Welcome back to my Home Movies! Today, we have our best slate in some time. Truly, this week has something for everyone. There’s a terrific documentary in Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, a blockbuster in Free Guy, and a feted independent feature in The Green Knight. That’s not even all of the options, either! Read on for more…
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain was a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Unfortunately, he didn’t see himself in the same way. Part of what makes this documentary so moving is that it unpacks Bourdain in a way that doesn’t provide answers, but allows you to feel everything. It’s truly a special work. You’ll almost certainly cry, but it’s an experience well worth embarking on. Here is a bit from my rave review out of the Tribeca Film Festival:
Anthony Bourdain was a complicated man. He was many things, but for almost anyone who read or watched him, he was someone they felt like they knew. So, his decision to end his life struck a nerve in a way that doesn’t always happen, even with celebrity suicides. After all, a man who was paid to travel the world and eat the best food it had to offer was living the dream. Who wouldn’t want that? Of course, that’s not the whole story. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, is a documentary that seeks to unpack the man, both his positives and his negatives. The result is a deeply emotional experience, but one that’s phenomenally well done.
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain brilliantly ponders a brilliant yet troubled man. Largely using some incredible footage of him, including home footage, as well as talking head interviews with those closest to him, we see all sides of him. It impeccably shows you the mark he made on everyone, which results in some heart-wrenching moments, especially towards the conclusion. For a man who wanted everyone to live life to the fullest, his own being snuffed out is positively heartbreaking.
A high concept film done right, Ryan Reynolds is at his most charming here in Free Guy. There aren’t many movies more fun than this one. It was decidedly one of the summer’s real highlights. For more, you can also check out (here) my interview with production designer Ethan Tobman. Here is a bit from my review:
There are so many ways in which Free Guy could have turned out to be a disappointment. High concept summer fare like this, more often than not, it’s a letdown that wastes its premise. Here, the concept is so rife with possibilities, it wouldn’t have been crazy to naturally assume that the film was going to fall short. Luckily, however, the movie manages to make really strong use of its concept and never wastes its own potential. In crafting a creative and fun blockbuster, those involved in Free Guy have made one of the summer’s bigger surprises. If you like a big Hollywood flick but wish they had more creativity to them, this is going to thrill you.
The Green Knight
David Lowery earned a lot of leeway from me with the masterwork that was A Ghost Story. So, despite a lot of my lack of interest in the subject matter, I approached The Green Knight with open eyes. It’s a good thing too, since this indie is about as compelling yet offbeat as you’d expect from Lowery. As far as films worth discussing go, this one practically demands conversation afterwards. In my review of the flick (here), I had this to say:
The Green Knight is an odd duck, but it has a more modern sensibility than you’re expecting. In taking a somewhat short narrative in the source material, one imbued with themes of Christianity, honor and more, Lowery keeps what he wants, but as one character states, when he sees something worth improving, he does. The hutzpah is commendable, but what makes it so interesting is also the respect he shows for the material. He’s definitely mulling the story still, and it’s his goal to make you want to mull it over as well. Well, he succeeds.
Inglourious Basterds (4K)
One of Quentin Tarantino‘s best films comes to 4K in Inglourious Basterds. Up there with Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and Tarantino’s best, Pulp Fiction, this is a glorious (no pun intended) filmmaking extravaganza. I won’t repeat all of the things said about it over the years, but when a QT movie hits 4K (especially one shot by Robert Richardson), you pick it up. It’s just that simple.
Black Lightning: Season 4 (TV)
Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away
Designated Survivor: The Complete Series (TV)
The Flash: The Complete Seventh Season (TV)
The Haunting of Bly Manor (TV)
The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52
Superman: The Complete Animated Series (TV)
From The Criterion Collection: “Marking the moment when the gritty gangster sagas of the 1930s began giving way to the romantic fatalism of ’40s film noir, High Sierra also contains the star-making performance of Humphrey Bogart, who, alongside top-billed Ida Lupino, proved his leading-man mettle with his tough yet tender turn as Roy Earle. A career criminal plagued by his checkered past, Roy longs for a simpler life, but after getting sprung on parole, he falls in with a band of thieves for one last heist in the Sierra Nevada. Directed with characteristic punch by Raoul Walsh—who makes the most of the vertiginous mountain location—this gripping thriller sends Roy and Lupino’s Marie, a fellow outcast also desperate to escape her past, hurtling inexorably toward an unforgettable cliffside climax and a rendezvous with destiny.”
Stay tuned for more next week…