Instant Picks of the Week 9/8/17
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.
BUSTER’S MAL HEART (Netflix)
Despite being difficult to bottle into a single genre and defying easy description, the clearest parallels between BUSTER’S MAL HEART and another film can be drawn with FIGHT CLUB. Recent Emmy-winner Rami Malek stars as Jonah/Buster, who is seen in at least four different timelines (though admittedly, it got hard to keep count). As Jonah, he’s working a night shift as a concierge to support his wife and daughter, using his free time to watch bizarre conspiracy videos. Buster is a bearded mountain man who survives by breaking into affluent vacation homes in the offseason. Both iterations get several other small vignettes that are revisited to add texture and tone, a unique choice that favors aesthetics over clear-cut narrative. All the intercutting between timelines anchored by Malek’s solid performance makes this a fun film to watch from a distance, despite falling somewhat flat in the immersion department. The piece is scattered with half-a-dozen obviously metaphorical images (frogs, boats, apples, photographs—the list goes on) that show sophomore feature director Sarah Adina Smith presumes multiple viewings. Creative shot choices and editorial confidence showcase that she has talent, with writer-director auteurship perhaps a few films away. Nevertheless, BUSTER’S MAL HEART is a perfectly enjoyable diversion. [Phillip Vernon]
THE HALLOW (Netflix)
I’m going to come out and say it! This might just be among the most effectively hidden gems I’ve seen in years! THE HOLLOW is a phenomenal horror experience, a Cronenberg-level creature-feature, and just a really great contemporary spin on Irish folktales. I started the anticipating trash, and by all accounts, THE HOLLOW isn’t all too promising at the start. But once it kicks into high gear, it really surprises. The core premise involves fairies trying to steal a family’s baby. Let’s process that for a second. This could have so easily succumbed to millions of genre trappings. Baby gets kidnapped, father grabs gun, saves the day. Instead, THE HOLLOW gets quite inventive. There is a surprising third-act tension, and the conclusion is both tragic and wonderfully fitting to the nature of its folklore inspiration. Oh, did I mention it’s pretty damn scary? Bravo! [Sergio Zaciu]