The Weekly DISCussion is back and more non-weekly than ever, but it still delivers two great movies to watch at home!
Must See DVD of the Week:
Three Kings is the third film from director David O. Russell. Russell has since become very well known with his more recent films like The Fighter and this year’s Silver Linings Playbook. However, in 1999, Russell released Three Kings, which is quite possibly his best film. The story revolves around three American military men of varying ranks during the Iraq War (George Clooney, Mark Whalberg, and Ice Cube) who happen to stumble upon a possible location of hidden gold Saddam Hussein’s forces have stolen from Kuwait. Their journey to find this gold takes them through the consequences of war in a surprising and stylized way that few films have ever successfully managed to do. Like Platoon or more recently, The Hurt Locker, Three Kings focuses on the conscience of the soldier as well as the morality of the people who live in a war-torn country. It is not to be missed.
Netflix Must Stream of the Week:
The Queen of Versailles is one of the greatest accidents ever to be captured on film. What director Lauren Greenfield had set out to make was a documentary profiling billionaire real estate tycoon David Siegel’s efforts to create the largest single occupancy home on American soil. What she got was a character study of that same family once the rug is pulled out from underneath them when the real estate bubble unexpectedly pops. Suddenly Siegel’s kingdom is reduced to rubble as the film explores the financial challenges that his family must now face. The film does not take the cheap approach of poking sticks at people who thought they were better than others. That would be cruel and distasteful. What the film does do, is expose some of the nastiness that sometimes goes along with those who have achieved the “so-called” American Dream. We don’t enjoy watching people get ruined by things that are out of their control, but we are fascinated by people who are so affected by desire for wealth and power that they are incapable of helping themselves.
In this holiday edition of “The Weekly DISCussion,” The People’s Critic is recommending two films sure to enhance your season!
This week’s Must See DVD of the Week is:
It is true that this recommendation is partially because I am trying to not go with an obvious choice. However, Die Hard is absolutely a movie that is fun to watch around the holidays. When terrorists take a group of employees hostage during their holiday party, it is up to New York cop, John McClane (Bruce Willis) to save the day. Die Hard is responsible for reinventing the action thriller. With its careful balance of terror, violence, humor, and excitement, Die Hard excels above standard action fare even to the extent of creating an iconic villain in Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber. With another film in the successful franchise arriving in 2013, cuddle up with your special someone this season and check out where it all began with 1988’s Die Hard.
Netflix Must Stream of the Week:
This year saw director Robert Zemeckis return to live action film making with Flight. Zemeckis has spent the last eight years of his career filming three separate, innovative motion-capture animated films, the first being 2004’s The Polar Express. The story surrounds Billy, who is finding it difficult to believe in Santa Claus. Suddenly, he is whisked away on a magical train to the North Pole where his belief is restored. While not a perfect movie, The Polar Express manages to capture most of the magic of the beloved children’s book. The human characters appear somewhat lifeless, but the film does manage to rekindle some of that childish wonder that may have been lost over the years.
Today is a special Tuesday edition of the Weekly DISCussion, even though The Weekly DISCussion has been posted on three different days in the last three weeks.
Anyway, this week’s Must See DVD of the Week is:
After posting last week’s Must Stream of the Week, Out of Sight, I was reminded of another film written and directed by the same screenwriter, 2007’sThe Lookout. The Lookout stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a promising young hockey star, who through some poor decision making and a curve-ball from fate, is critically injured in a car accident that cuts his career short and sends him on a completely different path. Gordon-Levitt plays Chris, who is relegated to working at a bank as a janitor and dealing with a tremendously limiting head injury that affects his memory. Chris is subsequently lured into a heist plot to rob the bank that he works for. This is a very successful and effective thriller, well worth the effort it takes to seek it out.
Netflix Must Stream of the Week:
Kevin Smith’s Clerks is a miracle movie, in that it’s a miracle it got made. It is a ridiculously low-budget comedy that puts all of its faith in that hopes that there is a geeky, raunchy audience looking for a dark comedy filled with brilliant dialogue being delivered by bad actors. Turns out this audience exists and has made Kevin Smith a huge success. Clerks is where it all started. The plot is superfluous, following a Quick Stop employee who has to go in on his day off. It utilizes a “day in the life” format as we watch Dante perform menial daily tasks as he interacts with a revolving door of strange characters who populate Smith’s beloved New Jersey. This is a very enjoyable film, and it is fun to go back and see Smith’s cast of favorites in their rookie film. After Clerks, have a geeky Netflix Kevin Smith marathon with Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Season 1 of Comic Book Men.
Over the recent Thanksgiving weekend, a family member and I inevitably started discussing movies. After a thought-provoking and inspiring conversation about the alleged merits of the film Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, it occurred to both of us that The People’s Critic has vastly overlooked an opportunity to extend movie commentary to the comforts of home. Therefore, a new weekly feature has been born: The Weekly DISCussion. The Weekly DISCussion will suggest a Must See DVD of the week along with a Netflix Must Stream of the Week.
Must See DVD of the Week: Fargo
As the holiday shopping season kicks off, remarkable deals start rolling out for all kinds of movies. One of these deals that cannot be passed up is the Coen Brothers 4 disc box set, which includes Fargo, Millers Crossing, Blood Simple, and Raising Arizona. Although all four of these are worthy of the Must See DVD of the Week, I have settled on Fargo. Fargo is a masterpiece of simplicity. Joel and Ethan Coen put a microscope on Brainerd, Minnesota, a simple town, with simple people who are disrupted by the ingeniously idiotic decisions of one car salesman. The story is good, but its the “authentic” tone of the dialogue that really puts a unique stamp on Fargo and the experience of watching it. It’s good, you betcha!
Netflix Must Stream of the Week: Drive
Drive is a movie that I am still astounded has not caught on in a big way. Drive follows a stunt driver played by Ryan Gosling as he makes movies by day and hires himself out as a getaway driver by night. Gosling is calm, but cold. His deliberate detachment makes him an enigma, but it is a necessary evil of his profession. Director, Nicholas Winding Refn allows the story to burn slowly but punctuates it with vivid, strong action and violence that keeps the audience on edge. The film resembles the gritty 80s films of directors like Michael Mann or Brian DePalma. Additionally, the score is reminiscent of those 80s films as well and is excellent.