Because the Internet is terrible, there aren’t a lot of Bill Paxton movies to watch in the wake of his out-of-nowhere death. One of our finest character actors racked up an epic list of movie-stealing credits over the years, only five of which presently live on Netflix. Of those, we recommend “Nightcrawler” and “Frailty,” the latter, one of a mere two films he helmed himself (apart from the dubiously titled Shia LaBeouf golf movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played”). In his “Night of the Hunter”-esque spooker, the late actor plays a father who one day announces that God has given him the ability to see people possessed by demons — a claim doubted by at least one of his tweenage sons. As he goes about killing possible innocents, Paxton’s turn walks the line between charismatic and dangerous. The movies just lost one of their least predictable performers, and this is one of his finest turns.
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‘Million Dollar Baby’
How weird is the career of Hillary Swank? The movies have never figured out how to use her in anything approaching a consistent fashion. (Looks like she has a small role in Steven Soderbergh’s forthcoming “Logan Lucky” — her first big movie since 2014’s “The Homesman.”) Thing is, she’s still managed to nick two Oscars. Five years after “Boys Don’t Cry,” Swank stormed back with Clint Eastwood’s female boxer saga — the first movie to feature the former Dirty Harry crying onscreen. If you’re someone who thinks of Clint as a retrograde rightie, this is one of his (many) films to prove he’s a complicated guy. Indeed, the events of the third act made him something of a pariah amongst Republican commentators. Dude even pissed off Michael Medved.
“Girls” is inching towards the finish line, making it a good time to venture back to Lena Dunham’s initial triumph. Arriving at the tail end of the “mumblecore” not-quite-movement, her 2010 movie stuck out from the pack by being a) tightly written and b) handsomely filmed. And of course, there’s Dunham’s signature voice, too. Aura, her “Tiny Furniture” hero, is a similar-but-different creation than Hannah Horvath — an aimless post-graduate who holes up in the swank Manhattan digs of her mother (Laurie Simmons). Jemima Kirke, Alex Karpovsky and bad sex are already present and accounted for, as is Dunham’s worldview, in which she both celebrates and brutally deconstructs the life of the young, neurotic and privileged.
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