Instant Picks of the Week 2/17/17
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 ARMOIRE (Vimeo)
The strange yet almost-real world in which Jamie Travis’s 20 minute short film, THE ARMOIRE, takes place in is a joy to revel in all on its own. However, the Canadian director delights with unusual characters as well, which all feel simultaneously and impossibly both larger-than-life and deeply relatable. Aaron, our 11-year-old male protagonist, finds comfort in his bedroom armoire after a game of hide-and-seek with his best friend Tony goes awry. While sorting out the clues of his disappearance and dodging haunting memories of his over-controlling friend, Aaron faces therapists, nude stepfathers, hypnosis, and of course, choir practice. Homoerotic subtleties and foreboding foreshadowing are sprinkled throughout, all offering hints to both Aaron and the audience. With obvious Lynchian influences, this one-of-a-kind short expertly weaves through a simple yet compelling tale with the help of an incredible lead actor (who also boasts a pretty decent singing voice as well), somewhat off-kilter dialogue which is often surprisingly hilarious, along with a very detailed, though never overstated, production design. Many squirmish scenes and unpredictable moments are compounded to create a symbolic and surreal portrayal of youth, jealousy, obsession, suburbia, and friendship; the joy of the film is in finding your own interpretation of and connection to the peculiar world you enter. [Hayley Bensmiller]
THEY LIVE (HBO GO)
I’m here to do two things: chew spearmint gum and write about THEY LIVE. And I’m all out of spearmint gum. John Carpenter’s 1988 midnight-movie, satirical sci-fi horror opus, currently streaming on HBO and HBO GO, stars wrestler Roddy Piper as the salty drifter and construction worker John Nada. Nada, after befriending fellow construction worker Frank Armitage (Keith David), discovers a pair of sunglasses that possess otherworldly, clairvoyant powers. The lenses reduce ostensible reality to a colorless prospect, permitting Nada to see a horrific truth: the corporate universes, media and advertising, banks, and the legal system are controlled by yuppie, android aliens, whose motives are nothing short of nefarious, diabolical, and whose heads are adorned with cheap plastic wigs! AHHHH! An advertisement for a banal consumer product reads, “OBEY,” “CONSUME,” “REPRODUCE,” “SUBMIT,” “CONFORM.” That rakish, Jordan Belfort-esque coke broker becomes a portentous alien, bent on supplanting the masses, inclined to world domination. If you are infuriated with the state of our union, or if you wish to see Roddy Piper blow some fascist alien pigs to smithereens, check out THEY LIVE; Carpenter’s themes are prescient. [John Loftus]