by Philip Price
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu & Julia Stiles
Runtime: 1 hour & 50 minutes
"This is a story about control, my control; control of what I say, control of what I do and this time I'm gonna do it my way. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Are we ready?" And so, begins the title track to Janet Jackson's fourth studio record, 1986's Control. It is of no happy accident that this is also how writer/director Lorene Scafaria's “Hustlers” opens as we are introduced to Constance Wu's Dorothy AKA Destiny, the "new girl" at a strip club in New York City where the women are fast, and the money is loose. There's no real introduction to speak of in terms of who Destiny was up to this point in her life, but more Scafaria's screenplay-taken from Jessica Pressler's 2015 New York Magazine article-tells us this is who she is now and despite whatever it might have been that brought her to this point it is now that she is finally ready to take some...ahem, control...of her life. It is more this mentality we are first and foremost introduced to than it is necessarily the character of Destiny, which is why it makes complete sense that she immediately recognizes in Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) an opportunity. Ramona is the headliner of this strip club if you will-the one all the wall street guys pay to see-and Ramona barely has to remove a piece of clothing in order to cover up what is already bare with the cash that is thrown her way. Scafaria and Lopez (along with many choreographers, camera operators and set designers) craft an introduction to the character that not only elicits every single reason Lopez became and has remained a star, but it also illustrates very clearly why-even in the most vulnerable of situations-Ramona has absolute confidence in herself and in her ability to gain...control...of a situation. Ramona commands the room and everyone else in that room knows she commands it which is why Lopez is perfect for the role, but this quality also serves as the reason Destiny, with almost zero hesitation, walks up to Ramona and asks her to mentor her. It is in Destiny that Ramona also sees opportunity: a new, young, beautiful Asian girl is an asset in anyone's hands, but in Ramona's she can set in motion a string of clients that will garner them both a fair amount of cash flow. It is from this initial meeting that “Hustlers” dives into examining how these women-who are regarded as little more than insignificant pawns on a chess board-are more in control than that of the Wall Street types who fancy themselves the kings, bishops and knights. That is, until the control becomes more about power and Destiny and Ramona's scheme-much like the film itself- begins to fall apart; the weight of what has been taken on becoming too mangled to maintain in any effective manner.
Beginning in 2007, as Ramona and Destiny make each other's acquaintance, everything seems to be as glamorous as one could imagine it to be in the world of stripping. Ramona is cleaning up every night, Destiny is learning the ropes from her new mentor along with the likes of Cardi B and Lizzo while other dancers such as Justice (Mette Towley) and Tracey (Trace Lysette) make it all look easy. And while management can certainly be a little sleazy from time to time (as personified by Konstantine Drakopoulos and Dov Davidoff) the girls feel mostly taken care of thanks to their den mother who they simply refer to as "Mother" and who is played by the legendary Mercedes Ruehl (“Big”). Nights are good as Ramona illustrates to her new apprentice the levels of Wall Street guys that stroll into the club and how best to take advantage of each of them along with setting a certain expectation for each rung on the ladder. Everyone is riding high in as all of these brokers and other financial insiders or what have you seemingly feel no remorse in throwing gobs of money at women's asses with no thought or foresight into what would happen less than a year later. And so, the recession then happens, and things dry up; the traffic in the strip club slows as does the cash thus leaving Ramona to find new, more creative ways to sustain the life style she and her teenage daughter are now accustomed to. This is when Scafaria's adaptation of the story steps back from the main narrative and inserts Pressler-who is here called Elizabeth and portrayed by Julia Stiles-into the story as she interviews Destiny in 2015 letting the audience in on the fact that whatever transpires between she and Ramona that Destiny seemingly comes out okay even if their relationship doesn't. This is the linchpin on which Scafaria bases the drama of her film, the tension of the whole piece as we are never privy to Ramona's side of the story aside from small hints dropped by Stiles' character when what she is being told by Destiny doesn't seem to jive with what Ramona told her. This creates a muddy middle in which Scafaria must find the clearest sense of unbiased truth about what really went down, but it essentially boils down to that, after the recession and after Destiny moved on for a few years to get married, have a child and then see that marriage fail only to be left alone to take care of both her daughter and grandmother (Wai Ching Ho) that she was pulled back under Ramona's wing where the two of them along with Annabelle (Lili Reinhart) and Mercedes (Keke Palmer) began taking what they felt belonged to them by manipulating and drugging unsuspecting victims in order to rob them of their cash and max out their credit cards leaving these men in awkward scenarios where they were too embarrassed or afraid to admit to how this happened.
