This week’s primary recommendation is to go out and see The Big Sick, the best American movie of the year so far. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love. Here are more choices (but see The Big Sick first!):
- Baby Driver is just an action movie, but the walking, running and driving are brilliantly time to the beat of music.
- The Journey is a fictional imagining of a real historical event and is an acting showcase for Colm Meaney and Timothy Spall as the two longtime blood enemies who collaborated to bring peace to Northern Ireland.
- Okja, another wholly original creation from the imagination of master filmmaker Bong Joon Ho, is streaming on Netflix and opening in theaters.
- The amusingly naughty but forgettable comedy The Little Hours is based on the dirty fun in your Western Civ class, Boccaccio’s The Decameron.
- The character-driven suspenser Moka is a showcase for French actresses Emmanuelle Devos and Nathalie Baye.
- The bittersweet dramedy The Hero has one thing going for it – the wonderfully appealing Sam Elliott.
In my DVD/Stream of the Week, the thriller Locke, Tom Hardy never leaves his car and, for the entire duration of the movie, we only see his upper body, his eyes in the rearview mirror, the dashboard and the roadway lit by his headlights. All the other characters are voiced – he talks to them on the Bluetooth device in his BMW. Sure, that’s a gimmick – but it works because it complements the core story about the consequences of responsibility. Locke is available on DVD from Netflix and to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.
On July 15 Turner Classic Movies reminds why Alfred Hitchcock was the master of the suspenseful psychological thriller. To paraphrase Hitchcock, when a bomb under a table explodes, the audience is SURPRISED. But when the audience knows that the bomb under the table is ticking away, that creates SUSPENSE.
- One of Hitchcock’s all-time best was Strangers on a Train. A hypothetical discussion about murdering inconvenient people turns out to be not so hypothetical. Robert Walker plays one of the creepiest villains in movie history. The tennis match and carousel finale are unforgettable set pieces.
- Rope is based on the notorious 1924 Leopold and Loeb thrill kill murder in 1924. Look for John Dall playing the insufferably smug textbook narcissist while his Nervous Nellie partner (San Jose’s own Farley Granger) is about to snap. Can they outwit Jimmy Stewart? Hitchcock employed a gimmick to make the entire movie look like it was photographed in one single shot.