MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS - Winter 2010
20 Dec 10 - By J. Ganz - Compilation
The latest recommendations, and lots of em! Most are current, but there are a few classics mixed in that we're sure you'll love! Cozy up on that couch and/or get out to the theaters and enjoy!
MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS - Winter 2010
It was excellent!
Netflix: When Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) agrees to take over her ailing father's thoroughbred stable, she transforms from housewife to horse breeder -- and owner of the colt that will take the 1973 Triple Crown -- in this dramatic biopic. The film explores Chenery's bond with "Big Red" and depicts her rise to greatness as the "first lady of racing." John Malkovich plays trainer Lucien Laurin, and Fred Dalton Thompson co-stars as big-shot breeder Bull Hancock.
My sister and I just saw Hereafter. I have to say that we liked it. In my opinion it is worth seeing.
Netflix: Clint Eastwood directs this supernatural thriller about three very different people and their responses to death, including a hesitant American psychic named George (Matt Damon) who may be able to help the others find answers and peace. Marie (Cécile De France) is a French journalist caught up in the aftereffects of the devastating 2004 tsunami, while in London, young Marcus (Frankie and George McLaren) seeks to contact his deceased twin brother.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Wall Street 2 was a good and decent movie.
Netflix: Trader Jake (Shia LaBeouf) tries to mend the broken relationship between his fiancée, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), and her father, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), while avenging the fate of his mentor, Lou (Frank Langella), by getting close to Wall Street's new megalomaniac, Bretton James (Josh Brolin). Centered on the 2008 financial crisis, director Oliver Stone's follow-up is a modern-day ode to unfettered capitalism and, of course, greed.
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
Currently available for free at: http://www.crackle.com/c/Here_Comes_Mr._Jordan/Here_Comes_Mr_Jordan/2481441
Won two Oscars but most people have never heard of this amazing ghost story. Made in 1941 this is about a ghost returning to Earth after dying before his time. He gets a second chance by taking over another body and then the fun starts. The movie is funny, romantic and has very cool twists and turns which you won't see coming. This film goes way above the standard of the day. People interested in the paranormal will get a real kick out this one!
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)
For me this was nice break from the usual. It's a good story with some great characters. I love owls so that encouraged me to see the movie :-)
Director Zack Snyder teams with screenwriters John Collee and John Orloff to adapt author Kathryn Lasky's popular series of children's books. The series is about a group of kidnapped owlets who take flight to save their kingdom from an ancient evil by locating the legendary Guardians of Ga'Hoole. As a young hatchling, Soren would sit transfixed whenever his father would tell the tale of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole and their tireless efforts to defeat the malevolent Pure Ones, whose aim was to exterminate the entire owl population. After hearing the high-flying tales of adventure, Soren would fantasize about gliding through the clouds with the brave owl soldiers while his jealous older brother, Kludd, attempted to gain their father's favor by becoming a skilled hunter. One day, Kludd's anger gets the best of him, and the next thing he knows he's tumbling over the edge of the nest with Soren. But instead of falling to the ground, the siblings are quickly snatched up by the dreaded Pure Ones, and are taken to a place where their parents will never find them.
Life As We Know It (2010)
I'm a big Katherine Heigl fan so I went to see this movie. I liked it and had a lot of laughs throughout. Two people who can't stand each other are forced to care for the same child in this domestic comedy drama starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. Holly (Heigl) is a caterer whose career is just getting off the ground; Eric (Duhamel) directs sports for a major network. Their first date was a nightmare, and now they're about to become a family. When their goddaughter Sophie's parents both perish in a tragic accident, Holly and Eric are informed that they were singled out as Sophie's caretakers in the event of an unforeseen disaster. Now, in order to raise Sophie right, this bickering pair must put their differences aside while mastering the fine art of parenthood.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Highly recommended a number of times! Toy Story 3 was one of my favorites this year and Garden State from previous years.
Garden State (2004)
Netflix: Having just weaned himself off antidepressants, Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff, who also directs) returns to his New Jersey hometown after a decade away to attend his mother's funeral and slowly begins to see his life in a new light. In the process, he confronts his psychologist father (Ian Holm) and forges a connection with a new friend (Natalie Portman). This whimsical comedy premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)
I liked it, although done as a spoof, it showed how one might be able to have perceptions exterior to the body and I found elements of truth in it. Especially was pleased with the very end, although I wouldn't try it.
Netflix: Journalist Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) latches onto an unbelievable story in Iraq when he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a man of mysterious origins who reveals he was a "warrior monk" trained by the U.S. Army to develop psychic powers. Jeff Bridges co-stars as Lyn's mentor, the man who dreamed up the top-secret operation. Kevin Spacey and Rebecca Mader co-star in this Grant Heslov-helmed wild spoof.
