by Patrick Bromley
The Tribe (2015, dir. Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi) This Ukrainian film from last year is a challenging watch: there is no dialogue, no score, and all of the actors speak only in sign language with no subtitles. But it's also incredibly ambitious, raw and often beautiful, never shying away from depicting graphic violence and sexuality. It challenges our ideas of communication, and because of the language barrier many of us will encounter, the film plays all of its emotions very close to the surface. It's a singular experience and one worth having for any lover of cinema.
The Verdict (1982, dir. Sidney Lumet) I only caught up with this film last year (I know, I know) because my wife and I promised our friend Steve Rodheim (heard on our F Breast Cancer! podcast-a-thon) that we would watch a film starring his favorite actor Paul Newman in honor of his birthday. This was one I had always intended to see, so it was a great excuse to finally sit down and give it a watch. I'm so glad I did. This is a truly great movie, with a career-best performance from Newman, a terrific David Mamet script and incredibly adult, patient direction from Sidney Lumet. No studio film today could be paced the way this one is. It's proof that, yes, sometimes they don't make them like they used to.
Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974, dir. John Hough) While the previous two picks this week are deliberately slow and somber, this one is just dumb, loud fun. Cars are crashed and people behave irresponsibly. I've come to love the way that Susan George commits 150% to every role she plays in recent years, and I still can't decide if Dirty Mary is the best or the worst. If you're missing the #Junesploitation buzz, this will give you a fix.
Black Widow (1987, dir. Bob Rafelson) I saw this years ago on cable and was utterly indifferent towards it, but a recent revisit (thanks to the Twilight Time Blu-ray) revealed the movie to be atmospheric and always compelling, as well as a rare movie that's completely about two women who are well developed and totally different and does not depend on their romantic relationships for drama. Bob Rafelson has made a handful of solid modern-day noir, and this one definitely belongs to that group. This is why we have to give movies more than one chance. They don't change. We do.