Instant Picks of the Week 4/28/17
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 PRESTIGE (Netflix)
With my recent recommending of FOLLOWING, I now bring you Christopher Nolan’s 2006 opus THE PRESTIGE, which just entered the Netflix foray not several days ago. The film, set during the tail-end of the 19th century in London, stars Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman—both of whom play stage magicians Borden and Angier, respectively, and who are bent on supplanting the other, professionally and personally. Also featured: Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis, and David Bowie, who plays Nikola Tesla. A scintillating labyrinth, THE PRESTIGE will confound the uninitiated. One must watch closely . . . don’t be fooled by the all-divine Nolan trope: non-linear structuring. This is the kind of film that becomes the catalyst for online forum perusing, open debate, obsession. Multiple viewings as well. And of course it’ll function as a sublime date night movie. [John Loftus]
SHORT TERM 12 (Hulu)
Destin Daniel Cretton’s impressive 2013 feature film SHORT TERM 12 centers on Grace (Brie Larson), a troubled 20-something in charge of a foster care facility for at-risk youth who’s struggling with her own mental illness, history, and relationship. Nowadays, Larson is much more recognized as a phenomenal actress, what with her Best Actress Oscar for ROOM in 2015, but this was not always the case. Before SHORT TERM 12, Larson only found work in supporting roles and bit parts in film and television, making SHORT TERM 12 her first leading role, one which she performs to the absolute maximum. Brie Larson is an unparalleled talent, and this movie is her perfect first showcase. It can often be difficult to either write or create a film focused on such difficult topics as teens with bad home lives and all the unfortunate issues and circumstances that this creates (such as rape, abuse, abortion, etc.); however, SHORT TERM 12 perfectly balances the heavy emotions and painful scenes with an honest sense of heart, backed by great acting on all fronts. SHORT TERM 12 is a perfect portrait of the kinds of difficulties and worlds that we are not always exposed to. [Hayley Bensmiller]