Five Cool Things and a Solar Eclipse

Another week, another five cool things. The eclipse dominated the headlines this week. I didn’t have any special glasses but my wife made one of those homemade viewers out of a cereal box. Then my neighbor let me borrow his welding shield. Not sure if that’s an approved way of viewing or not. I guess you’ll find out next week if I call out sick due to blindness. Until then here’s five cool things I consumed this week.


I had never heard of this spy caper until last week when I caught sight of it in my Pick of the Week column. With that cast (including Walter Matthau, Sam Watterson, and Ned Beatty), I knew I had to watch it, and right soon. It is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is plenty pleasurable. The comedy is broad, the thrills pretty tame, and Beatty feels like he’s acting in a completely different movie. I’m not one to generally complain about cursing in a film but he drops an awful lot of f-bombs in what is an otherwise family-friendly movie.

Matthau was 60 at the time of filming, way too old to be the hero in a spy film, but he’s clearly having a great time in the role, and it’s easy to suspend ones disbelief and roll with it. The joy comes in watching him escape the clutches of both Beatty and Watterson as he jets across the globe. Steve Geise has our full review.

Married to the Mob

When Jonathan Demme died a few months back, I made a note to catch up on his filmography. Randomly, I started with this lighthearted mob comedy from the late ’80s. Michelle Pfeiffer stars as the wife of Alec Baldwin’s mob enforcer. She’s grown tired of the life so when her husband gets whacked after the boss (a delightful Dean Stockwell) catches him with his side-dish, she tries to make a clean break.

But once you are in the mob, you are always in the mob as she soon learns with the boss constantly coming on to her and the boss’s wife (a delightfully unhinged Mercedes Ruehl) constantly threatening her in fits of jealous rage. Then there is Matthew Modine, an undercover FBI agent trying to figure out her angle and slowly falling in love. It is a very odd little film – not hilariously funny or terrifically exciting – but Demme infuses it with his own particulal brand of quirk and style that makes it a very enjoyable viewing.

The Love of a Woman

A wonderfully made french drama about a female doctor who secures a position on a little French island and must decide between her love and her career. An audaciously modern film, the last one from director Jean Grémillon. You can read my full review.


Try this on for starters: Suburbicon is a crime comedy directed by George Clooney, written by the Coen Brothers and starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac. Seriously, if that doesn’t get you salivating then just watch the trailer.

The Punisher

Season two of Daredevil was a bit of a mixed bag. Right about the middle point, they did a 90-degree turn, dropped the really quite good Punisher storyline, and brought in ninjas. Now, I liked the ninjas more than a lot of folks, but there was a definite decline in quality once the Punisher faded to the background.

I was never a fan of Jon Bernthal’s performance in The Walking Dead, but dang if he wasn’t pitch perfect as the Punisher. I’m pretty excited that he’s getting his own spin-off show for Netflix. This new teaser trailer doesn’t give us much to go on in terms of the storyline for the show, but its got the tone just right.

Total Eclipse of the Sun

We weren’t in the path of totality here in Oklahoma, but we got up to something like 90%. I wasn’t all that excited about it as it approached, which explains the glasses, but as it started to get darker, I really enjoyed the spectacle of it all. There are so few things that bring us all together anymore it was really cool to be a part of one thing that did.

Mat Brewster

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