You Should Be Watching: September 13-19

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


The VVitch

    — Moving from Prime to Netflix on Sep. 17

Year: 2015

Director: Robert Eggers

Genre: Mystery, Horror

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson, Bathsheba Garnett, Sarah Stephens, Julian Richings, Wahab Chaudhry, Axtun Henry Dube, Athan Conrad Dube, Vivien Moore, Karen Kaeja, Brandy Leary, R. Hope Terry, Carrie Eklund, Madlen Sopadzhiyan

No doubt about it, The Witch is very, very dark, as many classic fairy tales are, but those willing to enter in will find a challenging tale providing much worthy of grappling with. Between the design, dialogue taken straight from period sources, and natural lighting of this debut feature film from writer and director Robert Eggers, this film feels intensely, oppressively of its time, like being taken back into the 1600s and being thrust inside a Puritan’s nightmare, the type of nightmare that led to the paranoia of the Salem witch trials. That’s not to say the Puritan lifestyle was inherently oppressive. But any fear, left unchecked can spin out of control.

The family in this story, headed up by the father William (Ralph Ineson) and mother Katherine (Kate Dickie) have left the leadership and community of their former church body, each claiming the other is false in their faith. Now isolated and with each member of the family struggling with their secret sins, they are especially vulnerable to evil oppression. It’s not that they aren’t putting up a fight. They pray. They discuss Scripture. Outwardly, they try to glorify God. But its unclear where each of their hearts lie.

As eldest daughter Thomasin and the one largely responsible for the younger children, Anya Taylor-Joy owns the film from the first frame to the last. She is who we as the audience focus on. We see her parents’ struggles through her eyes. We see the actions of the younger children through her eyes. She is convincing no matter whether she’s trying to express truth or spinning a lie until it’s unclear if her obvious lies are lies at all. One thing is certain. With her parents often being distracted and the family living in isolation, there’s little to keep her grounded.


The Queen

   — Coming Sep. 15

Year: 2006

Director: Stephen Frears

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Cast: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Helen McCrory, Alex Jennings, Roger Allam, Sylvia Syms, Paul Barrett, Tim McMullan, Douglas Reith, Mark Bazeley, Robin Soans, Lola Peploe, Joyce Henderson, Pat Laffan, Amanda Hadingue, John McGlynn, Gray O’Brien, Dolina MacLennan, Julian Firth

It’s hard to believe now with the public obsession over the weddings of Prince William and Prince Harry and the massive popularity of television series such as The Crown as well as British television in generalbut the British royal family used to be of little interest to those outside of Great Britain itself. Regardless of the monarchy’s role in government, the lack of attention enabled them to live mostly insulated lives, free to make decisions apart from public pressure. What changed all that? Princess Diana. By marrying into the royal family, her celebrity spread far and wide, bringing deep focus onto the monarchy and the family as a whole. What complicated it further? Diana’s divorce and subsequent death a year later.

With strong, believable performances across the board including Helen Mirren winning a Best Actress Oscar for her inhabiting the very look and essence of Queen Elizabeth II, Stephen Frear’s The Queen dives deep into the conflict immediately following Diana’s death, which speaks even to today’s society where the public routinely makes demands of the private lives of others, especially those with power. In this case, new Prime Minister Tony Blair–played by Michael Sheen–as the public’s spokesperson is pushing for the royal family to honor Diana with a show of mourning only a royal would receive. The queen and especially her husband Prince Philip are outraged that such a demand would be made of them, especially since it was their son from whom Diana divorced. James Cromwell as Philip exudes deep frustration. He is emphatic about protecting his wife the queen and their status as royals and all the heritage that comes with it, but he lacks control to do anything about the changes that feel increasingly inevitable.


White Heat

Year: 1949

Director: Raoul Walsh

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Cast: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O’Brien, Margaret Wycherly, Steve Cochran, John Archer, Wally Cassell, Fred Clark, Paul Guilfoyle, Ford Rainey, Robert Foulk, Ian MacDonald, Robert Osterloh, Sherry Hall, Joel Allen, Claudia Barrett, Ray Bennett, Marshall Bradford, Chet Brandenburg, Robert Carson 

Cream of the crop when it comes to classic gangster movies. The script is full of colorful dialogue and creative plotting. James Cagney is at the top of his game as the gang leader Cody Jarrett. Despite his diminutive stature, he’s tough as nails–no hesitation in killing a man, even taking out one of his own who’s become an inconvenience or a risk. But he’s also a mama’s boy, though Ma (Margaret Wycherly) is just as ruthless as he is, albeit tender to him. And he’s vulnerable due to his penchant to trust those he is close to as well as due to recurring sudden, raging, debilitating headaches and a propensity towards insanity.

Virginia Mayo, plays Cody’s multi-faceted wife Verna. Her uncouth, free-spirited personality shines through along with her fear and duplicity. Finally, Edmond O’Brien is the undercover agent Hank Fallon whose job it is to quickly ingratiate himself with Jarrett so he can draw out an even bigger fish. There are great moments of suspense as any hint of the truth could get him killed in a flash. But the tension doesn’t only serve Hank. Others lives are in danger at one point or another also.

That other side of this film that makes it fascinating is the police work. Unlike the criminals, not much is revealed about the character and personal lives of the investigators. Instead, there’s a heavy focus on procedure, including detailed steps they take to track their suspects and tighten the noose, making for a unique time capsule and a lesson on the origins of today’s surveillance technology. It’s particularly surprising to see cell phones and vehicle bugs used for tracking show up in a film from the mid-twentieth century.


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

September 13
Pete’s Dragon (2016)

September 14
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
Half Nelson (2006)

September 15
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

September 27
The Imitation Game (2014)

AMAZON PRIME

September 15
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

September 17
The Witch (2016)

September 23
Shutter Island (2010)

FILMSTRUCK

September 14
Advise & Consent (1962)
Easy Rider (1969)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Fruit of Paradise (1970)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
A Patch of Blue (1965)
Queen Christina (1933)
Seven Days in May (1964)
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

September 21
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
Mean Streets (1973)
Night Moves (1975)

September 28
Accattone (1961)
Being There (1979)
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)
Ben-Hur (1959)
The Breaking Point (1950)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
East of Eden (1955)
The Gospel According to Matthew (1964)
JFK (1991)
Kes (1969)
Local Hero (1983)
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
The Pianist (2002)
Rain Man (1988)
The Right Stuff (1983)
The Roaring Twenties (1939)
Teorema (1968)
Winter Soldier (1972)

HULU

September 30
American Psycho (2000)
Angel Heart (1987)
Babel (2006)
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Bound (1996)
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Hoosiers (1986)
The Ladies Man (1961)
Miami Blues (1990)
Rabbit Hole (2010)
The Rock (1996)
Sleepers (1996)
Spaceballs (1987)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Witness (1985)


JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Next Gen–NETFLIX FILM (2018)
On My Skin–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

AMAZON PRIME

Beyond the Lights (2014)
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Pumpkinhead (1988)
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Stronger (2017)

FILMSTRUCK

Billy Liar (1963)
Cluny Brown (1946)
The Doll (1919)
Hamlet (1996)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Stroszek (1977)
The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927)

HULU

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
Stronger (2017)


COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

September 14
Bleach–NETFLIX FILM (2018)
The Angel–NETFLIX FILM (2018)
The Land of Steady Habits–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

September 16
Role Models (2008)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

September 17
The Witch (2015)

HULU

September 15
The Queen (2006)

September 16
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: September 6-12

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


The Game

Year: 1997

Director: David Fincher

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Thriller

Cast: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Spike Jonze, Anna Katarina, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Carroll Baker, Scott Hunter McGuire, Elizabeth Dennehy, Daniel Schorr, John Aprea, Charles Martinet, Caroline Barclay, Peter Donat, Florentine Mocanu, Kimberly Russell, Gerry Becker

As is common with David Fincher’s films, The Game works on multiple levels. At its surface, it’s a Kafkaesque thriller about a rich investment banker, Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas), a man who has everything. Van Orton receives a unique, well-meaning gift from his estranged brother Conrad (Sean Penn). The gift is access to a new type of personalized game that would integrate into his everyday life and activities, hopefully adding some excitement to it all. But very quickly, Van Orton finds himself trapped in an inescapable nightmare where fiction increasingly becomes his reality.

At a deeper level, Van Orton is a real character. He’s a man who at a young age saw his father commit suicide, which has forever haunted him and overshadowed the choices he would make in life. Now as a middle-aged man, wealthy and estranged from everyone he’s ever loved, he must step up to the mirror of his father and evaluate his life. This reality–the pain, the cynicism, the independent nature along with the fear when his life teeters out of control–affects every nuance of Douglas’ performance.


