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:
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Here’s what we said in our original review:
This obnoxious way of shooting bleeds into the heavy-handed nature of the story. Instead of hinting at Billy Lynn’s ideas, characters are held in tight close-up focus, with actors like Chris Tucker and Steve Martin’s entire face taking up the screen, preaching directly at the audience about how soldiers aren’t treated well once they return home. Billy Lynn doesn’t have anything to say about the issues the film centers around and essentially just espouses known truths, rather than taking any stand. Because of this, Billy Lynn feels about a decade behind, almost as if it should have come out in the dreadful period of turn-of-the-decade anti-war films.
OUT THIS WEEK & WORTH YOUR TIME:
- Arrival. Here’s what we said in our original review:
Anyone who texts knows the power of language and grammar. If a text includes a period, particularly after the word “OK,” it can signify anything from certainty to simmering hatred. Language, particularly how it creates the possibility of a perceived slight or threat, is at the heart of Arrival, the remarkable science fiction film from director Denis Villeneuve. In an era where special effects coincides with a dearth of ideas, here is a cerebral film that relies on curiosity for its ample thrills. Villeneuve is a fascinating genre filmmaker, although most of his work approaches Kubrickian detachment. His latest is moving, too, in ways that are quietly shocking.
- The Edge of Seventeen. Here’s what we said in our original review:
The cast is also top-notch. Steinfeld is believably charming, vulnerable, and self-centered as Nadine, and the awkward chemistry between Nadine and Hayden Szeto’s Erwin is the most authentic and endearing part of the film. Woody Harrelson also plays the cool, sarcastic teacher role with the balance required to walk the fine line between being genuinely caring and genuinely creepy. Although I have some reservations about what it’s doing, The Edge of Seventeen does what it does very well. Craig brings a smart humor to the coming-of age flick formula, and the cast does their part, bringing as much sincerity to the movie as it can hold. The Edge of Seventeen will bring out a sense of nostalgia among adults. Any teenage viewers will likely be skeptical, but this movie isn’t for them anyway. At least not for another decade.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (Cage your queue edition):
- Knowing (now on Netflix). Here’s Roger Ebert:
Knowing is among the best science-fiction films I’ve seen — frightening, suspenseful, intelligent and, when it needs to be, rather awesome. In its very different way, it is comparable to the great Dark City, by the same director, Alex Proyas. That film was about the hidden nature of the world men think they inhabit, and so is this one.
- Dog Eat Dog (now on Netflix). Here’s Sean Burns over at Spliced Personality:
In Hollywood these days, even filmmakers with resumes like Paul Schrader’s (he wrote Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation Of Christ and directed Blue Collar, American Gigolo and Auto Focus, to name just a few) are constantly being second-guessed and undercut by dumb money men, which I assume accounts for the rather enormous chip you’ll find on this particular movie’s shoulder. Schrader and Cage reteamed for Dog Eat Dog on the condition of complete creative autonomy. This movie is two guys doing whatever the fuck they want for an hour and a half, with results that range from exhilarating to exasperating, but mostly the former as far as I’m concerned.
- The Trust (now on Netflix). Here’s AA Dowd over at The AV Club:
Lean and mostly likable, The Trust moves swiftly through the planning stages of the big score—chasing a money trail, going undercover as wage slaves, securing equipment—before slowing to a tense crawl once the big day arrives. Like I Am Wrath, this is a film indebted to numerous others, but upstart directors Alex and Benjamin Brewer are smart enough to play to the strengths of their cast. What they’ve concocted, largely, is a two-man show, with Wood as increasingly frazzled straight man to Cage, whose goofy, dad-joke energy clashes—in that distinctly Leonard way—with his cold-blooded behavior. It’s not one of the latter’s great performances, but it’s still a reservoir of personality at the center of a movie that benefits from every drop of it. And when it comes to the disposable VOD fare that Cage and Travolta have made a side career out of indiscriminately embracing, minor pleasures are a major improvement.
That’s it, folks! Don’t forget to CAGE YOUR QUEUE.