It has been a rough week at the movies… in that we’re still kind of in that limbo between true summer blockbuster season and the awards season where nothing critically acclaimed releases.
Comedy is in a weird place now. It’s no longer the tentpole money maker like it was in the ‘90s, abandoned for IP fare. And it’s harder and harder to get R-rated comedies made like Bridemaids in the late aughts. So I wanted to highlight a few offbeat comedies from the past, as we wait for blockbuster season to being in earnest. Or you could watch Thunder Force (25-percent!), another bad Ben Falcone/Melissa McCarthy joint.
New or noteworthy…
It’s a decade old, but boy oh boy, does Trollerhunter rule. Shot in a mockumentary, single-camera style, it follows a lone trollhunter in Norway. Rather than focus on the fantastical nature of, you know, trolls, it focuses on the bureaucracy and blue collar-ness of the job of a glorified park ranger. Riotously funny and imaginative, Trollhunter is finally on a streaming service for free for all to enjoy. Watch it before it disappears. Trailer. 103 mins. Watch it on Amazon Prime or YouTube.
A formidable young cast—Anya Taylor-Joy pre-everything, Maisie Williams of GoT, and Charlie Heaton of Stranger Things—and a YA/horror theme give this X-Men spinoff an interesting tilt. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite lean enough into its YA-ness or horror enough to be successful at either. Caught in development hell, lost amidst the Disney/Fox merger, shelved for years, released unceremoniously during the pandemic, and now it finally lives on HBO Max. If you’ve got the YA craving or just want to turn your brain off, by all means. Trailer. 94 mins. Watch on HBO Max now.
It was featured in my Oscar noms post a few weeks ago, but please do not sleep on this tragicomedy. With a tour de force performance from Mads Mikkelson, Another Round is the tale of midlife crisis, ennui, and ultimate catharsis. Tragic and melancholy in only the way Scandinavian art can be, but poignant and funny at the same time. A beautiful film that deserves to be seen. Trailer. 115 mins. Stream on Hulu now.
The Boots Riley film defies definition. The genre bending comedy/sci fi film features an incredible before-its-time cast (LaKeith Stanfield, Steven Yeun, Tessa Thompson) and it takes you on a trip of mind bending gentrification and corporate greed. Trailer. 105 mins. Find it on Hulu.
From the earliest days of the newsletter, Yes, God, Yes is a short, sweet, and quietly funny film about adolescence, growth, and the hypocrisy of our supposed guardians. With a solid lead performance from Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things) and strong supporting from Timothy Simons (Veep), you’ll be charmed by this little-seen film. Trailer. 78 mins. Stream on Netflix.
Animation is where it’s at these days
Invincible - S1 (currently airing)
From the mind and pen of Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel (The Walking Dead), Invincible is much darker than its shiny animation would have you believe. Leaning in to the superhero genre, it leans more towards The Boys than it does The Avengers. With an all-star cast (Steven Yeun, JK Simmons, Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen, Mark Hamill, Jason Mantzoukas, Zazie Beats, Walton Goggins), the hour-long adult animation is the perfect way to take the edge off the week. Trailer. Currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Ep. six airs April 16th.
Shoutout Letterboxd for helping the film community keep track!
For last week’s recommendations, check it out here.