A nicely packed week starts off with the newest film from Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as washed up movie star Rick Dalton, who is trying to cope with the current state of his career in Hollywood playing heavies on television shows. Along with his best friend and stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), Rick coasts through life in 1969 Los Angeles while his new neighbor, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is starting a new life with her husband Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha). But there is a darker side to the city as a band of local hippies led by an unhinged man are planning a night that will change all of their lives.
Tarantino is a master of creating a time and place and with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood he brilliantly recreates 1969 Los Angeles and creates a fascinating alternate reality revolving around DiCaprio’s Dalton. Both DiCaprio and Pitt give performances that rival the best they have ever given, while Margot Robbie gives a wonderful performance as Sharon Tate that is a loving tribute to the late actress. In addition to the great story and performances it is Tarantino’s overall reconstruction of Los Angeles, the soundtrack and his decision to never rush scenes, instead letting the audience bask in the beautiful world he created that make Once Upon a Time in Hollywood something really special.
Next up is one of the biggest hits of the year, It Chapter Two. 27 years after the events of the first film, Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) is the only member of the Losers Club to stay in Derry and he suspects the evil that was brought to their town by the terrifying clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) has returned. Mike calls the rest of the group back home as they once swore to once again confront Pennywise but the events from their childhood has scarred them all. Now the Losers must conquer their deepest fears and try to destroy the shape-shifting Pennywise once and for all.
Director Andy Muschietti has crafted two movies of brilliant horror storytelling and one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever with It. Accompanying the perfect kid castings in the first film, It Chapter Two continues the feat by casting heavyweights James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader (who really steals the show here) to play the adult incarnations. The story is just as inventive and scary as the first film with some truly unsettling scenes that will stick with you long after the film ends. It Chapter Two is scary, fast paced, and loads of fun. And the 4K release is definitely the way to go if you have the equipment, this is one fantastic looking film that will show off what your home theatre is capable of. One of the best releases of the year.
Lastly this week is the new crime drama Hustlers. Constance Wu plays Destiny, a dancer at a men’s club who joins forces with other dancers Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), Diamond (Cardi B), and Mercedes (Keke Palmer) to start a scheme to lure wealthy men in only to rip them off. The plan works well and the women soon find themselves rolling in cash until an accident threatens to expose them. Now they must deal with untrustworthy dancers, the police and the club owners as they try to find a way out and still be able to support themselves and their families.
Hustlers is a great crime drama based on a viral New York Magazine article. The pace is fast, the casting is excellent with solid performances across the board, especially from Lopez and Wu, and the story of these women and their plan is intriguing and makes for one heck of a fun movie. Director Lorene Scafaria crafts a very Scorsese-esque crime drama that features New York as a character on its own, and some nice filmmaking techniques that call back to the great New York crime films of the 70s. Hustlers is a great crime drama with some fantastic performances and is highly recommended.
Also of note this week is the fun new action thriller Lucky Day featuring a great performance by Crispin Glover as a strange hitman, the Blu-ray debut and 35th Anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club, and the new John Travolta thriller The Fanatic.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday December 10, 2019
A Stranger Among Us (1992)
Aces: Iron Eagle III (1992)*
Blue Collar (1978)*
Danger USA a.k.a. Mind Trap (1989)/American Rampage (1989) Double Feature*
Death in Paradise: Season Eight
Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde (1971)*
Hitchcock: The British International Pictures Collection*
Inside Moves (1980)*
It: Chapter Two
Old Joy (2006)* - Criterion Collection
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Out of The Blue*
Playing God (1997)
Shameless: The Complete Ninth Season
Suits: Season Nine
Suits: The Complete Series
Terminal Velocity (1994)
The Abominable Snowman (1957)*
The Anne Bancroft Collection*
The Cotton Club 35th Anniversary (1984)*
The Fly Blu-ray Collection*
The High Chaparral: The Final Season
The Limits of Control (2009)*
The Magic Sword (1962)*
Titans: The Complete First Season
Twin Peaks: From Z to A
Twin Peaks: The Television Collection
Until the End of the World (1991)* - Criterion Collection
WWE24: The Best of 2019
*Catalog Blu-ray debut