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Roundabout and Under the Radar part 2

March 28, 2012
radar screen

In part one of this series, I talked about the weird ways in which I was introduced to music that I love. What about movies? Sometimes we can take a chance on something we see on the shelf at the video store (“mommy, what’s a video store?”), or a friend or relative will introduce us to something they either liked or didn’t like.

Gangster No. 1 is one of those modern, British gangster movies like Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Before I saw it, I honestly didn’t know anybody but Guy Ritchie made movies like this. I’m not sure how or why my rural, working class in-laws acquired a copy of this film; they didn’t like it. But as it starred Paul Bettany, David Thewlis, and Malcolm McDowell, my wife and I were willing to take it off their hands. We ended up loving its use of flashbacks to portray a British thug’s rise to power from humble beginnings. Now I recommend it to anyone who liked the aforementioned Ritchie films.

Back when Blockbuster ruled the video rental roost, I was a big fan of their “Hot Picks” shelf. Through this selection of new, hip, indie films, I discovered such gems as Pi, Donnie Darko, and Thursday. The latter is a tale of Casey (Thomas Jane), a Los Angeles gun-thug who suddenly quits the life, becomes an architect, gets married, and moves to the suburbs. Unfortunately, his violent past comes back to haunt him one Thursday when his old buddy Nick (Aaron Eckhart) tracks him down. Everybody is in this movie. Mickey Rourke plays a dirty cop. Michael Jeter plays a fastidious social worker. And Paulina Porizkova gives a terrifying performance as an oversexed lady-gangster. It’s really great to see Jane and Eckhart do such great work so early in their careers; it is unlikely that either of them would touch a script like this now. I picked up the case at Blockbuster, read the description, and took it home not knowing if my money would be wasted. I’m glad to say it wasn’t, and I now own a copy of Thursday on DVD.

In our race to acquire as many physical copies of our media as possible before everything changes to download/on-demand, the wife and I have kept an eye out for cheap Blu-ray movies. Occasionally, a big-box retailer will have some kind of buy-two-get-one sale on older movies; often, the get-one-free must be chosen from a select list of movies. Such was the case with Push when I got it. On this occasion, it was the only movie on the approved list that I had any interest in but didn’t already own. It’s a very stylish, low-budget action/thriller set in Hong Kong about people with psychic and psycho-kinetic abilities. It stars Chris Evans, Djimon Hounsou, and Dakota Fanning. Push had the misfortune of being released right around the same time as Jumper, another movie about supernatural abilities and starring an equally hunky Hayden Christensen. Jumper was not good, but Push is (quite good, actually), and I likely never would have discovered it if I hadn’t gotten it for free.

Check back next week for the third (and probably final) post in this series. And feel free to share your own stories in the comments.

One Comment


  1. Roundabout and Under the Radar part 3 « The Brown Tweed Society

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