‘No Country for Old Men’
Before he wrote an actual screenplay (for the wildly underrated “The Counselor”), Cormac McCarthy wrote a book that basically read like a screenplay. You can’t imagine gruesome grinders like “Child of God” or “Blood Meridian” as movies — that is, unless you’re James Franco — but his 2005 novel reads like the thriller it two years later became. All the Coen brothers had to do was cut the right bits out. The result? One of the few Best Picture Oscar winners you could willingly kill a lazy Sunday watching, striking the right balance between pulp and profundity.
‘My Golden Days’
The latest from French genius Arnaud Desplechin is a sequel that’s also a prequel, and to a film you probably haven’t seen. But don’t let that discourage you. You should still watch his 1996 epic “My Sex Life …or How I Got into an Argument,” which is as terrific as its title. But its follow-up works fine as a stand-alone. Desplechin catches back up with one of his characters — neurotic romantic Paul Dedalus (Mathieu Amalric), only to jump back to his youth and his first blush with terrible love. As a filmmaker, Desplechin is ravenous, filling the screen with acrobatic shots and a riot of details and pop music. It’s a delirious watch, and a fine gateway into one of cinema’s most hepped-up talents.
‘The Fast and the Furious’
Has there ever been a franchise that mutated as often as the “Fast and/or Furious” movies? It must be a shock to a return to the first one — this little ditty from 2001 about two dudes who race cars and occasionally play cops and robbers. Somehow this modest little genre entry birthed the most ludicrous series on the planet, with the most recent entry boasting them jump-driving between two skyscrapers and The Rock wielding a helicopter gun. Look how much it’s grown!