The Bad Sleep Well (1960) (60 years old now!)
Starring: Toshirô Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Kyôko Kagawa, Tatsuya Mihashi, Takashi Shimura, Kô Nishimura, Takeshi Katô, Kamatari Fujiwara, Chishu Ryu, Seiji Miyaguchi
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Synopsis: Even though 60 years old now, the plot is just as fresh today as it was then. It’s a story of corporate evildoing and revenge when the corporations kill a beloved father. Toshiro Mifune is Kurosawa’s go-to actor when he wants quality, and Mifune dominates any scene he’s in with skill. There is a great ensemble, with at least a few familiar faces from other Kurosawa masterpieces. Clocking in at 2.5 hours, there is plenty of time for character development. Also, think about when it was made, just a few years after WWII. Part of the location is set at a bombed-out munitions factory.
Etc. Kurosawa is a fearless storyteller. In light of the subject and the times, it’s a testament to it. Japanese film with English subtitles.
The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Zack Gottsagen, Jon Bernthal, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, Jake Roberts, Mick Foley, Yelawolf, Lee Spencer
Director: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Synopsis: Grieving fisherman in southern state is running from villains and meets up with a 20-something man with Downs’ Syndrome who has made a getaway from the nursing home the state has ordered him to be in. In comes the do-gooder social worker from the nursing home who is searching for the escapee. It’s an unlikely trio that is on an adventure. The movie is very ambitious in the issues it tries to highlight, including grief and loss, ordering young people to spend the rest of their lives amongst the oldest people in nursing homes, how working under those conditions can be stressful, and pampering/enabling/dependency/medicating of “the disabled”. Oh, and throw in big time wrestling as the mission. The film is endearing in ways, and I adore Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen, the young man who plays the escapee. Dakota Johnson is a one trick pony in my opinion. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s just not all that good either.
Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019) (netflix)
Starring: Lara Rossi, Vladimir Burlakov, Kit Dale, Julia Dietze, Stephanie Paul, Tom Green, Udo Kier, Emily Atack, Jukka Hilden, Duta Skhirtladze, Hon Ping Tang
Director: Timo Vuorensola
Synopsis: A space movie set half on a moon base and half on a very different looking Earth than you’ve seen before, as it has been taken over by a very nasty species of shape-shifting aliens. The “good guys” (i.e. humans) are trapped in a deteriorating space station and need to either repair it or repair their ship to look elsewhere to live. It’s live action but saturated with CGI. It’s also chock-full of cameos of infamous evildoers (the aliens like being in the form of human supervillains, I guess.) It is 90 minutes long but the time flew; seems like it should have been longer. This is a surreal, quirky, and campy movie that is destined to be a cult classic, mark my words.
Etc. This is a sequel to 2012’s “Iron Sky,” which I didn’t know until I searched for information on it. You don’t need to see the first movie to understand this one. The hero of the story is a black female with mechanical skills, which is a very refreshing change of pace. The film is Finnish, and I think it has subtitles but it may be dubbed, not sure. (I always use subtitles.)
I also watched the second season of “Life on Mars” (UK.) Check out last week’s review of season 1 if you want more information on this excellent series.