As strange as it may sound, it is insanely fun to watch these plots unfold as we, the audience, are made to feel as if these repulsive men more or less deserve what is coming to them. As Ramona puts it, "...these Wall Street guys stole from everybody! Hard working people lost everything and not one of these douchebags went to jail! The game is rigged, and it doesn't reward people who follow the rules." In their eyes-or at least Ramona's-they are stealing what already belonged to them and people like them in the first place; they are Robin Hoods of the modern era-stealing from the rich to give to the poor, but fortunately for them they are the only poor folks they know. And this is fun for a while which is more beneficial than not to “Hustlers” as the film runs a tight, hour and forty-five or so. It is only as the film enters its third act that not only is there a sense in terms of the screenplay that things had to be compounded and wrapped up in a swift manner, but there is also a repetitive nature to how this section of the film is ultimately executed leaving the plotting and eventual comeuppance of the characters to feel both sloppy and slightly unearned. There is no conscience about screwing these guys over for the majority of the film and there is an abrasiveness to this that is complimented by the playful soundtrack that not only features the aforementioned Jackson, but also a great Britney Spears drop, some Bob Seger and a little Fiona Apple just for good measure, but given these women are running the same scheme time and time again there needs to be more than needle drops to differentiate the various victims of said scheme. Scafaria, while not having seen her other work recently, is seemingly a filmmaker who is very good at capturing the essence of her subjects and their world if not necessarily connecting the logical dots necessary to make a comprehensive story. That might sound more damning that intended, but this is to say that both Ramona and Destiny have children that are featured prominently throughout the film and while both daughters might be too young to comprehend what their mothers do for a living or question where their father figures might be, Scafaria's script never even cares to touch on how Ramona or Destiny deal with the fact they'll eventually have to come to terms with their daughters knowing the truth about what they did and the lengths they went to in order to provide for them. There's even a section in the film where Destiny states that she's going back to school and is shown studying and doing homework on a laptop backstage, but we don't know what she's going to school for, what she's interested in or what her aspirations are. In the beginning of this review I wrote that there's no introduction to the character of Destiny, but more to a certain mindset with the major flaw of “Hustlers” being that it never gets around to truly introducing us to the characters, but instead keeps us at a safe enough distance that we understand what these women are about even if we don't really understand who they are.
“Hustlers” is a high-energy piece of filmmaking that largely doesn't slow down often enough to even allow for questions concerning the kind of class warfare story that it's telling at its core, but instead-much like most if not all of the men featured in the movie-“Hustlers” is also seduced by its own flash and dazzle. The plus side being that Scafaria, with her female gaze, shoots the strip club sequences in ways that-while still featuring some repulsive male degradations-maintain a decadence and luxuriousness that is conveyed as being sexy and "all in good fun"; this sexy sheen the film possesses is likely replaced by a more exploitative nature at your local strip joint, but here's to small wishes. This "gaze" allows for one to feel less "icky" for having walked into the movie at all, but the story having been spawned from a group of strippers and the inherent setting that comes along with this is only part of the glitz and glamour involved in the story that the movie adaptation can't help but become infatuated with and there's understandable enough reason for why Scafaria treats it this way; from the opening JLo routine through to the glorified set decorations that are Lizzo and Cardi B (the two barely have speaking parts and have only been recruited for their names) and onto the girls carrying out Ramona's scheme through to the rewards they all reap that sees them living these lives of opulence-the movie shifts from the viewer cheering them on to almost not feeling bad for the characters or at least as "OK" with their lack of any kind of conscience in taking advantage of the people they're taking advantage of-whether they deserve it or not. This again speaks to the kind of inability of Scafaria's screenplay to successfully collect all of her film's ideas and plot points and summarize them into a single, cohesive piece as the film establishes up front what it's about and how it wants to be about that (a la a riotous call about sticking it to the man courtesy of the most undervalued of societal ornaments) while eventually (and unintentionally) offering up optional perspectives through which to view the protagonists. If nothing else were to be altered in the film, the intended perception might have at least been maintained had Scafaria allowed Wu's performance as Destiny to become more than just a narrative and structural device. Yes, Lopez is the beacon every time she's on screen and her performance as this multi-faceted character who is the catalyst for everything that happens and that we can't exactly put our thumb on is largely what elevates the film as a whole, but despite all of that this is still Destiny's movie. And though Wu certainly has something of an arc, it's hard to accept that the hustle itself wouldn't feel more rewarding in its defiance if we came to know this woman beyond the archetype.
