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On My Netflix: Leave, A Late Quartet, and The Dinosaur Project

– Posted in: Film Review

On my Netflix viewing schedule were three films on death:

Leave with Bryan Cranston and Ron Livingston is good marketing and good editing. It’s a thriller about a guy with recurring nightmares who meets a drifter who may be his presumed-dead brother. I can’t really say more than that without spoiling it.

I say good editing because it is a tight, under 90-minute film. I say good marketing because it is not a Bryan Cranston and Ron Livingston film. Cranston has a tiny cameo in the beginning, and Livingston appears intermittently for minutes at a time. Clearly, the people behind this film knew that browsers like me wouldn’t stop for an unknown film with unknown actors. But I saw Cranston and Livingston and decided to give it a chance. I’m glad I did because while the film stars its writers, Rick Gomez and Frank John Hughes, they carry it well. It’s a good dark film and worth a space on your Netflix queue.

A Late Quartet is an example of a film that I am surprised gets made. I loved it – don’t get me wrong. But I’m a musician trained at Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music, so a film about a longtime string quartet whose team lead gets a career-ending diagnosis of Parkinson’s is going to resonate with me. One could argue that the string quartet piece is just a vehicle for the various themes the movie covers – death, close friendships, parenting, love. But still, it’s a pretty specific vehicle, and the musician’s life is a looming character in this movie.

That said, if you love drama and good acting, this movie features Christopher Walken, Catherine Kenner, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in a beautiful, understated performance. If you want to celebrate Hoffman’s good acting, this is a good film to watch. Rest In Peace: Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The Dinosaur Project is lots of fun. It’s Jurassic Park light – shorter (I’m loving these 90-minute running times!), with unknown actors, and no real storyline, just dinosaur after dinosaur after dinosaur. I loved every minute of it.

Why am I listing it with Leave and A Late Quartet? I assume everyone dies in this one – you don’t see the fates of every last character, but when you’re stuck in a time warp with dinosaurs, I’m just playing the percentages to assume death all-around. This is an action adventure take on death starring dinosaurs (as it should be).

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