The end of the year/beginning of a new year is usually pretty slow so not much for us this week. First is Bad Day for the Cut. This revenge flick out of Northern Ireland reminded me of Stellan Skarsgård’s In Order of Disappearance. When the mother of a farmer is killed in their home, the man seeks revenge on the people responsible for her death. He takes matters into his own hands and discovers his mother had a secret past he knew nothing about. The lead is very believable and the film is easy to follow. It doesn’t try to outsmart itself yet still feels fresh and original. I like revenge movies and I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It’s pretty short too so it flows quickly and feels tight without much filler. If you like revenge flicks/taking matters into your own hands, check out this movie.
Next is The Teacher. This Czech film will surely get under your skin. The lead is so good and you want to hate her and her supporters. Set in Communist Era Czechoslovakia, the teacher is the head of the Communist party in that school system. Her students fear her and she manipulates them and their parents using that fear. She has a sister in Moscow yet lives alone after the death of her soldier husband. Most of the parents put up with the demands so that their children will get good grades, but some parents try to stand up for their children. A young gymnast is getting bad grades because her father wouldn’t send medicine and food to Russia for the teacher. A young wrestler is getting into trouble because his father won’t fix the teacher’s appliances. A single father is propositioned by her after his wife is seen as a defector. There is a big meeting between the head teacher and the parents to see if a complaint is justified and man does it get heated. The parents that support the teacher think she is great and is doing nothing wrong. The parents whose children are suffering want to convince the others otherwise. The actress playing the lead is perfect in the role and makes you HATE her. A solid psychological drama.
Conduct! is a documentary about a classical music conductor contest. Yeah, that is a thing. I know very little about classical music, but according to this a competition is held every two years in Frankfurt, Germany with 24 competitors. You see conductors from around the world competing for the top prize. I had no idea the conductor was that important. They look like a guy holding a stick to me. One competitor doesn’t even use a stick, he uses both his hands! Even though I can’t tell the difference in songs and how one conductor is better than the other, it was still pretty interesting. One young competitor gets mad because they don’t take him seriously because of his age. They all have big egos, but that should be expected. If you are like me and have no idea what makes a conductor a conductor you should still find it interesting enough.
Last we have Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In The Complete Second Season. The second season of Laugh-In found the show having a huge amount of celebrity appearances including Richard Nixon. I wasn’t born when this originally aired so I only know the show as the show that launched Goldie Hawn, but after reviewing the first season in 2017 and now season 2, I understand why it was a cultural hit. From music to politics and everything in between, it did what future shows like Saturday Night Live would later copy. This six disc collection provides famous skits like “Sock It to Me,” “Cocktail Party,” “The Fickle Finger of Fate” and “Gladys and Tyrone,” with guest stars like Jack Benny, Mel Brooks, Johnny Carson, Tony Curtis, Sammy Davis Jr., Phyllis Diller, Kirk Douglas, Peter Falk, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hugh Hefner, Rock Hudson, Davy Jones, Peter Lawford, Jack Lemmon, Liberace, Rich Little, Marcel Marceau, Bob Newhart, Vincent Price, Don Rickles, Rod Serling, The Smothers Brothers, John Wayne, Flip Wilson, and more. Decades later I find the show to still be funny and timely. I must have seen the Richard Nixon bit before because I knew he was on the show when he was an answer on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Goldie Hawn was a babe and the show still gets laughs.