The Trip to Italy

Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

January is basically the movie industry’s dumping ground. We all know it. It’s the month where the weather is icy, people are locked up in their hobbit holes and studios put the movies they have the least faith in—the ones they’re already expecting to take a bath on—into theaters. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing though, because all of those facts combined make it the perfect month to stay inside and watch Netflix. To assist you with this noble task, here are a list of good movies that have recently been added to streaming. As always, click on their titles to be taken to their Netflix pages. Pick of the Month: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) When The Wolf of Wall Street first came out, there was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the issue of whether or not it glamorized the life of traders who work the financial system in order to get rich while the pocketbooks of common people suffer. Now that all of that talk has died down, it’s time to revisit this one with fresh eyes because anyone who thought Martin Scorsese was detailing the lives of these contemptible creeps and asking us to cheer along with all of their self-congratulation is a crazy person, and the amazing performances that people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill give in this movie deserve to be appreciated without us simultaneously clicking our tongues in derision. Sure, TWOWS is entertaining to watch, and a lot […]

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HURRY SUNDOWN blu

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Hurry Sundown Henry Warren (Michael Caine) is a landowner on the brink of making a big deal, but there are still two plots of land he needs to acquire. One belongs to a white relative’s family, and the other belongs to a black family whose lineage traces back to time spent as slaves to Mrs. Warren’s (Jane Fonda) relatives. Those times have passed, but 1940’s Georgia isn’t that much more enlightened, and as Warren’s efforts conflict with those of two families struggling to make the most of their homes and farmland racial tensions and civil expectations are tested. Director Otto Preminger‘s all-star look at Southern relations leans heavily towards melodrama at times, but it works well all the same. The cast — which also includes Faye Dunaway, John Phillip Law, Diahann Carroll, Burgess Meredith and George Kennedy — do fine work conveying the ignorance and humanity of the time and the people. At over two hours the film takes its time with the characters allowing them to settle in and establish their relationships to each other before culminating in an entertaining court scene and a powerfully exciting finale. Is it a little bit simplistic? Maybe, but that doesn’t lessen the intent or effect. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

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Night Moves Movie

Superheroes rule the box office and the Guardians of the Galaxy have brought us the biggest film of the summer (which is about to dethrone Captain America to become the biggest film of the year). But talking about these big-budget behemoths with gigantic box office rewards (unless you’re the latest installment of the Expendables or Sin City brand) means talking about the same thing over and over again – a happy hour of strange creatures, diversified only by a couple comedies. Fortunately there’s a great mix of summer fare that kicked absolute ass on a very modest per-screen basis. One can’t exactly expect that a limited release in select big cities would fare as well if it expanded to thousands of theaters across the nation (averages generally shrink when/if they do), but it’s still great to see the “little guy” head into a release in a handful of theaters and earn a better average than the top summer film (Guardians had $23,118 on 4,080 screens). All of the following movies beat that average (save one that opened on only two screens), and offer everything from period dramas to modern comedy to films that took over a decade to capture. The men in tights, so to speak, may have won the box office, but I’m happy a selection of films like this still exists in this ever-mainstream movie world.

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The Trip to Italy

“We aren’t going to do any impersonations, are we? Because we talked about that.” Prolific filmmaker Michael Winterbottom returns to the wonderful and witty world of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon eating a lot of tasty-looking food and trying to one-up each other with uncanny celebrity impersonations in The Trip to Italy, a satisfying follow-up to 2010’s The Trip. Again retained by The Observer to put together a round of lightly fictionalized restaurant reviews with some trademark color commentary (this time in Italy), the film opens with Brydon inviting Coogan along for another adventure in eating, drinking, and just giving each other a lot of shit. Fortunately, Coogan accepts the offer (and all the five-star accommodations that go along with it). Though it may sound just a bit cliché and a tad trite, it also just so happens to be true: if you loved The Trip, you’ll love The Trip to Italy. Winterbottom and the lads have essentially changed locations, mixed around a bit of drama, and served up a film very much like their first one. Luckily, The Trip and The Trip to Italy are not films that rely on large-scale plot movements and big character revelations, and the things that worked well the first time work almost as well the second. The food looks better, too.

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published: 01.25.2015
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published: 01.24.2015
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