Instant Picks of the Week 1/15/16
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.
SLOW WEST (Amazon Prime)
Amazon is having a banner month with some absolutely prime releases (no pun intended) including, among others, the quirky 2015 western SLOW WEST. Channeling the picturebook aesthetic of a Wes Anderson film but playing it with an extremely straight face, this Michael Fassbender-starring A24 vehicle is a surprisingly poignant tale of love and death, shot in the gorgeous New Zealand outback. With a strong supporting cast and some great visual indicators to sharpen its metaphors, SLOW WEST is among the overlooked gems of 2015 and one of a number of films from the past year starring Ben Mendelsohn (MISSISSIPPI GRIND, BLACK SEA) that unfortunately flew under almost everyone’s radar. [Sergio Zaciu]
LITTLE WITCH ACADEMIA (Netflix)
Utterly delightful is the best description I can come up with for Studio Trigger’s 2013 anime short LITTLE WITCH ACADEMIA. With its nearly universal appeal, it’s a small wonder that Harry Potter was never adapted into an anime format, a deficit that LITTLE WITCH happily fills. The action follows new student Akko butting heads with snooty rival Diana at Luna Nova Academy, a British school for witchcraft. While the premise is ripped right from Rowling, it has the magic of a Ghibli film with the chutzpah of Trigger’s earlier works like KILL LA KILL. Though it caps at 26 minutes, ACADEMIA proved popular enough that Trigger Kickstarted an hour-length sequel, THE ENCHANTED PARADE, which released in 2015 and ups the ante in every way. Both feature whimsical yet gorgeous animation, superior dubs, and plenty of nods to FANTASIA. Give them a view or five to brighten up your day. [Ed Dutcher]