The 5 Best DVD and VOD Releases of September.
Now You See Me: “However, if you’re willing to overlook the fact that the magic is not the point, but the diversion, then Now You See Me becomes an impossibly absurd — and impossibly fun — caper film that whizzes by with such breakneck speed that you’re also willing to overlook the faulty logic and the innumerable red herrings just as you’re willing to overlook the fact that there is a 28 mile runway in Fast and Furious 6.”
Star Trek Into Darkness: “Star Trek Into Darkness is both a fantastic space action film, and an excellent Star Trek film. The two are not necessarily coterminous, and they could easily be mutually exclusive. There are battles, a mystery to be unravelled, Benedict Cumberbatch utterly nailing the role of both villain and sympathetic foil to Kirk, a scattering of comic relief, and repeated call backs to the previous films of the franchise. And those call backs work most deeply because they are not simply references but partial reconstructions of scenes such that the new and old resonate like tines of a tuning fork.”
The Bling Ring: “Sofia Coppola’s latest film is based on real events that were chronicled in a Vanity Fair story, and like classical reportage, it doesn’t bury the lede. We’re told up front that the characters who perpetrate crimes we haven’t seen yet will be caught. This isn’t a movie about crime and punishment, and it’s not even really one about celebrity culture. It’s about growing up bored and moneyed, and about not knowing what else to do with yourself. The movie doesn’t break any kind of ground here, but then, that’s kind of the whole point. Kids have always been disaffected; these characters just go slightly beyond the typical levels of illegal behavior as a way to feel older and more important. They’re not immoral, acting against an understood code; they’re amoral, floating outside the rules and trying on scarves. You aren’t supposed to like or pity them, and indeed, you won’t.”
The East: “As a thriller, the film entertains, but is a slightly-disappointingly straightforward story of an agent embedding in an enemy and trying to take them down and prevent tragedy while struggling with the fact that she likes the individuals and maybe even agrees with their overall ideology. The plot here is intriguing enough, yet there is something cold and detached about it, which fails to rope the viewer in to the same extent that a perfect thriller does. But the film succeeds because Marling and Batmanglij elevate the film above a rote by-the-numbers exercise, making it a real character study and digging in to Sarah’s burgeoning relationship with the members of The East. Your typical thriller of this ilk gives you maybe one scene of true character bonding to show the sympathies being developed by the secret agent, whereas The East spends the better part of the film on this. In this way, it is very much a companion piece to Sound of My Voice, which danced around the edges of what the cult was all about, as it was much more interested in its main characters’ belief system and how their beliefs were challenged by what the Sound cult believed.”
Iron Man 3: “The plot is at times a bit bewildering, and there’s little-to-no explanation as to how the Extremis program creates such amazing and dangerous super soldiers other than some gobbledygook about unlocking the brain’s potential, and often it’s a bit frustrating that a two+ hours film about Iron Man seems to have, quite frankly, not enough Iron Man. Yet all of that is forgivable — especially after the balls-out bonkers finale and the sheer enthusiasm that is clearly imprinted all over the it — and unlikely to affect the overall enjoyment you’ll get out of the film.”