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Streaming Weekly September 2016 5.0

Teetering on the precipice of October, our Streaming Weekly column stares up at the proverbial moon, dreading its transformation from a regular streaming column into a snarling beast known as “Screaming Weekly”. While you load your silver bullets and stock up on wolfsbane, we’re looking to ease the transition with our final trio of streaming picks for September. Enjoy this last column, next week we take a darker turn with a month of horror streaming picks.

via Josh Crabb

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Elvis & Nixon (Amazon Prime) – This is by no means a great movie, or even necessarily a good one. However, my enjoyment of this movie is two-fold. One, I had zero expectations going into it. How could something as innocuous as a photograph between Elvis Presley, the King of Rock N’ Roll, and Richard Nixon, a despised public figure, possibly be interesting or gripping? Director Liza Johnson makes few wrong moves in playing it with as little melodrama as possible and this choice has a lot to do with the movie’s charm and likability. You don’t really care, so the movie doesn’t even bother trying to make you care. The narrative is  a fun snapshot of these highly public figures and a brief, human look at Elvis’ friend Jerry Schilling, played by Alex Pettyfer.

Reason two are the performances of Michael Shannon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Nixon. Both of them play understated version of their caricatured celebrities. I expected Shannon to play Elvis with a snarl and a deep, southern warble and Spacey to play Nixon with a jowl full of growls. However, both of them show a more fun, understated side of the King and the Crook. Shannon only rises to absurdity once when Elvis shows Nixon some karate, a scene which Shannon thought shouldn’t have been in the movie. Spacey is all-around great as a cantankerous chief executive but a softie when talking to his daughter on the phone. I’ve heard their portrayals as caricatures, but I think they rise above the common tropes associated with their enduring celebrity. All that being said, this movie never rises to anything more than an acting workshop and a fun premise, so don’t expect to be floored, but to be casually delighted.

via Scott Kelly

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Coherence (Amazon Prime) – With just enough seasonings of Cloverfield and The Invitation to entice fans of those films, Coherence is one of the wildest, most mind-bending sci-fi movies I’ve seen in the past ten years. This isn’t a film for those that want an easy viewing, as Coherence demands your attention every minute right from the very beginning. Again, this is a film where the less said about it to the potential viewer, the better, as the twists and turns pay off big time to the uninitiated. That being said, there’s plenty more for repeat viewers in a second, third, or even fourth viewing. I’m still not even sure where all of the threads between the ensemble cast of characters began or ended. In every dimension of its craft, Coherence delivers an impressive entry into the sci-fi world, giving viewers plenty of meat for discussions regarding both science and philosophy.

via The Film Avenger

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300 (HBO Now) – Though it is almost ten years old, 300 still holds up as one of the most ingenious and visionary films of the 2000s. This is the film that made Zack Snyder a household name (the merits of what he’s done since are debatable). Based on Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel, the film is about the historic Battle of Thermopylae and how 300 Spartans attempted to stave off the entire Persian Empire. Granted that it isn’t an historically accurate depiction of the event, but it’s not supposed to be, since ut is being narrated by a Spartan orator. Things are exaggerated by design. What makes this film brilliant is Snyder’s ability to capture the art found in Miller’s book and bring it to life in a way never attempted by a comic book movie. It’s such a beautiful film that virtually any frame could be printed and hung on a wall as art (though I wouldn’t recommend printing out the hyper-violent scenes). The story is gripping, and touches on a lot of themes – the cost of freedom and standing up to tyranny.

Written by Joshua Crabb

Josh Crabb (@HeyItsThatJosh) is an editor, writer, and sometimes talker for Reel World Theology. He is also the co-host of a weekly Star Wars podcast, Home One Radio (@homeoneradio). When he's not obsessing over movies or Star Wars, he is planting a church with Converge Great Lakes in Appleton, WI and spending time with his best friend and wife, Tina, and his 4 super awesome kids!