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🎬 "Ever fired your gun in the air and yelled, 'Aaaaaaah?'"

🎬 "Ever fired your gun in the air and yelled, 'Aaaaaaah?'"
By Eric Johnson • Issue #65 • View online
I meant to write today’s newsletter sooner, but it’s almost midnight on Thursday as I type this. Why? An influencer/beaver showed up in my Animal Crossing town buying fish for 1.5x their market value, so I spent most of the evening chasing down red snappers and goldfish. You know, normal life stuff.

This week in quarantine: Murder! Mutant alligators! And, most horrifying of all, a teenager in love. No “Other Stuff” section this week, but briefly, here’s one other thing I liked: Reading the print edition of The New Yorker. Shortly after quarantine began, I signed up for a three-month trial subscription and have been loving it. Great way to ensure some distance from screens before bed (on the nights when I’m not writing a newsletter like a college student who forgot when the paper was due).
📫 Reply to this email with your reactions and recommendations for what I should watch in the future.
🚨 Hot Fuzz
Like many of director Edgar Wright’s movies, Hot Fuzz is endlessly rewatchable.
Wright fills the frame with clever details, genres sway and snap into unseen formations, and most importantly for my taste: His comedies don’t wink at the audience, even in the most ridiculous of circumstances.
Simon Pegg is deadly serious as Sgt. Nicholas Angel, and his silly sidekick, played by Nick Frost, is lovably earnest; Danny Butterman, Frost’s character, believes everything he says, and we believe it too. The supporting cast is stacked, too: Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, and an army of character actors elevate this story beyond the more parochial (but still great) Shaun of the Dead.
The film opens like a classic badass-cop movie, then suddenly throws its protagonist into a decidedly not-badass small English village. Then just as suddenly, things take a darker turn, without sacrificing the nonstop laughs. I love the ride, every time. Recommended.
Hot Fuzz Official Trailer #1 - (2007) HD
Hot Fuzz Official Trailer #1 - (2007) HD
Hot Fuzz is currently streaming on Starz and DirecTV and is available on all the big video platforms —$3.99 to rent, and $11.99 to $14.99 to buy (AMC on Demand currently has the lowest price).
💐 Annihilation
Annihilation is a sci-fi horror movie that is almost never scary — it’s masterfully creepy, eerie, and most of all patient, so that when it does want to surprise or scare you, the emotion is earned.
Stanley Kubrick would be proud of director Alex Garland’s work here. The talented cast includes Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, playing scientists who venture into the phantasmagorical “Shimmer,” a Bermuda triangle-esque region that the US government has been throwing soldiers into for years, and out of which only one person has ever come out.
One of my few complaints is that the dialogue explaining what Portman (a cell biologist) sees in the Shimmer sometimes feels dumbed down or over-explained. “Malignant,” she remarks at one point, before needlessly adding, “Like a tumor.“ This movie is smarter than that.
Annihilation also leans on a framing device that didn’t totally work for me on the first viewing and still doesn’t now, but overall I’m really glad I decided to revisit this one. It’s great. Recommended.
Annihilation (2018) - Official Trailer - Paramount Pictures
Annihilation (2018) - Official Trailer - Paramount Pictures
Annihilation is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu and is available on all the big video platforms —$3.99 to rent, and $9.99 to $15.99 to buy (Amazon and Apple currently have the lowest price).
👩‍⚖️ The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is an enjoyable, if overlong, comedy featuring Shirley Temple as a 17-year-old high school student who falls head over heels for a profoundly not-interested 35-year-old artist, played by Cary Grant.
Complicating matters is the fact that Grant tends to get in trouble with the law, and Temple’s sister, played by Myrna Loy, is a judge. All three actors are fun together, and they’re backed up by a great supporting cast — my favorite member of which is Ray Collins as a meddling uncle who dishes out lines such as “I couldn’t help overhearing. I had my ear to the door.”
When this movie came out in 1947, TV sitcoms didn’t exist, but by today’s standards many of the scenes feel slight, in a sitcommy way. An extended sequence in the middle, for example, sees Grant and another “old” man competing in a series of field day games such as a sack race and balancing an egg on a spoon.
When compared to the propulsive stories of some of his other comedies — like Bringing Up Baby and Arsenic and Old Lace — this feels like filler material. But viewed on its own, I still had a good time with The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer and liked it enough that I would watch it again.
The Bachelor And The Bobby Soxer - Trailer
The Bachelor And The Bobby Soxer - Trailer
The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer currently isn’t streaming anywhere, but it’s available on all the big video platforms —$2.99 to rent, and $6.99 to $13.99 to buy (Amazon, Apple and YouTube/Google Play currently have the lowest price).
Did you enjoy this issue?
Eric Johnson

I'm reviewing every movie I watch, and watching every movie I own. Settle in, this is going to take a while.

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