Kneel Before VOD: October 10th
Brewing for some time now, the time has come for an all-out war between the humans and the apes for control of the planet. After an attack from the humans, led by the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), leaves Caesar's (Andy Serkis) army's numbers dwindling, he is determined to have his revenge. Sporting some of the best action scenes of the year, this emotionally intense, deadly serious journey benefits greatly from Serkis' performance, which has only become more impressive as the series has progressed.
One of this year's better indies hit Netflix this last week. Raw tells the gruesome story of a vegan veterinary student (Garance Marillier) who tries meat for the first time and becomes insatiable, craving more and more flesh as it consumes her life. On the surface, it's one of the most gorgeous looking films of the year, well-acted and directed, but underneath it is pitch black and hard to stomach. Raw is one of the darkest coming of age stories you are going to see.
Amazon Prime: Blair Witch
17 years after his sister went missing during the events of The Blair Witch Project, James (James Allen McCune) and his friends go searching in the same woods where they experience first hand the evil spirits in the woods. Adam Wingard's out of nowhere direct sequel is a slightly updated take on the original that ultimately does little more than offer up the same scares, but it does do it well. The original created the found footage genre, and this one serves as a reminder that the crowded genre can still do great things.
HBO Go: Spielberg
Focusing on the life and career of the man who has inspired so many and made more than his fair share of all-time greats, Spielberg is a satisfying little portrait of an artist. The documentary goes through the eclectic director's filmography movie by movie (Selectively, of course. There's too much there to possibly cover it all) with interesting insights into his life in between. The film is little more than fan-service, but it's worth watching considering it's nearly impossible to be a movie fan without being a Steven Spielberg fan. If you're looking for more Spielberg, you can check out our new podcast Spielberg 33/33.
Also Streaming: A Place in the Caribbean
Hulu Plus: Rapture-Palooza
Over the course of 2013, four comedies were set after the world had ended. While it didn't have the high amount of laughs of This is the End, the emotional gravitas that was found in Warm Bodies, or the dry wit of It's a Disaster, Rapture-Palooza was still a memorable movie. There's nothing new here, but it is infectiously fun with a decent amount of laughs. Plus, seeing Craig Robinson play the devil is more than worth it.
FilmStruck: Val Lewton's Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie, The Body Snatcher, Curse of the Cat People, Bedlam, and The Leopard Man
Talk Film Society recently published an article by Alex Miller on the career of author and producer Val Lewton, who just this week saw FilmStruck add a big chunk of his filmography. Lewton created some of the most chilling horror of the era on the cheap and without pretension. On Lewton's work, Miller praises his embrace of schlock to create art, "Lewton would get a silly title and in return convert a dopey moniker into a mature, and intelligent horror film; relying on atmospheric scare tactics and (relatively) bloodless frissons to staggering effect."
Shudder: Uncle John
In a small midwestern town, a local carpenter, John (John Ashton), kills the town bully, Dutch. Nobody in town suspects John, except Dutch's brother Danny (Ronnie Gene Blevins), who intends to get revenge on the man who murdered his brother. At the same time, John's nephew (Alex Moffat) falls in love with a coworker (Jenna Lyng). It's an effective little thriller, one that's made all the more so thanks to a career-best performance from character actor Ashton, who quietly demands the screen.
Also Streaming: Seoul Station