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 Emoji Movie. Here’s Charles Bramesco over at The Guardian:
The Emoji Movie is a force of insidious evil, a film that feels as if it was dashed off by an uninspired advertising executive. The best commercials have a way of making you forget you’re being pitched at, but director Tony Leondis leaves all the notes received from his brand partners in full view. The core conceit apes Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, where a spirited misfit hops between self-contained worlds styled in a single recognisable way. Instead of holidays, however, our hero here jumps from app to app, and the ulterior motive of pumping up download numbers drains every last drop of joy from Leondis’s efforts to enchant.
- The Little Hours. Here’s what we said in our original review:
In the pull quotes for the new comedy The Little Hours, posters and trailers include an intriguing review from The Catholic League: “It is trash. Pure trash.” On a surface level, it is easy to see why the Church would be outraged. Writer and director Jeff Baena centers on a trio of nuns who are profane, ill-tempered, and profoundly sacrilegious. Still, the moniker “trash” is a little misleading, since Baena’s true purpose is tamer than the word suggests. His comedy has an affable shaggy dog quality, amounting to the sort of film you want to succeed more than it actually does. The Catholic Church should reserve its outrage for more searing films like Spotlight and Netflix’s The Keepers, instead of drawing attention to a harmless comedy whose primary message is that, yes, men and women of the cloth are human, too
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Personal Shopper. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Kristen Stewart will never star in a film like La La Land. She may have a terrific singing voice, but her acting instincts are too inward. Her characters would never dare share what they’re feeling, unless said declaration was meant as passive aggressive hostility. A reserved, borderline obtuse acting style did not serve her in the Twilight franchise, since Bella is a hollow husk of a character. Luckily Olivier Assayas – the French filmmaker who specializes in slow-burn intrigue – has found his muse in Stewart. In the recent Clouds of Sils Maria, Stewart took an ostensibly dual role and found resentment alongside cautious empathy. Assayas’ follow-up is Personal Shopper, and it features Stewart in every scene. It is a strange, genre-bending film: it mixes a ghost story, a Hitchcockian thriller, and a muted character study. The film would fall apart without Stewart, whose unique abilities elevate the material into something strangely moving.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Noah Baumbach edition):
- While We’re Young (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original interview with Baumbach:
The storyline is seemingly simple enough to relay: a 40-something couple (Josh and Cornelia (Stiller and Naomi Watts) he a once promising now sort-of-stuck documentarian, she a documentary producer for the superstar filmmaker Father, played wonderfully by Charles Grodin) grappling with what it means to be 40-something and childless and “just” married and “just” successful enough, meet a 20-something couple (Jamie and Darby, (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) he a fledgling documentary filmmaker himself, she a craft ice cream maker) and, well, develop a massive crush on their youthful energy. A whirlwind coupledom romance ensues, and then, of course (OF COURSE!) disappointment strikes. And everyone needs to face their own realities, all the while entangled in the putting other people’s realities on the big screen for mass enjoyment. The movie is both laugh-out-loud funny and almost uncomfortably tense at times, and occasionally uneven, just like these people’s lives.
- The Meyerowitz Stories (now on Netflix). Here’s Emily Yoshida over at Vulture:
All happy movie families are alike; every unhappy movie family is … also kind of alike, but they’re a great litmus test for a director’s evolution. In Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), we’re introduced to a kind of perpetually kvelling, far-from-tragic brood whose deep-seated insecurities and regrets slowly emerge over the course of the film. There are shades of The Royal Tenenbaums and Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s Still Walking here, as well as Baumbach’s own The Squid and the Whale. But it’s incredible what a difference 12 years makes: Baumbach is an altogether more generous and insightful filmmaker here than he was the last time he told this story.
- De Palma (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
Is it even worth mentioning the name directors coaxing all this conversational gold out of the filmmaker? De Palma has been helmed by none other than Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha, Greenberg) and Jake Paltrow (Young Ones), though you’d never guess as much from the strictly utilitarian, talking-head strategy they adopt here; never once do they even speak from the other side of the lens. There’s a certain irony in a filmmaker this stylish, this obsessed with form, receiving his lionization in a documentary so functionally assembled. Then again, maybe De Palma and his madly, garishly inventive thrillers provide all the personality De Palma needs. Watching a sequential rundown of his greatest hits, all accompanied by some especially lively director’s commentary, it’s easy to imagine De Palma’s shadow engulfing a generation of imitators, the same way Hitchcock’s engulfed him. Will the glorious split-screen climax of Carrie one day serve as its own entryway into a different filmmaker’s oeuvre?
That’s it! Get watching, nerds.