Instant Picks of the Week 9/23/16
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.
CRUEL INTENTIONS (Netflix)
Is this a dated, sexist, trashy 90s teen drama, chock full of white privilege, cheap jokes, and melodrama? You bet your sweet Bitsy it is, but you’d be hard pressed to find a film that fully embraces this better than CRUEL INTENTIONS. What really makes it so worthwhile is how salaciously Roger Kumble leans into the lascivious, downright immoral nature of his two sociopathic leads, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillipe, to great effect. This movie would never get made today, but that’s honestly what makes it so fun to watch, looking back on it and knowing just how debased the it is from the perspective of 2016. To top it all off, the film is based on a classic 18th century French novel, so in the best scenes, the dialogue takes on this rich, aristocratic tone that’s delightfully self-indulgent and fun. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re anything like me, that’ll only make it that much sweeter. [Carter Moon]
Stay tuned for our full review coming soon, but EASY has one of the strongest opening episodes of a Netflix original series I’ve ever seen, and (for the most part) continues to get better and better. Focusing on the oft-tread thematic territory of relationships, EASY sets itself apart from the pack with a sober and honest look at how love is based on the art of compromise, giving plenty of focus to the inherent frustration and disappointment wrapped up in the same. The mumblecore sensibilities that creator Joe Swanberg has cultivated over a storied career fully come to fruition here, as each character speaks with an ease and semi-improvised authenticity that only the best indie filmmakers can manage to draw out. With each episode focusing on a different relationship, both in terms of participants and type, and a clear desire to expand the reach of the show beyond typically white, Hollywood heteronormativity, EASY is perfect viewing for a pensive evening home alone. Plus, you get to see Orland Bloom (!!!) participate in a threesome, so that’s fun. [Thomas Seraydarian]