Instant Picks of the Week 4/8/16
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.
To be completely upfront, I clicked on COOKED for the food porn, and trust me, there’s more than enough to go around. However, what got me to stick around post-orgasm (I’m glad this metaphor is unfolding the way it is) is the unexpected depth Michael Pollan is able to extract from his interviews and insights. The first distinctly academic journey into food and food culture that I’ve ever been exposed to, each of COOKED’s episodes is structured around a particular cooking method, delving into the social and cultural influences and implications of what’s being presented. Although Pollan’s unapologetic haughtiness may be a slight detractor to some, his clear passion for and preset conceptions of what makes food worth eating ensure that we get fully-developed, intricately contextual appraisals of the subject matter, in addition to hearing such gems as “I’m so accustomed to you dissing my chunky mirepoix.” A consistently engaging mini-series that makes you think about food in a way other than the fact that you’re really, really hungry, COOKED is visually impressive enough to be mindless viewing and even more rewarding if given some thought.
THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN (Netflix)
Having always assumed it to be among those films that litter the bottom of the Netflix barrel (the promotional images are pretty schlocky), I came across THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN on a list of the best found footage horror films and couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. What’s most impressive about this film is the fact that we care about the characters and can even empathize with the antagonist, a rare feat in horror that’s even rarer in the oft-maligned found footage subgenre. Although the narrative elements involving Alzheimer’s will hit harder with those who have experienced the effects the disease can have on families, anyone should be able to respond to the early narrative tension involving whether Deborah’s behavior is related to her mental deterioration or something far more sinister (I’m sure you can guess what ends up being the case) and feel for Sarah, her helpless daughter who just wants to keep her mother safe. Further to the film’s favor is the fact that for once, a cameraman becomes so terrified of what’s occurring that he fully commits to leaving the film, a refreshingly logical decision that sidesteps the common critical volleys towards these kinds of films. Topped off with some genuinely disturbing imagery, especially towards the end, the context behind what’s actually causing Deborah to act the way she does needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but there’s no reason this shouldn’t be your next late-night viewing selection.