“Asteroid City” Is the Pick of the Week

It’s an interesting time of year with August seeing the blockbusters winding down in theaters as those films looking to make a splash come award season start to be released next month. With the WGA/SAG strikes on going as the time of this writing, there’s no telling when a new TV season will begin, so it will be a great time to catch up on movies and TV series. Readers can use this weekly column to make their to-watch list, starting with my Pick of the Week: Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City.”

“Asteroid City” is another star-studded Anderson dreamworld with multiple frames of reference. In the 1950s, a TV host introduces playwright Conrad Earp who is working on a teleplay called Asteroid City, which is the name of a fictional desert town, likely in Arizona, where a group of teen stargazers and their parents come for an astronomy convention. The TV production and its creation are shown in black-and-white while the play is shown in color. I have seen the movie twice and while I don’t understand Anderson’s choices, I certainly enjoyed them as well as the performances of the cast and crew.

Since we are still waiting for Isle of Dogs and The French Dispatch to enter The Criterion Collection, I am making this release of “Asteroid City” my Pick of the Week.

Other titles out this week that look interesting:

Impulse (Grindhouse Releasing): Released in 1974, William Shatner is at his most villainous playing con-man/serial killer Matt Stone whose evil ways might come to an end when the adolescent daughter of his latest potential victim is suspicious of him.

Shaw Brothers Classics: Volume Two (Shout Factory): The next volume in the series presents another dozen films, many making their Blu-ray debut: Lady of Steel / Brothers Five / The Crimson Charm / The Shadow Whip / The Delightful Forest / The Devil’s Mirror / Man of Iron / The Water Margin / The Bride From Hell / Heroes Two / The Flying Guillotine / The Dragon Missile

Primetime Panic 2 (Fun City Editions): A trio of made-for-TV movies by producer Michael Jaffe. The Death of Richie stars Robby Benson as a teenager who turns to drugs. (Hope the title isn’t a spoiler.) Incident at Crestridge finds Eileen Brennan taking on small town corruption by running for sheriff. The Seduction of Gina sees Valerie Bertinelli turn into a compulsive gambler.

Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (Criterion Collection): Wayne Wang followed up Chan Is Missing with this story about a Chinese immigrant widow told she would die with in the year, which has her focused on her daughter getting and married and visiting China again.

The Thief Collector (FilmRise): A fascinating true-crime documentary about the thieves who stole Willem de Kooning’s Woman-Ochre from the University of Arizona Museum of Art in 1985.

Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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