New to Netflix this week is “Wetlands” (Tuesday, Jan. 13), which stars Carla Juri as a young woman who dedicates herself to breaking sexual and hygiene taboos; those who might have missed the film in theaters because they felt their stomachs couldn’t handle all the gross stuff in a theater (*raises hand*) might have a better chance to catch one of last year’s most talked-about foreign films now that they can pause it whenever they need to.
Thursday, January 15 brings the documentary “Kids for Cash,” about the scandal of the same name that saw judges in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania accepting money to impose harsh sentences on juvenile offenders and place them in a pair of for-profit juvenile facilities. It’s a terrific look at the reach of prison privatization that never sensationalizes the material.
Friday, January 16, meanwhile, brings Tomas Alfredson’s terrific adaptation of John le Carre’s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” about the hunt for a Soviet double agent in the British secret service. The film is filled with terrific supporting turns, from Tom Hardy as an agent framed for murder to Benedict Cumberbatch’s heartbreaking turn as a man forced to give up his one true connection to the outside world. But the film is above all else a showcase for Gary Oldman, who gives one of his most effective and quietest performances (his character raises his voice in the film only once), and for Alfredson’s fabulous off-kilter compositions.
Other films on the Netflix release slate include the already-forgotten Antonio Banderas sci-fi film “Automata” (January 10), “Vito” (January 11), a documentary about activist and “The Celluloid Closer” writer Vito Russo; and “Johnny English Reborn” (January 16), for anyone who felt they didn’t get enough with the first film about Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling spy (there’s probably a few people out there somewhere). Also on the way: the fourth season of “Being Human” (January 13), the third season of “Wolfblood” (January 15), and the first season of the Netflix animated series “The Adventures of Puss in Boots” (January 16).
A.A. Dowd, The A.V. Club
What May is really after, in other words, is a glimpse at a post-Columbine America, where punishments don’t always fit crimes, cures are often worse than diseases, and the courts are frequently being used as a catchall solution to very normal discipline problems. “Kids For Cash” may express unlikely empathy for a man convicted in the court of public opinion, but it saves its real compassion for the grieving mother who confronts him—in the film’s most powerful scene—for his lack of the same. Read more.
Kristian Lin, Fort Worth Weekly
Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com