Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend.
“The Suicide Squad” (2021): Like many people, I didn’t particularly care for the first one back in 2016, called simply “Suicide Squad.” This one is a lot rowdier, funnier, bloodier, and weirdly enough, charming. Margot Robbie returns as the plucky Harley Quinn, but she’s with a mostly new crop of super villains this time. There are some big stars: Idris Elba, John Cena, Sylvester Stallone — well, his voice, anyway — and Viola Davis. But for my money the lesser-known performers steal the show: Daniela Melchior is charming and resourceful as Ratcatcher 2 and David Dastmalchian is kind of ridiculously appealing as Polka-Dot Man (“I don’t like killing people, but then I just picture them all as my mother and it’s OK.”) This is not high art, but it’s loud, stupid fun.
on HBO MAX.“Pray Away” (2021): The idea that spirituality could “cure” homosexuality led to a religious movement built around this principle. In this upsetting documentary, former leaders of groups like Exodus look back at their efforts. For years, these groups got a lot of air time, appearing on national talk shows and news broadcasts. Did it work? Were the searching members of their flocks better off after going through their programs? This timely film tells the story.
Now streaming on Netflix.
“Invention for Destruction” (1958): Director Karel Zeman strikes again with this visual feast of a movie. Once again indulging his love of all things Jules Verne, and borrowing from several of the master’s novels including “Robur the Conqueror” and “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” Zeman takes the classic lithographic line image illustrations from novels and animates them. With actors. You’ve just got to see it to believe it; it’s utterly charming. He even paints the sets white with black lines to add to the effect. The result is a singular cinematic adventure.
Now streaming on The Criterion Channel.“Get Outta Town!” (1960): So what’s a guy got to do in order to turn over a new leaf? That’s the problem facing Kelly Olesen (Doug Wilson) in this forgotten film noir. He returns after a three-year absence from Los Angeles, and it seems like everyone in town, from his murdered brother’s girlfriend (Jeanne Baird) to the hoods he used to associate with to the world-weary cops, is stubbornly determined to not give him a second chance. Can he solve his brother’s murder and finally get a fresh start? This sturdy, low-budget gem delivers the goods.
on YouTube.Trivia Question 911: Besides Viola Davis, which cast member of “The Suicide Squad” has multiple Oscar nominations?