Kneel Before VOD: October 17th
This highly anticipated Stephen King adaptation has been in the works for a decade and finally hits home today. It’s tough to see where all that effort went because this movie is a mess. Roland (Idris Elba) must stop the evil Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) from destroying the Dark Tower, the only thing keeping multiple worlds standing. The cast couldn’t have been better chosen, and there are a couple decent action scenes, but there’s just too much source material - eight whole books - to possibly cram it all into 95 minutes, so the film is left feeling bloated.
Despite combining my strong dislike for two different things, the first Annabelle film and director David F. Sandberg, whose debut feature Lights Out I found to be a total grind, I came out of Annabelle: Creation mostly positive. The movie aims to tell the origin story of Annabelle, the creepy doll from The Conjuring. The doll is possessed by the spirit of the creator’s dead daughter and terrorizes his home after it is transformed into a girl’s orphanage. There is at least one good jump scare and some chilling imagery, but the film is most notable for the great performance of Talitha Bateman, as the polio-stricken child who bears the brunt of Annabelle’s wrath.
Netflix: Horror Collection
While Netflix did add a number of prestige viewing options (The Meyerowitz Stories, Mindhunter) that you should check out, I’m going to focus on the sizable selection of horror titles they added just in time for Halloween. Whether you want the pitch black gruesome deaths found in Midnight Meat Train or the Saw series, the uncomfortable creepiness of Donnie Darko or Cube, or you’re looking for something lighter like The Voices or the Netflix Original The Babysitter, there’s no going wrong here. ‘Tis the season.
Amazon Prime: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Jack Reacher, otherwise known as Tom Cruise’s third-best franchise, is a reliably fun series. This time around the military investigator is brought in to help out his friend and former CO (Colbie Smulders) who has been framed for murder and discharged. The plot to clear her name thickens as the two discover it goes higher up the chain than they thought and Reacher learns he may have an illegitimate daughter. There’s not much special about this series, but it’s always fun to watch Cruise in his element with tight action scenes and a convoluted plot.
HBO Go: Tokyo Project
Ebon Moss-Bachrach is Sebastian, an American businessman in Tokyo who keeps seeing a woman, Claire (Elizabeth Moss), everywhere he goes. The two meet up and have a night of passion, but it turns out the two might have something dark hiding in their pasts. This short, helmed by regular Girls director Richard Shepard, presents a beautiful vision of Tokyo with a decently engaging mystery that benefits from Moss, who once again turns in a well-crafted performance, perfect for the alluring Claire.
Also Streaming: Fifty Shades Darker
Hulu Plus: I ❤️ You America With Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman is one of comedy’s most outspoken liberal voices, and even in these dark times, she’s determined to find the good. Silverman’s long-awaited return to TV comes in the form of an hour-long variety show, a deconstructed late-night program that features original songs, interviews with political figures, and pre-taped segments where she meets with Trump voting families, among others. Based on the first episode, this show is going to be something to keep an eye on, challenging political motives and hopefully changing a mind or two.
FilmStruck: Aguirre: The Wrath of God
What many regard not only as Werner Herzog’s masterpiece, but one of the finest movies to ever be made, Aguirre is a stirring, madcap expressionist religious epic. An army of 16th Century conquistadors embarks on an expedition to find the city of El Dorado. The second-in-command, Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) leads a successful mutiny and becomes a horrifyingly ruthless leader as men are lost and resources dwindle. Kinski’s reported insane behavior and Herzog’s unconventional direction lead to an agonizing shoot and one of the most impressive films ever made.
Shudder: Found Footage 3D
A Texas filmmaking crew set out to make the first 3D found footage movie, is terrorized as the movie becomes more real and the evil sets their sights on the crew. The high concept meta-comedy is sold well with a great cast of indie actors including Alena von Stroheim, Carter Roy, and film critic Scott Weinberg who cameos as himself, and the film does have some genuinely good scares. As the title suggests, the movie is 3D, but if you don’t have a pair of old glasses laying around you can opt for the 2D version.