David and Lisa

Year: 1962

Director: Frank Perry

Genre: Drama, Romance

Cast: Keir Dullea, Janet Margolin, Howard Da Silva, Neva Patterson, Clifton James, Richard McMurray, Nancy Nutter, Mathew Anden, Jaime Sánchez, Coni Hudak, Karen Lynn Gorney, Janet Lee Parker

Famous for playing astronaut Dave Bowman in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, here in only his 2nd film appearance, Keir Dullea as the titular teenager David along with Janet Margolin as Lisa star in this unique, brilliantly acted romantic drama that exemplifies the realities, complications, and horrors of living with mental disorders. Key to making the drama compelling is the detailed character development and compassion shown in Eleanor Perry’s script, and director Frank Perry’s skill in dialing up the tension by taking us into the experience.

David has a genius-level intellect and a strict concept of how things must be ordered, which has made him arrogant and difficult to control, but the threat of a single touch causes him intense fear as he’s convinced it might kill him. He also has terrible recurring nightmares of killing people in surreal ways. Lisa, of much lower IQ, is in a constant battle between herself and an alternate, darker, much more self-assured personality, who can only be kept at bay by rhyming, both by her and by those talking to her. Both find themselves in the care of a mental institution and find themselves drawn to each other, but they have to battle to both understand each other’s difficulties as well as learn to cope with their own if they’re going to make it work.

 


The Thief of Bagdad

    — Expires September 14

Year: 1924

Director: Raoul Walsh

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Family, Romance

Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Snitz Edwards, Charles Belcher, Julanne Johnston, Sôjin, Anna May Wong, Brandon Hurst, Tote Du Crow, Noble Johnson, Sam Baker, Winter Blossom, Etta Lee, Mathilde Comont, Charles Stevens, Eugene Jackson, Jesse Lasky Jr., David Sharpe, Paul Malvern, Scotty Mattraw, Jess Weldon, K. Nambu

Don’t let the nearly two and a half hour run time of this classic silent adventure fantasy scare you off. This surprisingly fast-paced adaptation of several of the ancient Arabian Nights tales, which was remade for the sound era in 1940, was made by the prolific director Raoul Walsh, whose filmmaking career spanned 51 years and is regarded as Douglas Fairbanks‘ favorite of his performances. It entertains with its variety of locations, exotic set design, colorful characters, delightful special effects, and the creative and intriguing story elements.

Fairbanks plays the lead character Ahmed, a common thief who finds himself on the run from the palace guards after he sees and becomes infatuated with the unnamed princess, played by Julanne Johnston. Stop me if this sounds familiar. Ahmed disguises himself as a prince in an attempt to win her heart and soon finds everything coming up roses, despite the existence of other suitors. That is, until the princess’ Mongol slave, played by oriental siren Anna May Wong discovers Ahmed’s identity, leading to the princess having to beg for his life. It goes on from there with a competitive quest and a flying carpet, a cloak of invisibility, a giant underwater spider, and so on. Douglas Fairbanks is a fun, charismatic actor to watch, and the special effects are impressive, especially for a film that’s nearly 100 years old.


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

September 13
Pete’s Dragon (2016)

September 14
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
Half Nelson (2006)

September 15
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

September 27
The Imitation Game (2014)

AMAZON PRIME

September 15
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

September 17
The Witch (2016)

FILMSTRUCK

September 7
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Giant (1956)
Grand Illusion (1937)
Home from the Hill (1960)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Slacker (1990)
Some Came Running (1958)
Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)
Tea and Sympathy (1956)
The Thin Man Series (1934 – 1947)
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)

September 14
Advise & Consent (1962)
Easy Rider (1969)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Fruit of Paradise (1970)
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
A Patch of Blue (1965)
Queen Christina (1933)
Seven Days in May (1964)
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

September 21
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
Mean Streets (197
Night Moves (1975)

HULU

September 30
American Psycho (2000)
Angel Heart (1987)
Babel (2006)
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Bound (1996)
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Hoosiers (1986)
The Ladies Man (1961)
Miami Blues (1990)
Rabbit Hole (2010)
The Rock (1996)
Sleepers (1996)
Spaceballs (1987)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Witness (1985)


JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Black Panther (2018)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
King Kong (2005)
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Nacho Libre (2006)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Scarface (1983)
Unforgiven (1992)

AMAZON PRIME

Chinatown (1974)
Blow Out (1981)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
Hustle & Flow (2005)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Miami Vice (2006)
Primal Fear (1996)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Testament (1983)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

FILMSTRUCK

Cul-de-sac (1966)
Dead Man (1985)
Kes (1969)

HULU

13 Going On 30 (2004)
Adaptation. (2002)
Blow Out (1981)
City of God (2002)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
The English Patient (1996)
Field of Dreams (1989)
The Fly (1986)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rushmore (1998)
Signs (2002)
Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
Sixteen Candles (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Unbreakable (2000)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)


COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

September 7
Next Gen–NETFLIX FILM (2018)
Sierra Burgess Is A Loser–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

September 11
The Resistance Banker–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

September 12
On My Skin–NETFLIX FILM (2018)

AMAZON PRIME

September 8
Stronger (2017)

HULU

September 8
Stronger (2017)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: August 31 – September 5

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

    — Coming September 1

Year: 1993

Director: Lasse Hallström

Genre: Romance, Drama

Cast: Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, Mary Steenburgen, Darlene Cates, Laura Harrington, Mary Kate Schellhardt, Kevin Tighe, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, Penelope Branning, Tim Green, Susan Loughran, Robert B. Hedges, Mark Jordan, Cameron Finley, Brady Coleman, Tim Simek

Johnny Depp plays Gilbert Grape, a twenty-something stuck in the small Iowa town of Endora working as a grocery clerk. Despite the presence of his two sisters, he bears the weight of the world as he alone is obligated to care for his morbidly obese mother Bonnie (Darlene Cates) and his highly autistic 17-year-old brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio in one of his first roles). The whole family lives in an old rundown house that Bonnie hasn’t left in years due to depression from her husband’s suicide. Gilbert is losing the battle of trying to cope with his life when he meets Becky (Juliette Lewis), a carefree spirit who brings him happiness and draws his attention away from the drudgery of his responsibilities. Unfortunately, Arnie is one of those responsibilities, and unsupervised, he is a true danger to himself.

Between Lasse Hallström’s direction and Peter Hedges‘ script, the perfect balance is struck between melancholy and humor. The big surprise is DiCaprio stealing the entire show with his standout Oscar-nominated supporting actor performance. Through expression, voice, and mannerisms, there is nothing to differentiate him from an actual autistic person. He is truly dependent on others, providing genuine tension when he’s left to his own devices, whether getting stuck up on the town water tower or left alone in the bath, unable to help himself.


Gone Baby Gone

Year: 2007

Director: Ben Affleck

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery

Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, John Ashton, Amy Ryan, Amy Madigan, Titus Welliver, Michael Kenneth Williams, Edi Gathegi, Mark Margolis, Madeline O’Brien, Slaine, Matthew Maher, Trudi Goodman

By the mid 2000s, Ben Affleck’s acting career was in a shambles after a string of major flops. Something needed to change. So why not go behind the camera for once? Affleck joined Aaron Stockard to adapt Dennis Lehane’s source novel and found his cast, including leads Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan, who play private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, as well as big names like Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. The result was the directorial debut Gone Baby Gone, a critically acclaimed neo-noir crime drama about the search through Boston’s criminal underground for a missing little girl named Amanda.

This is a bleak, depressing, and uncomfortable film full of unlikeable people. Even Amanda’s mother is neglectful and self-centered. But this is the world we live in. The stunning revelations and impossible moral dilemma thrust on our characters unmercifully puts the viewer’s ethical judgment and fortitude to the test. There’s also the sense that apart from the main cast, these aren’t actors; they’re real Bostonians living real life, rough and raw, for better or worse.


Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

 — Expiring September 7

Year: 1954

Director: Stanley Donen

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical, Western

Cast: Howard Keel, Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Rall, Marc Platt, Jane Powell, Jacques d’Amboise, Julie Newmar, Matt Mattox, Nancy Kilgas, Betty Carr, Virginia Gibson, Ruta Lee, Norma Doggett, Ian Wolfe, Howard Petrie, Earl Barton, Dante DiPaolo, Kelly Brown, Matt Moore, Russell Simpson, Marjorie Wood, Jarma Lewis, Anna Q. Nilsson, Dick Rich

Set in the Oregon frontier of the mid-19th century, this is the story of Adam Pontipee, played by the deep-voiced Howard Keel, and his six brothers, Benjamin through Frank. They’re all uncouth backwoodsmen who rarely see women much less have any idea how to treat them or how to have any kind of manners really. Nevertheless, Adam comes to town to find a bride, and find one he does in the beautiful Milly, played by the tough but lovely Jane Powell, who also has a beautiful singing voice. Milly accepts his offer not knowing of the rest of the family that awaits her or what kind of man Adam is.

