Instant Picks of the Week 10/7/16
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 final moments of IDA depict the eponymous character in a brisk walk through the snow, with a camera so frantically handheld, it almost feels like documentary. Whether this shows that Ida is finally breaking the confines of a static frame or that she is doubtful about the decision she’s making is for the viewer to decipher. Regardless, this ultimate shot stands in opposition to the meticulously composed frames that tell the story of Ida — a novice nun in post-war Poland who discovers that she is Jewish weeks before she is to take her vows. Given the capital-A Artsy cinematography (black and white in a 1.33 aspect ratio), the slow pace of the editing (despite the extremely short 82 minute running time), and small scale of the story (a girl exploring her lineage), this film appears to be a cliche choice for the Foreign Language Oscar it won in 2015. It is anything but. This is on account of Agata Trzebuchowska’s mysterious and powerful lead performance that she was born to play, considering she’s a non-actress who was cast while she was reading in a cafe. This is a film more suited for cinephiles and art/history buffs than for families or date night, but the depths to be found in the lingering shots of Trzebuchowska’s emotive eyes are sure to capture the attention of any viewer. [Phillip Vernon]
THE INTERVENTION (Amazon Prime)
Written and directed by Clea DuVall, THE INTERVENTION is a dramedy that offers thoughtful insight into the relationships between four very different yet relatable couples, who plan a weekend getaway as a guise for a marriage intervention between Peter (Vincent Piazza) and Ruby (Cobie Smulders). Naturally, everyone else is a complete mess themselves, and are avoiding the problems in their own respective relationships. It’s a character study of the finest form, with a brisk plot that avoids the meandering that many movies of the indie genre succumb to. The cast is also excellent. Longtime friends and previous costars, Clea DuVall and Natasha Lyonne, have a warm, easy chemistry, while real life couple Melanie Lynskey and Jason Ritter are simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking as they come to an impasse. Alia Shawkat also captures the naivete of being a carefree 22-year-old, and her character is a welcome contrast to the more jaded 30-somethings. THE INTERVENTION is incredibly funny but still grounded in something real. It shows truth in terms of relationships being hard, unglamorous, and often exhausting. Clea DuVall believably conveys why two people want to stay together despite everything, and also why despite their best efforts, they sometimes can’t. And I think that any movie coming close to understanding that madness is worth the watch. [April French]