Pick of the week: “Uncle John“ — My full review is here. This 2015 Wisconsin Film Festival hit, filmed in Lodi and Chicago, is part rural noir, as a farmer (John Ashton) wrestles with the consequences of a deadly deed. But it’s also an urban romance, as the farmer’s nephew deals with love and career issues in the Chicago advertising. How director Steven Piet and co-writer Erik Crary bring the two genres in an effective way helps make for an assured debut.
“Don’t Stop Believin’: An Everyman’s Journey“ — My full review is here. This documentary follows a Journey tribute band singer who gets asked to substitute for Steve Perry in the actual band. It’s a rah-rah underdog story, but it’s also an interesting look inside the businesslike lives of “legacy” bands still churning out the hits after all these years.
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” — My full review is here. Near the top of my Great Movies I’ll Never Watch Again list is this brilliant and disturbing Lynne Ramsay film about a harried mother (a raw and fierce Tilda Swinton) dealing with the possibility that her teenage son (Ezra Miller) may be a psychopath. The film jumps around in chronology, giving us surreal images that only make sense later, building a sense of dislocation and dread.
“Galaxy Quest” — “Star Trek” fans will love this 1999 spoof of their beloved franchise, as the aging stars of a faded sci-fi TV show get conscripted by aliens to fight a real intergalactic war.
“Meet the Parents” — Remember when the idea of Robert DeNiro starring in a comedy felt like a novelty? He’s actually terrific playing against the nebbishy Ben Stiller in the 2000 comedy about the war of wills between a suitor and his future father-in-law, with a nice cameo by Owen Wilson as the perfect ex-boyfriend.