Despite moments of discomfort and awkwardness brought about by its sometimes pigheaded characters, this movie musical is a pure delight with catchy and memorable songs, creative, can’t take your eyes off it large-scale group choreography–especially during the barn-raising sequence, laughs a plenty, and a no-nonsense, take-charge heroine in Milly.

When I say Milly is a heroine, I mean she is the most important character in the story. She’s the one who takes on the role of taming this group of brothers and teaching them what respect and true masculinity looks like. Ironically, despite being the oldest, her new husband is the one most in need of maturing, despite what he himself thinks. He’s as stubborn as they come, and Milly, while quick to forgive and generous in heart, is not a doormat and is more than ready to stand up for herself and for the other girls who end up falling into her protection.


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

August 31
Batman Begins (2005)
Casino (1995)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Dead Poets Society (1989)
The Descent (2005)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
It Might Get Loud (2008)
Man on Wire (2008)
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

September 4
PK (2014)
To The Wonder (2012)

September 13
Pete’s Dragon (2016)

September 14
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)

September 15
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

September 27
The Imitation Game (2014)

AMAZON PRIME

August 31
Anthropoid (2016)
The Big Racket (1976)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Capote (2005)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Death at a Funeral (2007)
A Fistful Of Dynamite (1971)
The Flowers of War (2011)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Inferno (1980)
The Natural (1984)
Raging Bull (1980)
Red River (1948)
Stories We Tell (2012)
Training Day (2001)
Trees Lounge (1996)

FILMSTRUCK

August 31
Badlands (1973)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)
The Exorcist (1973)
Gun Crazy (1950)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Kameradschaft (1931)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The Searchers (1956)
They Live by Night (1948)
Tootsie (1982)
Westfront 1918 (1930)
You Only Live Once (1937)

September 7
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Giant (1956)
Grand Illusion (1937)
Home from the Hill (1960)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Slacker (1990)
Some Came Running (1958)
Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)
Tea and Sympathy (1956)
The Thin Man Series (1934 – 1947)
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)

September 14
Advise & Consent (1962)
Easy Rider (1969)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Fruit of Paradise (1970)
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
A Patch of Blue (1965)
Queen Christina (1933)
Seven Days in May (1964)
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

September 21
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
Mean Streets (197
Night Moves (1975)

HULU

August 31
Across the Universe (2007)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
The ’Burbs (1989)
Clue (1985)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Event Horizon (1997)
Hellboy (2004)
My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rain Man (1988)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Trainspotting (1996)


JUST ARRIVED

FILMSTRUCK

Captains Courageous (1937)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Dead Ringers (1988)
Gunga Din (1939)
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
A Mighty Wind (2003)
North by Northwest (1959)
The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Suspicion (1941)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Westworld (1973)

HULU

Crime + Punishment (2018)
Gangs of New York (2002)
mother! (2017)


COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

September 1
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
King Kong (2005)
Nacho Libre (2006)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Scarface (1983)
Unforgiven (1992)

September 2
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Lilo & Stitch (2002)

September 4
Black Panther (2018)

AMAZON PRIME

September 1
Chinatown (1974)
Blow Out (1981)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
Hustle & Flow (2005)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Miami Vice (2006)
Primal Fear (1996)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

HULU

August 31
The Terminator (1984)

September 1
13 Going On 30 (2004)
Adaptation. (2002)
Blow Out (1981)
City of God (2002)
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Field of Dreams (1989)
The Fly (1986)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rushmore (1998)
Signs (2002)
Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
Sixteen Candles (1984)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Unbreakable (2000)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

September 2
The English Patient (1996)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: August 23-29

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


The Exorcist

 — August 30 is last day to watch

Year: 1973

Director: William Friedkin

Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller

Cast: Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, William O’Malley, Jack MacGowran, Barton Heyman, Peter Masterson, Rudolf Schündler, Robert Symonds, Titos Vandis, Donna Mitchell, Robert Gerringer, Mercedes McCambridge, Eileen Dietz

Even if you’ve never seen The Exorcist, you’re probably familiar with its premise of a young girl named Regan finding her body the battleground between a powerful demon and the priests trying to exorcise it (Max von Sydow and Jason Miller). But what makes it so effective and worth seeing, even beyond William Friedkin’s masterful direction, is the grave authenticity William Blatty’s script provides to its subject matter, without so much as a wink at the camera, and the characters caught up in it.

Ellen Burstyn is a mother on a desperate search for answers to her daughter’s ever-worsening condition. Linda Blair is her daughter Regan, who having played with a Ouija board now finds herself host to the worst kind of guest. Regan’s increasingly disturbing state of body and mind is all the more shocking given her cuteness and sweet disposition at the start.

The film invites deep thought and discussion of the spiritual world, from the nature of faith to God’s providence and sovereignty to questions about the impact of physical and mental health versus that of angels and demons and where the two diverge. As badly as the doctors want Regan’s problem to be something they can physically see in the brain or have treated as a mental health issue, the evidence grows increasingly undeniable that the cause is supernatural.


Escape from Alcatraz

        — August 30 is last day to watch

Year: 1979

Director: Don Siegel

Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward, Paul Benjamin, Larry Hankin, Bruce M. Fischer, Frank Ronzio, Fred Stuthman, David Cryer Hank Brandt, Ray K. Goman, Blair Burrows

Escape from Alcatraz details the most famous prison break in American history. While both the film and the real life escape involved several inmates, the vast majority of the film’s focus is on Frank Morris, played by Clint Eastwood. Most of the character and emotional beats are seen through his eyes. It’s a fascinating exploration into the problem solving process and the risks needing to be taken for people to escape an inescapable prison.

But the film doesn’t work unless the audience cares to some extent about Frank and his accomplices. To this end, J. Campbell Bruce’s script provides very few details about the crimes that sent these convicts to the island prison. Instead, we see men trapped in cages and dehumanized by a hard warden (Patrick McGoohan), who prevents them at a whim from having niceties that would make their incarceration at least palatable. Once the audience feels sympathizes with the prisoners for being treated unfairly in a hopeless situation, it’s easy to be sucked into the means of their escape and want them to succeed. Clint himself is a big part of that as well with his no-nonsense motivated yet compassionate manner.


My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown

  — August 31 is last day to watch

Year: 1989

Director: Jim Sheridan

Genre: Biography, Drama

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan, Declan Croghan, Eanna MacLiam, Marie Conmee, Kirsten Sheridan, Cyril Cusack, Phelim Drew, Ruth McCabe, Fiona Shaw, Ray McAnally, Pat Laffan, Derry Power

Christy Brown was an Irishman born into extreme poverty and having a severe case of cerebral palsy that even as an adult left him unable to control any part of his body but his left foot. Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of the adult Christy is one more example for why the now retired actor is one of the most acclaimed in film history. His chameleon-like level and skill of intense physical acting is nothing short of astonishing. It’s difficult to believe the man on the screen doesn’t have cerebral palsy himself. Christy goes through a wide range of capabilities and emotional states, and Lewis nails them all. Even the child who played young Christy was remarkable in his short screen time.

It’s heartwarming to see that despite all of his trouble interacting with the world around him, Christy always had friends, siblings, and especially his mother support him, especially since his father is so dismissive of him most of his life. However, this film is not about them and so they do not receive a lot of development in the script. The focus throughout is on the struggle and triumph of being Christy Brown.


