Annihilation Is the Pick of the Week

One of my favorite podcasts is The Next Picture Show. On it, four film critics discuss a classic movie and how it has inspired and informed a new film. They have a deep discussion about both films and talk about how they are interrelated. It’s informative and fun. They do two episodes per pairing. In the first, they discuss the classic film and then in the second they bring in the new one and discuss how the two match up.

Awhile back they paired Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker with Alex Garland’s latest film Annihilation. After listening to the first episode, I immediately watched Stalker and become mildly obsessed with Tarkovsky’s films. Not wanting to be spoiled on Annihilation, I did not listen to the second episode. I meant to watch that film in the theater but it didn’t happen.

But the pairing still lingers in my mind. I know very little about Annihilation except that it features Natalie Portman going on a dangerous mission into an area in which the laws of nature don’t apply. That’s a similar enough description to Stalker that I can see why they did the pairing, but I cannot imagine Annihilation will keep the same glacier pace that Takovsky seems to live in. I am very curious to see if it connects in other ways and to watch it in its own right. I’m also anxious to finally listen to the second half of the podcast as it’s always fun to see what the hosts have to say about a given film.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Midnight Cowboy (Criterion Collection): This Oscar-winning classic stars Jon Voight as a Texas cowboy who moves to New York City thinking he can make it big as a playboy and finds the city tougher than he thought. Dustin Hoffman is brilliant as the greasy New Yorker who shows him the ropes.

Au Hasard Balthazar (Criterion Collection): Robert Bresson directed this film about a girl and her donkey.

Red River (Criterion Collection): The first of five collaborations between John Wayne and Howard Hawks is a fictional account of the first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas. It has been called one of the greatest westerns ever made.

Zombi 3 / Zombi4 After Death: Semi-unofficial sequels to Zombi 2 (which itself was an unofficial sequel to Dawn of the Dead – which was called Zombi in Italy) get fun-looking releases from Severin films.

Smash Palace: Arrow Academy releases this New Zealand drama starring Bruno Lawrence as a race car driver and his deteriorating relationship with his French wife. Davy has our full review.

Mat Brewster

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