Kneel Before VOD: June 27th
The latest entry into the Fast and the Furious franchise hits home today. The stunts are bigger and more impressive than ever before, but the film is lacking the heart that I think makes the other entries so special. That being said, a not so good Fast and the Furious movie is better than other good action blockbusters. This time around, the crew are faced against their most intimidating villain yet, Cipher (Charlize Theron), who's set on bringing the world into nuclear war.
Charlie Hunnam turns in a career-best performance as Percy Fawcett, a real-life early 20th Century explorer who finds evidence of an undiscovered civilization deep in the Amazon jungle. Years later, he heads back into the jungle to document it with his family and a fellow explorer. Director James Gray's epic is a moving picture done in the style of old-time adventure films, complete with beautiful photography and a compelling message among the wondrous sights.
Terrence Malick's recent work has been controversial to say the least. Some think his seemingly aimless soul-searching is poignant, others think it's a meandering waste of time. His latest Song To Song is sure not to change either opinion, as it once again sees an insanely stacked cast taking a backseat to pretty visuals. The thin narrative follows large number of musicians living a rock and roll lifestyle in Austin, Texas.
GLOW is a fictionalized Netflix series based on the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (or GLOW), an over-the-top mid-80s organization that featured glamorized strong women wrestling. Netflix's most interesting original series in some time stars Alison Brie as Ruth Wilder, a down on her luck actress who auditions for the new group. Her and the other ladies' showmanship makes the group a success while under the dysfunctional leadership of B-movie director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron).
Amazon Prime: Paterson
This 2016 Palme D'or nominee is a slice of life story of Paterson (Adam Driver), a New Jersey bus driver who observes the people around him while writing poems and taking care of his wife Laura's (Golshifteh Farahani) dog. Jim Jarmusch has a way of finding something profound in the mundane. He is at his best when he's quietly watching, and Adam Driver's performance and Paterson's simple story is ripe for that.
Also Streaming: Carnival of Souls.
HBO GO/Now: The Birth of a Nation
Once thought to be an easy contender for every award ever, The Birth of a Nation got lost in a cloud of director Nate Parker's past sexual assault allegations. Putting the controversy aside, it doesn't seem like the film even lives up to the early hype. The film tells the story of Nat Turner, a preacher to slaves who eventually leads a violent uprising against their oppressors. The movie unfortunately pulls one too many punches, couple that with an overly pretentious tone that doesn't work and the importance is lost.
FilmStruck: The Vengeance Trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance)
FilmStruck's been a ghost town lately. In fact, I haven't been able to highlight a film for the service for weeks due to lack of activity. But this week they are back with a Vengeance. Director Park Chan-Wook's epic thematic trilogy is one of the best ever made, and I can't think of a better way to spend a lazy day at home than by putting these on and watching the blood fly and the roller coaster twists.