Scarecrow Suggests: February 2016

'Bridge of Spies'

Feb. 2
Bridge of Spies
A New York lawyer (Tom Hanks) is asked by the U.S. government to conduct the legal defense of accused spy Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance) before he gets involved in an elaborate game involving the prisoner exchange of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. Steven Spielberg’s latest film is a simple moral lesson, executed with an unobtrusive formal economy that reinforces its sober idealism. –Matt Lynch

Feb. 16
The Challenge
In this little-seen action thriller from director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, The Train),Scott Glenn plays a mercenary hired to smuggle a priceless sword into Japan, where he runs afoul of Yakuza, ancient ninja clans and corporate bad guys, including the great Toshiro Mifune. Despites some ’80s action silliness, Frankenheimer’s formidable power behind the camera elevates the material to something exciting and strange. –Matt Lynch

Feb. 23
Fargo: Season 2
Even better than the first season, the second season takes us back to late ’70s, during America’s so-called “crisis of confidence.” A turf war between a Fargo crime family and a Kansas City mob syndicate is escalating rapidly. Caught up in the violence are a pair of capable, under-supported cops and a couple whose conflicting ambitions are pulling them apart. Packed with distinctive characters, evocative ’70s rock tunes, crisp photography, plot twists and dark humor, Fargo transcends cable TV and plays more like the best, longest movie of 2015. –Spenser Hoyt

Ninety years after its first theatrical run—during which fans and detractors engaged in fistfights—Marcel L’Herbier’s dazzling science-fiction melodrama has been restored from the original nitrate negative. In an endeavor to synthesize the modern arts into an organic whole, L’Herbier enlisted opera singer Georgette Leblanc, painter Fernand Léger, glassmaker René Lalique, composer Darius Milhaud, architect Robert Mallet-Stevens and others to contribute to the production. New admirers are calling the film a “manifesto for Art Deco.” ­–Mark Steiner