by Philip Price
Director: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy & Bill Hader
Runtime: 2 hours & 49 minutes
“IT: Chapter Two” is a film with great vision, while also being one that lacks focus.
This lack of an anchor, or heart - if you will - is the source of much frustration as it's clear director Andy Muschietti has great ambition for what he not only wants his adaptation to be, but represent; this is to be the modern day equivalent of “The Shining,” a Marvel-esque sized accomplishment in the horror genre, but while the mission is clear and the intent appreciated it seems Muschietti's bloated sequel to his 2017 introduction to the Losers Club bit off more than it could chew.
Rather than purely being the 27-year-later sequel, it was assumed to be, “IT: Chapter Two” largely operates in a fashion where the first, more endearing chapter, didn't have to exist. It's nice that it does and of the two is the better film, but this is because that movie - while still sprawling in its scope - didn't have to deal in two separate timelines, didn't have to fully dissect the characters, but more just plant the seeds for them and it didn't have to somehow shoehorn in a story about an ancient ritual that would defeat this cosmic entity that we come to know is Pennywise the dancing clown. In other words, Muschietti's predecessor had the ability to focus on its characters in both its heroes and its antagonist while developing the undesirable, but sometimes symbiotic relationship between the two.
In ‘Chapter Two,’ Muschietti and his editor, Jason Ballantine, never find the necessary groove to make everything the film is trying to accomplish flow with the comprehension necessary to lend the film that needed focus, that necessary anchor that gives the viewer something specific to latch onto so that it connects to - if not everything the film is trying to do - at least one thing that will make it feel more personal and therefore more haunting.
“IT: Chapter Two” is such a film of fits and starts that it's almost impossible to find any one thing to latch onto at all, but lucky for us ‘Chapter Two’ does in fact boast a game cast of adult Losers that make the jumbled narrative bearable while Muschietti's visual prowess remains on impressive display throughout.
Furthermore, Bill Skarsgård's performance as Pennywise is still gold, but even in this regard the filmmakers don't take as much advantage of the performance as they should - layering in CGI and not allowing Skarsgård's disturbing portrayal to truly breathe. Like a buffet plate that's loaded with everything that looked good, “IT: Chapter Two” ends up a pile of pieces with a single bite out of each-nothing fully digested leaving the consumer full, but not satisfied.
by Philip Price
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett
Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody & Mark O'Brien
Runtime: 1 hour & 35 minutes
It's hard to pin down the exact moment in a movie when it becomes so assured of itself that it's seemingly firing on all cylinders in the exact way the filmmaker(s) intended; some movies are lucky to have such moments at all, but the really special ones are lucky enough to have them early in the runtime - immediately displaying a confidence so unwavering in what it is and what it intends to be that the audience knows what they're in for from the word go.