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

August 24
The Road (2009)

August 25
Gangs of New York (2002)
Night Will Fall (2014)

August 26
White God (2014)

August 27
Ernest & Celestine (2012)
Wrinkles (2011)

August 29
Destiny (1921)

August 31
Batman Begins (2005)
Casino (1995)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Dead Poets Society (1989)
The Descent (2005)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
It Might Get Loud (2008)
Man on Wire (2008)
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

September 4
To The Wonder (2012)

AMAZON PRIME

August 23
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

August 24
Captain Fantastic (2016)

August 29
Dirty Dancing (1987)

August 30
The ’Burbs (1989)
Boy (2010)
Breathing (2011)
A Bullet for the General (1966)
Companeros (1970)
Computer Chess (2013)
David and Lisa (1962)
Deep Red (1975)
Django (1966)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Event Horizon (1997)
Keoma (1976)
The Last Waltz (1978)
Opera (1987)
The Return of Ringo (1965)
The Running Man (1987)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

August 31
Anthropoid (2016)
The Big Racket (1976)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Capote (2005)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Death at a Funeral (2007)
A Fistful Of Dynamite (1971)
The Flowers of War (2011)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Inferno (1980)
The Natural (1984)
Raging Bull (1980)
Red River (1948)
Stories We Tell (2012)
Training Day (2001)
Trees Lounge (1996)

FILMSTRUCK

August 24
Act of Violence (1949)
Boy (2010)
Casablanca (1942)
The Freshman (1925)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Get Carter (1971)
The Little Foxes (1941)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Nine Queens (2000)
Now, Voyager (1942)
The Producers (1967)
Stella Dallas (1937)
Swing Time (1936)
Top Hat (1935)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

August 31
Badlands (1973)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)
The Exorcist (1973)
Gun Crazy (1950)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Kameradschaft (1931)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The Searchers (1956)
They Live by Night (1948)
Tootsie (1982)
Westfront 1918 (1930)
You Only Live Once (1937)

HULU

August 31
Across the Universe (2007)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
The ’Burbs (1989)
Clue (1985)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Event Horizon (1997)
Hellboy (2004)
My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rain Man (1988)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Trainspotting (1996)


JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Peter Rabbit (2018)
The Motive – NETFLIX FILM (2017)
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – NETFLIX FILM (2018)

AMAZON PRIME

Unsane (2018)

FILMSTRUCK

My Brilliant Career (1979)
On Golden Pond (1981)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

HULU

A Ciambra (2017)
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
Minding the Gap — HULU DOCUMENTARY (2018)
Role Models (2008)


COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

August 24
The After Party — NETFLIX FILM (2018)

AMAZON PRIME

August 26
mother! (2017)

HULU

August 26
Gangs of New York (2002)
mother! (2017)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: August 16-22

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


The Aviator

Year: 2004

Director: Martin Scorsese

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Ian Holm, Jude Law, Kelli Garner, Danny Huston, Brent Spiner, Willem Dafoe, Gwen Stefani, Adam Scott, Matt Ross, Frances Conroy, Stanley DeSantis, Keith Campbell, Amy Sloan, Kevin O’Rourke, Nellie Sciutto, Edward Herrmann, Kenneth Welsh, J.C. MacKenzie, Jacob Davich, Sam Hennings, Vince Giordano, Jason Cavalier, Rufus Wainwright

Nominated for a whopping 11 Academy Awards and winner of 5, Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, headlined by the magnificent Leonardo DiCaprio is a star-studded, technically masterful, sprawling epic full of period music, design, and color about the larger than life Howard Hughes, an insanely wealthy and driven man who could do it all. He flew planes, made movies, and had an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit. His contributions to the disparate worlds of film and flight technology echo into today. He was also one of the most eccentric characters in American history, which was only worsened by hearing loss and other mounting injuries and an extreme case of OCD that eventually turned him into a complete recluse.

It’s difficult to believe Leonardo DiCaprio, who perfectly inhabits the brilliant, obsessive Hughes, did not win the Oscar he was nominated for, as it’s truly the work of a master actor, full of nuance, vulnerability, and energy. This is not to take away from the other deserving winners from this film, including Cate Blanchett, who presents a pitch-perfect Katharine Hepburn, Hughes’ long-term girlfriend and a spirited eccentric herself. The Aviator is an experience that is as joyful as it is tragic.

 


Pather Panchali

  

Year: 1955

Director: Satyajit Ray

Genre: Drama

Cast: Kanu Bannerjee, Karuna Bannerjee, Chunibala Devi, Uma Das Gupta, Subir Banerjee, Runki Banerjee, Reba Devi, Aparna Devi, Tulsi Chakraborty, Haren Banerjee, Rampada Das, Nibhanani Devi, Rama Gangopadhaya, Roma Ganguli, Binoy Mukherjee, Haridhan Nag, Harimohan Nag, Kshirod Roy, Suren Roy

With this stunning debut and the first film in what’s known as The Apu Trilogy, Satyajit Ray shows the touch of a master in handling the complex and contrasting emotional, familial, and economical dynamics at play in this story of a family living in the jungles of Bengal facing abject poverty. While each member of the central family contributes to the narrative, casting Chunibala Devi for the elderly cousin Indir was inspired. She’s like the fragile, upbeat, super old grandma who puts a smile on your face and whom you can’t help but love . Seeing the continued breakdown of her body and the harsh treatment she receives from her cousin (by marriage) Sarbojaya (Karuna Bannerjee) is painful.

The children, Durga (Uma Das Gupta) and Apu (Subir Banerjee) are relatively carefree, but Durga tends to make her mother’s challenging life even more so, though in contrast, she has a special relationship with Indir. Their father Harihar (Kanu Bannerjee) is optimistic about their future but largely absent as he’s gone months at a time trying to earn money as a writer, which leaves Sarbojaya trying to provide for her family with basically nothing. She’s often hard and bitter and even unnecessarily mean at times. She’s also a fiercely proud woman who refuses to ask for help.

She pays a stiff price for them, but her actions based on her extreme circumstances only seem outrageous at face value and when contrasted to those around her who are in happier spirits. It puts into perspective what our own attitudes would be like if faced with enduring her circumstances. Consider how we treat others when we’re having nothing more than a bad day. It’s a call for compassion and a reminder that we can always use more empathy for those around us.


The Second Mother

   

Year: 2015

Director: Anna Muylaert

Genre: Drama

Cast: Regina Casé, Michel Joelsas, Camila Márdila, Karine Teles, Lourenço Mutarelli, Helena Albergaria, Luis Miranda, Luci Pereira, Hugo Villavicenzio, Theo Werneck, Alex Rusjar, Thaissa Reis, Milcéia Vicente, Bete Dorgan, Andrey Lima Lopes

An engaging story about the complexities of inter-class and family relationships, especially when the status quo is shaken up. Val, played by Regina Casé, is a live-in maid for a wealthy family. She has a better relationship with their son Fabinho (Michel Joelsas) than his own mother does and no relationship with her estranged daughter Jessica (Camila Márdila), who resents her having moved away despite it being to provide her a better life. Suddenly, Jessica, needing a place to stay while she studies for her university entrance exam reaches out to Val, who receives permission to let her stay, hopefully not long. Her presence creates a complex new dynamic to the home and in her relationship with her mother.

Director Anna Muylaert has a careful eye for representing the separation between upper-class family represented in this film and the hired live-in help who serve them, namely Val. She also shows how important being present is as the son, Fabinho treats Val like a mother. Also, by Jessica refusing to recognize the class distinction and making herself at home, the distinctions themselves are brought into focus as well as inherent difficulties of the parent/child relationship across generational lines as well as differences in opinion of acceptable behavior. It’s a simple story but an affecting one.


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

August 24
The Road (2009)

August 26
White God (2014)

AMAZON PRIME

August 23
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

August 24
Captain Fantastic (2016)

August 29
Dirty Dancing (1987)

FILMSTRUCK

August 17
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982)
Escape from New York (1981)
The Falls (1980)
Hairspray (1988)
A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

August 20
Frances Ha (2012)

August 24
Act of Violence (1949)
Boy (2010)
Casablanca (1942)
The Freshman (1925)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Get Carter (1971)
The Little Foxes (1941)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Nine Queens (2000)
Now, Voyager (1942)
The Producers (1967)
Stella Dallas (1937)
Swing Time (1936)
Top Hat (1935)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

August 31
Badlands (1973)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)
The Exorcist (1973)
Gun Crazy (1950)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Kameradschaft (1931)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The Searchers (1956)
They Live by Night (1948)
Tootsie (1982)
Westfront 1918 (1930)
You Only Live Once (1937)

HULU

August 31
Across the Universe (2007)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
The ’Burbs (1989)
Clue (1985)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Event Horizon (1997)
Hellboy (2004)
My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rain Man (1988)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Trainspotting (1996)


JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
Hostiles (2017)
No Country for Old Men (2007)

AMAZON PRIME

The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Carnage (2011)
The City of the Dead (1960)
The Damned United (2009)
The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)
Every Little Step (2008)
A Field in England (2013)
General Della Rovere (1959)
Hope and Glory (1987)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
In Syria (2017)
La Femme Nikita (1990)
Lean on Pete (2017)
Long Weekend (1978)
The Marquise of O (1976)
Mood Indigo (2013)
Ms .45 (1981)
Passport to Pimlico (1949)
The Second Mother (2015)
Tangerines (2013)
They Call Me Jeeg (2015)
Wake in Fright (1971)
Why We Fight (2005)
Zodiac (2007)

FILMSTRUCK

Heroes for Sale (1933)
Phoenix (2014)
A Star Is Born (1937)
Westward the Women (1951)
Wild Boys of the Road (1933)

HULU

Borg vs McEnroe (2017)
The Cage Fighter (2017)


COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

August 17

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – NETFLIX FILM
The Motive – NETFLIX FILM

HULU

August 17
Minding The Gap – HULU DOCUMENTARY (2018)

August 23
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: August 9-15

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.

