Friday, April 25, 2014
Netflix This Movie! Vol. 74
Young Adult (2011, dir. Jason Reitman) Directed by the underrated Jason Reitman (I have not yet seen Labor Day), Young Adult is a movie that has grown on me with familiarity. I was pretty mixed about it during my first viewing (because I didn’t love this one right away like I did Juno or Up in the Air), but since have begun to appreciate the movie for what it is. Young Adult is not trying to be likable and once I was over that hump, the movie went down easier. Charlize Theron is perfectly cast as a character we don’t often see in the movies: a selfish woman actively not living up to her potential but still identifiable in many ways. She reminds me of a female version of the Jack Nicholson character in Five Easy Pieces. Young Adult is worth a look (or a revisit) if you were the same as me and didn't enjoy it on an initial viewing. The movie also co-stars Patrick Wilson, who I want to be when I grow up. I’ll have more to say about the movie next week when I report from Ebertfest, where co-star Patton Oswalt will be on hand as a special guest.
A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012; dir. Crispian Mills, Chris Hopewell) Take this as a qualified recommendation, because it's more interesting to half-recommend an interesting mess than wholeheartedly endorse a popular movie everyone has seen. This dark British comedy stars Simon Pegg as a tortured writer whose obsession with 19th Century murderers sends him into a spiral of paranoia, erratic behavior, and accidental self-mutilation. The various ideas in the story never come together, and the laughs are hit and miss, but Simon Pegg is worth watching in anything. This stylish indie is almost all Pegg, unhinged and always entertaining.
Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004, dir. Donovan Cook) I wrote about this direct-to-DVD movie (the only full-length film to feature the core characters from the heyday of Disney's short films) in my column this week, in which I talked about how sad it is that this movie is pretty invisible and doesn't seem to have made any impact whatsoever. Here's a film that pays respect to the past while moving things into the future with beautiful animation and a fun (and funny) story starring the characters that built Disney Animation. Yet this movie failed to make much of a splash when it was released. Luckily, The Three Musketeers is on Netflix and you can watch it for yourself and discover the magic of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy (and all their friends) all over again.
Trotro (2004, dir. Eric Cazes and Stephane Lezoray) Some little pixies were at my house for Easter, and looking to mollify them, their parents started up my Netflix machine and set them in front of this: Trotro is a charming cartoon from France for very small children. It also seems ideal viewing for those of our readership who like to smoke weed. The episodes are very short, but like popcorn and potato chips, bet you can't eat just one. WARNING: Some parents hate Trotro, thinking he teaches their children bad lessons. Trotro is very naughty.
Milius (2013, dir. Joey Figueroa, Zak Knutson) John Milius wrote Apocalypse Now. He wrote and directed Conan the Barbarian, Red Dawn and Big Wednesday. He worked on Dillinger and Dirty Harry and 1941 and Magnum Force. Oh, and he's responsible for the "USS Indianapolis" speech in Jaws. This is a documentary about him. It is awesome and it is wonderful until it becomes impossibly sad.