It’s not often that your favorite film of the year suddenly shows up in your Netflix Instant recommendations. So that made the top pick this week kind of a no-brainer.
Pick of the week: “Upstream Color” — My full review is here. Shane Carruth’s strange and ellipticial sci-fi romance mixes mind control, psychic pigs, and Thoreau’s “Walden” into a heady film about free will and self-determination. It’s gorgeous, cryptic and I wouldn’t want to impose my interpretation on another viewer. but I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
Thriller of the week: “The Score” — Hard to believe Frank “Missy Pig” Oz directed this taut 2001 heist film, in which a cocky young thief (Edward Norton) and a wary veteran (Robert De Niro) try to steal a priceless scepter out of a Montreal customs house. Meticulously plotted and well acted, it builds slowly but is a ton of fun in the last hour.
Comedy of the week: “Mystery Men” — I have a big soft spot for this 2000 action comedy, starring Ben Stiller, William H. Macy and Janeane Garofalo as low-rent superheroes who must band together to fight a supervillain when the city’s A-list hero is incapacitated.
Noir of the week: “A Shock to the System” — Michael Caine gives a deliciously fine performance as a middle -management type who, instead of meekly allowing himself to be downsized, starts using murder to get ahead at his company.
Drama of the week: “The Rainmaker” — Still the best of the John Grisham adaptations (edging out “The Firm”), this well-structured Davey-and-Goliath legal thriller stars an impossibly young Matt Damon as a wet-behind-the-ears attorney trying to take down a big corporation.