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:
- Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Here’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky over at The AV Club:
It’s a shame that the zombie-mowing, monster-bashing post-apocalyptic Resident Evil series should end on a bum note, with one of its weakest entries; whether taken as guilty pleasures or as termite art, these movies are the only good thing to have come out of the early 2000s craze for schlocky video-game adaptations. They’re terrifically entertaining, boasting a capable pulp heroine in Milla Jovovich’s wasteland-roving Alice and an action-to-downtime ratio that makes most of their genre competitors look like pretentious twaddle. Jovovich’s husband Paul W.S. Anderson produces, writes, and directs most of them, and he’s a disreputable, utterly sincere sci-fi stylist whose dogged commitment to filming corridors, urban wastelands, and anything reminiscent of Aliens (including, yes, Alien Vs. Predator) eventually metastasized into a set of narrative themes. But behind these strong B-movie values is a series that begs to not be read literally—a mirror maze of internal metaphors, self-reflected through the mutations, clones, resurrections, simulations, memory wipes, and Lewis Carroll references that make up its continually reformulated and retconned backstory. Anderson is an artist of zombiod head-shots and secret testing facilities, and Jovovich is his muse.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- XXX: The Return of Xander Cage. Here’s what we said in our original review:
There’s a pretty good chance xXx: Return of Xander Cage screenwriter F. Scott Frazier just won a bet. Specifically, I think someone handed Frazier a list of everything they could think of that a stereotypical heterosexual dude between 18 and 25 years old could possibly want in a movie – skateboards, half-naked women, fight scenes with martial arts, fight scenes with guns, fight scenes with zero-gravity, etc. – and bet him he couldn’t fit everything on the list into a movie. But not only did Frazier fit it all into a movie, he fit it all into a move that’s less than 2 hours long. Even more surprisingly, that movie is pretty good.
- Split. Here’s what we said in our original review:
It sounds very silly when I explain it like that, but trust me when I say that Shyamalan has the thriller aspects of this movie on lockdown. Split is much more gruesome and upsetting and tense than you think it is going to be. I’d seen the trailer plenty of times and I was ready for a spooky, scary, and deeply weird romp a la The Visit. I was not ready for the emotional rollercoaster ride that Mcavoy’s performance would elicit, nor was I prepared for sexual assault to be such a prevalent theme. At times, the constant shift in tone, from incredibly tense to down right silly, was exhausting, but it also highlights the bonkers, off-the-wall insanity that was Mcavoy’s acting.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (political train wreck edition):
- Get Me Roger Stone (now on Netflix). Here’s Sophie Gilbert at The Atlantic:
The film, which follows Stone through his fluctuating role on the Trump campaign, is also an incisive portrait of how Stone’s brand of dirty tricks—in which the only motivating factor in politics is to win—came to dominate the current state of disarray. Stone, as he’s wont to do, cheerfully takes credit for all manner of shifts in the last four decades of U.S. elections, from the birth of PACs and superPACs to the rising influence of lobbyists to the dominance of anger and fear in the media. You may find yourself wondering, as the Fox host Tucker Carlson does at one point, whether all of these developments can actually be traced back to Stone, or whether he’s just the most dastardly self-promoter in history. But Get Me Roger Stone is a thorough and entertaining primer into how American politics got so ugly, not to mention a crucial window into the mentality of the unorthodox 45th president.
- Blood on the Mountain (now on Netflix). Here’s yours truly over at The Washington Post:
Big Coal’s indifference to the plight of its workers fuels the filmmakers’ anger. Miners have long dealt with poor air quality and other health risks, but the struggles of the modern miner are thornier. Companies now prefer mountaintop removal mining to underground digging, using explosives to level almost entire mountains. And companies pander to different factions of their workforce, as the film suggests, pitting one against the other. When Ted Nugent performs a West Virginia concert, it plays like a grim joke, as if corny rock-and-roll is an adequate substitute for workplace safety. The documentary argues that West Virginians deserve more attention than the occasional national news story when a mine explodes. By observing the struggle of the miner with a mix of resignation and resolve, the movie hints that this struggle is the struggle of every worker.
- Welcome to Leith (now on Netflix). Here’s yours truly over at The Washington City Paper:
“Small” is an inadequate word for Leith, a North Dakota town whose population could barely fill a school bus. Their lives are pleasant, if a little remote, at least until white supremacists arrive and upend any sense of tranquility. Directed by Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker, Welcome to Leith is a disturbing thriller about Craig Cobb, a notorious racist who sees Leith as an opportunity for a haven of hate. He reasons that the population is so small that he and his neo-Nazi pals can easily take over the town. Nichols and Walker have incredible access to Cobb and the townspeople who want him out. Cobb functions like a high-velocity troll, a shrill asshole who defends his right to free speech in order to spew pure bile. On the streets and at public meetings, Cobb and the Leithians attempt to use the law to their advantage, and the results are often shocking. While the stakes are small, Nichols and Walker’s documentary is a real battle between good and evil. There’s solace for both sides once it’s all over, yet Cobb throws in one last line that’s more chilling than anything we might hear from a comic book supervillain.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.