Well, you only have two new options this week, one indie and one mainstream. The former is We Are the Best!, about three teen Swedish girls in 1982 Stockholm who form a punk band despite having (at least for two of them) no musical experience. It’s a fun, often funny film that’s honest in its depiction of the adolescent experience, but a bit too fluffy for its own good.
Still, when the other choice is Transformers: Age of Extinction, fun and fluffy suddenly looks a whole lot better. Having been scared off by its near incomprehensible action sequences, I haven’t seen a Transformers movie since the first one and have it on good faith that I haven’t missed much. I did, however, adore Michael Bay’s last film Pain & Gain and am somewhat (I repeat: somewhat) curious if the chemistry he fostered there with Mark Wahlberg will carry over to their latest collaboration.
Fleeing the Scene
To make way for four (?!?!?!) screens of Transformers (OK, maybe I’m not so curious after all), some good stuff had to go, specifically X-Men: Days of Future Past, Belle, and Words and Pictures. Oh yeah, The Rover is also out, so at least one good thing came from the takeover.
The Year of the Doppelgänger got kicked off right with double the Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy and the year of questionable sequels began better than expected with a wild Eva Green performance in 300: Rise of an Empire. I will, though, admit that Winter’s Tale has not aged well and now feel iffy recommending it even to those fond of sappy historical romances.
On Netflix Instant
Lots of interesting new options are available for streaming this week, starting with Spike Lee’s misunderstood Oldboy remake. (As with most recent Lee, there are some clunky parts, but it’s otherwise quite good. We were robbed not getting to see it on the big screen last November.)
Other recent additions are the “if you play a wrong note, you die” thriller Grand Piano with Elijah Wood and John Cusack; Gambit, which was written but not directed by the Coen Bros. and stars Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Cameron Diaz, and Stanley Tucci, yet wasn’t given a U.S. release (I’m morbidly curious why); the powerful “American youth works at an AIDS hostel in India” documentary Blood Brother; and both theatrical and unrated cuts of World War Z, so that you may watch Brad Pitt conveniently disrupt order wherever he goes in ways both familiar and unfamiliar.
Also of note are Mauvais Sang, from Holy Motors director Leos Carax; Jane Eyre, from True Detective director Cary Fukunaga; XXX: State of the Union, from Along Came a Spider director Lee Tamahori; and The Muppet Christmas Carol, from Brian Henson, director of Muppet Treasure Island, which is also available.
And here’s what is leaving Netflix.
Spike Lee’s real Oldboy is a director’s cut that won’t release, from what I’ve read. Supposedly he and Brolin are both disappointed with film after the studio gave it substantial edits. Lee actually prevented the usual “a spike lee joint” tag from being added to the promotion because of this.
I could see that being the case. It’s such an odd undertaking to begin with, but the studio’s cut isn’t nearly as bad as many made it out to be.