Welcome back to my Home Movies! Today, one of my absolute favorite films of the year so far hits shelves. Yes, this is the week that more of you will hopefully finally see Vengeance! There’s more coming out too, so it’s hardly a one and done day. Read on for more…
B.J. Novak‘s directorial debut Vengeance blew me away earlier this year. A mixture of comedic, mysterious, and thrilling elements, it all combines to be an unexpected pleasure, one that lingers long after the movie ends. It was truly one of the biggest cinematic surprises of 2022 for me. My rave review here on the site began like so:
Wow. Nothing beats the feeling of being unexpectedly blown away by a film. Whenever I sit down to watch a movie in a screening room, movie theater, or on my laptop, I know the potential is there for something special, even if it’s rarely achieved. Then, something like Vengeance comes along and just wallops me. Especially considering how I’d heard almost exclusively good things about this flick, which I tragically missed at the Tribeca Film Festival, but nothing prepared me for how great it truly is. Not only is it a surprise delight, it’s one of the ten best movies of the year so far, without question. Actor turned filmmaker B.J. Novak announces himself as an exciting new voice behind the camera with this absolute gem.
Vengeance is a mix of comedy, mystery, and thriller, lending equal weight to all three elements. Moreover, the gradual emotionality and tragic element to the story is so naturally woven in, it truly sneaks up on you. As funny and satirical as the first act, and even first half is, it seamlessly gives way to a compelling detective tale of sorts, with genuine tension and emotions. Whether you see where it’s going or are stunned by the outcome, there are treasures buried here, just below the surface, but there for the finding.
This documentary is just lovely. Not only is The Automat one of the better docs of the year, it has a great song by Mel Brooks that deserves to be in the conversation for Best Original Song. Don’t sleep on this one. My review here includes this bit:
I knew of the automat, but I never got to experience it. My grandfather would tell stories of it, but it always sounded strange. However, the new documentary The Automat showcases exactly why he and so many others loved it so very much. The film not only shows its historical footprint in American society, but gets a who’s who of former patrons to testify to its greatness. The result is an incredibly charming little movie, one that will connect you to the past. In doing so, the doc becomes something more than you might initially expect it to be. Only a few minutes in, I was completely sold. This is a lovely flick.
The Automat is the sort of doc that can easily slip between the cracks, but it would be a shame if that happens. It’s a warm movie, one with a subtle yet impactful point to make. Doing it all with a fondness for the time, the establishment, and the people involved only increases its effectiveness. Luckily, there’s an ace up its sleeve, in an Original Song from an Oscar winner. When you hear it, I dare you not to grin from ear to ear.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Complete Collection (TV)
Batman: The Long Halloween
The Lost Boys (First Time in 4K)
Outlander: Season 6 (TV)
Poltergeist (First Time in 4K)
From The Criterion Collection: “One of the defining independent films of the 1990s, Atom Egoyan’s mesmerizing international breakthrough Exotica takes the conventions of the psychological thriller into bold new territory—unsettling, dreamlike, and empathetic. At the neon-drenched Toronto strip club of the film’s title, a coterie of lost and damaged souls—including a man haunted by grief, a young woman with whom he shares an enigmatic bond, an obsessive emcee, and a smuggler of rare bird eggs—search for redemption as they work through the traumas of their mysteriously interconnected histories in an obsessive cycle of sex, pain, jealousy, and catharsis. Masterfully weaving together past and present, Egoyan constructs a spellbinding narrative puzzle, the full emotional impact of which doesn’t hit until the last piece is in place.”
From The Criterion Collection: “A mysterious writer of poison-pen letters, known only as Le Corbeau (the Raven), plagues a French provincial town, exposing the collective suspicion and rancor seething beneath the community’s calm surface. Made during the Nazi occupation of France, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Corbeau was attacked by the right-wing Vichy regime, the left-wing Resistance press, and the Catholic Church, and was banned after the liberation. But some—including Jean Cocteau and Jean-Paul Sartre—recognized the powerful subtext of Clouzot’s anti-informant, anti-Gestapo fable, and worked to rehabilitate his directorial reputation after the war. Le Corbeau brilliantly captures the paranoid pettiness and self-loathing that turn an occupied French town into a twentieth-century Salem.”