6. Dead Again
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 1991

Genre: Mystery

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Andy Garcia, Derek Jacobi, Robin Williams

Kenneth Branagh directs this gloriously over-the-top melodramatic thriller about murder, romance and reincarnation. Branagh is a private detective who is trying to help a woman with amnesia (Emma Thompson) find out who she really is. Along the way, the two discover they might be the reincarnations of a famous composer and his wife, whom he murdered. It’s all delightfully silly and yet played entirely straight. Branagh is a filmmaker who always goes for broke – quick zooms, exaggerated gestures, booming music cues. Dead Again build and builds, and reveals one fascinating twist after another. Do the twists make sense? No, they do not. But they work, because Branagh and company never wink at the audience. Look for a cameo from Robin Williams in a mostly dramatic role.

For fans of: BirthMary Shelley’s FrankensteinAudrey Rose, dying again.

 

7. Snake Eyes
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 1998

Genre: Nicolas Cage Yelling

Director: Brian De Palma

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, John Heard, Carla Gugino, Stan Shaw, Kevin Dunn

Snake Eyes is “bad De Palma”, but even bad De Palma is better than most other films. As is his wont, Brian De Palma directs the hell out of this movie, smothering it in long-shots, split screens and point-of-view shots. The film is centered around a murder during a high-profile boxing match in Atlantic City. Nicolas Cage is an extremely over-the-top cop, decked out in a hideous brown suit, who gets caught up in the mystery. Cage’s cop is corrupt, but the murder mystery ends up spurring him to do the right thing, against his better nature. De Palma can’t keep the momentum going, and Snake Eyes kind of crumbles in its last half-hour. But the film is still strangely watchable, primarily because De Palma refuses to phone anything in.

For fans of: Dressed to KillBlow OutBody Double, Nicolas Cage never, ever closing his mouth.

 

8. Better Call Saul Seasons 1 through 3
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2015-present

Genre: TV

Director: Various

Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando, Michael McKean, Giancarlo Esposito

Better Call Saul returns for its 4th season next week. If you’ve avoided watching the show for some strange reason, and want to get caught up for season 4, here’s your chance! Can you burn through three full seasons of TV between now and next Monday? You can…if you believe. When Better Call Saul was announced, I was skeptical. It seemed like a cheap way to cash-in on the Breaking Bad popularity after Breaking Bad ended. But here’s the thing: Better Call Saul has actually evolved to become better than Breaking Bad. Don’t get me wrong: Breaking Bad is great, and a game-changer. But over its three seasons, Better Call Saul has turned into its own unique, brilliant, often anxiety-inducing series. When the show started, I think many assumed it would be a comedy, since Breaking Bad‘s sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman was so inherently comedic. Better Call Saul has some comedic moments, but it’s really more of a drama. It’s the story of Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), an ambulance chasing lawyer who wants to do great things, but is often sidetracked by his own terrible judgement. What we’re watching is the the de-evolution of Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman. It’s heartbreaking, because we can see Jimmy wants to do the right thing, but most of the time, he fails. Plus we know he’s fighting a battle he’ll eventually lose. Odenkirk is fantastic, balancing humor and sadness equally. And he’s backed-up by a phenomenal cast. Jonathan Banks is predictably incredible reprising his Breaking Bad character Mike, Michael McKean is somehow both detestable and likable as Jimmy’s disapproving brother Chuck, and Rhea Seehorn is a revelation as Jimmy’s girlfriend, very determined lawyer Kim Wexler. I swear to you: this is one of the best shows on TV right now. In fact, it might be the best show. So catch up, and enjoy season 4 when it starts next week.

For fans of: Breaking BadHalt and Catch Fire, the overwhelming, crushing feeling that everything will eventually go wrong.

 

9. Sorority Row
Now Streaming Shudder

Release Date: 2009

Genre: Slasher

Director: Stewart Hendler

Cast:  Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, and Carrie Fisher

As far as slasher remakes go, Sorority Row – which is based on the 1983 film The House on Sorority Row – is surprisingly good. It’s an unapologetically nasty film, and isn’t afraid to water-down the horror like some other slasher remakes. Let me be clear: this is not high art. You’re not going to get some sort of masterpiece here. What you are going to get is a slasher throwback that just happens to have a supporting role for Carrie Fisher. In the film, a group of college students cover up the accidental death of one of their sorority sisters. In true horror movie fashion, this cover-up comes back to haunt them, as someone begins picking them off one by one. It works!

For fans of: Friday the 13thI Know What You Did Last Summer, Carrie Fisher shooting a shotgun.

 

10. The Baxter
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 2005

Genre: Rom-Com

Director: Michael Showalter

Cast: Michael Showalter, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Williams, Justin Theroux

In many rom-coms, there’s usually a well-meaning but ultimately dull dweeb that the lead female character is dating. She will ultimately leave this dork and fall into the arms of the film’s leading man. But what happens to that unlucky nerd she left? The Baxter explores that question in charming fashion. Before he helmed The Big Sick, Michel Showalter directed this low-budget romantic comedy that virtually no one saw. Showalter plays the unlucky guy, who is dating Elizabeth Banks, who is clearly destined to fall into the arms of the much more handsome, much more confident Justin Theroux. Along the way, however, Showalter’s character meets a very nervous secretary (Michelle Williams), and he ends up falling head over heels. The Baxter is loaded with sweet-natured charm and some genuinely funny bits. Best of all, it gives Michelle Williams a chance to be funny – something she doesn’t get to do that often.

For fans of: The Big SickWet Hot American SummerThey Came Together, Peter Dinklage cameos.

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