Week two of my “A Movie A Day” is in the books and it’s still going strong. The two movies I’ll spotlight in this post are Thumper and Bad Day At Black Rock. For details check on my intended lifelong mission as well as coverage on the aforementioned flicks, check out my post below!
Taking care of my 15 month old niece has left me little time to do anything else during the week, and carving out an extra two hours for cinema, along with some time at the gym, pretty much eats up my day. Deciding to watch a movie a day for the rest of my life my be quixotic to the core, but tilting at windmills has been my life’s work (and gradual undoing). But enough of the armchair talk, here are the flicks I checked out during week two:
- Friday, November 3: Suddenly – Frank Sinatra is out to kill the president in this 1954 feature. Thought it might have reached similar heights to Sinatra’s more popular assassination feature (The Manchurian Candidate), but this one disappointed. Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
- Saturday, November 4: The Thing – Can’t believe it took me this long to see this John Carpenter/Kurt Russell classic. As great as everyone says it is, and I had no idea this narrative is more of a mystery thriller than a pure bred horror experience. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
- Sunday, November 5: Unlocked – I loved Noomi Rapace earlier this year in What Happened To Monday (currently streaming on Netflix), and this action thriller is also a keeper. Rapace plays a UK based agent who’s out to stop a terrorist attack. Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, Toni Collette, and Orlando Bloom round out the all-star cast. Directed by Michael Apted, Unlocked is an action packed thriller that doesn’t let up, and Rapace (Prometheus, The Drop) is gradually becoming one of my favorite actors (btw I still haven’t seen the Dragon movies!!). Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
- Monday, November 6: Ingrid Goes West – Stalker/social media thriller starring Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen is an engaging enough watch. Plaza plays the titular character who moves to Venice, Ca. to ingratiate herself into the life of an Instagram star (Olsen). Director/co-writer Matt Spicer effectively skewers the vapidity of social media (it’s an easy target, but Spicer hits the mark), and Plaza (who also produced) delivers an effective performance of the highly unlikely Ingrid.
The movie’s biggest selling point, however, is O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ingrid’s constantly vaping and Batman obsessed landlord Dan Pinto. If Spicer decided to shoot an IGW spin-off with Dan Pinto, I’m all in (Dan is just as likable and memorable as Brad Pitt’s Floyd from True Romance). Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars
- Tuesday, November 7: Security – Antonio Banderas is a former soldier who becomes a nighttime security guard at a mall. His first night is a nightmare, as he and a group of other guards are protecting a young girl from a group of gun toting mercenaries led by Ben Kingsley. If you love lean, mean, and ultimately uncompromising action-thrillers, Security does the trick. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
- Wednesday, November 8: Into The Night – Jeff Goldblum is a dude who hates his job, is stuck in a crumbling marriage, and is unable to sleep. His life is turned upside down after a nighttime trip to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) leads to him unwittingly saving a woman in danger (Michelle Pfeiffer).
Director John Landis, who plays one of the henchman who’s after the pair, infuses his flick with a ton of cameos (including David Cronenberg, Paul Mazursky, Dan Aykroyd, and David Bowie). It’s a fun film that ends up being a love letter to 1980s Los Angeles (the flick was released in 1985). Goldblum and Pfeiffer also have a ton of chemistry, and by the end you’re really pulling for them to end up together. The movie was recently released on Blu-ray via Shout! Factory. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
- Thursday, November 9: Thumper – Eliza Taylor (The 100) is Kat Carter, an undercover officer who’s trying to take down a drug operation that has its hooks on low income neighborhood. Pablo Schreiber (Orange is the New Black) is the terrifying leader of the crew, and both he and Taylor deliver solid performances in filmmaker Jordan Ross’ narrative. Although the movie has storytelling beats you’ve experienced before (e.g. the cop who’s missing out on family time, the sociopathic drug dealer with a valid point on society’s ills), Thumper is definitely worth a look thanks to the performances. In a sea of topline talent (including Lena Headey as Kat’s hard-driving boss and Ben Feldman as Kat’s ex-lover), Daniel Webber delivers the film’s standout work as Beaver, a morally complicated youth who is simply trying to survive and support his family. I haven’t seen 11.22.63, so I had no idea Webber was a star on the horizon (he’s also a co-star in Netflix’s upcoming The Punisher).Webber is definitely a special talent, and it’s no surprise that Taylor and Schreiber’s most stirring sequences also features Webber in the frame.
Though flawed, Thumper ends up being a more than worthy watch based on the performances and Jordan Ross’ gutsy cinéma vérité approach to his story. Thumper is currently available On Demand and via iTunes. Mainly due to Webber’s performance (I still can’t shake it out of my head) and a believable Taylor as the morally conflicted officer, I’m giving this movie 4 out of 5 stars.
- Friday, November 10: Bad Day at Black Rock – There’s really no fat to this movie, and even though it’s running time is a scant 81 minutes, it’s a seriously epic narrative. I’ll be running a deeper, mini-spoiler driven review on Deepest Dream later this week, but the main plot centers on a one-armed man (Spencer Tracy) who arrives in an unfriendly and remote desert town.This CinemaScope feature, co-starring Robert Ryan and Ernest Borgnine, is available viaWarner Archive.
This is a wonderful movie on so many levels, and if you don’t take my word for it, this is a film that heavily influenced director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Inherent Vice). Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
- Saturday, November 11: Predestination – It’s simply a well told flick starring Ethan Hawke as a time traveler out to stop a terrorist who killed thousands of people in a New York City bombing. Co-starring Sarah Snook and Noah Taylor, Predestination is a total mind-bender that jumps through various timelines, and although you may actually “get” the movie’s ending, it still has a ton of layers that might have been missed (for a full explanation of the movie, go here). It’s a totally satisfying feature that may give a bit too much away with its moniker, but what’s in a name anyway? Currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.And this leads me to Sunday, I have no idea what I’ll watch tonight, so I’m a bit behind on my planning. Also to enter my Monthly giveaway, in which I give a random Blu-ray or DVD to anyone who gives me a movie pick to help me on my quest, just comment below and give me a movie recommendation or two (or you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – either way is fine)!!**Here is this month’s episode of CinemAddicts, a movie review podcast I do with Anderson Cowan :