Comic book geeks rejoice, your time is at last upon us. Along with a wide selection of the Warner-distributed DC animation line garnering steady acclaim across the past number of years, this week also sees release of a seminal television series—and the first covered in this column; it’s just that good—that dragged nerdiness right back into the centre of mainstream culture. With the exception of a particularly powerful documentary on urban development that’s not half as boring as that development makes it sound, these comic creations are by far the most noteworthy of this week’s VOD batch, an otherwise profoundly average hodge-podge of indie comedies and foreign features. Oh, and let’s not forget one tiny little taste of what Netflix have in store for us next year, just see if you can spot that below.
Browsing: This Week On Demand
Once more the week in VOD brings good news for those deep in the throes of a 2012 catch-up, some key films of the year being brought to our streaming screens in the last seven days. It’s a particularly strong week for documentary, one of this year’s most acclaimed joining one of 2011’s as the two finest offerings of this batch of releases to tout the merits of actuality in the face of some—to put it mildly—lacking fiction. Two of Europe’s most critically acclaimed auteurs and a newcomer from down under bring us the best of the rest this week, and it’s a good thing they do: if we’re to gauge by the ignominy of the worst on offer, this might well be the worst week we’ve yet had.
Acting already on the exclusive deal signed this week for first-run rights to Walt Disney Studios productions, Netflix made available a previously unslated celebratory package of the company’s classic and contemporary greats. Pocahontas, The Aristocats, The Great Mouse…
An unusually compact selection of titles comprises December’s content flood, the number of new releases not nearly parallel to those of previous months. It’s good news in a sense: shallower water makes the gold gleam brighter, and below outlined are no fewer than four of the finest films Netflix Instant has to offer its subscribers. A blend of genres so balanced as to seem almost intentional follows for your browsing pleasure, relatively evenly spread across the last sixty years of cinema. It’s not a great week for playing catch-up on 2012, surprisingly; with the end of the year in sight, we can expect to see many more films from the past twelve months added in the next four weeks.
In what’s becoming all too much of an ungainly routine, allow me to once more apologise for the absence in your weekly reading material of a Next Projection VOD column; my impromptu coverage of the Cork Film Festival necessitated its temporary abandonment, a transgression I am confident you can manage to forgive. It was a good week to skip, at any rate, its offerings lacking in any great deal of promise save a horror classic and two modern works of note, all presented here instead. As for this week’s crop, it’s an overall average array save for one work of extreme importance and emotional resonance, a powerfully moving piece of work I urge you to devote your time to.
It seems so petty now to have complained of lacking quality last week… This latest edition of This Week on Demand may be the weakest the series has ever seen, even the finest film of the batch bearing considerably evident flaws. It’s a good week for those seeking to catch up on 2012 releases, at least, all but one of the below-listed films having reached the majority of markets this year. That’s the kind of content we can expect in the run up to year’s end: welcome news for those among us looking to pick up the slack from key films of the year so far missed.
After a one-week hiatus to facilitate my coverage of the Irish Film Institute’s annual Horrorthon, This Week on Demand is back with November’s primary content surge plus a brief selection of the very best titles missed out on last week. As first-of-the-month batches go, this is perhaps the weakest we’ve seen so far; there is here a strong selection of good and great movies to enjoy, but not nearly so many in number as prior months: for once, the new month has started in curiously manageable fashion. It’s a relatively even balance this week, weighted in favour of New Hollywood classics, but also incorporating a brief foray into Irish cinema, ‘90s independent features, and a trio of shiny new foreign releases, with this year’s Best Picture winner included among a strong pool of Oscar gold.
Anyone who follows enough film fans on Twitter will know the fondness of horror hounds for October-long marathons of all the genre has to offer. It may be coming right toward the end of the month, but it seems VOD is eager to get in on the game, this week’s greatest influx that of Italian horror legend and arguable giallo inventor Mario Bava. First coming to rise with 1960’s Black Sunday—originally slated for Netflix release this week, but pulled courtesy of an embarrassing mix-up with John Frankenheimer’s film of the same name—Bava went on to direct many films in the horror genre and others. The other major constituent element of this week’s crop is recent releases, none of them great, but several at least worthy of attention. Make them last: This Week On Demand takes a minor hiatus next week; we’ll be back with a typical bumper first-of-the-month update on November 4th.
We like routine here at This Week on Demand: after the typical first-of-the-month content explosion last week we have our traditional lull, October’s second week just as dull as that of any other month since we started. Foreign crime dramas are the biggest subset of the week, taking us from Italy and France through Albania, before a quick visit to Wales and Ireland for some comedy and animation, respectively. American titles manage to offer both one of 2012’s very finest and one of its very worst, keeping the balance positively bland. Check back next week for a slew of horror titles, Hallowe’en’s a-comin’, and VOD is here to meet all your genre needs.
Not included among the twenty new VOD releases reviewed this week are any of the six Bond films—From Russia with Love, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun, Never Say Never Again, The Living Daylights—newly acquired by Netflix; quite why so random a selection of 007’s adventures have been selected is quite the mystery given the ownership of the entire canon by the one distributor. Time constraints are to blame for Bond’s omission, the first week of the month as always signalling a content explosion, and a desperate scuttle to provide as much coverage of as many titles as possible. Scorsese, Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Lynch are the major directorial names of the week, excellent offerings from each to be found below. Oscar winners abound, Eastwood brings one of his worst pictures to the table, a pair of intriguing documentaries on fascinating subcultures shine, genre movies run wild, and Nicolas Cage raises his head twice for out viewing pleasure. If that doesn’t get you streaming, I’m not sure I know what will.