Ever flip through the On Demand listings on your cable or satellite system and wonder about the unfamiliar movie titles? First-run films that aren’t on DVD or playing in local theaters are common these days, and in this new occasional feature, we break down the notable movies that you can watch with a click of your remote.
Hobo With a Shotgun
You’ve gotten most of the enjoyment you’re going to get out of this movie just by reading the title. Yes, there’s a hobo (Rutger Hauer), and yes, he uses his shotgun to dispense over-the-top street justice. Like Machete, Hobo is based on a fake trailer from Grindhouse (a fan-made contest-winner that appeared in the movie’s Canadian release), but unlike Machete it doesn’t offer much beyond a tiresome faux-exploitation aesthetic that was better when boiled down into two minutes.
A postmodern deconstructionist horror movie about a killer tire? Sure, why not? Quentin Dupieux’s absurdist comedy is a little too taken with its own cleverness, with a self-referential smirkiness that can come off as smug, but it manages to be both smart and surprising until the concept loses momentum about 20 minutes before the end.
James Gunn’s extremely dark action-comedy is like a nastier, more realistic version of Kick-Ass, with Rainn Wilson as an unhinged everyman “superhero” and Ellen Page as his even more deranged sidekick. The shifts between goofy and disturbing moments can be jarring, and the ending is a bit baffling, but Gunn’s complete commitment to vigilante depravity is impressive.
Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s first narrative feature outside his native country is a lovely, haunting story about an encounter between a French antiques dealer (Juliette Binoche) and an English author (William Shimell) who may have just met or may have actually been married for 15 years. They bicker, reminisce and challenge each other in a casual but profound way. Has their facsimile of a marriage turned into the real thing, or has their real marriage degenerated into a facsimile? Kiarostami fascinatingly leaves all possibilities open.