Chinatown (1974). Without question one of the five greatest crime movies ever made, andprobably one of the five greatest movies, period. The casting, performances, dialog, screenplay, and direction all hit every note with the right nuance. Robert Towne’s story also presages James Ellroy by weaving his tale into LA historical fact. Watching Roman Polanski slice open Jack Nicholson’s nose is made even creepier, knowing what we now know about Polanski’s general creepiness. If you’ve never seen it, you really need to. If you haven’t seen it in a long time, you need to see it again. This is how it’s done.
Walk of Shame (2014). Got hooked into this one when it turned out to be my parents’NetFlix selection on the weekend we were visiting. (How it came to be in their queue still amazes me.) Figured I’d endure it, and ended up liking it a lot. It’s the story of a lily-white, squeaky-clean local news anchor (Elizabeth Banks) who thinks she’s lost a chance for a national gig and goes on an uncharacteristic one-night bender and hook-up, only to find out the other candidate lost the job for moral reasons. Now it’s morning and everything imaginable goes wrong. Stupid funny in the spirit of screwball comedies. I doubt I’d watch it again, but it was great fun once I got into the spirit of it.
Sudden Impact (1983). Dirty Harry had played out the string by this time. The original was iconic, and Magnum Force might have been an even better movie, but after that they gradually ran out of steam. A man’s got to know his limitations, Clint.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Discussed at length here.
Gone Girl (2014). Discussed at length here.