Someone Behind the Door

Always check behind the door.

If you’re not careful, you have no idea who might be lurking back there.

Could be an amnesiac Charles Bronson, troubled by shattered memories, yet blessed with a mustache sharp enough to cut you without touching you.

Or maybe Anthony Perkins, looking slightly less troubled than he did as Norman Bates — but just slightly — as a doctor hell-bent on using his skills to shape his new patient into a killing machine.

Stylish and compelling, if not always believable, it’ll take your mind off what bothers you faster than all the Ibuprofen in the medicine cabinet.

Exiled

Violent and poetic.

Director Johnnie To is one of the best active filmmakers in the world, a man who mixes and mashes genres, creating bullet-strewn masterpieces.

One of his best is this tale of hardened hit men, bound by honor, beset by greed, coming full tilt in a battle to obtain a literal ton of ill-gotten gold.

Making most American action films seem like child’s play, it pays homage to spaghetti westerns and Martin Scorsese in equal measure, and the result is like a series of rapid-fire punches to the kidneys.

Prepare to be entertained and left breathless.

 

Finding Amanda

Ferris Bueller has gone magnificently to seed.

The one-time ruler of the high school set is slouching through middle age, and his portrayer, Matthew Broderick, is thicker around the jowls, a bit beaten down by life, and prone to shrugging as his potential blows away in the wind.

At least on screen, that is.

Roll the dice and get a winner with this darkly funny film about Broderick hitting up Sin City in a bid to retrieve his niece (Brittany Snow), who’s busy exploring the parts of town not generally approved by the chamber of commerce.

A love letter to degenerate gamblers everywhere.

The Mighty B!

It was “awe-shum!”

National treasure Amy Poehler gave us one of the great TV cartoons of all time (of all time!), delivering sweet-natured hilarity for 40 pretty impeccable episodes.

Following Bessie Higgenbottom, a nine-and-three-quarters-year-old Honeybee scout constantly on the point of hyperventilating, it was inventive and just plain joyful.

From reeling off 445 reasons she should be allowed to have a dog, to careening around San Francisco in mad pursuit of the baby who dared to make a run for it while under her watch, her adventures were as big as her (madly-pounding) heart.

She won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

 

Thunder Road (1958)

He’s got the need, the need for speed.

Jamming his foot through the gas pedal, Robert Mitchum outraces all the flatfoots in town in this fast-paced look at life among the Kentucky moonshiners.

Back from the Korean war and looking for some spending cash, the lanky, laconic one lights up another cigarette and goes to work for his daddy, staying one step ahead of the revenuers.

A little boozin’, a little fightin’, a lot of tires squealing add up to a genre classic.

A long-running staple at drive-in theaters, it played for decades, and can still rev its motor.