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RAY'S PICKS: Check out three 'Point Blank' feature films
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RAY'S PICKS: Check out three 'Point Blank' feature films

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Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend.

POINT BLANK TRIPLE FEATURE: Three very different films all with the same title.

“Point Blank” (2010): Our first “Point Blank” is a propulsive French crime thriller. Not enough nurses get to be main characters in crime movies, so I’m happy to report that Gilles Lellouche stars as a nurse’s assistant who makes the mistake of saving the life of an injured thief in the hospital where he works. Oh, and did I mention that his wife is pregnant? That’s relevant, because the bad guys decide to kidnap her to manipulate poor Gilles. What follows is a high-octane chase which includes crooked cops, secret USB drives, safecracking and lots of violence. If you’re in the mood for a regular-guy-versus-the-mob story, this movie is for you.

Now streaming on Kanopy.

“Point Blank” (2019): American filmmakers love to remake foreign films. This is a down-and-dirty version of our French film of the same title above. The wonderful Anthony Mackie stars as a straight-arrow nurse with a pregnant wife (Teyonah Parris, quite delightful in the role). His world is turned upside down when an injured murder suspect (the also terrific Frank Grillo) ends up in his care. Grillo’s dimwitted brother (Christian Cooke) attacks Mackie and kidnaps his poor wife. Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden plays the tough police detective after Grillo and his brother. Throw in lots of fun location shooting in Cincinnati (why aren’t there more films set there?) and a fun turn by Markice Moore as a local drug lord with cinematic aspirations, and you’ve got yourself a fun little crime thriller.

Now streaming on Netflix.

“Point Blank” (1967): I’m not sure I get Lee Marvin. To me, his face is as expressive as an Easter Island statue head, but that’s just me. However, it’s undeniable that this “Point Blank” is by far the most influential of the three we’re looking at this week. John Boorman uses daring visual and sound editing techniques, jagged pacing and a general sense of disorientation in this adaptation of the first of the “Hunter” novels by Richard Stark (pseudonym of my hero, Donald E. Westlake). The movie features a remarkable cast of actors whose faces can express emotion, including Angie Dickinson, Carroll O’Connor, Keenan Wynn, Lloyd Bochner and John Vernon. It also includes some terrific location sequences at the always-camera-ready Alcatraz.

Now streaming on The Criterion Channel.

“The Unthinkable” (2018): Here’s an odd mix of disaster-action picture and family relationship movie. In an extended prologue, we learn how Alex (Christoffer Nordenrot) suffers under cold and abusive father Björn (Jesper Barkselius) until ultimately Alex flees to the big city. A few years later, he’s become a successful musician, but unfortunately seems to be as cut off and emotionless as his dad. And then all hell breaks loose as the city suffers a devastating wave of mysterious attacks from unknown origin. In true movie fashion, Alex and Björn end up having to work together to save a ragtag band of survivors (including Alex’s sort-of childhood girlfriend and her husband) from succumbing to everything from hostile soldiers to poisoned rain.

Now streaming on Hulu.

Trivia Question 922: Which of this week’s performers used to be a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym Hollywood?

Answer to Trivia Question 920: Maureen O’Sullivan was Frank Sinatra’s mother-in-law for the two years that her daughter, Mia Farrow, was married to the legendary singer.

Ray Ivey is a writer and movie fan in Hollywood, California. He would love to hear from you at rayivey@ca.rr.com.

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