A trio of Academy Award contenders are the subject of today’s “notes.” One is a documentary (Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie), another is a tense thriller (The Killer), and the third (Jules) is a delightful light-weight shaggy dog story.
If I were saving the best for last I would not start this column with Still… the documentary featuring Michael J. Fox and his battle with Parkinson’s disease. I refuse to “bury the lead” and will not hold still to write about this truly excellent film.
Still is an easy pick to be the most likely Oscar winner in its documentary feature category. It is a lush presentation, beautifully wrought, with no expense being spared. Apple TV + is where you can see it and you will not be at all sorry that you did.
What happens when a professional hit man misses his mark is the premise behind the Netflix presentation of The Killer, a tense, well-made thriller meticulously directed by David Fincher (Mank, Gone Girl, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club) and starring Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs, 12 Years a Slave, and a slew of action films).
The Killer is the antidote… or sort of a motion picture reality counter check… to those John Wick movies. Both films have more of a body count than you might think could be realistic, but Fincher makes his movie less of a violent ballet insisting the whole thing be brought forward as a more down-to-earth piece of truly nasty business.
The pace of The Killer is, at times, agonizingly slow. And you may find it strange to watch a film about an assassin, only to find yourself rooting for the guy with the gun, but you will… for that is what Fincher and Fassbender elicit from their audience.
If you are not the squeamish type, and you do not require the frenetic pace of a Wick flick, then I commend this to you.
And then there is Jules. This small, but most worthy movie, has little-to-no chance of gaining any hardware at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences night of the Oscars, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see it.
I liked it… a lot. I did find myself wishing it had been a little better… Jules comes so close to perfection that it is doomed to disappoint just a bit when it falls slightly short of that goal… but still, it comes close.
The little movie is too rare these days and when they come along this sweet… and this original… they deserve support. You can do your bit via Amazon Prime, Redbox, or YouTube. You may not be able to take this one to the bank on Oscar night, but it is guaranteed to make you smile.
What more do you require for $5.99?
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