VOD Report: Django Unchained Has Both Our Curiosity and Attention
As the 2013 Best Picture Oscar nominees continue limping onto VOD, the latest entry is also the penultimate one. Amour, see you whenever. Django, welcome to the living rooms of America. No, we haven’t seen a, er, “an African American” on a horse before. (If you haven’t seen the movie yet, the original line is just slightly different. Keep an ear out for it!)
Just kidding: If you only know one thing about Django Unchained, it’s probably that a hateful term for African Americans is used, like, hundreds of times — but not so much that you ever get used to it. What else you need to know is that, as in his last film, Inglourious Basterds, writer-director Quentin Tarantino deals with a hideous chapter of human history by creating a parallel universe in which the oppressed contrive to destroy their oppressors, period accuracy be damned. As usual, Tarantino has too hard a time editing himself, but the film is still, at turns, funny, poignant, gory, and tense. Amid it all, stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz (who won his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance), and Samuel L. Jackson seem to be competing in a “Who’s Having the Most Fun?” contest. (I’m pretty sure no one does that in Amour.)
New and Notable
The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia
Nothing can prepare you for the chaotic lives of the Whites, a large, colorful family with a lot of problems — and not just drug problems, but … mostly drug problems.
One pivotal night tests the fidelity of a married couple (Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington).
When her mother has to go to rehab, Janie Jones (Abigail Breslin) “gets” to spend time with her estranged rock star father (Alessandro Nivola).
Face 2 Face
Katherine Brooks road-trips to meet 50 of her Facebook friends in this documentary.
Attractive New Yorkers learn that relationships can be difficult in a film by and starring Edward Burns.
Tony Kaye (American History X) directed this film about teachers in a public high school that, whatever other faults it might evince, certainly does not seem to glamorize the profession.
Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston
The late designer’s friends tell his story in this documentary biopic.
The Last Rites of Joe May
An elderly short-con hustler (Dennis Farina) tries to do something worthwhile with the little time he has left.
Wings of Life
Let Meryl Streep’s mellifluous narration guide you through this documentary about flying creatures of all kinds.
Brad Garrett and Jane Lynch are among the stars lending their voices to this Madagascar rip-off.
Not Suitable for Children
When he learns that the treatment for his testicular cancer will render him infertile, Jonah (True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten) has a one-month deadline to get someone pregnant.
My Last Five Girlfriends
Alain de Botton’s internationally best-selling book, On Love, has been adapted into this film about a man trying to learn lessons from his five most recent partners.
Though it employs the techniques of a documentary, you can tell this footage that purports to be from a ghost-hunting reality show is fake because the people in it actually find something.
A Monster in Paris
In 1910 Paris, an unlikely trio has to try to conceal the true identity of … basically, a gigantic irradiated flea.
No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson
Hoop Dreams director Steve James tells the story of Allen Iverson, at the time still a high school student, getting arrested on assault charges in 1993.
Carice van Houten stars in this biopic of Ingrid Jonker, a poet known as South Africa’s Sylvia Plath.
A struggling family of farmers faces a new challenge when three ex-soldiers arrive and mess things up with their gold.
Two super-shy chocolatiers develop a new line to save their company and, though they fall in love along the way, may both be too scared to admit it.
This film lets you experience a night in New Orleans through the eyes of three young boys.
Beware the Gonzo
Renegade high school journalist Ezra Miller gets kicked off his school paper and, to get revenge, starts his own.
Two middle-aged couples go to the Caribbean and discover wife-swapping, as one does.
An important metal briefcase goes missing and ruins everyone’s day.
A couple working on their troubled relationship in a remote cabin has to put that on hold when a townie starts trying to kill them.
Nick Jonas lookalike Ricky wants to open a nightclub/brothel. “High testosterone entertainment” is a quote from Variety offered in the trailer. Duh?
The Bleeding House
The premise — in which a creep with a Southern accent tries to bleed a family to death (literally) for their past sins — lets you know it’s a horror movie. The Tribeca Film imprimatur lets you know it’s classy.
In 1979 Argentina, Juan leads a double life with his family, who are revolutionaries working to overthrow the government.
Sushi: The Global Catch
This documentary examines how sustainable the global sushi market is. (Spoiler: not sustainable.)
Love Sick Love
Gossip Girl’s Matthew Settle has the bad luck of hooking up with a lady who wants to test their love by artificially compressing a year’s worth of holiday celebrations into one extremely terrible weekend.
“In Theaters” VOD Picks
Errors of the Human Body
A geneticist tries to right a past wrong through genetic engineering, because that always works out well.
Weird Indie of the Week
Let’s call this one “Gangsters vs. Cannibals.”
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
Greetings From Tim Buckley
Penn Badgley plays doomed musician Jeff Buckley in a biopic that also covers the late star’s father, fellow singer-songwriter Tim.
The English Teacher
A lonely high school English teacher gets entangled with a talented former student. As the teacher, Julianne Moore puts on glasses so you know she’s mousy.
After 10 years’ correspondence, a Chinese orphan meets her Australian sponsor (Guy Pearce), who hasn’t exactly been representing himself to her accurately.
What Richard Did
One drunken mistake ruins a teenager’s promising future.
3 Blind Saints
My Cousin Vinny meets We’re No Angels in this story of three boobs on a road trip who get into trouble in a tiny podunk town.