Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon, 2011). One thing about this: in contrast to the prevailing style of many improv-minded comedies these days, in which a series of one-shots are cut together as each comedian gets his own camera set-up (this means you can easily cut around the stuff that doesn’t work), director Gordon keeps his three leading men in the same frame for much of their interacting. Doesn’t make this a funnier movie than those other films, but it’s nice to see actual interplay.
Rocketship X-M (Kurt Neumann, 1950). Some nice science speculation and tiresome social attitudes give way to a surprising detour (we’re not going to the Moon, we’re going to Mars!) and a real corker of an ending.
Fahrenheit 451 (François Truffaut, 1966). Bridges are made from childhood obsessions (the novels of Ray Bradbury, for instance) to adult interests (the films of François Truffaut, for instance). This is one of those bridges. I saw it more than once at an early age, and time has not eroded its eerie sense of mood and place. Yes, you can see Truffaut’s bibliomania, and his attempt to do a Hitchcock, but you are also reminded that he grew up during an occupation by a totalitarian regime; the film is alive with that particular kind of anxiety.
Back to the Future Part II (Robert Zemeckis, 1988). Ingenious, if not quite the mind-boggler I had remembered. But the notion of re-visiting a movie (the first BTTF) and re-writing what was happening in it remains pretty good. A reminder that Michael J. Fox deserved his stardom. Another reminder: the people in Zemeckis-Gale movies are overwhelmingly dreadful.