So, “Bird Box” fans, you like thrillers? Yeah, Netflix is well aware. Accordingly, the streaming service is offering a new film for February that will have you freaking out – about art.
Paintings and sculptures exact revenge in writer and director Dan Gilroy’s sometimes campy, sometimes TV movie-esque, ultimately very fun film “Velvet Buzzsaw” (available to stream Friday). Though the movie that was just unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival is nowhere near as brilliant as Gilroy’s dark, provocative drama “Nightcrawler,” it still could become your weirdest new addiction that’s ripe for memeing.
Here’s why it’s worthy, without giving too much away:
Jake Gyllenhaal is outrageous.
As a smug art critic Morf, he cuts lines at Art Basel, only to adjust his thick glasses and say a piece “has no courage” or a painting is “mesmeric.” At a funeral, he’s not too mournful to call out a casket for being an ugly “smog orange” color, and in the bedroom, he finds it pertinent to tell a woman, “Your skin is the beautiful cross between almond and saddle brown.”
He’s hilarious, he uses a flip phone, and he’s often inexplicably shirtless. We have a feeling no one will complain.
Toni Collette’s look is perfect.
Collette’s best-ever horror film performance is in “Hereditary,” but she still delivers all-out, scream-worthy moments here. Also important: She has the perfect “L.A. art scene” wardrobe as art adviser Gretchen: bleached bob with blunt bangs, giant color-blocked coats, chunky jewelry and black-and-white nail polish.
Toni Collette’s breezy L.A .outfits are on point in “Velvet Buzzsaw.”
Toni Collette’s breezy L.A .outfits are on point in “Velvet Buzzsaw.” (Photo: CLAUDETTE BARIUS/NETFLIX)
There’s an assistant to root for.
In Netflix’s “Set It Up,” viewers wanted hard-working personal assistants to succeed (and hook up). In “Velvet Buzzsaw,” “Stranger Things” actress Natalia Dyer is the one to pull for. She’s somehow at the mercy of every single art dealer, buyer and critic in Los Angeles, opening their offices, running their errands and taking their messages. She asks for permission to get “a few hours of sleep.”
She’s so pathetic that you just want things to work out for her.
It satirizes art culture.
How do you discern between an art installation and a literal bag of garbage? “Velvet” doesn’t exactly answer that question, but figuratively it asks it plenty of times while showing people posting accidental art to social media and creating hilarious yet believable exhibits at art festivals and the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. (One installation looks as though it’s a family watching the lottery on TV, but it’s really a bunch of sculptures.)
Also of note: “Velvet” features John Malkovich and “Hamilton” star Daveed Diggs as artists who are moved by true artwork.
The deaths are very creative.
Even if you’ve seen every “Final Destination” movie, you will be surprised by the deaths in “Velvet.” These are the kind of kills that will make cackle, partly because you’re screaming and mostly because you can’t help but giggle.
In other obsessions: We need a ‘Bird Box’ sequel to answer our many, many burning questions
Netflix in February: Kevin Hart, Ray Romano and ‘One Day at a Time’ Season 3 are coming