This was a good week, all in all. I saw some classic films, caught one in the theater for the first time in ages, and caught up with the Doctor. Here are the details.
It's been awhile since I stepped inside a movie theater so I was excited to learn that my wife would be taking my child somewhere this past weekend giving me a chance to catch a new movie. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot showing that looked remotely interesting. I took a chance on Kin, knowing nothing about it. I should have stayed home and watched Netflix.
Kin is a family drama/road movie that morphs into a crime caper with science-fiction trappings. It is every bit the mess that sounds like. A young boy accidentally discovers a futuristic, possibly alien super weapon in an abandoned factory in an apocalyptic-looking Detroit. He takes it on the run with him when his stepbrother gets in trouble with bad boy James Franco. Along the way, they pick up a good-hearted stripper and ultimately find themselves in a Terminator-esque finale. It's that ending that got me. In the last 15 minutes, you realize Kin is nothing but a set up for a sci-fi sequel that actually looks pretty cool. Too bad this film is such a mess it's likely that will never come into existence.
I first watched this Francis Ford Coppola classic when I was in college or just out of it. I’d seen The Godfather films and Apocalypse Now so I was familiar with the genius that was Coppola in the 1970s. I totally did not get The Conversation. It was long, dull, and made very little sense. I suspect I was expecting more of a traditional thriller and that is not at all what I got.
Watching it again all these years later, and with none of those expectations, I was completely blown away by it. The opening sequence alone is a master class in filmmaking. It isn’t the thriller I was originally looking for but rather an intimate character study of a man who spends his life listening in on others and is paranoid to share any part of his personal life with anybody else. Gene Hackman gives the performance of his life and Coppola is at the top of his game.
William Holden stars in this WWII comedy from Billy Wilder. It takes place in a prisoner-of-war camp where the Americans are goofy nutballs and the Nazis are mostly innocuous caricatures. I came to it expecting an entertaining action adventure drama like The Great Escape so it took me a bit to adjust to the film’s more zany aspects but once I settled in, I had a grand old time.
Doctor Who: Kinda
An odd, Buddhist-inspired, psychedelic, psychological horror story finds Peter Davison’s Doctor alongside Tegan, Nyssa, and Adric on a jungle planet inhabited by primitive-looking people of the Kinda tribe who don’t speak but have put a Earth expedition ship under siege. The Kinda have psychic powers of a sort and throw Tegan into a crazy psychedelic world where she has to fight multiple versions of herself. There is a box that when people open it messes with their minds. Oh, and a giant inflatable snake that is destroyed by looking at itself in a mirror. The story is wildly all over the place and I’m not sure it makes any kind of sense, but I kind of love it despite itself.
French crime series that Netflix bought. It's set in a picturesque, smallish city next to an expansive, mysterious forest. A girl has been murdered in it and two others eventually disappear. The new, rule-following police chief bristles against the local officers who know everybody in town and are willing to look the other way at various minor offenses. The townsfolk are full of dark mysteries and the teens are hiding something. All of this is pretty standard stuff for a Netflix series made in non-U.S. countries, but it's beautifully shot and I’m a sucker for dark mysteries. I’m two episodes in and totally hooked.
Burt Reynolds (1936 - 2018)
Burt Reynolds was a movie star. He was a fine actor, but more than that he had that intangible quality that made you love him. His smile lit up the screen. His charm was smoldering. He starred in nearly 200 movies and TV shows, some of them good, some of them bad, but he made all of them better for being in it.