Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD or Blu-ray should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recent at-home movie releases, which we’ve watched from the comfort of that favorite recliner.
“The Dark Knight Rises”
There is so much to say about this movie. For the constraints of time and space, we’ll keep away from external tragedies and stick to what makes this film awesome. The first Batman trilogy to retain the same core actors and director for all three movies, the extended storyline not only told the story of Batman…it told the story of the city of Gotham – the people, the corruption, the unsung heroes. And director Christopher Nolan and these actors managed to funnel the problems and triumphs of our real lives into a superhero movie. They dive deep into the characters and examine situations that make them feel human – grief, love, broken families, helplessness, hopelessness, mentors, and courage. Because this was a courageous move, to make movies about a comic book hero but never placate the audience, never flinch when the subjects gets dirty or real and this movie rose to the pinnacle of this superhero-noir experiment. Brutal, reflective of reality, and very much worth a watch.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
This film is full of homes made from debris, full of dirty actors, full of terrible situations, full of child neglect, and it’s a rare thing of beauty. This film could’ve been a depressing mess – set in rural Louisiana, in a fictional place known as The Bathtub, and told from the perspective of a six year-old protagonist, played by Quvenzhané Wallis. There’s a purity of vision as this little girl named Hushpuppy translates hard-to-understand adults and makes a magical world out of the stories and lessons she’s learned. In her environment, people live off the land and the land can be a bountiful provider or a savage wilderness. In her debut role, Wallis is a force of nature with her honest narration and her miniature mastery of acting. We follow Hushpuppy through a hurricane, watch her heart break a dozen times and her spirit strengthen a baker’s dozen. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is fierce and worth a watch.
A movie about writing and the influence a writer’s characters can have on our lives – think about it, how many times have you felt that you are akin, friends even, with a certain character or characters from books or TV or movies? In this storyline, a lonely writer has one of his characters come to life – a beautiful, eccentric character. There’s some comedy involved, some drama, some existentialism, a little Woody Allen, and a lot of really good acting. Zoe Kazan wrote the script and stars as Ruby. Her boyfriend, Paul Dano, stars and continues to make great decisions on roles. It’s a welcome return for co-directors, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who haven’t directed a feature-film since 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine.” An overlooked flick that turns out to be a firework of a film – worth a watch.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge