Instant Picks of the Week 7/8/16
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.
THE INVITATION (Netflix)
Karyn Kusama’s low-budget, single location ensemble thriller is perhaps the epitome of the Jason Blum formula for lo-fi suspense, and may just be one of the only Hollywood thrillers in recent memory that successfully withholds breathing room for its entire running time. Following the story of lead actor Logan Marshall-Green, a mourning father who is invited to his lavish former home by his ex-wife two years after her sudden disappearance, audiences witness the hills of Los Angeles transform into a Chinese finger trap. Fundamentally, THE INVITATION can be analyzed as both a horror/thriller à la Joel Edgerton’s THE GIFT or an analogy for depression akin to Von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA. What’s so effective is that there’s no need for these experiences to be mutually exclusive, treating viewers with a lingering sense of dread long after the film concludes, regardless of if the conflict wants to be processed as purely internal or also external. Endlessly eerie and fantastically written, this indie gem should not only cement Kusama as a force to be reckoned with in an otherwise male-dominated genre, but also represents everything that a filmmaker should be striving for when working with limited resources. Read our full review here. [Sergio Zaciu]
My favorite film of 2015 just made its way onto Netflix, and everyone should rejoice accordingly. A throttling, wickedly fast-paced film, SPOTLIGHT may lack intimacy, but more than makes up for it through its sleek and disturbing handling of one of the most impressive stories in the history of American journalism. Telling the tale of a group of reporters who finally dare to take on the Catholic church’s hushed-up allegations of sexual abuse in their home territory of Boston, SPOTLIGHT offers up all-star performances across the board, with some of the most efficient and gripping dialogue of recent memory. Apart from one minor Oscar-baiting scene from Mark Ruffalo, SPOTLIGHT never feels like it tries to hard to land its punches, instead making them seem all the more earned through their unfettered and modest presentation. Best looked at as a parallel to the journalistic process itself, viewers used to soap-y Oscar dramas may find things detached, but I think it makes the stark and Hellish nature of the themes at play all the more provocative. Don’t waste time: watch, watch, watch! [Thomas Seraydarian]