Browsing: This Week On Demand

This Week On Demand demand7

Blame festival frolicking for this week’s delay, though it’s perhaps not so gross an offender as House of Cards. The second season of Netflix’s flagship original drama, in all its thirteen hours of material, rather ate into this week’s viewing time to the tune of eight movies or so. It’s just as well in the end; Spacey and co are the best additions this week (read the review here), and among the only much worth your time. Read on for what you ought to avoid.

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“Did you think I’d forgotten you?” asks Francis Underwood with a smile as he turns to camera for the first time in the second season of House of Cards, right at the end of the opening episode. After an hour without his direct-to-camera approach we might well have; what’s for sure from the start is that the makers certainly haven’t. This second outing for the series that birthed Netflix’s bold move into original production returns to its world with a wild abandon that seems borne above all on first season feedback. With a deviousness and cunning befitting its whip-turned-veep meta-anti-protagonist, this ingenious immorality play doesn’t so much tie up loose ends in the course of round two as delectably deceive them into entangling themselves.

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It’s times like these I feel the need to emphasise that the movies we cover on this here column are rarely, if ever, by choice; faced with a landslide of films, it’s all we can do to dive into the depths and hope to find a treasure. If we have failed you, this week, it’s less us that’s to blame than the titles we’re given. At least that’s our excuse, anyway…

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Welcome once more to a bloated belated batch of new Netflix releases, hastily compiled in as comprehensive a manner as possible to collate the dozens of new movies in this typically teeming first-of-the-month bulge. It’s a lesser one than usual, in fact, not without its fair share of classic perhaps, but certainly short of much in the way of modern greats. Oh well, we can’t have it all every week.

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Much as it might please me to take the credit myself, it’s more the fault of a particularly sparse week of new releases that the dozen films here covered represent the entirety of the addition to the Netflix canon this time around. Perhaps it’s an effort on the part of the company to clear the field for Mitt, the third in their line of original documentaries (reviewed at length here); more likely it’s mere coincidence, after all it had to happen eventually that we managed to get to everything. A shame, then, that it couldn’t be a better week: true duds below are few and far between, but alas true greats… well they’re nowhere to be seen.

Reviews mitt_2014_2

There’s a moment in the midst of Mitt, Greg Whiteley’s behind-the-scenes look at the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns of the former Massachusetts governor, where his wife Anne chuckles to the camera: “We’re messing his hair”. It might well be a succinct statement of the movie itself, whose poster bears an extreme close-up of that familiar face with the locks atop defiantly unkempt. This documentary—Netflix’s third, after The Short Game and The Square—is iconoclastic in only the most superficial of ways, less a deconstruction of the public figure at its heart than a calculated reconstruction in a more private sphere, free from the predilections of our political perspectives. It’s a position evidenced well in the tagline’s non-partisan sentiment: “Whatever side you’re on, see another side”.

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January has never been the best of times for new releases; studio movies in particular have tended to be less-than-stellar when let loose upon us in the earliest parts of the year. If this week’s batch of Netflix releases is anything to go by—and that’s an open question—it’s equally true of indies here; the first 2014 offerings to hit the streaming service aren’t anything to write home about. It’s good, then, that we should have heavy-hitting holdovers from 2013, particularly in the form of two of the Oscar-nominated feature documentaries. As a flagship feature of Netflix Original Programming, The Square earns its own full review here.

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