Before you turn on your television, iPad, or laptop this weekend and drown in options, The Globe and Mail presents three best cinematic bets that are worth your coveted downtime – no commute to the movie theatre required.
They Shall Not Grow Old, Crave: Recommending Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old in a streaming column is a trick: I very much think everyone should see this First World War documentary, but I cannot say that it plays just as well on the small screen as it did on the big, where Jackson’s use of 3-D went into skilled overdrive during its brief theatrical exhibition last December. Still, everyone would be wise to clear their schedules and take in Jackson’s technologically advanced work, which employed digital technology to turn archival footage and BBC audio records into something more modern and thus impactful.
Jallikattu, Amazon Prime Video: In a village in the Indian state of Kerala, life carries on in a rhythmically repetitive fashion: men wake up, go to work, ignore their wives, eat, drink, sleep, repeat. Then, a buffalo intended for the local butcher breaks free and sparks an absolute frenzy, with every man aiming to prove his worth by being the one to capture it first. Director Lijo Jose Pellissery’s film, which played the Toronto International Film Festival this past September, is a chaotic treatise on toxic male pride and humanity’s worst impulses, and hits some incredibly visceral highs, including one shot toward the end that seems like it cost the lives of dozens, if not hundreds, of actual human beings. But the madness is also repetitive, and even if that’s the point, it doesn’t wholly excuse one of the most unnecessary “we-get-it!” final shots in recent memory. Still, when Jallikattu lets it rip, it’s as exciting and unusual an experience as you’re likely to get this year. Grab it by its horns and don’t dare let go.
Logan Lucky, Netflix: Late in Logan Lucky, Steven Soderbergh’s zippy caper that was unjustly ignored back in 2017, a TV news anchor refers to the film’s central thieves as the “Ocean’s 7-Eleven.” That sums things up perfectly. Logan Lucky is a crackerjack heist film that strongly echoes Soderbergh’s other crackerjack heist franchise, but with a uniquely downmarket and genuinely affectionate charm all its own. After the exploits of three hard-luck West Virginian siblings (Adam Driver and Soderbergh regulars Channing Tatum and Riley Keough) as they plot a so-crazy-it-just-might-work NASCAR robbery, the film bounces off the jailhouse walls with its manic energy. As expected with a Soderbergh project, there are ambitious twists and a timeline that jumps around just enough to demand a second viewing (which is why its placement on Netflix is such a boon). But the film hits a truly unexpected high when it introduces Daniel Craig’s bank-vault expert Joe Bang, an imprisoned force of comic fury whose unhinged performance elevates Logan Lucky above any notions of genre shtick. Good luck keeping that one locked up.
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