This week we start with Blinded by the Light. In 1987 Britain, Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) is a British-Pakistani student in the small town of Luton who is struggling to find his place in the world. Dealing with a loving but domineering recently out of work father and starting at a new school, Javed meets a new friend who introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen and Javed finds himself entranced by the rock star’s powerful lyrics and their connection to his own life. Empowered by his new music obsession, Javed is inspired to take risks and start to pursue his dreams to be a writer, much to the dismay of his father.
Blinded by the Light was a huge and delightful surprise. Kalra is a charismatic and authentic lead and his journey to find himself through the music of Springsteen is indeed inspirational. The film delivers on every level from the excellent writing, brilliant use of Springsteen’s music, authentic characters and sweet humor. You can’t help but feel invigorated and lifted up by the story as well as find a new appreciation for Springsteen’s wonderful songwriting. Blinded by the Light is pure joy.
Next up this week is a new thriller starring comedian Jim Gaffigan, American Dreamer. Gaffigan plays Cam, a down on his luck ride share driver who regularly chauffeurs around a local drug dealer (Robbie Jones). When Cam’s life seems to be hopeless, he hatches a plan to kidnap the dealers child for a ransom, but his plan flies off the rails and Cam must find a way to not only get his life back on track, but to survive the night.
American Dreamer is a very dark thriller, which is odd for a film starring a known comedian as amiable as Gaffigan. Co-writer and director Derrick Borte craft a tale of a white man who should have it all but can’t seem to do anything right. Gaffigan’s Cam is a guy who was once a regular guy with the promise of a decent future, who fell from grace and became a desperate man who has no problem crossing any line to get the life he thinks he deserves. Gaffigan pulls off the character brilliantly and joins the long history of comedians who made the transition to darker material in film. American Dreamer is a portrait of American gone wrong and a thriller worth checking out.
Lastly this month is the new Netflix series The Kominsky Method: The Complete First Season. Michael Douglas plays Sandy Kominsky, a former big name actor who now teaches acting in his own acting studio. His best friend and agent, Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin) loses his wife to cancer, which makes both friends question their own lives and purpose as they struggle with their own relationships and take stock in the world around them. Both men must confront their pasts, their family and their futures if they are to grow and find happiness.
The Kominsky Method is the perfect show right now. Not only does it showcase the brilliant talents of Douglas and Arkin, who have incredible chemistry, but it shows that a series can be headlined by two aging actors and be every bit as good if not substantially better than any youth headlined series. Douglas and Arkin create two characters that rank among the best they have ever portrayed in their careers. Over the course of the season you come to love these guys. Add a brilliant supporting cast including Sarah Baker, Nancy Travis, and a host of cameos and you have a hilariously entertaining and endearing series that is not to be missed.
Also of note this week is the live action film adaptation of the popular animated children’s show Dora and the Lost City of Gold, a new and spectacular 4K release of the horror classic Suspiria, and the excellent new drama Indian Horse.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday November 19, 2019
3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)*
A Faithful Man
Abbott & Costello The Complete Universal Pictures Collection*
All Creatures Here Below
American Me (1992)*
Betty Blue (1986)* - Criterion Collection
Blinded by the Light
Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (1987)*
Cold War (2018)* - Criterion Collection
Delivery Boys (1985)*
Diabolically Yours (1967)*
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Farewell, Friend (1968)*
Farscape: The Complete Series*
Hitch Hike to Hell (1977)*
Millennium Actress (2001)*
Queen of Hearts
Rock 'N' Roll High School 40th Anniversary SteelBook Edition
Someone Behind the Door (1971)*
The Boys Next Door (1985)*
The Divine Fury
The Fan (1981)*
The Far Country*
The Kominsky Method: The Complete First Season
The Nude Bomb (1980)*
The Whole Nine Yards (2000)*
Un Flic a.k.a. Dirty Money (1972)*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut