Instant Picks of the Week 5/26/17

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.

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MIAMI VICE (Crackle)

Deep in the heart of Crackle, a website dedicated to hosting the bargain bin Blu-Rays of your local dollar stores and 7-Elevens, lie a number of untouched gems. If you’re willing to fare the high seas of its ad breaks, then speak no more and embark on the most rewarding journey of the digital era. Michael Mann’s 2006 remake of MIAMI VICE lies buried in Crackle’s bowels. And who more deserving to tackle such a remake: after all, Mann executive produced the original TVshow. A critically polarizing film at its release, MIAMI VICE has transcended its initial stigma, and has turned into what many like to call the most expensive art film of the 21st century. In a quest to deep-dive into mid-aughts digital photography, Mann (who two years prior had released the taut thriller, COLLATERAL) dared to texturize the Miami night sky using the digital noise of a high-ISO digital camera. Channeling the thematic codas inquired upon in his debut, THIEF, and his career-defining heist-thriller, HEAT, MIAMI VICE is somewhat of a conclusion to his trilogy of crime and all its futilities. Don’t try to read into MIAMI VICE on a literal level, it is among Mann’s most lyrical outings; a film that served as key inspiration for Harmony Korine’s SPRING BREAKERS. And thanks to Mann’s technical dexterity, it is one of the most visually accomplished films of the early 21st century: a modern masterpiece. [Sergio Zaciu]

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THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (Netflix)

I still remember going to see Derek Cianfrance’s 2013 feature, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, in the movie theatre. I had just completed my first year of college in the United States and was back home visiting family in Romania. Perhaps it was this distinct emotional state that affected my viewing of Cianfrance’s film, but four years later, I can confidently say it still resonates with me like it did on its first viewing. In an elliptical narrative structure, fervently opposed to the conventions of classical Hollywood dramas, Cianfrance’s camera follows the tragic ripple effect that the lives of two parents (Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper) have on their children. It’s an emotionally devastating ride, the type of destabilizing melodrama that deftly utilizes each tool in the filmmaker’s kit, but most essentially commits itself to empathizing with the flawed protagonists at its center. Eva Mendes, Ray Liota, Ben Mendelsohn, and a young Dane DeHaan round out Cianfrance’s spectacular ensemble, positing a tragedian query on paternity and heritage. Where it ranks in Cianfrance’s filmography is up to you. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES sacrifices the introspective qualities of BLUE VALENTINE for a far more detached identity. It is, much like BLUE VALENTINE, about unspoken feelings and buried frustrations, but where Cianfrance’s 2010 romance radiates with nostalgia, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES pushes forwards, searching for a better tomorrow. [Sergio Zaciu]

Sergio Zaciu

"When I make love, I realize eating steak was the preferable alternative." Sergio is the Crossfader Film Editor and a film connoisseur from Romania. He pretends to understand culinary culture enough to call himself an LA foodie, but he just can't manage to like scallops.

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