Good movies are too scarce to be ignored or tossed aside; that’s why I’m making a pitch for some recent favorites like The Meddler with Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne and J.K. Simmons, which is now available for home viewing. Lorene Scafaria’s winning comedy-drama is based on her own experiences, which is why this movie has the unmistakable ring of truth. You can check out my full review HERE and you can hear my podcast conversation with Sarandon HERE.
Then there’ s Genius, starring Colin Firth as the legendary literary editor Maxwell Perkins. This labor-of-love project, written by the prolific John Logan, also stars Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, and in one of the best performances of the year, Jude Law, as Thomas Wolfe. Not everyone praised this film, but I am an unbashed booster. Perhaps it’s because I so like the source material, A. Scott Berg’s award-winning biography, so much, or the way director Michael Grandage captures the look and feel of the 1920s and 30s. You can read my full review HERE.
And I’ve been touting my favorite film of the year, Sing Street, for months. Almost no one saw it in its brief theatrical run—but everyone I spoke to who did really liked it. Now it’s available on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD so there is no excuse to miss out on this gem from John Carney, the Irish filmmaker who gave us Once and Begin Again. To read more about it, click HERE for my original review.
Good movies are too scarce to be ignored or tossed aside; that’s why I’m making another pitch for these recent favorites. But even I miss out on some films because I can’t get to their press screenings on a timely basis. So here’s another recommendation: check your local theater listings and go out to see Hell or High Water, a bank-heist movie with a sharp edge of social commentary. Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and Ben Foster star in this high-energy story set in Texas, directed by British filmmaker David Mackenzie and written by Taylor Sheridan, who scored with Sicario last year.
One final tip: Film Movement has just released one of my favorite films of the 1990s on Blu-ray for the first time (as well as DVD). Once Were Warriors blew me away when I saw it in 1994 and I have never forgotten it or its leading performers, Rena Owen and Temuera Morrison (I believe it’s the first time I saw the talented Cliff Curtis, as well.) It’s a searing story about a Maori family in modern-day New Zealand and how one woman reaches the breaking point in dealing with her abusive husband. Riwia Brown adapted Alan Duff’s novel, which was a best-seller, and it marked an auspicious feature debut for director Lee Tamahori. You can rent or stream it, and I urge you to do so. This is one for the ages.