“The Interview” didn’t turn out so great for Sony, what with the hacked servers, threats on theaters and loss of millions, not to mention the lukewarm critical reception. At any rate, it’s coming to Netflix this Saturday, January 24, so viewers who haven’t already seen it on VOD can check it out now. It’s hardly incisive political commentary, but it has more than its share of amusing moments. There’s also something personal in Seth Rogen, a goofball entertainer who took on a controversial subject, making a movie about a goofball entertainer trying to take on a controversial subject, as if he’s acknowledging that he works best within the realm of farce.
A few other highlights hitting Netflix this week: Sebastien Lelio’s “Gloria” (January 27), starring Paulina Garcia (who won the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear prize for Best Actress) as a divorcee who begins a romance with an ex-naval officer; and Jon Favreau’s indie sleeper “Chef” (January 28) starring Favreau as a man who quits his job at a prominent L.A. restaurant to start his own food truck, likely a statement about Favreau leaving blockbuster franchises behind to tell personal stories again. Other things to check out at your own risk: the generic Forest Whitaker thriller “Repentance” (January 25) the second season of the CW’s “Beauty and the Beast,” and a Netflix original version of the faith-based children’s show “Veggie Tales,” titled “Veggie Tales in the House.”
The script, alas, is somewhat less dramatically meaty than the entrees. Let’s just say the final outcome is as almost-as-expected as the bill at the end of an evening of dining out. But it is a pleasure to sit back and enjoy the goings-on as performed by an engaging troupe of actors and to savor the efforts of “Chef”’s star and writer/director Jon Favreau, whose warm and down-to-earth personality flavors every scene. This is comfort comedy, pure and simple. Read more.
There’s a marvelous sense of defiance to the way Lelio stages their early scenes together, conveying an atmosphere drenched in romance that rejuvenates the couple and strips away the barriers of age. In her newfound companionship, Gloria’s personality erupts with energy that Lelio explores intimately by showing the couple in the nude while in the throes of their sexual reawakening. The connection is so vividly realized that it’s especially tough to watch when the perfect scenario starts to unravel. Read more.
“The Interview” isn’t quite a great comedy — some of the jokes are cheap (even for this kind of movie), you can’t buy it a female character worth a damn, and poor Lizzy Caplan disappears for so long in the second half, I forgot she was even in it. But it’s funny and strange, with an admirably gonzo sensibility, and it approaches the job of mocking Kim with the appropriate degree of joy-buzzer delight. Read more.