This week I’m recommending a 2017 film that happens to be one of the best Westerns in years, transcending the genre itself. Next, a classic Japanese film that is as deep in meaning as the sand dunes its protagonist is trapped at the bottom of. Finally, a Robert Redford-led government conspiracy crime caper.

As always, be sure to check out the list of all the notable films that are expiring soon and newly arriving.


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


Hostiles

  — Available Aug. 15

Year: 2017

Director: Scott Cooper

Genre: History, Drama, Western, Adventure

Cast: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Jesse Plemons, Adam Beach, Rory Cochrane, Ben Foster, Stephen Lang, Timothée Chalamet, Jonathan Majors, Q’orianka Kilcher, Paul Anderson, Ryan Bingham, Peter Mullan, Robyn Malcolm, Scott Wilson, Bill Camp, John Benjamin Hickey

From the shocking opening where the serenity of a mother in her home schooling her children is shattered in a flurry of sudden and vicious gunfire and brutality, the tone is set for this very bleak but somehow hopeful film. Christian Bale plays Native American-hating Army captain Joseph Blocker. His duty, against his will is to escort Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family through deadly territory back to their reservation. While the setting makes this a Western, deep themes run throughout that echo the entire history of human relations, cycles of violence and resulting prejudice and attempts to overcome it all. It’s a very unique film in that it shows compassion for all peoples but doesn’t hold back on showing how cruel and violent anyone can be, regardless of race. It also explores the nature of doing one’s duty despite how one feels about it and learning to forgive the worst wrongs.

In a film full of fantastic performances and colorful characters representing many types and races of people, Rosamund Pike (Rosalie) and Christian Bale stand above the rest. The pair’s relationship could have easily been abused for the sake of cheap romance, but instead through the trauma they share from their past, they take a fascinating and heart-wrenching emotional and spiritual journey together. They both have to struggle to overcome the pain of their past and the grief it is causing them as well as current danger and try to maintain their faith despite God having seemed to turn a blind eye to them.


Woman in the Dunes

  

Year: 1964

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara

Genre: Thriller, Drama

Cast: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida, Ginzô Sekiguchi, Kôji Mitsui, Sen Yano, Hiroko Itô

Tokyo teacher and entomologist Jumpei Niki (Eiji Okada) is on a three-day vacation and gets tricked into going down a sandy cliff side from which there is no way out. The only way to survive and keep the house down there from collapsing is to shovel sand every night along with the unnamed woman (Kyôko Kishida) who lives in the house. Despite this relatively simple plot, Hiroshi Teshigahara has created a film incredibly dense with meaning.

Is it a nightmarish retelling of the Sisyphus myth? Is it a glimpse of a man in hell? Is it a commentary on the dehumanization of slavery or the nature of our innate lustful and voyeuristic attitudes? Is it a cautionary tale inspiring us to live with purpose rather than merely live to survive? Is it an homage to the allegory of Plato’s cave? Yes and much more. Hiroshi Segawa’s masterful cinematography along with claustrophobic editing serves to amp up the hopeless conditions. And Toru Takemitsu’s tense musical score gets at the sense of unease and downright fear at what’s happening.


Sneakers

Year: 1992

Director: Phil Alden Robinson

Genre: Crime, Drama, Comedy

Cast: Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, David Strathairn, River Phoenix, Timothy Busfield, Mary McDonnell, Ben Kingsley, James Earl Jones, Donal Logue, Denise Dowse, Eddie Jones, Time Winters, Bodhi Elfman, Stephen Tobolowsky, George Hearn, Lee Garlington, George Cheung, Michael Kinney, Gary Hershberger

With Robert Redford’s confirmation just days ago that he is retiring from acting after his next film is released this fall, now’s a great time to go back to Phil Alden Robinson’s (Field of Dreams) early Mission: Impossible-lite government conspiracy crime caper that put the NSA on the map of the public’s consciousness. Redford plays Martin Bishop, an affable former hacker who heads a security team of eccentric characters with dubious pasts. They get pressured into doing a favor for the government and soon find themselves caught in a massive conspiracy that could get any or all of them killed.

While the film is dated in its look and technology, the plot is entirely relevant to modern concerns of online privacy. It’s also far more entertaining than it has a right to be thanks to its clever writing, abundance of twists and turns, and light-hearted adventurous tone, and inspired casting, combining such disparate actors on the team as Dan Aykroyd as Mother, Sidney Poitier as Crease, and David Strathairn as Whistler, the blind guy who uses his other senses to greater effect than anyone else. Mary McDonnell adds a feminine presence as Martin’s ex-girlfriend Liz and along with Stephen Tobolowsky in a bit part creates one of the most memorable sequences of the movie. And last but not least, Sir Ben Kingsley gets to be a misguided, all-too-powerful villain, with a ponytail to boot.


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

August 15
The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
Sweet Bean (2015)

August 24
The Road (2009)

FILMSTRUCK

August 10
Altered States (1980)
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
Dogtooth (2009)
Falling Down (1993)
Magnolia (1999)
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Them! (1954)

August 12
The Last House on the Left (1972)

August 17
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982)
Escape from New York (1981)
The Falls (1980)
Hairspray (1988)
A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

August 20
Frances Ha (2012)

August 24

Act of Violence (1949)
Boy (2010)
Casablanca (1942)
The Freshman (1925)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Get Carter (1971)
The Little Foxes (1941)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Nine Queens (2000)
Now, Voyager (1942)
The Producers (1967)
Stella Dallas (1937)
Swing Time (1936)
Top Hat (1935)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

August 31
Badlands (1973)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)
The Exorcist (1973)
Gun Crazy (1950)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Kameradschaft (1931)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The Searchers (1956)
They Live by Night (1948)
Tootsie (1982)
Westfront 1918 (1930)
You Only Live Once (1937)

HULU

August 31
Across the Universe (2007)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
The ’Burbs (1989)
Clue (1985)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Event Horizon (1997)
Hellboy (2004)
My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rain Man (1988)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Trainspotting (1996)


JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Paid in Full (2002)

AMAZON PRIME

The Haunted Palace (1963)
High Noon (1952)
Hoosiers (1986)
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Joe (2013)
Rich Hill (2014)
A Star Is Born (1937)
The Uninvited (1944)

FILMSTRUCK

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Barry Lyndon (1975)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The Emigrants (1971)
The Exorcist (1973)
The New Land (1972)


COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

August 10
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – NETFLIX FILM (2018)
The Package – NETFLIX FILM (2018)

August 11
No Country for Old Men (2007)

August 15
Hostiles (2017)

HULU

August 10
Borg vs McEnroe (2017)

August 16
Role Models (2008)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: August 2-8

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.

Before I get to the highlights, a bit of news. Arthur Gordon, a fellow member of the Feelin’ Film Discussion Group on Facebook brought it to my awareness that an increasingly large number of films from indie darling studio A24 have shown up on Netflix. A bit of research has revealed that in fact, 29 of them, a full third, are now streaming on the service. Apparently, Netflix has been nabbing them as they leave Amazon Prime, which is good news for those who either don’t have Amazon Prime or hadn’t gotten a chance to see those titles yet.

This week I’m recommending a first visit or revisit to an 80s time-travel comedy cult classic, a fictional drama from the aforementioned A24 studio that offers a surprisingly emotional and heartfelt peek into the life of real-life author David Foster Wallace, and a simple yet brilliant and timeless film from a master Japanese filmmaker that drives to the heart of the father-daughter relationship.

Among the films leaving this week and in the near future from FilmStruck are a collection of titles from Luis Buñuel as well as classics such as Lumet’s Network, Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria and PTA’s Magnolia. Also, Warrior is exiting Amazon Prime August 4.

It’s a new month, so there are a host of great titles that have just been added to all streaming services, everything from old classics like Beau Geste and Touch of Evil to modern hits like the first 2/3 of The Dark Knight trilogy and Children of Men.

 


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

      

Year: 1989

Director: Stephen Herek

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Comedy, Music

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, Dan Shor, Hal Landon Jr., Amy Stock-Poynton, Terry Camilleri, Tony Steedman, Rod Loomis, Bernie Casey, Al Leong, Jane Wiedlin, Robert V. Barron, Clifford David, J. Patrick McNamara, Frazier Bain, Diane Franklin, Kimberley Kates, William Robbins, Steve Shepherd, Anne Machette, Traci Dawn Davis

 

With the recent news that the duo of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are planning to once again joining forces to bring a third Bill and Ted movie to the big screen and with the sequel being added to FilmStruck to create one of the wildest double features the service has yet produced, now’s a great time to take a trip back to 1989 and Bill and Ted’s first, most excellent adventure. Back to when they were just two unmotivated high schoolers from San Dimas, California who are about to find out that the fate of the world rests on them passing their history class and Ted not getting shipped off to military school.

