Holiday (1938) is the Pick of the Week

An almost forgotten 1938 George Cukor classic starts off 2020's first new week of releases.
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Talking about the films that Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn made together, you usually go to 1938's Bringing Up Baby, and definitely 1940's The Philadelphia Story. However, George Cukor's somewhat overshadowed romance, Holiday (also 1938), shouldn't be left in the dust, especially because it is actually more grounded and honest than both Baby and Philadelphia Story. There is a type of subversive social commentary that you didn't really expect in the '30s. Adapted from Philip Barry's 1928 play, the film stars Grant as Johnny Case, a free-spirted man from humble beginnings who is engaged to Julia (Doris Nolan), a beautiful but seriously stuffy heiress from an equally staid family, but he instantly falls for Linda (Hepburn), her eccentric, black-sheep sister. You know Grant and Hepburn are eventually going to get together, but in this case, you want to go on the journey instead of reaching the destination. It is definitely a worthwhile critique of the lifestyles of the wealthy and the other people who want to rebel against it.

The new Criterion release includes the previous 1930 adaptation, directed by Edward H. Griffith; a new conversation between filmmaker Michael Schlesinger and critic Michael Sragow; audio excerpts from an AFI oral history with Cukor, recorded in both 1970 and 1971; and a costume gallery. If you love classic sparkling comedies and are a fan of Grant or Hepburn, or both together, then this should be a must-add to your collection. 

Other notables releases:

The Lighthouse: Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson star as two lighthouse keepers who are driven insane by isolation and unspoken desire on a mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

Joker: Todd Phillips' polarizing origin story starring Joaquin Phoenix as a failed comedian who walks the dark streets of 1980s Gotham City seeking human connection, but begins a slow descent into madness as he eventually becomes the infamous villain we all know and love/hate from the Batman legacy.

Brick: A stylish, high school noir and early film from Rian Johnson (director of Looper and Knives Out) starring Joesph Gordon-Levitt as a student and preferred outsider who suddenly finds himself going on a whirlwind investigation after his ex-girlfriend goes missing.

Girl on the Third Floor: Phil Brooks (better known to wrestling fans as CM Punk) stars as Don Koch, a man who tries to restore a rundown mansion for his growing family, but unforuntately the house (with a bizarre history) has other plans.

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