Movies to See Right Now

Charlotte Rampling and Jim Broadbent in THE SENSE OF AN ENDING
Charlotte Rampling and Jim Broadbent in THE SENSE OF AN ENDING

Okay, I’m exhausted from Cinequest, and the Oscar movies have drifted out of the theaters for the most part, so here we go:

  • The little British drama The Sense of an Ending, with Jim Broadbent, Harriet Walter and Charlotte Rampling, is the best movie opening this week.
  • If you’re looking for an unchallenging comedy, then The Last Word, with the force of nature named Shirley MacLaine, is for you.
  • By all means, avoid the epically bad epic The Ottoman Lieutenant, so bad that it provokes unintended audience giggles and guffaws.

The landmark 1967 US Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia overturned state laws that banned interracial marriage. My DVD/Stream of the week, Loving is the story of the real couple behind that ruling, and it’s a satisfying love story of two modest people who would rather not have been forced to make history. You can watch it on DVD from Netflix and Redbox or stream it from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

Turner Classic Movies presents the political suspense drama Seven Days in May and  Samuel Fuller’s gloriously pulpy psych ward expose,  Shock Corridor,  on March 18 and the Orson Welles film noir classic Touch of Evil on March 22.

Movies to See Right Now

Alan Rickman in EYE IN THE SKY
Alan Rickman in EYE IN THE SKY

Thriller meets thinker in Eye in the Sky, a parable from modern drone warfare starring Helen Mirren and with a wonderful final performance from the late Alan Rickman.

This week, I featured the documentary Last Days in Vietnam.  If you miss it on PBS’ American Experience, you can still stream it from Netflix Instant, Amazon Video, iTunes, YouTube and Google Play.

One of the most underrated films of the 1990s will be on Turner Classic Movies on March 29. Ulee’s Gold (1997) features Peter Fonda as a keep-to-himself rural beekeeper who finds himself in a thriller when actions of his no-good adult son threaten the rest of the family; watch for a 15-year-old Jessica Biel. For a more sordid choice on TCM, Sam Fuller’s typically sensationalistic psych ward movie Shock Corridor (1959) plays on March 30.


Movies to See Right Now


In the engrossing documentary Finding Vivian Maier, we go on journey to discover why one of the great 20th Century photographers kept her own work a secret.

The Unknown Known, master documentarian Errol Morris’ exploration of Donald Rumsfeld’s self-certainty, is a Must See for those who follow current events.   Like all Wes Anderson movies, The Grand Budapest Hotel is wry and imaginative, but it’s not one of his most engaging. Dom Hemingway is a fun and profane romp. In the most bizarro movie of the year so far, Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who lures men with her sensuality and then harvests their bodies; it’s trippy, but I found it ultimately unsatisfying.

I liked Run & Jump, now available streaming on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube and Xbox Video. It’s successful as a romance, a family drama and a promising first feature.

My DVD/Stream of the Week is the emotionally satisfying gem Philomena. Philomena is available on DVD from Netflix and streaming from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play and Xbox Video.

Sam Fuller is one of my favorite directors, and Turner Classic Movies is offering a Fullerathon on April 29. Fuller started out as a tabloid reporter and never missed a chance to shamelessly sensationalize a subject (except for war, which he insisted on treating realistically).  Two of Fuller’s trashterpieces are Naked Kiss and Shock Corridor.  His masterpiece is probably the Korean War film I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona ; the WWII movie Merrill’s Marauders is more conventional, but a solid WWII movie.  TCM is also showing I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona and Verboten!.  The only stinker of the group is The Run of the Arrow, with a hopelessly miscast and scenery-chewing Rod Steiger in buckskins.

In The Naked Kiss, a prostitute opens the movie by beating her pimp to a pulp, and then moves to a new town, seeking a new beginning in the straight world. She gets a job as a nurse at the clinic for disabled children, and becomes engaged to the town’s leading philanthropist. She thinks that everything will be great unless someone reveals her tawdry past. But, instead, she discovers that her Mr. Perfect is molesting the crippled kids! (Only Sam Fuller could pull this off!) Here’s the trailer.

Coming Up on TV: Another Sam Fuller Trashterpiece

On March 23, Turner Classic Movies is airing Shock Corridor (1963).  Director Sam Fuller started out as a tabloid reporter and never missed a chance to shamelessly sensationalize a subject (except for war, which he insisted on treating realistically).  Shock Corridor is one of Fuller’s most sensationalistic films.

In Shock Corridor, Peter Breck plays a reporter who gets himself committed to an insane asylum so he can gather facts for an expose.  He meets an African-American patient who dons Klan garb and gives white supremacist speeches in the corridor.  He meets a fellow patient named Psycho who thinks he’s pregnant.  He is attacked by a horny mob of women in the nymphomaniac ward, which causes him to yell a truly great movie line, “Nymphos!”.  And then things don’t go so well for him after the electroshock therapy…

And, as you can see from the trailer, if Sam Fuller could get a stripper in his movie, he would find a way.

Movies to See Right Now

Nora's Will

The Must See film right now is The Adjustment Bureau, a first rate love story embedded in the action thriller genre.  The Music Never Stopped is a crowd pleaser that opens this weekend.

Cedar Rapids is a fun and unpretentious comedy. Nora’s Will is a wry family dramedy, which is also now playing on HBO Signature as Cinco Dias Sin Nora (Five Days Without Nora). The Illusionist is the wistful and charming animated story of a small time magician who drifts through an ever bleaker array of gigs while helping a waif blossom.

Oscar winners True Grit, The King’s Speech and The Fighter are on my Best Movies of 2010 and are still kicking around in some theaters, as is Oscar nominee 127 Hours.

For trailers and other choices, see Movies to See Right Now.

You can see trailers of upcoming films at Movies I’m Looking Forward To.

My DVD pick is Hereafter. For my recent DVD choices (including trailers), see DVDs of the Week.

Movies on TV this week include Sleeper, The Natural and Shock Corridor on TCM.