Despite the film being purely a product of its time, it remains endlessly entertaining and has earned its place as a cult favorite. Bill and Ted have the kind of charismatic chemistry with one another that you can’t help but feel good about, and the fact that they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed only adds to their charm and hilarity, especially once it comes to interacting with historical characters such as Napoleon, Joan of Arc, and Socrates. The jokes never feel mean spirited, though. George Carlin’s presence as the level-headed straight man who needs them to succeed at their mission further elevates the comedy as well as the drama.


 

The End of the Tour

Year: 2015

Director: James Ponsoldt

Genre: Biography, Drama

Cast: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Gummer, Joan Cusack, Ron Livingston, Mickey Sumner, Becky Ann Baker, Dan John Miller, Stephanie Cotton, Noel Fletcher, Ben Phelps, Punnavith Koy

 

A film that draws an incredible depth of emotion, even for those with no familiarity with David Foster Wallace or his bestselling 1,000+ page novel, Infinite Jest. Donald Margulies’ script along with James Ponsoldt’s direction provides a unique peek into Wallace’s life through the experience of former Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky. We open on Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) discovering that Wallace has committed suicide. We are then brought back to those final days of Wallace’s book tour when Lipsky had the opportunity to interview him for Rolling Stone.

Jason Segel’s performance as Wallace is career-defining. His appearance, mannerisms, soft-spokenness, and abundance of thought-provoking observations and self-awareness make clear that we along with Lipsky are experiencing an encounter with a specific and unique individual. Eisenberg himself is also workmanlike in his performance, subtly revealing the young Lipsky’s fragility and determination. Through their interactions together, Wallace comes across much like Solomon of old, incredibly aware of all the ways we make life meaningless, but still unable to resist its seemingly harmless pleasures and addictions.


 

Late Spring

  

Year: 1949

Director: Yasujirō Ozu

Genre: Drama

Cast: Chishū Ryū, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura, Hohi Aoki, Jun Usami, Kuniko Miyake, Masao Mishima, Yoshiko Tsubouchi, Yôko Katsuragi, Toyo Takahashi, Jun Tanizaki, Ichirô Shimizu, Youko Benisawa, Manzaburo Umewaka

 

Simple, quiet, intimate, human, brilliant. Yasujirō Ozu’s no-frills approach tells a story that drives at the heart of the relationship between fathers and their daughters through the seasons of life, the sacrifices made and the need to move on. Here we have a young woman, Noriko, played by the captivating Setsuko Hara, who is happy and content to stay home and live with her widower father Shukichi (Chishū Ryū) while he and everyone else are trying to convince her to get married. Being in a post-WWII society where arranged marriages are still common and with Noriko having a friend who married for love and still ended up getting divorced, it’s hard to fault Noriko for just wanting things to stay the same. But we all know life doesn’t work that way.

Ozu deploys a consistency and stability in his camera angles and perspectives. While his style is unique, it does not offer many surprises. His focus is on the characters and the framing which help to relay the emotion of the story he’s telling. And that story packs a wallop of a punch by the time it reaches its conclusion.

 


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

August 4
13 Assassins (2010)

August 15
The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

 

AMAZON PRIME

August 4
Warrior (2011)

 

FILMSTRUCK

August 3
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
Marty (1955)
The Mission (1986)
Network (1976)

August 4
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)
The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

August 10
Altered States (1980)
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
Dogtooth (2009)
Falling Down (1993)
Magnolia (1999)
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Them! (1954)

August 12
The Last House on the Left (1972)

August 17
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982)
Escape from New York (1981)
The Falls (1980)
Hairspray (1988)
A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

August 20
Frances Ha (2012)

 

HULU

August 31
Across the Universe (2007)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
The ’Burbs (1989)
Clue (1985)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Event Horizon (1997)
Hellboy (2004)
My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rain Man (1988)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Trainspotting (1996)


 

JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

The Aviator (2004)
Batman Begins (2005)
Cinderella Man (2005)
The Constant Gardener (2005)
Clerks (1994)
Constantine (2005)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
The Game (1997)
Gran Torino (2008)
Haider (2014)
Hardcore Henry (2015)
Her (2013)
The Informant! (2009)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Out of Sight (1998)
PK (2014)
Serenity (2005)
Song of the Sea (2014)
Steel Magnolias (1989)
Touch of Evil (1958)

 

AMAZON PRIME

Beau Geste (1939)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Children of Men (2006)
Cold War (2018)
The Elephant Man (1980)
Freedom Writers (2007)
Frequency (2000)
High Noon (1952)
Hoosiers (1986)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Joe (2013)
The Soloist (2009)
Training Day (2001)
United 93 (2006)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Watchmen (2009)

 

FILMSTRUCK

Deathtrap (1982)
Le Cercle Rouge (1970)
The Lusty Men (1952)
Out of the Past (1947)
Tootsie (1982)
The Wind Journeys (2009)

 

HULU

Before We Vanish (2017)
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Cold War (2018)
The Elephant Man (1980)
High Noon (1952)
Hoosiers (1986)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
The Hurricane (1999)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Joe (2013)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Lost in Translation (2003)
The Nasty Girl (1990)
Point Break (1991)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The Usual Suspects (1995)


 

COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

August 3
Like Father – NETFLIX FILM (2018)

August 5
Paid In Full (2002)

 


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: July 19-25

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.

This week I’m highlighting a change of pace food-focused indie film from Jon Favreau (expiring soon), a surreal mindbender from Denis Villeneuve, and another all-time classic from Charlie Chaplin.

This month is your last chance to see Finding Dory on Netflix, Gran Torino and The Hurt Locker on Amazon Prime, and classics like His Girl Friday, Rio Bravo, and Taxi Driver on FilmStruck. Now streaming are titles such as Room, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, and The Spectacular Now on Netflix and The Philadelphia Story and the Judy Garland version of A Star Is Born on FilmStruck.

 


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


Chef

Year: 2014

Director: Jon Favreau

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Cast: Jon Favreau, Sofía Vergara, Emjay Anthony, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale, Amy Sedaris, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Peters, Chase Grimm, Will Schutze, Gloria Sandoval, Jose C. Hernandez, Alberto Salas, Alfredo Ortiz

 

When he’s not busy making movies or in a past life, Jon Favreau—who plays main character Carl Casper—seems to have spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen and frequenting food trucks. As writer, director, and lead actor on this picture, his love for the world of food shines through, as does his frustration with artists being told how they have to make their art  and critics–professional and otherwise–putting down the art.

Casper is a head chef at a high-class restaurant in Los Angeles, but he’s fed up with being told how to make his dishes and blows up at a stuffy, influential critic both on Twitter and in person after receiving a scathing review. With his reputation now trashed and unable to make the dishes he knows would be loved, he leaves the restaurant and has to figure out what’s next for him career-wise and what to do about his relationships with his estranged son Percy (Emjay Anthony) and his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara).

In all, Chef is a unique look at the classic middle age crisis but in the modern world of friendly divorces and social media, where emotions run wild, reputations are changed in a moment, and news today is gone tomorrow.

EXPIRING: Last day to watch on Amazon Prime is July 27


 

Enemy

Year: 2013

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Joshua Peace, Tim Post, Kedar Brown, Megan Mane, Misha Highstead, Alexis Uiga, Darryl Dinn, Kiran Friesen, Loretta Yu, Stephen R. Hart, Paul Stephen

 

Despite it being far more surreal than any of his other films Denis Villeneuve’s (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival) fingerprints can be seen all over Enemy, from pacing to atmospheric score to thematic color design. It is sublimely edited, attention-grabbing throughout, and terrifically haunting in its direction. For what it’s worth, even his use of nudity, while graphic, is limited and more artistic than titillating.

But none of it works without Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as two radically different characters who look the same, one a professor named Adam Bell, the other a small-time actor named Daniel St. Claire, who Adam stumbles upon after renting one of his movies. Unable to shake the reality that Daniel is a mirror image of himself, Adam becomes obsessed with him. And it only gets stranger and more challenging and confusing from there. It’s virtually impossible to tell the difference between dreams, reality, imagination, and symbolism, and why the heck spiders keep appearing. But despite the likelihood that the film will leave you in utter confusion, it’s a fascinating experience with knockout performances, an incredible score, and wonderfully creative visual design.


