“Idiocracy” is that rarest of things, a very smart movie about some very dumb people. Even the premise is brilliant in its simplicity: A regular guy — nice, but a little dim — is put in suspended animation for 500 years. When he wakes up in the far future, he’s the smartest man in the world — because the world has gotten that much stupider. And meaner. And crazier.
Before there was Hunger Games there was Battle Royale (2000), an absolutely apeshit display of teen violence that could only come from Japan. The 15-year-old film pits 42 ninth graders (21 male, 21 female) against each other on a deserted island. They have three days to kill each other until only one remains. The survivor can return home. If they refuse to fight they all die thanks to electronic collars that will make their heads explode off their necks.
James Bond is back in theaters with Spectre, so we’re bringing you an Out of Theaters two-fer with a 007 from yesteryear and a recent year. Today’s episode simultaneously discusses and compares Live and Let Die (1973) and Casino Royale (2006).
American Psycho was polarizing when it was released at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000. Some audience members and critics didn’t appreciate the dark satire. They preferred a comedy that was more commercial and therefore more satisfying in a narrower way. But others recognized Christian Bale as an artist, and I want to stress the word artist. The film commercially and artistically came into its own after being released on DVD. Viewers began to recognize it had a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor than other films.
A brilliant cast and exquisite cinematography bring Max Allan Collins’ graphic novel Road to Perdition to life in the 2002 movie by the same name. Tom Hanks plays Michael Sullivan, a mob enforcer with conscience working for an Irish crime family in 1931. His surrogate father John Rooney (Paul Newman in his final live-action role) is the boss. Tyler Hoechlin plays 12-year-old Michael Jr., whose curiosity about his father’s career leads him to witness a hit executed by John’s son Connor (Daniel Craig), pitting Sullivan against his former crime family and setting the plot in motion.