It’s been an especially shitty winter around here. And the calendar has only just now turned to February. On the bright side, that means you've likely spent more time on the couch, bundled up in blankets with a hot cup of tea or a bottle of wine, taking in a bunch of movies via Netflix. —-
This week gives you a number of noteworthy new options to throw into your queue:
Let Me In: This bold statement from novelist Stephen King adorns the DVD/Blu-ray cover of Matt Reeves’ take on the Swedish novel Let the Right One In, which has already been the subject of an excellent film adaptation in its country of origin: “The best American horror film in the last 20 years.” Not quite, Stephen, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Read my Couch Potato review here.
The Tillman Story: The story of football-player-turned-military-martyr Pat Tillman is a fascinating, often infuriating look at how the powers that be twisted the truth to save face. And while Restrepo — which did a nice job of providing a first-person perspective of what it's like to serve on the front lines in Afghanistan but gave us precious little bigger-picture context — continues to get all the awards season love, it’s The Tillman Story that is a much more probing and pungent look at our disastrous overseas excursions.
Never Let Me Go: Mark Romanek’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's unconventional sci-fi novel is a little too restrained and emotionally muted (think a toothless, Merchant Ivory version of a genre film), but Carey Mulligan is stellar yet again as one part of a doomed love triangle that includes The Social Network's Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley. Oddly, the thing has its passionate champions, including my buddy over at Filmspotting, Adam Kempenaar, who deemed it his favorite film of 2010. Really, Adam?
Conviction: Sam Rockwell's run of strong performances in flawed films remains intact. He plays Kenny Waters, a convicted murderer whose sister (Hilary Swank), over the course of many years, puts herself through law school in an effort to get his conviction overturned. While director Tony Goldwyn's true story is too unbelievable (yet somehow wholly predictable from the get-go) for its own good, there's no denying its cathartic emotional outcome.
Night Catches Us: Of the new releases I've yet to see, Tanya Hamilton's look at the 1970s Black Power movement is the most intriguing. Slate's Elbert Ventura is calling it “one of the more promising debuts in recent American cinema.”