 

City Lights

  

Year: 1931

Director: Charlie Chaplin

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers, Al Ernest Garcia, Hank Mann, Albert Austin, Eddie Baker, Henry Bergman, Buster Brodie, Jeanne Carpenter, Tom Dempsey, James Donnelly, Ray Erlenborn, Robert Graves, Charles Hammond, Jean Harlow, Joseph Herrick, Austen Jewell, Willie Keeler, Robert Parrish John Rand, W.C. Robinson, Cy Slocum, Tony Stabenau, Mark Strong, Tiny Ward, Stanhope Wheatcroft, Florence Wix

 

A delightful film through and through, full of laughter, awe, and heartwarming goodness, but it also embraces the reality of the hard times. You can’t help but root for Charlie Chaplin’s character The Tramp. He has such a good heart and keeps finding himself a victim of circumstance, for better and worse. Virginia Cherill as his love interest is so cute and  great at playing blind. Their on-screen chemistry is special.

There is a lyrical quality to the film that uses the perfect choreography of movement and wonderful musical score to keep each scene flowing smoothly into the next. Incredible timing is needed to make the interactions work as they need to, but Chaplin is such an expert, he makes it all look easy.

There are diverse settings, and the film is chock full of gags, but one of the highlights is the boxing match. Its choreography is among the most creative of its type. And not only is that entire sequence laugh-out-loud funny, both before and during the match, it’s also thrilling and suspenseful. If you only see one Chaplin film, make it City Lights. It’s a true joy to experience.

 


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

July 29
Assassination (2015)

July 31
Finding Dory (2016)
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

 

AMAZON PRIME

July 19
Embrace of the Serpent

July 27
Chef

July 30
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
Wild Bill (1995)

July 31
A Christmas Story (1983)
Gran Torino (2008)
The Hurt Locker (2009)

 

FILMSTRUCK

July 20
Blow-Up (1966)
Rififi (1955)
Thieves’ Highway (1949)

July 27
All the President’s Men (1976)
Ball of Fire (1941)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
His Girl Friday (1940)
The Killing Fields (1984)
Rio Bravo (1959)

July 28
Night and the City (1950)

July 31
Taxi Driver (1976)

August 3
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
Marty (1955)
Network (1976)

August 4
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)
The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

August 10
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
Dogtooth (2009)
Magnolia (1999)
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)


 

JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Enemy (2013)
Locke (2013)
Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017)
Obvious Child (2014)
Room (2015)
The Rover (2014)
The Spectacular Now (2013)
The Stranger (1946)
Under the Skin (2013)

 

AMAZON PRIME

The Doors (1991)
Return to Me (2000)
Walking Tall (1973)

 

FILMSTRUCK

Gaslight (1944)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
A Star Is Born (1954)
Two Women (1960)

 

HULU

Cold in July (2014)
The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008)


 

COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

July 20
Father of the Year—NETFLIX FILM (2018)

July 22
An Education (2009)

 

AMAZON PRIME

July 24
How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017)

 

HULU

July 20
Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

July 25
Black Cop (2017)

 


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: July 12-18

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.

This week, I’m featuring a 90s Jim Carrey film that is as relevant as ever, classic Billy Wilder that blurs the lines between true Hollywood and fantasy, and a powerful New Zealand film about mental illness, gang life, and chess.

Be sure to see Bringing Up Baby, expiring from FilmStruck on July 27, and then listening to the associated Feelin’ Film Connecting With Classics podcast. Same goes for All the President’s Men. Also on FilmStruck, Rio Bravo has a short-term engagement and will be leaving July 26. Also, the Jaws franchise has arrived on Amazon Prime, and Blue Valentine and Gone Baby Gone on Netflix.

 


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


 

The Truman Show

Year: 1998

Director: Peter Weir

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi

Cast: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Ed Harris, Brian Delate, Paul Giamatti, Peter Krause, Blair Slater, Heidi Schanz, Ron Taylor, Don Taylor, Ted Raymond, O-Lan Jones, Krista Lynn Landolfi, Harry Shearer, Jeanette Miller, Philip Glass, Una Damon, Joe Minjares, Philip Baker Hall, John Pleshette, Terry Camilleri, Joel McKinnon Miller

 

Most of you have seen The Truman Show, but chances are, it’s been a while, so you might be surprised to hear how well it holds up. On its surface, this is a vehicle for Jim Carrey to show he’s much more than just a rubber-faced funnyman in a prescient surface-level commentary on the culture of reality TV and YouTube. For that alone, it’s a brilliant piece of work, but below the surface, director Peter Weir and writer Andrew Niccol have incorporated many other layers along with a lovely and complex score that is shamelessly self-aware in its manipulation of the viewer.

Weir isn’t just telling a story about a guy whose whole life is a reality TV program, he’s showing us how we’re all in a sort of reality TV program, and we all need our perspective challenged. If truth isn’t revealed to us, we’ll happily live in a lie. “We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented,” says Christof (Ed Harris), who represents a God figure or rather a critique of belief in a certain type of God, which provides a lot of food for thought and discussion.


 

Sunset Boulevard

  

Year: 1950

Director: Billy Wilder

Genre: Drama, Film-noir

Cast: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough, Jack Webb, Buster Keaton, Cecil B. DeMille, Hedda Hopper, Anna Q. Nilsson, Ray Evans, Jay Livingston, H.B. Warner, Franklyn Farnum, Larry J. Blake, Charles Dayton, Fred Aldrich, Joel Allen, Gertrude Astor, Edward Biby, Danny Borzage, Ken Christy, Ruth Clifford, Archie R. Dalzell, Eddie Dew, Julia Faye, Al Ferguson, Gerry Ganzer

 

The quintessential movie to represent the realities, often painful, of classic Hollywood and the fleetingness of fame. Gloria Swanson’s performance as forgotten silent movie star Norma Desmond is one for the ages. You never quite know whether to be sorry for her, intimidated by her, or downright afraid of her. The tension is carefully built throughout such as the feeling of entrapment and loss of control every time another of Joe Gillis’ (William Holden) connections to his life apart from Norma is severed. While this is not a horror film, much about the basic plot and its themes is reminiscent of the writer’s plight in Stephen King’s Misery.

Seeing Hollywood behind the scenes is often fascinating for people who love the world of film, but Sunset Boulevard is truly exceptional. The lines between fantasy and reality are completely blurred due to the presence of real life players like the famous director Cecil B. DeMille and real world silent film stars such as Buster Keaton, playing themselves. I can only imagine the dramatic impact it would have had to sit in the theater in 1950 and see this Hollywood story unfold.


The Dark Horse

Year: 2014

Director: James Napier Robertson

Genre:  Biography, Drama

Cast: Cliff Curtis, James Rolleston, Kirk Torrance, Sia Trokenheim, Andrew Grainger, Xavier Horan, Roseanne Liang, Miriama McDowell, Rachel House, Wayne Hapi

 

From the burgeoning film world of New Zealand comes the best film you’ll see about high-functioning mental illness, gang life, and chess clubs for underprivileged kids. Now that may sound like damning with faint praise, but you don’t win a slew of international awards for nothing. Cliff Curtis phenomenally portrays Genesis, a man who has a brilliant mind for chess but who also takes prescription drugs to keep himself on the edge of semi-independence. Sometimes he slips off that edge ever so gradually. Other times it’s a sudden fall and he’s lost in his repetitions.

Thankfully, Genesis has an older brother Ariki (Wayne Hapi) who cares about his well-being and takes him into his home, providing him with a modicum of stability. This gives Genesis the opportunity to discover the local Eastern Knights Chess Club run by an old friend. The club is a group of ragtag, unmotivated kids, which inspires him to encourage and teach them so they can compete in the Junior National Championships. But things aren’t so great at home after all. Ariki’s son Mana (James Rolleston) has connected with chess, but Ariki is a gang member and intends to raise his son in the gang as well. The priorities of all three are challenged.


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

July 15
Changeling (2008)
Opening Night (1977)

 

FILMSTRUCK

July 13
Losing Ground (1982)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

July 20
Blow-Up (1966)
Rififi (1955)
Thieves’ Highway (1949)

July 27
All the President’s Men (1976)
Ball of Fire (1941)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
His Girl Friday (1940)
The Killing Fields (1984)
Rio Bravo (1959)

July 28
Night and the City (1950)

July 31
Taxi Driver (1976)


 

JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Blue Valentine (2010)
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Scream 4 (2011)

 

AMAZON PRIME

Jaws (1975)
Snowden (2016)

 

FILMSTRUCK

Auntie Mame (1958)
Beyond the Hills (2012)
Moi, Un Noir (1958)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Rio Bravo (1959)

 

HULU

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)
Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017)
The Heart of Nuba (2016)


 

COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

July 13
How It Ends—NETFLIX FILM (2018)

July 15
Going for Gold (2018)

 


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: June 28 – July 4

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found. This week I’m recommending another career defining project from the gone-too-soon Bill Paxton, a darkly comic Jason Reitman romantic drama, and Wim Wenders contemplative exploration of a broken man.

