Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
Destination: Tokyo (1943): Here’s one of my favorite movies about the Pacific war, and there are a lot of good ones. Cary Grant plays the captain of a an American submarine tasked with sneaking into Tokyo to gather evidence for air strikes. The sub is populated with a treasure trove of classic-era actors, including John Garfield, Alan Hale and the ever-underrated Dane Clark. It’s worth noting that this tense film was made during the war, so keep in mind as you watch that it’s basically a very entertaining propaganda movie.
Turner Classic Movies, Monday, 7 p.m.
The Interview (2014): We have two crazy movies this week, and here’s the first one. The ridiculous setup of this movie is that two idiot television reporters somehow manage to get an interview with North Korean President Kim Jong Un, and are then recruited by the CIA to … uh … assassinate him. Seth Rogen and James Franco play the TV dudes, and a very game Randall Park plays the dictator. This movie is crass, dumb and probably even reprehensible. And I like it very much. Judge me if you will.
Now streaming on Netflix.
Under The Silver Lake (2018): This movie is bonkers — in mostly great ways. It’s the story of an attractive slacker (the very charismatic Andrew Garfield) who, while investigating the sudden disappearance of his pretty neighbor (Riley Keough), falls deeper and deeper down a rabbit hole of intrigue, conspiracies and a multi-layered neo-LA-noir fever dream. It’s written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, and that’s weird, because I hated his over-praised horror film It Follows. But in Under the Silver Lake, he’s really onto something. Also, I should probably be grateful for It Follows, because surely only that film’s runaway success explains why anyone would have given Mitchell money to make this overheated stew of a movie.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Light Sleeper (1992): Paul Schrader wrote and directed this moody examination of a friendly drug dealer (an intense Willem Dafoe) undergoing a series of transitions. His long-time boss (Susan Sarandon) is threatening to leave the business, and he’s not sure what else he can do to earn a living. Meanwhile, his ex-wife (Dana Delaney) suddenly reappears in his life, inspiring both desire and confusion. Adding to the complications is a shady client (Victor Garber) who may be throwing a wrench into everyone’s plans. The movie is very evocative of early ’90s New York. Also featuring a very young Sam Rockwell.
Now streaming on The Criterion Channel.
Trivia Question 836: Can you name a movie in which James Franco gets sent the gallows twice?
Answer to Trivia Question 834: Director Brad Bird is most known for his animated feature films.