The brilliant comedy about personal identity Dear White People opens today, along with the Sundance hit Whiplash and the Bill Murray crowd pleaser St. Vincent. I saw Dear White People at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and have been telling folks about it for months – it’s on my list of Best Movies of 2014 – So Far.
- The thriller Gone Girl – the best Hollywood movie of 2014, with a career-topping performance by Rosamund Pike.
- The successful period thriller The Two Faces of January sets a dark-hearted and shadowy story in sunny Greece. The Two Faces of January is in theaters and is also available streaming on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play and Xbox Video.
- The exceptionally well-acted dramedy The Skeleton Twins contains several inspired moments.
- If you’re in the mood for a brutal, brutal World War II tank movie, there’s Fury.
My DVD/Stream of the week is the exquisite Polish drama Ida – the best foreign film of 2014. Ida is available on DVD from Netflix and streaming from Amazon Instant, YouTube, Google Play and Xbox Video.
This week, Turner Classic Movies will air the 1962 Ben Gazzara prison movie Convicts 4. TCM will also deliver two film noir masterpieces:
- In a Lonely Place (1950): The most unsettlingly sexy film noiress Gloria Grahame falls for the troubled screenwriter Humphrey Bogart, a guy with a MAJOR anger management issue; once she’s hooked, she realizes that he might be a murderer after all…
- Touch of Evil (1958): This Orson Welles masterpiece begins with one of cinema’s great opening scenes, as our lead characters walk from a Mexican border town into an American border town in a single tracking shot of well over 3 minutes. Unbeknownst to them, they are being shadowed by a car bomb. There’s a lot to enjoy here in this cesspool of corruption: a repellent sheriff-gone-bad played by Welles himself, one of Joseph Calleia’s finest supporting turns, one of Dennis Weaver’s first roles (written just for him by Welles) and Charlton Heston as a Mexican.