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:
- Wind River. Here’s what we said in our original review:
If you can stomach violent films, Wind River may still be too much. Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water) has written and directed a great story, but the film’s graphic rape scene is the dark center, where he demands the audience not look away. The importance of highlighting Native American stories that star Native actors cannot be understated, but the emotional toll of some of the scenes – combined with the graphic violence – make this a film I’m unlikely to re-watch even though the movie and its performances were great. It’s hard for me to recommend a film that left the person sitting behind me audibly sobbing through its last thirty minutes. That is demonstrative of the power of film to connect to the audience, but rape and murder are a lot even before the details of the picture are filled in. And this film is all about the details.
- Girl’s Trip. Here’s what we said in our original review:
It is hard to discuss Girls Trip from a qualitative perspective. I mean, objectively speaking, this isn’t a good film. It is lazily directed (by a man). It is filled with the kind of stereotypes that reek of early-2000s Sex & The City tropes. It is overflowing with some of the most blatant product and sponsorship placement (in fact, I feel a more interesting article would be something exploring the mechanics between ESSENCE Festival, all its sponsors, and Hollywood). Worst of all, it is crude to a point where it is not about lady empowerment (and trust me, I am all about sophmoric humor in movies, as evidenced by my eternal devotion to everything from the original Bachelor Party movie to White Chicks). It is all actually kind of degrading. Especially considering the luminous, funny, talented cast, that definitely deserves better.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Marion Cotillard edition):
- Allied (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
Allied is an old-fashioned, romantic World War 2 melodrama. Director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Steven Knight are ambitious: the story spans several years, with its lovers hopping from one country to another. Whereas most end of year films are too long nowadays – I’m looking at you, The Revenant – Allied suffers from being too short. Some sequences are rushed, and there is so much incident in just over two hours that it’s hard to follow characters along their complex emotional journey. There are some bravura action sequences, and yet it falters in its saccharine, pat mix of the personal and political. By striving for poignancy, Knight robs his heroes of plausibly human choices.
- The Immigrant (now on Netflix). Here’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky over at The AV Club:
The Immigrant’s title and opening shot—a slow zoom out from the Statue Of Liberty, its back turned to the camera—suggest a monumental scale and subject. It’s not An Immigrant, but The Immigrant—a drama about New York in the early 1920s, lit gold and gray, set on bustling streets, in cramped apartments, and within the chilly holding quarters of Ellis Island. A magician levitates before an audience of detainees, who are awaiting deportation back to their homelands. “Don’t give up the faith, don’t give up the hope,” he says at the end of his act. “The American Dream is waiting for you!” Strippers in exotic costumes, eroticized immigrants, turn tricks on the side. When they fall on hard times, they put on boas and headbands and ply their trade in a public park. “The daughters of millionaires!” shouts their pimp to anyone within earshot. These are the cornerstones of national myth, eroded by ambivalence and irony. The visual and thematic palette immediately brings to mind Michael Cimino’s once-maligned Heaven’s Gate—except that The Immigrant accomplishes more in two hours than Heaven’s Gate did in nearly four.
- Little White Lies (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The performances in the movie are more than capable. They’re even lovely at times (Canet himself is a long-time actor and obviously knows how to be both subtle and effective with his cast) and the scenery is to die for, photographed accordingly. The French is coastline sprinkled with oyster farms and tables are set for long, wine infused dinners al fresco. It’s a perfectly pretty back-drop for all their ugly to show. The movie is never dull but still, at the end of the road, you are spending 2.5 hours with a bunch of whiners. Even if they are handsome, talented, Academy Award winning whiners, some of us may not want to sign up for this kind of dinner party. But then, how we choose our friends is a highly subjective, non-empirical process. Maybe these ARE the people you’ve been waiting to hang out with on the big screen for a while. In which case, the orderly line for Bethesda Row’s Landmark Cinema should start forming right here.
That’s it! Get streaming, kids.