Pick of the Week: “What We Do in the Shadows“ (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. Before “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and making Thor funny in the upcoming “Ragnarok,” New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi co-created and starred in this hilarious mockumentary about a group of vampires living together in a flat. The usual roommate run-ins are heightened when all of the tenants are immortal, and not cleaning up after yourself involves geysers of blood all over the walls. Jemaine Clement and Rhys Darby of “Flight of the Conchords” also appear.
“Anthropoid” (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. This tense World War II thriller is based on a real-life case involving two Czech soldiers assigned with assassinating Hitler’s top man in Prague. The film doesn’t sugarcoat the brutality of the Nazi rule or the desperation of the partisans, making for a more realistic and stirring thriller than one might expect.
“The Salvation” (Netflix) — My full review is here. Shot in South Africa, with a largely Danish cast and crew that includes Mads Mikkelsen, “The Salvation” is nonetheless very much steeped in the Western tradition. Mikkelsen plays a Danish immigrant who must avenge the murders of his wife and son at the hands of the local outlaw, menacingly played by Jeffery Dean Morgan.
“Midnight in Paris” (Netflix) — Woody Allen’s best film of the 21st century (which, granted, isn’t saying a lot) is this fanciful comedy about a writer (Owen Wilson) who finds himself transported to ’20s Paris and hobnobbing with Ernest Hemingway and Salvador Dali. Amid the jokes, the film makes a pretty good case for the futility of nostalgia.
“Blazing Saddles” (Netflix) — Mel Brooks’ 1974 classic comedy about a black sheriff (Cleavon Little) defending an all-white town with the help of a soused gunslinger (Gene Wilder) is endlessly rewatchable.