Friday, February 16, 2018

I Stream, You Stream Vol. 66

by Patrick Bromley
Some of my favorite actors, directors, countries and movies are included in this week's streaming picks!

The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017, dir. Jared Moshe) A western shot on 35mm starring Bill Pullman? You had me at a western shot on 35mm starring Bill Pullman. Still one of my favorite actors, he plays a sidekick promoted to hero when his best friend and partner is taken out. The movie is much more Cable Hogue than it is The Wild Bunch (all the way down to the title), with Pullman doing typically great work and the photography compensating for some of the narrative slack. Between this and The Sinner on USA, last year was Pullman's best year in a long, long time. (Watch on Amazon Prime)
Last Rampage (2017, dir. Dwight H. Little) Ok, this one I have to make some apologies for. It's just ok. Based on the true story of Gary Tison's prison break and subsequent murder spree in the 1970s, the movie leans really heavily on folksy Southern nonsense and features some performances that are...uneven. I'm recommending it because Robert Patrick is really, really great in the kind of sizable role he rarely gets these days, and because it's directed by the perpetually underrated Dwight Little. As I always say, Dwight H. Little, you my boy. (Watch on Netflix)
Dead Shack (2018, dir. Peter Ricq) Here's a Canadian zombie comedy that I saw screened as part of Chicago's Cinepocalypse Festival last November, and which has just premiered as a Shudder exclusive. It's about a well-off teenager who goes away for a weekend with his friend's family, all of whom run afoul of Lauren Holly as a suburban mom taking care of her zombie family. I don't think Dead Shack works really well as a horror movie, but there's some good comedy and a lot of good character work, particularly from Donovan Stinson as the fuck-up dad who wants to do right by his kids but never takes things quite seriously enough. It's the kind of movie I liked enough at a festival to have enjoyed but not come back thinking about or championing, but which makes for a pleasant surprise when I suddenly discover it's available to stream. (Watch on Shudder)
Death Race 2000 (1975, dir. Paul Bartel) I don't have enough words to express how much I love this movie. Just a few days ago, Heath Holland wrote about Cannonball, another Paul Bartel-directed, Roger Corman-produced racing movie (starring David Carradine!) that I love a lot, but not as much as Death Race 2000. I love how funny and violent and colorful the movie is. I love the characters -- especially Mary Woronov, never more of a babe than she is here, and Sylvester Stallone, arguably never funnier. Except for some unfortunate choices made for Martin Kove's character, Death Race 2000 has hardly dated at all, probably because the satire was so ahead of its time when it was made. (Watch free with ads on TubiTV)
Secretary (2002, dir. Steven Shainberg) JB just brought this movie up on our Alternative Valentine's Day podcast this week, so it's a great time to either revisit it or check it out for the first time. It's almost as unconventional as love stories get (I'll maintain that we topped ourselves with Cronenberg's Crash and The Devil's Honey), but it's also a love story that has only gotten better and more relevant with the passage of time, as so many of us learn to be more knowledgeable and accepting of all kinds of relationships. It's a beautiful love story, anchored by two great performances. Well, one great performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal and one good performance from James Spader, who I assume is playing himself. (Watch on Hulu)

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