Instant Picks of the Week 2/24/17
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.
LIFE, ANIMATED (Amazon Prime)
Pitted against O.J.:MADE IN AMERICA and 13TH for Best Documentary, LIFE, ANIMATED is not likely to win, but it deserves some attention. I have always believed that movies can make a difference, that movies have power. Watching films as a kid gave me an outlet to another world, and some even shaped my personality, but none have affected me like they affected Owen Suskind. LIFE, ANIMATED follows the story of Owen overcoming great developmental challenges of autism through his passion for Disney animated films. This journey begins with him simply being engaged by the films and advances to him repeating dialogue, eventually being able to speak on his own. Written and produced by Owen’s father, Ron Suskind, this 2016 documentary presents a sensitive subject in a unique and powerful way. Out of the ordinary documentary style, LIFE, ANIMATED is a story of passion, love, heartbreak, and struggle. If you are a movie lover, I’m sure you will feel connected with this film. This film captures the idea that making and watching movies can give voice to those who can’t otherwise express themselves. Director Roger Ross Williams delivers a heartwarming and thought-provoking story about the power of movies in the life of a coming-of-age boy with autism. [Lynnzee Highland]
THE PASSION OF MARTIN (Vimeo)
Take a gander at your weekend schedule. Do you have an hour of free time? Deep within the bowels of YouTube, there lies a cinematic gem—THE PASSION OF MARTIN, Alexander Payne’s 1991 senior thesis for the graduate division of the UCLA film school. Payne, a renowned American auteur, two-time Academy Award winner, the director behind CITIZEN RUTH, ELECTION, ABOUT SCHMIDT, SIDEWAYS, THE DESCENDANTS, and NEBRASKA, delivers a work that has been deemed by critics as one of the greatest student films made in recent history. The 50 minute opus, a tragic-comedy in the vein of David Lynch, follows Martin, a talented, albeit neurotic, photographer, whose dangerously possessive love for Rachel, a girl whom he meets at a wedding ceremony, incites a tragically scintillating narrative. This film is sublime! Harrowing, surreal, darkly humorous, darkly beautiful—the best a senior thesis can get. The film also provided the springboard for Payne’s illustrious career. One day after its industry screening, hosted by UCLA film school alumni, Payne received calls from production companies all across Hollywood; the 29-year-old Greek-Nebraskan was on his way to final cut privileges. A must watch for any Payne fan. [John Loftus]