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:
- A Ghost Story. Here’s what we said in our original review:
This second half is aspiring to Tree of Life or Interstellar levels of examination, presenting questions of the cyclical nature of art, life, and mankind. While Lowery makes some inquiries about them, he never quite has any interest in making a statement on them. For example, Oldham’s character mentions that no matter how much we try to leave our mark on this world, it’s inevitable that everything we create or do will be washed away with time. Yet only minutes later, we hear a song that C had recorded earlier, hummed by someone from a completely different time period, with absolutely no way for this song to pass from one person to the other. This is A Ghost Story’s greatest problem: setting up one idea, only to have it forfeited by a contradictory one. But for all its conflicting messages and ostentatious questions, A Ghost Story is worthwhile for those rare moments when the film is utterly spectacular. Whether its seemingly insurmountable depression or the grandiosity of life, Lowery can create feelings within A Ghost Story that are far more powerful than the film’s low points. Lowery has a gift for emotional resonance and gorgeous imagery. It’s just a shame he gets in his own way.
- Goon: Last of the Enforcers. Here’s Chuck Bowen over at Slant:
Jay Baruchel’s Goon: Last of the Enforcers faces an uphill climb that’s inherent to retreads, as it’s almost impossible for the film to honor its predecessor without lapsing into contrived and preordained formula, squandering the very sense of discovery that made Michael Dowse’s Goon such a surprisingly forceful and poignant ode to battered and corporately exploited manhood. Baruchel, who also co-wrote and co-starred in Goon, perhaps senses the thanklessness of his task, because he liberally and dutifully stuffs Last of the Enforcers with elements from several of the most successful of all sports-movie sequels, Rocky II through Rocky IV, fashioning a fall-and-rise-again narrative that’s busy with gimmicky reversals.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (modern romance edition):
- Sleeping with Other People (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
So much of our communication, for both friends and lovers, happens over text messages, and Sleeping With Other People shows the gap between the world we’re typing about to other people and the one that really exists. As Jake and Laney chat via text, we see just how much of themselves they’re revealing to one another. “I don’t think I like myself enough to introduce him to other people,” Jake admits to Laney over text. You can see in that moment how vulnerable he is making himself to her, even as he lies in bed with another woman. What’s most refreshing about Sleeping With Other People is that writer/director Leslye Headland doesn’t treat Jake and Laney as stock characters ignorant of their killer chemistry. When they have issues they will actually say, “Wanna talk about it?” Like many people, they are well aware of their emotional issues even if they have no idea how to solve them. One unfortunately timed fast-forward skips over some of that interesting work.
- Eyes Wide Shut (now on Netflix). Here’s James Berardinelli over at Reelviews:
If Eyes Wide Shut was to be placed into a genre, the label would be “psychological thriller” (although such pigeonholing does a great disservice to the movie). The second half is characterized by building tension, and the suspense isn’t completely dissipated when “the truth” is revealed. (This is in part because Kubrick cleverly allows a kernel of doubt to remain about what really is going on. He presents two possibilities, and, although the facts favor one resolution, it’s never clear-cut.) As usual, there are a series of unforgettable sequences. In addition to the orgy, there’s Bill’s strange and comical late-night trip to a costume store run by a suspicious fellow (played by Rade Serbedzija) – this involves cross-dressing and a hint of pedophilia. Another memorable moment occurs when Bill and Alice begin making love in front of a mirror. From a set design perspective, it’s impossible to ignore the opulence of Victor’s Christmas party. And there’s a scene when Bill is being stalked through the silent, empty streets of New York.
- I Love You Man (now on Netflix). Here’s Scott Tobias over at The AV Club:
In the Apatow Age, the non-romantic bonds between men has been the love that dare not speak its name, but now with the unctuous term “bromance,” it’s all out in the open. So in the Hollywood comedy I Love You, Man, what was once an unspoken theme now becomes the requisite high-concept hook about a groom’s search for a best man, and the “man-dates” that entails. And the close friendships that seemed real and organic in comedies like Superbad, Knocked Up, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin are subject to the stale gimmickry of other rom-coms. What saves I Love You, Man, at least partially, is the relaxed chemistry between Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, both very funny men who are genuine enough to push back against a premise that’s often maddeningly artificial.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.