wide it’s a wonder they don’t pop. Hall conveys such astounding desperation that her performance easily outdoes anything she’s done before.
- Bug (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s Roger Ebert:
The film is lean, direct, unrelenting. A lot of it takes place in the motel room, which by the end has been turned into an eerie cave lined with aluminum foil, a sort of psychic air raid shelter against government emissions or who knows what else? “They’re watching us,” Peter says. The thing about “Bug” is that we’re not scared for ourselves so much as for the characters in the movie. Judd and Shannon bravely cast all restraint aside and allow themselves to be seen as raw, terrified and mad. The core of the film involves how quickly Judd’s character falls into sympathy with Shannon’s. She seems like a potential paranoid primed to be activated, and yet her transformation never seems hurried and is always convincing.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.