Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
Cronos (1993): This is Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro’s first feature film, and it’s bonkers. Veteran film actor Federico Luppi stars as an antique dealer who stumbles upon a sinister magical device that’s hundreds of years old. Claudio Brook plays the weirdo rich guy who will do anything to get his hands on this device, and Ron Perlman is wonderful as the rich guy’s henchman. There’s a scene that takes place in a public bathroom that simply must be seen to be believed. Luppi was also wonderful in del Toro’s 2001 masterpiece The Devil’s Backbone.
Now streaming on HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel, and Kanopy.
Pool Of London (1951): This superb British shipyard film noir knocked me out and made me wonder why I wasn’t already familiar with it. In its short running time, it tells a surprisingly big story about smugglers, sailors, working girls and ship officers. Along the way, it manages to spin a very forward-looking story about racial discrimination. It stars Bermudan actor Earl Cameron (who just died a few weeks ago at the age of 103) as a young sailor innocently caught up in a web of crime. Also featuring a charismatic performance by American born, England-based actor Bonar Colleano. This is a perceptive and convincing crime story worth discovering.
Now streaming on Kanopy.
Dog Soldiers (2002): Don’t you hate it when you get sent into the wilds of the Scottish Highlands for army training exercises only to run afoul of a nasty family of werewolves? That’s what happens to a group of luckless lads in this crazy monster movie filmed in Luxembourg. It features two good lead performances from Kevin McKidd (from Rome and Grey’s Anatomy) and Sean Pertwee (from about a million things). The director of this nasty little monster fest scored big a few years later with The Descent.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Saludos Amigos (1942): During World War II, the European film market collapsed for American movies. To solve this problem, the big movie moguls pointed their gaze southeastward, toward South America. Saludos Amigos is one of two Disney live action-animation hybrid films released during this period that was part of this effort. Four colorful shorts are connected by some entertaining and wholesome travelogue that takes the viewer to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, the Andes, the Argentine pampas and the heady sights and sounds of Rio de Janeiro.
Now streaming on Disney+.