“Ready or Not,” the new feature from directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, is one of those movies that you feel instantly knows not only what it wants to be, but exactly how it's going to become that thing. This is apparent not only from the sentiments expressed through the opening credits sequence, but in the initial introductions between each of the characters we promptly get a sense of. From the first scene in which we meet Samara Weaving's Grace we understand who she is as an individual and from the given interaction with her fiancé, Alex (Mark O'Brien), gather how she feels about joining this dynasty of a family as well as the institution of marriage in general; there's a coolness to her that defaults to playing down particularly major events in her life for fear of getting her hopes up too much and/or ultimately being disappointed. The reasons for this become evident the more we learn about Grace's past, but even throughout the remainder of the Le Domas clan the family dynamics are so well defined that the way in which these people operate - even when it comes to attempting to kill the newest member of their family - isn't completely unexpected, but instead each of these characters demonstrate what we assume about them from the precedent they've already set. It is in these rooted characterizations defined from the beginning that also allows for the tension to meld effortlessly with the comedy of the piece; brutal to its core with as much blood as a Tarantino feature, “Ready or Not” fuses that tricky tone of violence and irreverence into a wild, 90-minute experience. This isn't anything you haven't seen before, especially if you keep current with the horror genre, but it is so aware of what it is and so expertly crafted to be the best version of itself that everything about it feels original and raw.
by Philip Price
Starring Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson and Margot Robbie as a fictional associate producer at Fox News, “Bombshell” follows the recent real-life events involving Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), the man who created "the most powerful and controversial media empire of all time" and the explosive story of the women who brought down the infamous man who created it. Ailes was ousted from Fox after allegations of sexual harassment from numerous women, including Kelly and Carlson. Rounding out the A-list cast are Allison Janney, Alice Eve, Mark Duplass, Malcolm McDowell, Connie Britton and Kate McKinnon with the film being under the helm of veteran director Jay Roach (‘Austin Powers,’ “Meet the Parents”) from a screenplay by Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”). (Premieres: 12/20)
9. The Goldfinch
Based on Donna Tartt's novel, 13-year-old New Yorker Theo Decker's life is turned upside-down when his mother is killed in a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Confused in the rubble of the tragedy, he steals a priceless piece of art known as "The Goldfinch." While I haven't read Tartt's novel nor do I know how or why this film will run two and a half hours, what I do know is that this is director John Crowley's follow-up to his lovely 2015 film, “Brooklyn,” which served as one of my favorite films of that year and for that reason alone I can't wait to see what the filmmaker does with his follow-up. The film stars Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Jeffrey Wright and was shot by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins. (Premieres: 9/13)
8. Knives Out
While I certainly wasn't the biggest fan of writer/director Rian Johnson's entry in the ‘Star Wars’ universe I have admittedly been a fan of everything else he's done including “Brick,” “The Brothers Bloom” and “Looper” and so the fact he has decided to follow-up what some might consider the pinnacle of his career and others the lowest point with an original "whodunnit" of sorts one is inclined to hope for the best. Also, that cast! Johnson's latest is headed up by Daniel Craig, but also features the likes of Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, Lakeith Stanfield, Jaeden Martell and Christopher Plummer. “Knives Out” chronicles the events around the untimely death of renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey who is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday. The inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan's dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan's...murder? (Premieres: 11/27)
7. Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy has rarely appeared on screen in the last decade, but he’s back in director Craig Brewer's (“Hustle & Flow”) new biopic about Rudy Ray Moore, as the legendary comedian and actor will portray the comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon. ‘Dolemite’ will make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before landing in theaters in limited release on 10/4 and then on Netflix on 10/25. “Dolemite Is My Name” also stars Tituss Burgess, Craig Robinson, Mike Epps, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Snoop Dogg and Wesley Snipes. Premieres: 10/4
6. Ad Astra
