Instant Picks of the Week 7/28/16
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.
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE RETURN (Netflix)
In today’s Drowned God culture where what is dead may never die (or merely live on through syndication), MST3K was brought to Netflix by a record-breaking Kickstarter effort. The new show (properly subtitled “The Return”) is helmed by original creator Joel Hodgson and staffed by a nerdy dream team that puts Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, Joel McHale, and Matt Oswalt in the writer’s chair for a couple episodes, featuring a new cast that includes Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt. Despite all the new additions and boatloads of money, the show feels like it could just as easily have been shot in 1995. The original had a DIY, public-access feel between the sets, costumes and puppetry, and the reboot hasn’t changed much of that. Everything is made with pretty simple practical effects, and the most technical things on the show aren’t any more advanced than anything from a Tim and Eric bit. Whether the show is “good” is dependent on whether it’s funny or not. And it is. The jokes range from pop-culture references, jokes about specific facets of the movie, such as its pacing or set design (the puppetry in REPTILICUS has to be seen to be properly appreciated), and just observations about what’s going on. If your excitement for the return of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 stems from the possibility of more content from something you enjoyed, and not a new take on an old classic, you’re going to be very satisfied. You can read the full review here. [Steven Porfiri]
THE VOID (Netflix)
To everyone urging a return to the heyday of practical effects and a move away from CGI reliance: it’s time to put up or shut up, because this is the Video Nasty splatterfest you’ve been calling for. Instead of padding the movie out with pointless subplots or by answering unasked questions, masterminds Gillespie and Kostanski made the inspired call to go all out with their effects, ramping up the insanity until you forget just how disjointed their tale of bodily mutations, ritual sacrifice, and interdimensional portals is. While THE VOID unquestionably plays to an established, built-in audience, operating largely as a fan-service vehicle (it was funded by them, after all), and there may not be enough to suggest Gillespie and Kostanski as savants, the film positively oozes potential. And when you stop to consider just how small their budget was, any criticisms one could throw at this movie seem unfair at best, with “spiteful” not far off. By the same token, what they managed to pull off becomes not just impressive, but admirable. THE VOID, then, is more than just a labor of love, but hopefully a sign of greater things to come. Any way you cut it, this movie is not for everyone, and it is not meant to be. You can read the full review here. [Joseph Simpson]