You don’t want to casually watch this crossover indie horror success story like you would most things on your TV — your phone in hand, live tweeting and texting out cat photos. You probably won’t be able to. David Robert Mitchell’s fright-a-thon commands your attention not only because it’s good, but because it trains you how to watch it. As various teens try to avoid zombie-like creatures only they can see, you’re slowly conditioned to scan every widescreen frame, keeping an eye out for any rando who suddenly makes a slow beeline for our heroes. (Think of it as a freaky, cinematic version of “Where’s Waldo?”) Glance down even for a second and you’ll miss out. So don’t.
If you need a movie hero to get you through the next to eight years, can we recommend Dona Clara, the protagonist of Kleber Mendonca Filho’s Brazilian drama? A fiery retired music journalist played by the great Sonia Braga, she finds herself beset upon by oily developers, who want to chuck her from her longtime seaside apartment. And at every point Dona stands her ground, her head held high and firm. She’s not just being righteously obstinate; she wants to preserve the past, which always exists in the present: in the furniture that’s been passed between the generations; in the old music that makes up her country’s identity; and in the pain running through Dona’s life that has only made her stronger. This is someone who’d never let some meddling, lying, gaslighting businessmen shut her down.
‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’
Somewhat ignored upon release, this gutter noir can now be seen as one of ’70s New Hollywood’s under sung greats, and one of the rare crime movies that understands that, for most, crime doesn’t pay much more than minimum wage. Robert Mitchum, his face sagged like a Saint Bernard dog and his body weighed down by a lifetime of rotgut whiskey, plays a bakery driver-cum-gunrunner. When his latest gig goes awry, he gets fingered by police and the mob alike. There’s no glamour to be had — just working class stiffs in a deadly business, where life is cheap and even one of the great screen hunks is reduced to some shlub who only gets worked up about hockey. See it and weep.