Movies to See Right Now

Jeremy Renner and Gil Birmingham in WIND RIVER

With the contemporary Western thriller Wind River, screenwriter Taylor Sheridan has delivered another masterpiece, this time in his first effort as director. It’s got mystery, explosive action, wild scenery and some great acting, especially by Jeremy Renner and Gil Birmingham.

Other movies that are among the best of the year are the historical thriller Dunkirk and the delightful romantic comedy The Big Sick.

The best of the rest:

  • Baby Driver is just an action movie, but the walking, running and driving are brilliantly timed to the beat of music.
  • I enjoyed Charlize Theron’s rock ’em, sock ’em, espionage thriller Atomic Blonde.
  • The Trip to Spain, another gourmet romp from Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan is funny for the first 90 minutes or so – just leave when the characters part company in Malaga.

My DVD/Stream of the Week is an Oscar-winner that you haven’t seen: the Feel Good documentary Undefeated. You can find it on DVD and streaming from Netflix Instant, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

On August 30, Turner Classic Movies presents the second and the funniest of Blake Edwards’ Pink Panther movies, 1964’s A Shot in the Dark, in which Peter Sellers really comes into his own as Inspector Clouseau. A Shot in the Dark also introduces Herbert Lom, the king ofte slow burn, as Clouseau’s perpetually infuriated boss.

On September 1, TCM airs the 1933 submarine movie Hell Below. It’s a pretty contrived Robert Montgomery vehicle, but there are some elements worth fast-forwarding to. The comic relief is provided by Jimmy Durante, who plays the cook Ptomaine; Baby Boomers tend to remember Durante for his shtick on variety shows of the 1950s and 1960s – here’s the unadulterated Durante. Durante even boxes with a kangeroo! Hell Below also features Walter Huston, who was a major star at the time and who I think would be very successful today.

Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in A SHOT IN THE DARK
Herbert Lom in A SHOT IN THE DARK

Movies to See Right Now


Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley’s brilliant documentary about discovering her family’s secrets, is an absolute Must See. It’s one of my Best Movies of 2013 – So Far .

The other best bets in theaters include:

  • Mud, the gripping and thoughtful story of two Arkansas boys embarking on a secret adventure with a man hiding from the authorities – learning more than they expected about love and loyalty. Mud is also one of the best movies of 2013.
  • The Iceman is a solid true-life crime movie with an outstanding performance by Michael Shannon.

Also out right now:

  • Kon-Tiki is a faithful, but underwhelming account of a true life 5,000 mile raft trip across the Pacific.
  • The Great Gatsby is flashy but hollow.  Re-read the novel instead.

The compelling documentary The Central Park Five from Ken Burns, et al, is available streaming from Amazon Instant and other VOD providers.  Available on VOD, Greetings from Tim Buckley is a film for those who want to see an actor depict interior conflict with very little external action.

You can read descriptions and view trailers of upcoming films at Movies I’m Looking Forward To.

You’ve got to get ready for next weekend’s release of the year’s best romance, Before Midnight. Therefore my DVD/Stream of the Week are its prequels, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset – director Richard Linklater’s two uncommonly authentic and intelligent romances with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.  Both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are available on DVD from Netflix and streaming on VOD from Amazon , iTunes, Vudu and other VOD outlets.  Before Sunrise is free with Amazon Prime.

As usual for the Memorial Day weekend, Turner Classic Movies will be broadcasting a solid menu of war movies (almost all about WW II).  On May 25, the lineup centers around submarine movies:  Run Silent Run Deep, Torpedo Run, Thunder Afloat (which I haven’t seen) and Up Periscope. The most curious is 1933’s Hell Below, a rare WW I sub movie starring Walter Huston, in which Jimmy Durante boxes a kangeroo.  The best is Operation Pacific, with the great pairing of John Wayne and Patricia Neal.

The WW II classic that I can’t keep from watching is The Best Years of Our Lives.  A war ends, and it’s time to total up the sacrifices made by both those who fought and their loved ones, and to recognize how they have been changed by their experiences.  It’s on my list of Best Patriotic Movies.  TCM will broadcast The Best Years of Our Lives on Memorial Day, May 27.