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" Every one of you, listening to my voice, tell the world. Tell this to everybody wherever they are. Watch the skies. Everywhere keep looking, keep watching the skies. "
— Douglas Spencer, The Thing from Another World

MRQE Top Critic

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Pic of the Week

Each week we pick a recommended "Pic" from our archives. Below are our most recent picks.

Words of Advice

***2008, Lars Movin, and Steen Moller Rasmussen

A little more Burroughs trivia for the Old Bill junkies

Asked to pick the two most visionary books of the 20th Century, I’d choose James Joyce’s Ulysses for the first half and William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch for the second half. Ulysses was written in 1918, published in 1922 and its Modernist stream-of-consciousness style is perfect for the relativistic Jazz Age that came after World War I. Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch in the late 1950s, published it in the early 1960s, and its mix of sex, drugs and violence brilliantly predicts the post World War II Atomic Age.

Spartan

****2004, David Mamet

Spartan demands you participate. I hope I’m not the only person who finds that refreshing.

Spartan is the first outstanding movie of 2004, although not everyone will agree. At least three people walked out of my screening, and afterwards I overheard many negative comments. Among them were “that certainly won’t do well at the box office” and “yeah, well I’ll see anything with Val Kilmer.”

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

***

Pairing Jessica Chastain with Chris Hemsworth makes for a surprising enchantment.

Pairing Jessica Chastain with Chris Hemsworth makes this grim Grimm fairy tale a surprising enchantment.

The American Astronaut

***1/22001, Cory McAbee

A cult phenom, with the longest mis-told joke and The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman’s Breast

The American Astronaut is a cult phenomenon, at least here in Boulder/Denver, where it was booked maybe a dozen times at four different independent venues. Now, finally, after years of word-of-mouth hype and independent screenings across the country, you can finally take The American Astronaut home on DVD.

Rock the Kasbah

***2015, Barry Levinson

It takes a while to acclimate to Rock the Kasbah’s sensibilities.

It takes a while to acclimate to Rock the Kasbah’s sensibilities, but it’s ultimately a journey worth taking.

Intacto

***2002, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

A supernatural thriller that evokes the secret society themes

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

***2004, Wes Anderson

The Life Aquatic becomes more dear and more impressive the more you learn about it

Bill Murray plays Steve Zissou, who is legally distinct from Jacques Cousteau, although any man on the street would tell you otherwise. He’s a hybrid of other Wes Anderson heroes and Bill Murray roles. He’s an aging man with a mediocre career behind him. He’s losing respect from his audiences and peers. His latest undersea documentary bombs at an Italian film festival.

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

***1/22005, Mervyn LeRoy

Still gripping and suspenseful, more than 70 years after its initial release

One could argue that I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is dated. Some of the specific conventions used just aren’t done anymore. Pages fall from a wall calendar to show the passage of time. The camera pans across a map to show changes in locale. But deep down, the movie is still vibrant, engaging, tense, and suspenseful. It’s one of the reasons people do — and should — watch classic cinema.

Surveillance

***2009, Jennifer Chambers Lynch

The cast is the glue that holds together this eerie, demented ride

Surveillance is a grisly, wild ride through the dark side.

The Legend of 1900

***1/21998, Giuseppe Tornatore

The Legend of 1900 is an unconventional, imaginative fable about a man whose entire universe is a ship.

Spider-Man 3

***2007, Sam Raimi

A glorious mess that is at turns the darkest and funniest of the trilogy

The third installment in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series is a glorious mess that is at turns the darkest and funniest of the trilogy.

Midnight in Paris

***2011, Woody Allen

Allen and Wilson dip their toes into the golden age

In Woody Allen’s latest movie, he offers some advice probably intended for himself: don’t live in the past, man up, and don’t be so wishy-washy. Of course, it sounds better coming from Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.