2 Best Movies to Watch by Barry Newman

Staff & contributors

The bare bones of The Limey’s story — vengeful Cockney ex-con Wilson (Terence Stamp) flies to LA to investigate the suspicious death of his daughter Jenny — are gripping enough, but what Steven Soderbergh does with them elevates this neo-noir thriller into something utterly singular and stacked with layers upon layers of meaning. An icon of London’s Swinging ‘60s scene, Stamp is pitted against laidback symbol of ‘60s American counterculture Peter Fonda (as Jenny’s sleazy older boyfriend), giving their face-off grander cultural stakes. The extra-textual significance of the casting is deepened by Soderbergh’s ingenious references to the actors’ heyday: in flashbacks to Wilson’s happier past, for example, we’re shown the actual Stamp in his younger years (courtesy of scenes borrowed from 1967’s Poor Cow).

The Limey is also a brilliant showcase for editor Sarah Flack’s technical inventiveness: though the narrative is largely linear, the film cuts to and from scenes and sounds at unexpected points, giving the film an almost David Lynch-like sense of eerie fragmentation. Conjuring up a nightmare LA atmosphere isn’t all the editing does, either, as the film’s puzzle pieces are expertly reassembled to reveal an emotional gut-punch of an ending. In short, this high point in Soderbergh’s filmography is a must-see for any fan of cinema.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery

Actor: Allan Graf, Amelia Heinle, Barry Newman, Bill Duke, Brandon Keener, Brooke Marie Bridges, Carl Ciarfalio, Carol White, Clement Blake, Dwayne McGee, George Clooney, Jim Jenkins, Joe Dallesandro, John Cothran, John Robotham, Johnny Sanchez, Lesley Ann Warren, Luis Guzman, Matthew Kimbrough, Melissa George, Michaela Gallo, Nancy Lenehan, Nicky Katt, Ousaun Elam, Peter Fonda, Rainbow Borden, Randy Lowell, Steve Heinze, Terence Stamp, Wayne Pére, William Lucking

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Rating: R

There are moments in cinema when the character and actor are irrevocably linked– to think of one is to think of the other, to the point that the line is blurred between both. One such pair is Spock and Leonard Nimoy, and, after his death, it was inevitable that the documentary about Nimoy would also be a documentary about Spock. For the Love of Spock is the first of two Nimoy documentaries, made by his son Adam, and it’s a lovely tribute to the iconic sci-fi legend that shifted the entire genre and the fan culture that emerged, but it was also a personal film where the family reckons with the fame that occurred as a result. Superfans might not learn that much about Spock (some of them are interviewed in the film), but For the Love of Spock is an excellent profile, even if it’s not as objective and logical as the character itself.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Adam Nimoy, Avery Brooks, Barry Newman, Bill Prady, Bobak Ferdowsi, Brooke Adams, Catherine Hicks, Chris Pine, Christopher Lloyd, D.C. Fontana, Diana Ewing, Donald Sutherland, George Takei, J.J. Abrams, James Arness, James Doohan, James Duff, Jason Alexander, Jeanne Bal, Jeffrey Hunter, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jill Ireland, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Karl Urban, Leonard Nimoy, Liam Neeson, Majel Barrett, Mayim Bialik, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Nichelle Nichols, Nicholas Meyer, Peter Duryea, Simon Pegg, Ted Danson, Terry Farrell, Tom Selleck, Walter Koenig, William Shatner, William Windom, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana

Director: Adam Nimoy