Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend.
The Net (1995): Oh, did I ever love this movie when it came out in 1995. Even though I wasn’t experienced on the newfangled World Wide Web yet, I knew this movie’s scare-mongering was silly, but that didn’t stop it from being fun. Sandra Bullock plays an expert code bug-stomper who works for game companies. She accidentally pokes something she shouldn’t poke in the nether regions of the nascent Internet, and suddenly really scary things start happening to her. I usually root for directors (in this case, Irwin Winkler) who try to head into Hitchcock territory, because it’s often entertaining. This was the first time I had noticed the charismatic Jeremy Northam, who’s quite dashing in his role. Bullock is irresistible as always, and it’s fun to see Diane Baker again as her mother.
Now streaming on Hulu.
Take One False Step (1949): It took me a while to realize there’s a treasure trove of free movies on YouTube. Have you taken advantage of this yet? True, sometimes the prints are not fantastic and aren’t as visually crisp as they should be. But if you love stumbling across obscure entries in your favorite genres like I do, it’s worth exploring. Recently I’ve developed an affection for movies I’ve found on YouTube that I call confused noir. By that I mean films that think they’re noir, but can’t quite get the tone right. Take One False Step is definitely one of those. It’s got a perfectly serviceable plot and a great star (William Powell), but listen how the musical score undermines the atmosphere of the movie over and over. I’ll have more entries in my confused noir series coming up.
Now available on YouTube.
Farmageddon (2019): Shaun the Sheep returns! This time Aardman Animations, creators of such stop-motion animation classics as Creature Comforts, Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, takes down classic science-fiction films, from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial to 2001: A Space Odyssey (why do so many sci-fi movies have colons in their titles?). Things are all normal at Mossy Bottom Farm, with stern Blitzer the guard dog working hard to foil the hijinks of the mischievous Shaun. But when a spaceship crash lands near the farm, all bets are off!
Now streaming on Netflix.
High Life (2018): From a family film we move on to a decidedly adult title. This beautiful, strange and mysterious movie takes place on a long-range space voyage where things have gone very wrong. The ship is populated by former death row inmates who are being subjected to experiments by a sadistic mad doctor, another criminal played by Juliette Binoche. The prisoner she has the most difficult time with is Robert Pattinson, who holds himself apart from his fellow passengers. The movie takes place in multiple time frames, so I had to pay attention as it bounced around in time. I really enjoyed this freaky film, but then I have a pretty high tolerance for extreme content. I recommend it, but definitely exercise viewer discretion!