This weekend is Labor Day weekend. School is back in session for most of your kids, and you’ll be looking for something to unwind and enjoy an extra vacation day on Monday. Three streaming picks from our fine contributors should do just the trick! Have a great Labor Day weekend and start to September and happy movie watching weekend everyone!
via The Film Avenger
Black Hawk Down (Hulu) – This is one of the greatest war films of the modern era and one of director Ridley Scott’s best films ever. Its genius is really in the way it was shot: documentary-style, putting the audience right in the middle of a historic firefight in a visceral and realistic way. The cast is superb and even includes a young Orlando Bloom in one of his first films. It’s an unrelenting experience that isn’t glorifying war but still leaves you with a great feeling of love and respect for the American military. Thematically, the film is also top-notch, tapping into themes of not only brotherhood in war and leaving no man behind, but also underestimating an enemy and whether it’s wise to use the military for foreign entanglements at all. For the men, the politics are meaningless; it’s about getting out alive.
via Blaine Grimes
Rams (Netflix) – Rams was Iceland’s official selection for the Academy Awards last year, and it’s truly a shame that it wasn’t nominated. Infused with blissfully dark comedic sensibilities, Rams is a deceptively simple story about two brothers who, after a family feud (not of the game show variety), haven’t spoken to each other for years. The both of them sheep farmers, the brothers spend the majority of their time tending to their flock; and in many ways, these animals are surrogate families. When a plague of scrapie sweeps through the remote countryside, however, threatens to bring the brothers together once again. Director and writer Grímur Hákonarson’s affinity for the wide-angle lens and sweeping pastoral compositions evoke an appropriate sense of isolation given the film’s thematic underpinnings. But the film’s true brilliance lies in its firm commitment to a solemnity that refuses to capitulate, even its conclusion, to a vapid sensationalism.
via Alexis Johnson
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Netflix) – Though Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell seems like a classic novel, it’s barely over a decade old. I wasn’t overly fond of the book, but the BBC series is delightful and much more enjoyable overall. Exquisite production design, brilliant actors, and lots and lots of books!
What is so interesting about JS&MN is that it presents a different way of contemplating the philosophical battle that was so prevalent at the time the story takes place, during the Napoleonic Wars and the tail-end of the Age of Enlightenment. Two drastically different men rise possessing magical powers. Their opposing approaches to magic and life make for a fascinating battle of wits and tricks.