Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend.
Stranger Than Fiction (2006): Director Marc Forster certainly has a varied resume, from Finding Neverland to Monster’s Ball to World War Z. This may be his most unusual film. Will Ferrell plays an IRS agent who suddenly finds his life being narrated by a voice inside his head. Don’t you hate it when that happens? The cast includes Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Tony Hale, Linda Hunt and Queen Latifah. It also features one of my favorite baking puns. Ferrell is charming in a refreshingly low-key performance.
Now streaming on Netflix.
Victoria and Abdul (2017): I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film directed by Stephen Frears that I haven’t liked, if not loved. His best films: The Grifters, Prick Up Your Ears, Dirty Pretty Things, Dangerous Liaisons, The Queen. This film falls into the “like” category, but that’s fine with me. Based on a true story, it portrays an unlikely friendship between an aging Queen Victoria and an Indian clerk. It’s one of those rare films about adult friendships, and I’m a sucker for those. Plus, there’s Judi Dench and Ali Fazal in the title roles, so what’s not to like? It even has Eddie Izzard as the Prince of Wales!
Now streaming on HBO MAX.
Woman on the Run (1950): I’m a big Ann Sheridan fan (she’s from Denton!) so I was delighted to discover this film. Her estranged husband (Ross Elliott) goes missing after witnessing a murder, and she’s got to figure out how to survive the net pulling tight around her. The movie has some effective location work, including Ocean Park Pier in Santa Monica. Dennis O’Keefe is excellent as an aggressive journalist badgering her for the story. If you’re a Sheridan fan, you can’t miss this one.
Now streaming on Kanopy.
Overlord (2018): A group of energetic American soldiers (including excellent actors John Magaro, Jovan Adepo and Wyatt Russell) parachutes into an occupied Normandy town on the eve of D-Day, with a vital mission regarding a German communication outpost. If this whole situation wasn’t fraught enough with risk, they begin to understand that the local German commandant (Pilou Asbaek, who played the charming Euron Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) is shepherding a disturbing set of experiments to create ... well, you’ll just have to discover that for yourself. Overlord is good, nasty, war-movie-meets-monster-movie fun.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu.