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:
- Jason Bourne. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The Bourne Identity is a noteworthy action film because of how it upends the stereotypes of a traditional spy hero. Instead of a collected, world-weary cynic, Jason Bourne is a terrified innocent who tilts toward heroism through circumstances beyond his control. The first two sequels – Ultimatum and Supremacy – depart from Bourne’s innocence and instead make him into a competent, vengeful man driven by his need for the truth. Jason Bourne is the franchise’s latest sequel, and director Paul Greengrass quashes anything human or likable about his hero, opting instead for a stoic bulldozer of destruction. Chaos is no substitute for intrigue.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Deepwater Horizon. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon unfolded like a grim joke. As politicians and the media assigned blame, millions of oil barrels kept dumping into the Gulf of Mexico. Blame was more important than the unfathomable environmental toll of an exploding oil rig. But Deepwater Horizon is not about that grim joke, or assigning blame. Instead, director Peter Berg follows the several skilled laborers on that fateful day. The drama unfolds with a mix of commonsense arguments and engineering jargon, at least until all hell breaks loose, and I mean the word “hell” almost literally. Berg and his technical team envision the explosion as a ceaseless inferno, one that creates an affecting mix of psychological/physical damage in those who survive it.
- Miss Peregine’s School for Peculiar Children. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Word choice is very important to writers, so it’s no coincidence that author Ransom Riggs chose the word “peculiar” to describe the children in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, his 2011 book about people who have unique traits and talents. “Bizarre,” “freakish,” or “dangerous,” all could have worked, but Riggs selected the more innocuous “peculiar,” so it’s fitting that the new film adaptation of his book has several peculiar traits of its own. In this case, peculiar is mostly a good thing – both for the characters and for the film. If the movie weren’t a bit unusual, it would just be an X-Men retread with fewer special effects and a bigger dose of Tuck Everlasting and Groundhog Day. But unlike Professor X’s mutants – sorry, his “gifted children” – Miss Peregrine’s peculiars aren’t battling for social acceptance. It doesn’t matter whether or not society accepts them, since they live in a continuous loop of the same day over and over again, and anything they teach the larger population would be wiped clean with the sunset.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (New Year Edition):
- Results (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The other major hallmark of Bujalski’s work is the specificity of his dialogue, and the same is true here. Kat and Trevor speak with the clipped, impersonal platitudes of the fitness industry. This a slice of life movie, just like Mutual Appreciation, and while this set of jargon is more common it is nonetheless impersonal, a way for trainers to dominate others and protect themselves (both Trevor and Kat have droll moments where they’re forced to reconcile with the bullshit inherent in their profession). Danny, on the other hand, speaks with a kind of indifference that borders on depression. Thanks to an unexpected inheritance, Danny is independently wealthy, but he’s also reeling from a divorce so his way of coping is both childish and vulgar. He spends more time with Kat and Trevor, independently of each other, and they drop their respective artifices drop until their conversations are more honest (they’re still funny because they also surprise each other). No characters behave like someone in a romantic comedy because, unlike David Wain’s They Came Together, they are not avatars for Bujalski’s frustration. He actually likes these people.
- Ikiru (now on Filmstruck). Here’s Roger Ebert:
We who have followed Watanabe on his last journey are now brought forcibly back to the land of the living, to cynicism and gossip. Mentally, we urge the survivors to think differently, to arrive at our conclusions. And that is how Kurosawa achieves his final effect: He makes us not witnesses to Watanabe’s decision, but evangelists for it. I think this is one of the few movies that might actually be able to inspire someone to lead their life a little differently.
- When Harry Met Sally (now on Hulu. Also, Carrie Fisher RIP). Here’s Heather Schwedel in Slate:
That’s just one of her tiny gems in this movie. She’s a total quote machine throughout it—“Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste.” “Someone’s staring at you in personal growth.” “Thin. Pretty. Big tits. Your basic nightmare.” It’s not just that the lines are well-written (though they are) but that Fisher is able to sell each one as the cynical friend who doesn’t have Meg Ryan’s cute-as-a-button veneer to do the work for her. Fisher’s eyebrows in this movie, frequently raised in skepticism, knowingness, or contentedness, contain more truth than most entire scripts. The Toast once ran a whole piece praising the many slam-dunk line readings in this movie, and Fisher shines right alongside the rest of the excellent cast.
That’s it! Get streaming, nerds.