Home
 
Choose Your City
Change City

New on Netflix: 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,' 'Breathe,' 'Major League'

Remember when "Trek" movies were still smart-ish?
  • 1 of 2

    Lou de Laage, left, bewitches a mousy fellow student (Josephine Japy) in Melanie L|Film Movement

  • 2 of 2

    It was 1989, alright: Corbin Bernsen, Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger were top-bill|Paramount Pictures

‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’
Do nerds even like the new “Star Trek” movies? J.J. Abrams gave “Star Wars” heads exactly what they wanted with “The Force Awakens” — that is, a carbon copy of the first “Star Wars.” But when he rebooted Captain Kirk et al. he dumbed it down so much for the masses they might as well be any rando space opera.

At least in 1982 even plebes flocked to the only sort-of-brain-drained movies with the OG crew, including the best one, which exhumed a fan favorite baddie — Ricardo Montalban’s super-duper-mega-hammy Khan — for a romp that’s equal parts thrilling and brainy.Bonus trivia! “Khan” became the first film released on priced-to-own VHS home video, thus turning movies into consumerist product one could grab off store shelves like cereal. And now here it is, available at a click of a button (and ditto the other original films, plus a couple of the "Next Generation" ones).

‘Breathe’
There aren’t enough films about female friendships, and even fewer about when they go south. The feature debut of actor Melanie Laurent is about both. Using increasingly tense long takes, Laurent crams us in the head of a mousy high schooler (Josephine Japy) who finds herself improbable besties with the cool new girl in town (Lou de Laage). Then, just like that, one cools on the other, leading to heartbreak and worse. It’s a platonic break-up movie with the sexual tension left in, and Laurent’s handiwork is so deft you might forgive, or even defend, its problematic-ish ending.

‘Major League’
Speaking of #problematic, we're at the point where even the fun-filled films of 25 years ago look dodgy. Sure enough,David S. Ward’s classic baseball romp is filled with the kind of casual misogyny and racism that was de rigueur in the cinema of 1989. But just as we’re not going to throw Buster Keaton’s “Seven Chances” under the bus just because of its one full-on racist gag, we can find a balance between recognizing its backwards-ness without condemning it.Not to say “Major League” is in the same universe as a Keaton, though its slovenly good vibes and underdog premise — the new loser line-up of the Cleveland Indians (see?) fight to prove they’re secret all-stars — is nigh irresistible. And can we get a Tom Berenger-ssance?

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

 

Consider AlsoFurther Articles