Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
10 (1979): It’s easy to dismiss this movie in your memory as the piffle that made Bo Derek briefly into a star. But that would be a shame, because it’s actually one of Blake Edwards’ funniest and most heartfelt comedies. Dudley Moore, two years before his spectacular triumph in Arthur, plays a composer whose male menopause fantasy is triggered by Ms. Derek. The movie is sexy, sweet and at times insanely funny. Also: you’ll also never hear the Ravel piece Bolero the same way again.
Turner Classic Movies, 3 a.m. Tuesday
District 9 (2009): Having the Halo movie project canceled turned out to be a great deal for moviegoers. Peter Jackson planned on having South African director Neill Blomkamp make the video-gamed-themed Halo. “Sorry about that,” Jackson told the young director. “Here’s $30 million. What would you like to make instead?” The resulting film, District 9, is a masterpiece. It frames a harrowing tale of space alien refugees right square in the path of the very human issues of apartheid and racism. Filmed in Johannesburg, the movie is a stunning piece of drama, science fiction and technical filmmaking. Not to be missed.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs (2018): You know I love the Coen brothers (Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Raising Arizona). There latest film is an anthology of short stories set in the Old West. Funny, violent, surprising and beautiful, they are an enthralling group of tales. Featuring a stunning list of actors, including Tyne Daly, Liam Neeson, Tim Blake Nelson, Zoe Kazan, Bill Heck, Jefferson Mays and many others. Nominated for three Oscars, I’m shocked it didn’t score a nomination for the gorgeous cinematography of Bruno Delbonnel.
Now streaming on Netflix.
Nightfall (1957): This tight little Columbia film noir features Aldo Ray as an artist who through very bad luck gets framed for murder and ends up getting pursued by both the cops and the real killer (Brian Keith). Anne Bancroft plays the young woman who somehow manages to get caught up in the mess with Ray. The movie captures a classic fatalistic noir vibe: an innocent man caught up in a web of what feels like inevitable catastrophe. I was always sorry they weren’t able to make a bigger star out of Aldo Ray.
Now streaming on The Criterion Channel.
Trivia Question No. 795: Only one of this week’s mentioned performers won an action Oscar. Who was it?
Answer to Trivia Question No. 793: In The Owl and the Pussycat, Barbra Streisand’s character sports a hilarious outfit with cutout hands on the bra.