“Who is America?” (Showtime): Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest project tricks politicians into saying how they really feel about things, and the results are more horrifying than hilarious.
“Succession” (HBO Now, HBO Go): I’m late to the party here, but HBO’s “Succession” is one of the most compulsively watchable shows I’ve seen in a while. It’s about an extremely wealthy and uniformly awful New York family jostling for control of a media empire in the wake of their father (Brian Cox) falling ill.
My impression from the trailers was that it was a classier version of “Billions.” But “Succession” feels closer to something like “Veep.” Like its fellow HBO series, “Succession” derives its potent, pointed humor from the idea that the people in power are just as stupid and venal as anyone else. The show’s comedic streak makes sense, as it comes from executive producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, and was created by Jesse Armstrong (a writer for “Peep Show” and “In the Loop”). Watch it. Laugh. Cry.
“The Snowman” (available July 21 on HBO Now, HBO Go): Movies don’t get much more mind-bogglingly bad than “The Snowman,” a Scandinavian serial killer thriller that goes off the rails almost right away but just keeps chugging along even after everyone on the train is dead. The film’s badness is perplexing, given that it was based on a book (by Jo Nesbo) that people liked, came from a director (Tomas Alfredson) who’d previously made great films (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Let the Right One In”) and had a great cast of actors (Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons).
And despite all this, it’s one of the most profoundly inept major motion pictures in recent movie history. Strong recommend.
“Return to Me” (Amazon Prime): A sappy and soppy but also pretty charming romcom starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver as a broken-hearted widower and the woman who received his late wife’s heart. Written and directed by Bonnie Hunt, “Return to Me” is, as these things go, a decent-enough little movie.
“Baby Driver” (Showtime): Edgar Wright’s propulsive action comedy.
“How It Ends” (Netflix): Straight-to-Netflix apocalypse thriller starring Forest Whitaker and Theo James.
“Under the Skin” (Netflix): Jonathan Glazer’s brilliant and visionary sci-fi movie about an alien (Scarlett Johansson) who seduces men in order to process them for food. Part sci-fi, part art film, part horror movie, “Under the Skin” is one of the best and most unclassifiable movies of the decade so far.
“The Philadelphia Story” (FilmStruck): George Cukor’s 1940 classic comedy starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart (who won best actor for his role, his only non-honorary Oscar).
“Gaslight” (FilmStruck): The term “gaslighting” — to manipulate someone into doubting his or her own sanity — gets thrown around a lot these days. And this is where it comes from: a 1944 thriller about a man who gradually convinces his wife (Ingrid Bergman) that she is losing her mind. Bergman won a much-deserved Oscar for her performance.
“The Rock” (Showtime): Michael Bay, Nic Cage and Sean Connery are responsible for a lot of bad art, but they’re also collectively responsible for at least one masterpiece.
“Walking Tall” (Amazon Prime): Not the remake starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but the original starring Joe Don Baker as the upstanding sheriff who single-handedly cleans up his corrupt small town.
“Kickboxer” (Starz): Jean-Claude Van Damme plays Kurt Sloane (lol), a man who must learn Muay Thai to avenge the death of his brother.
“Next” (Amazon Prime, Hulu): Another one of those movies that feels a little like a dream, like a movie that only exists in your mind, in which Nic Cage plays a guy who can see into the future but he’s got terrible hair and nonetheless he wins the love of Jessica Biel while Julianne Moore is trying to arrest him in an effort to prevent a terrorist attack and yeah I think I dreamed this, this movie can’t be real.
“The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” (Amazon Prime, Hulu): The cult-classic sci-fi comedy starring Peter Weller as adventurer/brain surgeon/rock musician Buckaroo Banzai. Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin, Christopher Lloyd and John Lithgow co-star.
“Blue Collar” (Starz): This year, writer/director Paul Schrader (scribe of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull”) returned from the wilderness to helm his best film to date: the Ethan Hawke global warming drama “First Reformed.” He’s never directed a better film. Though he did come close with his 1978 debut, about a trio of autoworkers who decide to rob the safe of their corrupt union bureau, leading to dire consequences for them all.
“She’s All That” (Starz): I know it’s a beloved ’90s teen comedy, and I know I’ve covered this all before, but “She’s All That” remains one of the most disturbing and morally confused movies I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen ...
“Blow” (HBO Now, HBO Go): I’m old enough to remember when Johnny Depp consistently made good movies that critics and audiences loved.
“Happy Accidents” (Hulu): I’m old enough to remember when Vincent D’Onofrio played the co-lead in a romantic comedy.
13 of the most expensive movies of all time
By Micah Mertes / World-Herald staff writer
Movies are expensive — especially movies in which people fly or cities are destroyed or Johnny Depp is a pirate.
"Avengers: Infinity War," in theaters this week, is actually the second-most-expensive movie ever made, coming in at an eye-popping $300 million. And that's just its production budget (marketing adds another $150 million to the price tag).
With $$$ on our minds mind, we looked into the other biggest and budget-est movies of the modern era. These are the most expensive movies ever made, followed by some of the most expensive movie series ever made back-to-back.
Note: Numbers are unadjusted for inflation.
Note 2: A lot of movies are ties.
Sources: The Numbers, Box Office Mojo
— Micah Mertes