Instant Picks of the Week 3/18/16
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.
CHASING AMY (Netflix)
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s difficult being a Kevin Smith supporter in 2016, but his latter-day antics make his early work seem all the more vital. What has always appealed to me about Kevin Smith at the top of his form is his knack for nailing down excessively colloquial conflicts while making them seem like the most important struggles in the world, avoiding overt aestheticization of his lo-fi predilections in the process. CHASING AMY is perhaps his most essential film, as it keeps the irreverent humor and constant dialogue of CLERKS while making its main focus an instantly relatable human drama. This is the most serious Kevin Smith will ever get (well, RED STATE is, I guess, but y’know), and it’s powerful to note the earnestness and pain present at each turn of Holden and Alyssa’s tumultuous relationship. Telling the story of a man too caught up in his girlfriend’s past to pursue a future with her in the present, the fact that the characters all give in to their fatal flaws makes this film poignant and lends it a sense of verisimilitude. Possessing a concise and distinct message on gender roles and assumptions, CHASING AMY manages to be the rare Kevin Smith film that truly makes you think, featuring what is hands-down the best Silent Bob monologue to boot. [Thomas Seraydarian]
A lot of horror as of late on this series, I know, but that’s what happens when I’m left in charge. Please don’t let the putrid third installment fool you; the original V/H/S is one of the most exemplary independent horror outings of recent memory (and its an anthology series, to boot!). Yes, it’s found footage, but only one of the segments is subpar, and “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” is an inventive piece that lays the groundwork for tense horror narratives told through webcam, later capitalized upon by UNFRIENDED. Featuring a comparatively cohesive connecting narrative that ties all of the short films together, cheap jump scares are present, but “10/31/98” features a deliciously inventive twist and I’ll be damned if “Amateur Night” isn’t one of the stronger horror shorts I’ve seen. It may leave viewers searching for more bizarre bombast a touch disappointed (V/H/S 2 was much spottier but definitively more crazy), but the original V/H/S still feels like an exciting start to something new, and I remain faithful that one day the franchise can turn itself around. Besides, you gotta support something that gives amateur filmmakers a decent shot. [Thomas Seraydarian]