Brad Pitt has been eager to work with director James Gray for some time as he was originally scheduled to star in “The Lost City of Z,” but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Gray, who wrote this original screenplay with Ethan Ross, has seemed to craft nothing short of a fascinating mystery/sci-fi film that isn't so much going to be lenient on the "fiction" part, but instead more grounded in its approach to discussing extraterrestrial life forms. In the film, Pitt plays an astronaut who travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet; ultimately uncovering secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the universe. This sort of thing is right up my alley. I love when movies really go for it in the vein of something like ‘2001,’ “The Tree of Life” or “Interstellar” and it seems as if this film might fit really well into that line-up. “Ad Astra” also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland, John Ortiz and Kimberly Elise. (Premieres: 9/20)
5. Honey Boy
From a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf and based on his own experiences, award-winning filmmaker Alma Har'el (“LoveTrue”) brings to life a young actor's stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father through cinema and dreams. Fictionalizing his childhood's ascent to stardom, and subsequent adult crash-landing into rehab and recovery, Har'el casts Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges as Otis Lort, the LaBeouf stand-in. LaBeouf takes on the daring and therapeutic challenge of playing a version of his own father, an ex-rodeo clown and a felon who seems to have pressed his child into early stardom. Artist and musician FKA twigs makes her feature-film debut, playing neighbor and kindred spirit to the younger Otis in their garden-court motel home. Har'el's feature narrative debut is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between filmmaker and subject, exploring art as medicine and imagination as hope. (Premieres: 11/8)
4. The Irishman
Martin Scorsese directs Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel in a crime drama that chronicles a mob hitman as he recalls his possible involvement in the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa. That's really all that needs to be said about this film or what will otherwise become known as the most expensive original Netflix movie to date (it carries a $160 million price tag). Based on Charles Brandt's 2003 novel, I Heard You Paint Houses, the film chronicles the meeting of De Niro's Frank Sheeran and Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) and is based on interviews Brandt had with Sheeran over the course of five years detailing how he handled more than 25 hits for the mob, and for his friend Hoffa. Much has also been made of that rather hefty price tag, a majority of which was attributed to the de-aging process applied to the three screen legends mentioned thus far, given this is a story that spans decades. It's difficult to even see where this technology comes in as far as the footage in the trailer is concerned save for the final, revealing shot that puts an emphasis on De Niro's face, but regardless of where the money went expect “The Irishman” to be a major awards contender for Netflix this year as it is set to premiere as the opening night film at the New York Film Festival on September 27th. The film also stars Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin, Stephen Graham, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Jack Huston, Kathrine Narducci and Jesse Plemons. (Premieres: In theaters on 11/1 and Netflix 11/27)
3. It: Chapter 2
The success of the first half of director Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King's IT afforded him the luxury of an A-list ensemble and plenty of time to develop and shoot this sequel we kind of already knew was happening even before that first film blew all expectations out of the water; going on to score the largest opening weekend for an R-rated movie ever, then continuing to perform week after week ultimately taking in over $700 million worldwide. Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader lead the cast of “IT: Chapter Two” as the sequel picks up with the characters from the first film as adults 27 years later. Furthermore, the film will chronicle "the losers" first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise in that same span of time as the group return to Derry, Maine after a devastating phone call brings them together again. In speaking with Entertainment Weekly Pennywise himself, Bill Skarsgård, stated that, "The arc of the first movie is that he, for the first time, experiences fear himself,” which could certainly mean the character might go in one of two drastically different directions, but it seems rather than sulk back into the darkness from which he came Pennywise will be seeking revenge as Skarsgård reiterated that this encounter with fear, "fuels hatred and anger toward the kids, who are now adults, so I think there might be an even more vicious Pennywise.” So, yeah...despite early mixed reactions I'm still pumped for this thing. (Premiered: 9/6)
2. Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
After 2017's ‘The Last Jedi’ both the level of excitement and expectations were severely tempered for this last installment, the otherwise monumental finale of the Skywalker saga. As already stated, I was not a fan of Rian Johnson's middle chapter in what is seemingly the third and final trilogy in the main series of ‘Star Wars’ films as it almost irreverently disregarded everything writer/director J.J. Abrams set-up in ‘The Force Awakens.’ Director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm director Kathleen Kennedy have been quite mum on story, character and plot details, but the revelation this doesn't pick up immediately after the events of ‘TLJ’ is interesting and it is clear our core group of heroes are on a singular mission in ‘The Rise of Skywalker.’ Speaking of characters, the cast will include new generation cast members such as Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Billie Lourd, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Lupita Nyong'o as well as newcomers Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant and Naomi Ackie. Fans will also be introduced to BB-8's new friend, Dio, a smaller droid that has a distinctively cool design while legacy cast members returning include Carrie Fisher in her last on-screen role, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Lando Calrissian himself...Billy Dee Williams. Here's to hoping that lowered expectations lead to greater reward. (Premieres: 12/20)
