Instant Picks of the Week 10/20/17

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.

Instant Picks of the Week City of God

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CITY OF GOD (Netflix)

A gangster film that rivals Martin Scorsese’s GOODFELLAS, CITY OF GOD (directed by Brazilians Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund) follows two young men in Rio de Janeiro as they grow up and go down very different, but ultimately intersecting, paths. The main narrator, nicknamed “Rocket,” is quiet and manages to avoid the corruption of Rio’s underworld, following his passion for photography. The other boy, nicknamed “Little ’Ze,” becomes a cruel drug lord obsessed with killing, almost in juxtaposition with Rocket. CITY OF GOD shows its characters over the course of decades like GOODFELLAS, but that is where the similarities end. Whereas Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film spotlights an almost glamorous look at organized crime, CITY OF GOD exposes a gritty and harsh setting for all its characters, regardless of what side of the law you fall under. Because of its disturbing content, CITY OF GOD is at times difficult to watch, but its captivating cinematography, sublime direction, and gripping story make it impossible to look away from. [Ethan Cartwright]

Instant Picks of the Week My First Haircut

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There’s always a first time for everything, and often the initial encounter will be the one that’s most exciting or daunting. In Alex Zamm’s short film MY FIRST HAIRCUT, a little boy—spoiler alert—gets his first haircut. He walks into the barber shop with his dad but things go awry once the latter leaves to go to the bank. The boy’s imagination takes off as his worst fears are realized one by one, all perpetuated by the creepy barber trying to cut his hair. From the moment this film opens, the comically dark tone of the film is established by the creative employment of cartoonish sound effects, snappy editing, and a cute kiddie title sequence. These elements establish the kid’s perspective about this frightening trauma, and his worries—whether it’s being laughed at by the whole block or a talking deer bust—become palpable. The kid makes it through and survives the haircut, but a twist ending reveals that maybe he didn’t remain unscathed. MY FIRST HAIRCUT is a quirky little picker-upper that evokes the same fears we must all have had during our own first haircuts. [Jordan Valdés]

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