Friday, July 31, 2015
Netflix This Movie! Vol. 140
The Guest (2014, dir. Adam Wingard) The Guest is a movie I loved the first time I saw it last September. I was totally on the wavelength of the movie, which works as a thriller, an action movie, a horror movie and a comedy. It's a marvel that the movie can juggle so many tones and genres successfully. But it wasn't until the second viewing I had of The Guest that I knew I made a major mistake putting BEGIN AGAIN!!!! above The Guest in my top 10 list of 2014. What the eff was I thinking??? Dan Stevens is great in this, btw. If you don't like this movie, you might just not like movies.
Tracers (2014, dir. Daniel Benmayor) Let’s get this out of the way: Tracers is not good. It is a bad movie that hopped on the parkour bandwagon about three years too late. Tracers follows Taylor Lautner, who plays a down-on-his luck bike messenger who gets caught up with a gang of thieves into parkour. I know. I vomited in my mouth as well. I am a firm believer, however, that most of the bad movies out there have something to like about them, and fortunately Tracers has two things in it I liked enough to sort-of recommend it. First and foremost are the chase scenes. I know you may be sick of parkour, but there are some really great chase scenes in Tracers that did entertain me and made me want more of what I just saw. The second (and reason I think some of the chase scenes work) is Taylor Lautner. Most of you are probably only aware of Lautner as teenage girl’s favorite werewolf and enemy to all vampires. Now don’t get too excited -- Lautner still can’t act himself out of a paper bag -- but as I was watching Tracers I realized that Lautner was doing about 95% of his own stunts. They do overkill it a bit by having some completely pointless scenes with Lautner just jumping off shit, but I do have to say I have a bit more of respect for Lautner after it, enough that I think he’d make a fairly decent action star. So here is what I want you to do. Look up and down the list of recommendations for this week. Then look and see if you have any movies you haven’t watched yet sitting by your TV. If you have anything else to watch this week, watch that. However, if you have nothing to watch and are starving for a movie, watch Tracers.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961, dir. Irwin Allen) Irwin Allen's 1961 undersea science-fiction adventure Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea predated his most famous creation -- the television series Lost in Space -- by about five years. With Lost in Space coming to Blu-ray in just a few months, Irwin Allen's work is back in the minds of genre fans everywhere. If you're one of them, you have ONE WHOLE DAY to watch the classic film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea before it disappears from Netflix on August 1st. It's a chance to see Frankie Avalon and Barbara Eden before their careers took off and to see Peter Lorre in one of his last film roles. Hurry, before it's gone!
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014, dir. David Gregory) Patrick recommended this a few weeks ago, and was he ever right! I was previously aware of the reputation John Frankenheimer’s 1996 version of H.G. Welles’s classic novel enjoyed as one of the worst films ever made. I had heard stories and rumors about Marlon Brando’s epic misbehavior on the set, but nothing prepared me for the crazy story this new documentary has to tell. Using extensive preproduction drawings and documents, loads of interview footage with original director Richard Stanley, actors Fairuza Balk and Rob Morrow, and plenty of anecdotes from the film’s production staff and extras, this film spins a tale so twisted and odd that if it were somehow made into a narrative film, audiences would scarcely believe it. The film’s delights are plentiful. Val Kilmer is a douche bag.
Hercules (2014, dir. Brett Ratner) Ok, so I'm recommending this one for a couple of reasons. 1) When I first started doing NTM suggestions, I deliberately tried to recommend titles that were widely disliked but which I felt like were underrated. That criteria applies to Brett Ratner's Hercules, a movie that came and went without getting a lot of love but which I dug. It's surprisingly smart for a movie so stupid. But the REAL reason I'm recommending it is 2) it features Rebecca Ferguson in a supporting role and the entire country is going to be head over heels in love with her come Monday after they've seen Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation. She's the goods.