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Spring Movie Recommendations
let's talk about what to watch
This newsletter began during the pandemic when everybody was stuck at home and I wanted to share some movies to watch because there wasn’t much else to do (What, like I’m gonna read a book? Like some sort of pre-electricity nerd? Get real.) Every once in a while, we like to return to our roots and just give you some movies that we think are worth the watch, so that’s what we’ll do today. Nothing complicated, just some good and cool movies available to stream or rent. We’ve got a long weekend ahead so if you’re looking for something to watch, hopefully, there’s something in here you like.
These are all movies I’ve seen recently. I’m going to stay away from the somewhat obvious ones like TÁR or BANSHEES OF INESHERIN or films like that that were nominated for Oscars and are on my “Best of 2022” list. Those movies are always worth checking out and if you’re looking for them, go read that list and have at it. These are films I’ve revisited recently or watched for the first time. Give them a go!
Movie: Puss In Boots: The Last Wish
Where To Watch: Peacock
Why: Damn, this movie ROCKS. I know it’s “for kids” or whatever, but it absolutely bangs. I watched it a few weekends ago after the Oscars when it finally made its way to Peacock and had a blast with it. Antonio Banderas is really funny and I cannot believe how stacked the cast is. You’ll recognize quite a few but wait till the credits roll. It’s a real “THAT person was in this?” situation. The animation is great too and there’s clearly a little INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE flavor to it, which I appreciate. I’m glad animated movies are starting to look a little different from each other.
Unrelated, but DreamWorks has a new intro animation and it SUCKS. Bring back the kid on the moon with that sick acoustic guitar picking, you cowards.
Movie: Margin Call
Where To Watch: Amazon Prime / Paramount +
Why: I mentioned this movie waaaaay back in 2021 when I was discussing directorial debuts that were really, really good. I mentioned this movie by J.C Chandor and it’s still one of my favorite movies to just throw on to this day. I find myself looking up certain scenes from this movie on YouTube pretty often. It might be weird to describe a movie about the 2008 financial crisis as a “comfort movie” but I’ve certainly watched it enough for it to qualify. Another movie with an insanely stacked cast (one of my all-time favorite Paul Bettany performances, a pre-YOU Penn Badgley, Stanley Tucci absolutely cooking), and some great dialogue and pacing.
Chandor has had a really interesting career in the wake of MARGIN CALL. He’s written and directed several movies I really like including ALL IS LOST, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, and the underappreciated action-heist TRIPLE FRONTIER (which is on Netflix as a sub-recommendation within this one), and is helming the upcoming Marvel adaptation of KRAVEN THE HUNTER. For my money, his first film is still his best.
Movie: Red Dragon
Where To Watch: Netflix
Why: This is the third movie in the HLEU (Hannibal Lecter Extended Universe) and is easily the best outside of the original SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Part of why I enjoy this movie is that you don’t really need to have seen SOTL to enjoy it. Sure, it’s nice to have that awareness of the Hannibal Lecter character, but the story doesn’t have anything to do with the SOTL story since the movie takes place before the events of that film.
Hopkins is killer (sorry) as Lecter and the chemistry between Edward Norton and Harvey Keitel as FBI agents in the hunt for a serial killer known as the Tooth Fairy is genuinely good! Nothing spectacular, but this is a solid psychological thriller with a great performance at the center of it. Sometimes that’s really all you need.
Movie: Edge of Tomorrow
Where To Watch: HBO MAX
Why: Before Tom Cruise decided that all he wanted to do was be Ethan Hunt or Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (not that there’s anything wrong with that. TOP GUN: MAVERICK is the gift that keeps on giving) he was an actor that made cool, interesting choices. One of my absolute favorites in that realm is EDGE OF TOMORROW.
If you haven’t heard/need a refresher, EDGE OF TOMORROW stars cruise as a PR Officer/Talking Head for the army in a fight against an alien force who is forced to suit up and actually head to the front lines. He is killed almost immediately (not a spoiler) but as he is killed he gains the ability to restart the day each time he dies. That’s when the movie really takes off. It’s awesome to watch him figure out his abilities the more he dies. This movie also stars Emily Blunt who kicks all kinds of asses and has a nice chemistry with Cruise. This might be one of my favorite movies of the last 10 years.
It’s also based on a Japanese novel called ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, which might be the sickest name for a novel I’ve ever heard. They should have kept that as the name of the movie.
Movie: Out of Time
Where To Watch: Amazon Prime / Paramount + / The Roku Channel if you have a Roku
Why: A couple of weeks ago I and a buddy went to The New Beverly Cinema here in LA for a Denzel-A-Thon which, as you might have guessed, was a marathon of movies starring Denzel Washington. Denzel has made a slew of amazing movies with breathtaking performances that were nominated for Academy Awards. None of the movies we saw that night were any of those.
That said, no matter what he’s doing in a movie, Denzel is going to be at the very least interesting and he’s usually the best part about a movie that’s gone off the rails. There were 4 movies shown that night. Two of them I had seen and two of them I had not. Of the two I hadn’t seen, OUT OF TIME was the one I was most pleasantly surprised by and the movie I honestly enjoyed the most out of all four. There’s a plot about a woman Denzel loves dying of cancer and her jealous and abusive boyfriend who they’ve been sneaking around behind but the basic premise of the movie is this: Denzel Washington plays a small-town sheriff in a Hawaiian shirt with a gun sneaking around the Florida Keys and Miami as he tries to get himself out of tricker and trickier situations. It rocks. It’s the platonic ideal of a movie. This was the last movie of the marathon and I almost left before it started. I’m so glad I didn’t because now I can fully recommend it to you hear to end this newsletter.
There you go. A nice little 5 movie list for you to consult the next time you’re scrolling through your streaming services going “Man, what should I watch?” I’ll tell you what you should watch! One of these movies.
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If you watch and enjoy any of these films give me a shout on Twitter and you can always find me on Letterboxd!