Movies with Michael: Poor Things, The Iron Claw, and more

Movies with Michael: Overlooked and award-winning

From a couple of this year's best picture nominees to an overlooked knockout movie, Michael Gendron breaks it down.

From some of this year’s Best Picture nominees, to an overlooked knock out, and a classic underseen favorite, Lift movie expert Michael Gendron shares his movie recommendations.

Poor Things

Starting off in theaters, a Frankenstein story unlike any other you’ve seen before, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things.  A scientist puts the brain of an unborn child into a dead woman’s body and his creation discovers the pleasures and horrors of existence while trying to discover her own identity.  It’s part adult fairy tale, part sex comedy, part meditation on power dynamics, and parts of so much more all stitched together with hysterical and physical performances from Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, and Willem Dafoe.

This one is heading into the Academy Awards with 11 nominations, including ones for Stone, Ruffalo, and Best Picture, and I highly recommend catching it on the big screen while you still can because it’s also a visual stunner.  It will also be coming to digital platforms on the 27th.

Zone of Interest

Staying in theaters, another nominee for Best Picture this year, Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest. The commandant of Auschwitz construct a picturesque life for themselves right outside the walls of the concentration camp and that’s a wall the audience never gets to visually pass… they can just hear it.  The sound design here is almost overwhelming as we watch the family go about their everyday life all within earshot of the horrors going on right next to their home.   This is one I really do feel you have to catch while it is still in theaters because I just can’t imagine the experience of watching this one at home would have the same impact.  If you do catch it on digital, please turn off all the lights, put away your phone, turn the sound way up, and feel what the movie is trying to make you feel.

The Iron Claw

Next is a movie that has been unfortunately overlooked this awards season, and that’s Sean Durkin’s The Iron ClawThe Iron Claw is based on the tragic true story of the wrestling Von Erich brothers.  I will admit, I am not the most well-versed in all things Zac Efron, but he is staggering here as Kevin Von Erich.   While he’s clearly a physical presence, this is not a bombastic performance filled with wrestling bravado. It’s a subtle, somber turn where he can somehow convey as much emotion in a close-up as he can in a wide shot surrounded by screaming wrestling fans. One of my favorite performances of last year.  This one can still bring the hype, but its at its best in the character moments between the brothers. 

The Boy Friend

To close things out, I wanted to talk about something a little more joyous.  I am of the opinion that every movie is a new movie if you’ve never seen it, so I’d like to recommend something on streaming that I think more people should really see and that’s Ken Russell’s The Boy Friend.  A Hollywood director enters the theater of London stage performers and they aim to put him on a show. A jaw-dropping tribute to the Busby Berkley musicals of the 1930’s. Thanks to the costumes, sets, dancing, and style-icon Twiggy, it truly is visually mesmerizing from beginning to end.  The Boy Friend is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel and it can be rented on most digital platforms.  If you end up loving it as much as I do, it looks even better on Blu-ray.