Instant Picks of the Week 1/5/17
Gone are the days of scrolling mindlessly through your queue! No longer will you have to sift through the vastness of what’s coming to the instant viewing wastelands this month! Whether you’re looking for a stellar film or an exciting new show to binge, Instant Picks of the Week brings you the hottest releases in film and television on instant viewing platforms that we know you’ll love, or at the very least not despise.
The Wachowskis share a filmography that could be most aptly described as “high concept”, which is why it’s so shocking that their debut picture is as unassuming as it is. BOUND is a far cry from the blistering gunfights of THE MATRIX or the visual bukkake that is the entirety of SPEED RACER, concerned more with interpersonal drama and verbal sparring than overwhelming spectacle. This crime caper follows two women, an ex-con and a gangster’s trophy girlfriend, who fall in love and hatch a plan to run off with $2 million of the mob’s money. BOUND largely limits itself to three characters and a single location — unheard of coming from the Wachowskis’ playbook — but manages to be as fun and forward thinking as any of their later work. The central lesbian romance is erotic, almost excessively so, but never exploitative, which is pretty forward thinking for a ‘90s thriller. Packing a trio of strong performances and a clever script, BOUND is smart, sexy, brutal and badass, which is to say it’s the perfect pick the next time you’re looking to kick back and watch something dope. [Ed Dutcher]
SOME FREAKS (Netflix)
We touched upon it briefly back during our coverage of the Newport Beach Film Festival, but now that it’s hit Netflix, SOME FREAKS deserves to be watched immediately. The High School Story is an archetype as old as Hollywood, and it’s been refreshing to see some alternate takes on the tropes associated with it turned in by such fare as THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN. But for my money, none have done it quite so brutally honest and no-holds-barred as SOME FREAKS. High school sucked, but high schoolers suck even more, and Ian MacAllister McDonlad’s debut makes sure to rub our faces in the fact that our heroes are just as deeply flawed and deplorable as those who pushed them into outsider status. Telling the story of Matt (Thomas Mann), a one-eyed loner who falls in love with the relentlessly bullied Jill (Lily Mae Harrington), what starts as a heartwarming story of finding shelter in the storm of adolescence turns into an emotional drudging as everyone’s fatal flaws and vicious insecurities serve up a recipe for disaster. Nearly masochistic in its desire to make sure nobody gets off scot-free, SOME FREAKS is the rare film that offers little redemption for its victimized protagonists, showing that we’re all someone else’s bully and boogeyman. It left me openly crying in its finale, but those who grew up on John Hughes are long due for a rude awakening. [Thomas Seraydarian]