Instant Picks of the Week 12/18/2015
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.
Released in 2011, SAMSARA is the latest “non-narrative documentary” in the vein of BARAKA, CHRONOS, and KOYAANISQATSI. More subtle than these other pictures, SAMSARA is tentatively about the different incarnations of human spirituality across the globe. Footage was shot on glorious 70mm on five continents, covering a vast swath of landscapes, cities, and the people that inhabit both. There’s time-lapse observations of traffic and construction, fly-on-the-wall production line tours, birdseye shots of ancient temples and ruins, and intimate portraits of individuals, often accompanied by their own performance pieces. SAMSARA lacks any spoken dialogue or narration, leaving the commentary solely up to the audience. It’s through this intellectual modesty that SAMSARA’s true brilliance shines. The film can mean anything the viewer wishes it to, and it will provide a visual treat regardless of the level of audience engagement. SAMSARA works equally well for intensive noise chamber viewings as it does as something that plays in the background at a party. The deliberate pacing of each image means that the film matches most musical tracks like a charm. I’ve seen SAMSARA four times, never with the original soundtrack, but just as enjoyable accompanied by NO LOVE DEEP WEB as it was by フローラルの専門店 (FLORAL SHOPPE). If you’re looking for a breathtaking cinematic compilation, or simply a tasteful replacement for FIREPLACE FOR YOUR HOME, then SAMSARA has you covered. [Ed Dutcher]
A surprise addition to Hulu, BBC Four’s DETECTORISTS is quaint, quietly humorous, and consistently charming. Choosing to shed light on the rarely (read: never) engaged world of individuals who pursue metal detecting as a passionate hobby, it’s almost impossible not to love and root for the small, silly little men (Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones) who have made this their life’s dream. What’s most endearing about the show is the sense of intimacy it evokes; by setting the very ambitions of the protagonists on such a microscopic scale, we immediately feel sucked into their world due to the ostensible banality of their pursuits. When the chips hit the table, all of us are just striving for minor victories to get by. These feel like real, working class people in England struggling to get through the day while pursuing what they love, something nearly anyone can relate to, despite the fact that sometimes what they love is antiquated buttons. It’s actually quite surprising just how much you empathize with them as they psyche themselves up for the find of the century, only to dig up yet another Matchbox car on the Bishop estate. If you can buy in to the comparatively pensive pacing of British sensibilities, DETECTORISTS is perfect viewing for a quiet night in. [Thomas Seraydarian]