This is the only date this week not marked by a Marvel release. Luckily, Russell Crowe is here to fill that macho-guys-in-silly-outfits gap. Gladiator, an effort by the legendary Ridley Scott to revive the swords-and-sandals epic, turned into a rousing popcorn flick and an unexpected Best Picture winner when it was released in 2000 (along with an acting award for Crowe). The Oscar was perhaps going too far in a year that included the likes of Requiem for a Dream, Almost Famous and Traffic, but it’s still solid entertainment. And Crowe’s star power is undeniable: holding us rapt through sheer force of will.
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the French New Wave, especially later films where the self-indulgence started to peek through. Nevertheless, Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville is considered one of the director’s better efforts, and the pastiche notion of placing a hard-boiled detective in a dystopian future is enough to let it skate on novelty value alone. It opened today in 1965.