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Home Video Picks & Passes

  • STEVEN GREYDANUS

Tired of mindless entertainment as usual? Two of the best antidotes imaginable are new on home video.


pattersonPaterson (2016) — PICK

Planet Earth II (2017) — PICK

You probably haven't seen my favorite film of 2016, a little gem called Paterson.  Like my favorite film of 2015, Brooklyn, it's a winsome love story named for an urban area in my backyard — in this case, Paterson, New Jersey — though the protagonist, a bus driver (Adam Driver) who reads and writes poetry in his spare time, is also named Paterson.

He's happily married to Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), a restlessly creative soul who's as spontaneous as Paterson is routine-bound.  The beauty of their relationship is how they enjoy one another and appreciate their differences.  I enjoyed the time I spent with them more than maybe any movie couple ever.

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My family and I love the groundbreaking 2006 BBC documentary series Planet Earth — but a decade later, Planet Earth II, again narrated by David Attenborough, is more astonishing, more awe-inspiring and more flat-out gorgeous than its predecessor.

Like the original series, Planet Earth II is divided into one-hour episodes (only seven rather than 11, alas), with themes like "Islands," "Mountains" and "Deserts" — though "Cities," which explores how wildlife coexist with major human populations, is a major departure for the brand.

I've seen a lot of nature documentaries, but few if any with such flagrantly beautiful cinematography — so many shots I would hang as prints on my wall.  Recent technological advances have captured images the filmmakers could only dream of a decade ago.  A treasure.

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Caveat Spectator: 

Paterson: Some innuendo; fleeting mild violence; some cursing.  Teens and up. 
Planet Earth II: Sometimes bloody scenes of predation and violence.  Fine for all but the most sensitive children.
 
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Acknowledgement

NCRegSteven Greydanus. "Home Video Picks & Passes." National Catholic Register (March 31, 2017).

This article is reprinted with permission from National Catholic Register. To subscribe to the National Catholic Register go here.

The Author

Greydanus Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register and Decent Films, the online home for his film writing. He writes regularly for Christianity Today, Catholic World Report and other venues, and is a regular guest on several radio shows. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Suzanne and their seven children.

Copyright © 2017 National Catholic Register
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