Watch List Weekly Recap 5/12/23

Birds, Blackberrys, vampire bats, and Michael J. Fox -- it was an interesting week.

Watch List Weekly Recap 5/12/23

This is the Friday recap of Ty Burr’s Watch List postings for the week. If you’d like to cut down on in-box clutter and receive this weekly email ONLY, please go to your account page and under “Email notifications” uncheck every box except “Weekly Digest.” If you’d prefer to not receive it at all, uncheck just “Weekly Digest.”

Spring migration is peaking, so faithful Watch List readers know I have to write something about birds. This one just popped into my head while I was out in the field the other day. I suppose it represents the Venn Diagram overlap of my two main interests. Anyway, enjoy. (For paid subscribers.)

Birds 🦉

Birds That Remind Me of Movies

Ty Burr • May 8, 2023

Yesterday was as good as spring gets – the air light on the skin, lilacs perfuming up the joint – so Hardcore Jim and I went out for what we call Old Man Birding. Which translates to driving over to Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge and parking at the various hotspots – Halcyon Lake, the tower, Consecration Dell (a.k.a. Conservation Dell) – and leaning on the car while we listened and looked. It’s not the best way to bird, but the waves of migration are finally hitting their peak, and we saw 32 species, a fair enough pull. Here are the highlights and the movies they reminded me of; if you don’t care about birds, watch one of the movies.

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I’ve always felt that “Vampire’s Kiss” (1988, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2) got a bum rap from both critics and audiences who looked at it and saw only an early Nicolas Cage freak show. It’s that, sure, but also a dark, almost Nabokovian comedy of a lost Manhattan soul. Now that this year’s “Renfield” (⭐ ⭐ 1/2), in which Cage plays Dracula himself, is arriving on VOD, it seemed like a good time to make a case for the earlier film.

Good Movies 📽

Cage Match

Ty Burr • May 10, 2023

Let me see if I have this straight: There are two movies in which Nicolas Cage plays a vampire, and the one that’s better is the one where he doesn’t actually play a vampire. “Renfield” (⭐ ⭐ 1/2) has recently arrived on premium VOD, renting for $19.99 at

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A fully-loaded Friday round-up: Reviews of a fine Michael J. Fox documentary on Apple TV+, a Ben Affleck misfire in theaters, the real-life corporate farce “Blackberry,” and a drama about an evangelical Christian girl in full adolescent rebellion. Plus movie suggestions for all the major services.

Good Movies 📽

What to Watch:The Indomitable Mr. Fox

Ty Burr • May 12, 2023

A piece I wrote this week for the Washington Post on the 65th anniversary of “Vertigo” – it’s here if you’d like to give it a read – seems to have brought in a bunch of new subscribers. Welcome! Don’t mind the dog, he’s friendly. What we usually do at the Watch List on a Friday is alert readers to interesting movies, mostly new but sometimes old, that …

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