Instant Picks of the Week 11/3/17
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.
FINDING VIVIAN MAIER (Netflix)
Imagine struggling nearly penniless day by day, only to finally receive recognition and praise for your marvelous photographs—after you die. That’s exactly what happened to Vivian Maier, a nanny and brilliant street photographer from Chicago. Ms. Maier—what most, if not all her charges formally called her—wasn’t a renowned artist, but instead a quiet and intensely secretive babysitter. FINDING VIVIAN MAIER chronicles the journey to discover the introvert’s inner self and uncover the mystery that is her life. After her death in 2009, her things—amongst them huge boxes filled to the brim with film negatives—went up for auction. John Maloof, an archivist, bought this box with the intention of doing research on old Chicago. What he found instead were beautiful portraits that captured life succinctly and truthfully. Through her photographs, Maier’s strange and surprisingly eventful life unfolds before our eyes, and interviews with past employers and the (now adult) children and she used to babysit help flesh out who this eccentric woman was. FINDING VIVIAN MAIER is a refreshing and insightful look into Maier’s world of peculiarity, all while celebrating the astounding secret street photography of this reticent caregiver. [Jordan Valdés]
A film that captures the duality of the Mexican-American experience and the overwhelming power of love, SELENA tells the story of the tragically short life of Tejano music and style icon Selena Quintanilla-Perez. Since her passing in 1995, Selena’s impact on the Mexican-American identity is undeniable, and the film itself has earned its keep among the greats of exceptional Latino filmmaking. In her first major motion picture role, Jennifer Lopez shines on the screen, perfectly capturing the joy and contagious smile of Selena—its nearly impossible to watch without being moved to tears as Lopez fills the most captivating scenes with raw emotion. Stuffed with countless musical numbers, featuring Selena’s live recorded vocals, the film succeeds in capturing the enigmatic stage presence of the singer and her ability to captivate English and Spanish-speaking audiences alike. Fans of her music will be pleased with the seamless weaving there is between narrative progression and explosive musical numbers. What the film does best is set up the complicated dynamic of the average Mexican-American family at that time. Struggling to maintain cultural traditions while simultaneously assimilating into mainstream American culture, the Quintanillas learn that if they are to succeed in a world working against them, they must stick together and remember where they come from. A celebration of a life lost too soon, SELENA manages to tug at your heartstrings and remind you to cherish those around you and live life to the fullest. [Omar Cabezas]