After a few months of unofficial hiatus from Cinema Crossroads, I’m back. Long story short: I pursued my dream of moving to New York City, realized it wasn’t right for me, and moved back to my hometown. I still indulged my love of movies while I was there, from attending screenings to reading books to visiting filming locations, and I’ll be sharing some of those experiences on this blog. For now, here are some of the new-to-me movies I watched during my leave of absence:
The Usual Suspects (1995): 100 percent overrated. None of the characters are likeable, the dialogue is lazy, and the so-called “twist” ending invalidates the entire movie. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Brief Encounter (1945): A masterclass in emotion and restraint, this simple, honest, and compelling tale of a doomed love affair destroyed me in the best possible way. ESSENTIAL.
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (2016) Fascinating documentary on the life and work of one of the most successful and influential television producers of all time. Seeing it at Film Society Lincoln Center with Lear in person was a neat experience. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Airs on PBS Tuesday, Oct. 25 and hits Netflix Nov. 1.
Ithaca (2016): Meg Ryan makes her directorial debut with this uneven adaptation of William Saroyan’s novel The Human Comedy. Watch the Mickey Rooney version instead–it’s so much better. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Sully (2016) This straightforward retelling of the “Miracle on the Hudson” and the subsequent investigation illustrates the dichotomy of hero worship and character assassination. Tom Hanks delivers as the title character, and the plane landing scene is a thrilling showcase of professionalism in the face of danger. RECOMMENDED.
Journey to Italy (Viaggio in Italia) (1954) Director Roberto Rossellini’s neorealist style breathes authenticity into this portrait of a crumbling marriage. Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders are brilliant. RECOMMENDED.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962): A political thriller ahead of its time. I’ll never look at solitaire the same way again. ESSENTIAL.
Look Who’s Back (Er ist wieder da) (2015) German comedy in which Hitler awakens in present-day Germany, is mistaken for a comedian, and becomes a media sensation. Taking cues from Network (1976), The Great Dictator (1940), and Borat (2006), this eerily timely film is equal parts wacky and unsettling. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Available on Netflix.