We laugh at Franco as Alien, but the laughs get stuck in our throat: Just like the movie, his performance is a wickedly satiric look at our worst impressions of youth culture—until it gets so frighteningly real that we’re left dazed and amazed.—Tim Grierson, Year: 2016 Director: Taika Waititi Stars: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Rhys Darby Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96% Rating: NR Runtime: 101 minutes, Bella’s (Rima Te Wiata) first encounter with Ricky (Julian Dennison), the new foster child she’s agreed to take on, doesn’t inspire confidence, especially with her clumsy jokes at the expense of his weight. Maybe he’s waiting for Death, but most likely he’s waiting for Peggy (played as an adult by Anna Paquin), who disowned him and has no intention of forgiving him his sins. All of it amounts to a one-step-forward-one-step-back appraisal: There is much to cull from the travails of Andromache the Scythian (Charlize Theron), an immortal warrior who, thousands of years later, still questions the purpose of her own endlessness, and sequels, given Netflix’s ostensibly unlimited resources, are all but guaranteed—but one wishes for more capably clear action auteurism, even when Prince-Bythewood’s action chops confidently step up. Most of John Hughes’ ’80s oeuvre centers on the cringe-worthy struggle of X character getting Y other character to notice their existence in order to have Y inevitably fall for X. By the movie’s climax, one woman’s struggle to hold on to her apartment despite crooked developers’ schemes takes on a dramatic weight found in the most ambitious, large-scale epics—yet Filho’s touch couldn’t be lighter. “Working” means murdering some people, muscling others, even blowing up a car or a building when the occasion warrants. Shaun of the Dead just happens to have zombies and Hot Fuzz just happens to have two males as its romantic leads. She’s a blues legend at the top of her game, finally appreciated (at least in some parts of the country) and ripe for exploitation by white men in suits. And Ricky ends up less of a tough cookie than he—with his fondness for gangsta rap and all that implies—initially tried to project. Superbad. If Taxi Driver now feels slightly overrated, it’s only because the movie’s DNA has crept into so many subsequent filmmakers’ efforts. In regards to material, it’s merciless. —Jim Hemphill, Year: 2005 Director: Noah Baumbach Stars: Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Anna Paquin Genre: Drama Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92% Rating: R Runtime: 81 minutes, Borrowing themes from his previous films—children of failed marriages; characters whose bookish smarts seem to work against them; a floating sense of fatalism—The Squid and the Whale creeps ever closer to Noah Baumbach’s own tempestuous past. It’s a rom-com in many respects, but unlike its predecessors, Superbad is a romance between two buddies, a story wherein the ostensible sex drive is secondary to Platonic need. I’ve got this under control. It is about Orson Welles, showing himself. Take it so that you too can know your master. The artistic direction illustrates such a love for detail and texture that every bit of scenic design, from the town hall to a plastic bag caught in a fence, creates a perfect world for this story. Of course, when they do part, Rosie swallows whatever guilt she may have developed over stealing from Áila, and the caretakers at the safe house remind Áila when Rosie doesn’t want to stay that it sometimes takes people seven or eight times to relent and leave their abusive situation. The brilliance of his portrayal of Alien, a Scarface-aspiring dirt-bag, is that no matter how outlandishly over-the-top it goes—“Look at my shit!”—there remains a deeply unsettling edge to the performance that suggests a white-trash nightmare who could do real damage to those around him. Although the film possesses subtle messages on social intolerance and the good and bad of marriage and family, Easy Anever comes close to preaching or talking down. So, too, does Burning, while also managing to give us Lee Chang-dong’s signatures: visual lucidity and artful morality. —Dom Sinacola, Year: 1975 Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Connie Booth Genre: Comedy Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97% Rating: PG Runtime: 92 minutes, It sucks that some of the shine has been taken off Holy Grail by its own overwhelming ubiquity. It certainly doesn’t look like a $400,000 movie, and it’s delightful to discover which of the gags (like the coconut halves) were born from a need for low-budget workarounds. There’s not much to the straight-forward plot, but the film’s humor and mouth-watering food porn make it a treat. He’s unafraid of breaking away from the film’s major arcs for the sake of digressions that fill us in on both historical context and characters’ backstories. There's always something new to discover and new TV shows and movies are added every week! 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