And now it is time for Hot & Now where we take a look at movies available on DVD or On Demand. My pick for Hot & Now this week is OUTRAGE, a gutsy gangster revenge flick by the Japanese actor / director Takeshi Kitano. Kitano himself plays Otomo, a career gangster whose boss ropes him into a scheme to save face with the head of their criminal organization. Otomo is a no-nonsense, get-things-done type, which ultimately gets him in trouble, since he's in a line of work that's predicated on nonsense. Everybody talks about loyalty and alliances while plotting one other's downfall.
Punctuated by bursts of brutal violence, OUTRAGE is like a series of dominoes knocking each other over; every minor infraction or argument leads to a logical, bloody conclusion. It's all good, clean, nihilistic fun--especially if you like your crime movies brisk and to-the-point. OUTRAGE is currently available on Video On-Demand; it'll have a limited release in theaters starting December 2nd.
My Hot and Now pick is one of my favorite movies ever: Rushmore. This was only Wes Anderson's second feature back in 1998, but it remains his best film yet. Young Jason Schwartzman, making his film debut, stars as the eccentric and ambitious Max Fischer, who's involved in seemingly every club, sport and activity at the exclusive Rushmore Academy. (From 4:40 to 5:40 in the film is the montage of all the stuff he does.) Bill Murray is the millionaire father of a couple of his classmates, with whom he forms an unlikely friendship.
The two need and feed off each other, but eventually become bitter rivals for the affections of the first-grade teacher, played by the lovely Olivia Williams. "Rushmore" has a stylish energy about it that's both playful and precise -- all of Anderson's trademark visual tricks are on display here, ones that will go on to seem too precious and self-conscious with each subsequent film he made. (From 26:17 to 26:38 is a signature slo-mo shot of Max walking across a stage.) But he also finds a delicate, wistful humor in his characters' loneliness, which gives "Rushmore" greater emotional heft than its quirks might lead you to expect. It's available next week on Blu-Ray.