Predestination

Ready to melt your brain?

This dizzy, never-boring time travel odyssey is so complex that to explain all its twists and turns would take a lot more than the 100 words this blog allows me.

Like a lot, lot.

Suffice it to say that if you enjoy seeing Ethan Hawke command the screen (and who doesn’t?), firmly grab on to your couch and hold on for dear life as the convoluted plot plays out.

Based on a Robert A. Heinlein story, it bobs and weaves, backtracks and mystifies, and leaves you feeling both disorientated and giddy.

Exactly what the doctor ordered.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Don’t go in the woods, you fools!

Kevin Bacon, and some more-anonymous folks, get shredded in a film which helped launch a genre.

Halloween and Black Christmas came first, and A Nightmare on Elm Street is better, but ’80s slashers don’t blossom with the same fury without Jason’s mom “disciplining” naughty teens.

After endless sequels starring a can’t-be-killed monster, it’s refreshing to return to where it started — with a real mystery and a lot of ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma.

Which freaked out nine-year-old David when I saw a TV ad while in the dark basement at my grandmother’s house, thank you very much.

 

Basic Instinct

Let’s get physical.

Olivia Newton-John’s musical plea could provide the background music to this steamy, still-notorious 1992 crime thriller.

Back then, the film took considerable heat from gay rights activists, with many a skeazy story written about Sharon Stone’s shifting thighs — and what lay between them.

Three decades later, the tale of obsessive cop Michael Douglas chasing a writer fond of playing games (and maybe knifing dudes) is still problematic, and still holds up pretty well as an intriguing descent into a murky playground of death ‘n sex.

It’s a period piece, maybe, but one which still has a nasty kick.

Shallow Grave

Money is the root of all evil.

That’s rarely truer than in movies, where the lure of illicit cash often wrecks lives.

One of the best “big bucks equals big headaches” films is this thriller, which launched Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor, right before the duo went big-time with Trainspotting.

The future Obi-Wan is a brash journalist, one of three flat-mates facing hard choices after another lodger overdoses, leaving a suitcase crammed with cash.

A simple call to the cops would bring this to a close, but then we have no movie, do we?

Buckle in, and trust no one.

The Vanished

Weirdness in the woods.

Nothing is as it seems in this twist-heavy missing child mystery, which starts overheated, then descends into all-out bat-shit crazy territory.

A child goes missing, her parents start acting out in increasingly odd ways, and melancholy, haunted small town sheriff Jason Patric watches everything go to Hell on a case which he hopes offers personal redemption.

Writer/director Peter Facinelli, a solid actor making a case for himself as a man of many talents, keeps everything percolating, adding little mysteries to the big one, then having great fun playing with our expectations.

This one’s a devious delight.