Also, among the comings and goings, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Disney’s Tarzan have arrived on Netflix, Shutter Island has come to both Amazon Prime and Hulu, and last year’s I Kill Giants has come to Hulu as well. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure are moving from Netflix to Amazon Prime. And the previously featured Changeling will be leaving Netflix on July 15. Arriving this week on Netflix is the original Jurassic Park trilogy and a whole lot more quality films to all the services as June turns to July.

 


STREAMING PICKS OF THE WEEK


Frailty

  

Year: 2001

Director: Bill Paxton

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Drama

Cast: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe, Matt O’Leary, Jeremy Sumpter, Luke Askew, Levi Kreis, Derk Cheetwood, Missy Crider, Alan Davidson, Cynthia Ettinger, Gwen McGee, Rebecca Tilney

 

I start off with another film featuring the late, great Bill Paxton. On its face, Frailty, may appear to be a run-of-the-mill gory slasher movie. I assure you it’s anything but. Penned by Brent Hanley and directed by Paxton, who also plays the lead character Dad Meiks and offers another career-defining performance, the film is far from run of the mill with its narrator-driven story that offers no easy answers. Meiks loves his boys as much as any father could, but that love is challenged when he sees an angel of God and is told he must destroy demons who have taken on the guise of humans. His sons are to help. Fully convinced the calling is divine, he is compelled to carry out the task, no matter the cost to him or his sons.

While this is not a graphic film, it is a disturbing film filled with atmosphere and a soundtrack that adds to the creepy, foreboding nature of every scene. Paxton relies greatly on the Hitchcockian method of building suspense through anticipation and letting the mind visualize the violence rather than show it all. It’s a film that while offering satisfying answers, leaves many more questions unanswered. But these are the kind of questions that shouldn’t be answered by the film. Questions about the nature of God and demons and special revelation and justice and our responsibilities. Questions that matter.


Up in the Air

Year: 2009

Director: Jason Reitman

Genre: Drama, Romance

Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Danny McBride, Jason Bateman, Amy Morton, Melanie Lynskey, Zach Galifianakis, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott, Tamala Jones, Adhir Kalyan, Ashton Kutcher, Keri Maletto, Steve Eastin, Adrienne Lamping, Chris Lowell, Erin McGrane

 

Being a corporate “downsizer” requires one to develop a certain kind of heartlessness about the pain inflicted on those being laid off. In this incisive and darkly comic Jason Reitman film, George Clooney as executive Ryan Bingham perfectly exemplifies such characteristics along with the sharp cynicism and cockiness that Clooney does so well. Bingham is all wrapped up in himself and his personal goals, which fits the like minded traveler who he crosses paths (and bodies) with named Alex (Vera Farmiga) just fine.

But when Bingham is tasked to train up and comer Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), who has a plan to make mass firings cheaper through videoconferencing technology, he’s forced to come face to face with himself and the emptiness of the life he’s living and his inner longing for meaningful relationship. In this film, George Clooney gets to be at his cockiest and most playful as well as at his lowest. And Vera Farmiga matches him note for note. Anna Kendrick is great too as she goes through her own emotional journey.


 

Paris, Texas

  

Year: 1984

Director: Wim Wenders

Genre: Drama

Cast: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Hunter Carson, Aurore Clément, Bernhard Wicki, John Lurie, Jeni Vici, Sally Norvell, Socorro Valdez, Claresie Mobley, Viva, Tom Farrell

 

Wim Wenders directs this remarkable film detailing the journey of a middle-aged man named Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton), a man who walked away from his young wife and child and disappeared into obscurity only to show up as a mute wanderer in poor health four years later. The script, co-written by Sam Shepard and L.M. Kit Carson shows great compassion for Travis, and at times, it can be difficult to see the sensitivity and lack of condemnation shown him, a man who chooses to run away from his commitments rather than face his failures, but that’s real life and there is value in seeing into the soul of such a man, to see the demons he is battling.

This is a tour-de-force from the late Stanton. The world-weariness he silently portrays, the moments of hope and happiness where a tentative smile lights up his face, the sadness he feels when he’s rejected by his son, the despair, the regret, the determination, all the emotion and personality of this broken man pours out of him. And while her part is much smaller, I would be remiss to leave out Nastassja Kinski for her role as Jane Henderson. The way she ever so slowly shifts from flirty to uncomfortable to breaking down into sobs is incredible to watch.

Partnering with cinematographer Robby Müller, Wenders uses atypical camera angles, careful framing (such as the precise use of mirrors to show both sides of a conversation simultaneously), and Ry Cooder’s gentle but haunting guitar-picking score along with brilliant dialogue all serve to create a film that is hypnotic and contemplative to frame its wonderfully evocative yet authentic performances.

 


COMING AND GOING


LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)

NETFLIX

June 30
An Honest Liar (2014)
Before Midnight (2013)
King Kong (2005)
Little Women (1994)
Michael Clayton (2007)
Midnight in Paris (2011)
On Golden Pond (1981)
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
V for Vendetta (2005)

From the Lethal Weapon Collection:

Lethal Weapon (1987)
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

July 1
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

July 15
Changeling (2008)

 

AMAZON PRIME

June 29
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
Basic Instinct (1992)
Friday the 13th (1980)
Marathon Man (1975)
The Music Never Stopped (2011)
A Simple Plan (1998)

June 30
Dogville (2004)
Escape from New York (1981)
The Karate Kid (1984)
Mystic River (2003)
Sleepers (1996)

 

FILMSTRUCK

June 29
History Is Made at Night (1937)
The Italian Connection (1972)
The Music Man (1962)

From the Lars Von Trier collection:

Breaking the Waves (1996) *
Dogville (2003) **
Europa (1991) *
The Five Obstructions (2003)

June 30
Caliber 9 (1972)
It Happened One Night (1934)
The Ladykillers (1955)
Uptight (1968)

July 6
Husbands and Wives (1992)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

July 8
Together (2000)

July 13
Losing Ground (1982)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

July 20
Blow-Up (1966)
Rififi (1955)
Thieves’ Highway (1949)

*  Remaining on the Criterion channel
** Remaining on the FilmStruck channel

 

HULU

June 30
Zodiac (2007)
Stories We Tell (2012)
A Simple Plan (1998)
Project Nim (2011)
Marathon Man (1976)
A League of Their Own (1992)


 

JUST ARRIVED

NETFLIX

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Tarzan (1999)

 

AMAZON PRIME

Breach (2007)
The Invisible War (2012)
Shutter Island (2010)
Suburbia (1983)

 

FILMSTRUCK

Don’t Look Now: We’re Being Shot At (1966)
Hype! (1996)
The Searchers (1956)
Sonatine (1993)
The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)

 

HULU

Ballet 422 (2014)
Shutter Island (2010)
I Kill Giants (2017)


 

COMING THIS WEEK

NETFLIX

June 29
Tau — NETFLIX FILM (2018)

July 1
The Boondock Saints (1999)
Finding Neverland (2004)
Happy Gilmore (1996)
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Jurassic Park (1993) — Parts II and III also available
Menace II Society (1993)
Troy (2004)

July 5
Blue Valentine (2010)

 

AMAZON PRIME

July 1
20,000 Days on Earth (2014)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
The Act of Killing (2012)
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
All Is Lost (2013)
Angel Heart (1987)
American Psycho (2000)
Assassination (2015)
Barfly (1987)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
The Graduate (1967)
Gran Torino (2008)
The Invisible War (2012)
The Monster Squad (1987)
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Patriot Games (1992)
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Rabbit Hole (2010)
Six Shooter (2004)
State of Grace (1990)
V for Vendetta (2006)
Waste Land (2010)
Witness (1985)
Woody Allen: A Documentary (2011)
Zodiac (2007)

 

HULU

July 1
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
All Is Lost (2013)
American Psycho (2000)
Assassination (2015)
Angel Heart (1987)
Barfly (1987)
Before Midnight (2013)
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Braveheart (1995)
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Clue (1985)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Election (1999)
Hustle & Flow (2005)
Midnight in Paris (2011)
The Monster Squad (1987)
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Rabbit Hole (2010)
The Rainmaker (1997)
Six Shooter (2004)
Sleepers (1996)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Witness (1985)

July 3
Borg vs McEnroe (2018)

 


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.