Despite his films typically receiving more negative press than unanimous praise, I've been a fan of director Todd Phillips since he knocked me out with a double dose of Frat Pack greatness in 2003 and 2004 with “Old School” and “Starsky & Hutch” before going on to become better known for his ‘Hangover’ trilogy. While that trilogy may have become more and more mediocre over the course of three films in terms of story, they vastly improved Phillips' cinematic eye while the filmmaker's subversive take on the material at least led to interesting outlets. And while the character of the Joker arguably will suffer more than he might prosper from an origin story, with a screenplay by Phillips and Scott Silver (“The Fighter”) along with a cast that features the likes of Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro it's hard to argue one isn't at least intrigued by the promise if not excited by the idea. This appears to essentially be a ‘70s-set New York crime drama and feels visceral in a way that transcends the legacy of the character making it feel that “Joker,” like “The Dark Knight,” will simply be a strong genre film that just so happens to also feature characters inspired by comic books. This is easily my most anticipated film of the year and it will be hard to forgive all those seeing it early on the film festival circuit as us general moviegoers have to wait another month until it hits local cinemas. (Premieres: 10/4)
by Julian Spivey
We perused through all of the new movies and TV shows coming to the major streaming services this month so you wouldn’t have to … after doing so these are the five new streaming options of September, we recommend the most.
Superbad (Netflix) – September 1
Of all of the crude teenage coming-of-age comedy to come out in the last two decades “Superbad,” directed by Greg Mottola, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and produced by Judd Apatow, has been the best. Telling the tale of two high school friends, played by Jonah Hill (in a star making role) and Michael Cera, who plan on losing their virginity by graduation, the film features terrific supporting turns by Rogen, Bill Hader and Emma Stone (in her debut movie role). Don’t forget Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the one and only McLovin’. “Superbad” is a movie you could watch over-and-over and still laugh out loud.
Juno (Hulu) – September 1
So, remember how we just said “Superbad” is the best teenage coming-of-age comedy of the last two decades? Well, that might actually be director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody’s “Juno,” starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera, from 2007 (the year before “Superbad”). “Juno” tells the tale of a teenage girl going through an unplanned pregnancy and her decision on what to do with the baby. The film won Cody an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and features good supporting turns by Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner and Allison Janney.
“Sturgill Simpson Presents Sound & Fury” (Netflix) – September 27
Here’s an original one that should appeal to fans of rock and Americana music, as well as anime. Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson’s fourth studio album Sound & Fury is being accompanied by an anime visual album debuting on Netflix on Friday, September 27. Netflix explains the 41-minute anime flick as “a mysterious driver heads deep into a postapocalyptic hellscape toward a ferocious showdown with two monstrous opponents.” Simpson is one of the most interesting musicians in any musical genre at the moment, so this should at least be an interesting watch and more importantly listen.
“High Noon” (Amazon) – September 30
“High Noon,” director Fred Zinneman’s classic Western from 1952, is one of the greatest movies of all-time – no doubt a top five all-time Western and the 27th greatest American movie ever made, according to the American Film Institute. “High Noon” stars Gary Cooper, in the second of his Best Actor Oscar-winning performances, as Marshal Will Kane, who is tasked with having to save a town and himself from a ruthless band of outlaws all by himself in an allegory of McCarthyism and Hollywood blacklisting.
“Platoon” (Amazon) – September 30
Director and screenwriter Oliver Stone’s 1986 Best Picture Oscar-winning “Platoon” is the gritty Vietnam War film based on his own experience in the war. The film stars Charlie Sheen as a U.S. Army volunteer fighting in a platoon that’s experiencing an inner-unit war between two sergeants, played by Oscar-nominees Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe, who double as a good vs. evil aspect to the film. It’s a ruthless film, featuring incredible performances all around and has been ranked as one of the 100 greatest American films ever made by the American Film Institute.