Run Silent, Run Deep (1958)
Old black and white movie starring Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster and Don Rickles (as an actor, pre-comedian days). I generally don't watch or like war movies, but this one is an excellent exception. It's amazing the stories that were told before special effects.
IMDB: The captain of a submarine sunk by the Japanese during WWII is finally given a chance to skipper another sub after a year of working a desk job. His single-minded determination for revenge against the destroyer that sunk his previous vessel puts his new crew in unnecessary danger.
Key Largo (1948)
Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Edward G Robinson star in this wonderful black and white gangster oldie. It's my favorite of all Bogart movies.
IMDB: A man visits his old friend's hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other.
War Games (1983)
Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy and Dabney Coleman star in this movie. It's fun for me to see how much mischief kids (like me) used to get into accidentally.
IMDB: A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.
The Real Howard Spitz (1998)
Available on Hulu at: www.hulu.com/watch/188014/the-real-howard-spitz. I found this movie to be very funny! A grumpy, gambling, drinking, unsuccessful detective novelist who doesn't get along with children very well decides to try writing children’s books to make a buck. He develops a friendship with an intelligent little bookworm girl at the local library. I liked the humor, and appreciated how his grouchy disposition didn't magically change to make him more likeable in the end, making this story very believable.
The Secret in Their Eyes (2010)
I recently saw this movie and really liked it! It won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for 2010. On the International Movie Database (www.imdb.com), it is rated at #177 in the top 250 movies of all time.
Netflix: A startling discovery comes to light for retired Argentine criminal investigator Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin) as he pens a biographical novel about the unsolved case of a young newlywed's brutal rape and murder years ago. Past and present intertwine for Esposito and colleague Irene Menendez Hastings (Soledad Villamil) in director Juan Jose Campanella's Oscar-winning character study in which justice, pain and love collide.
Angel in Love (2005)
We loved this. It is Polish and therefore, not your usual Hollywood movie. Some extremely funny scenes, including being able to call heaven by telephone, etc.
Netflix: The angel Giordano (Krzysztof Globisz) -- the loveable hero from the hit comedy Angel in Krakow -- is back for this popular sequel that proves a man in love can actually be happier than an angel in heaven. After being fired by the Almighty and released to live on Earth, Giordano has a hard time adjusting to life as a human being. Just when he's about to give up, a sympathetic God sets him up on a blind date.
Dan in Real Life (2007)
We really liked this movie - Funny, warm and romantic, in very real ways. For Steve Carell, this is a different sort of role (and script) than his usual.
Netflix: Advice columnist and widowed father of three Dan Burns (Steve Carell) has met someone new in this romantic comedy from director Peter Hedges. But even though Marie (Juliette Binoche) is beautiful and smart, she's also the girlfriend of Dan's brother Mitch (Dane Cook). With a publicly recognized moral compass, Dan finds himself torn between reaching for happiness and keeping the peace in his family. Dianne Wiest and John Mahoney co-star.
Robin Hood (2010)
This was terrific and we enjoyed it a lot! It's the back-story or prequel for the legend of Robin Hood and crew. A well written and well acted historical costume drama - and the story is entirely plausible and fitting.
Netflix: Russell Crowe stars as Robin Longstride in director Ridley Scott's big-budget twist on the celebrated legend. When soldier Robin happens upon the dying Robert of Loxley, he promises to return the man's sword to his family in Nottingham. There, he assumes Robert's identity; romances his widow, Marion (Cate Blanchett); and draws the ire of the town's sheriff (Matthew Macfadyen) and King John's henchman, Godfrey (Mark Strong).
The Fifth Element (1997)
Netflix: New York City in the 23rd century is a madhouse of flying taxis, street gangs and media overload in director Luc Besson's science-fiction-inspired vision of a tomorrow that seems to have all the right elements. Cabbie Bruce Willis is a regular guy ... and the universe's last hope for survival as he helps the embodiment of love and life (Milla Jovovich) fight the darkness unleashed by the crazed Zorg (Gary Oldman).
Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures (2001)
We just recently watched the Wallace and Gromit trio (A Grand Day, The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave) on our wide screen. These are really incredible on a large screen as you can see all of the fine detail they do to make it really humorous. This is family safe but has some fine irony for the adult mind also.
Netflix: Animator Nick Park's most beloved creations -- the unflappable, cheese-worshipping Wallace and his loyal dog, Gromit -- come to life in this collection of all three of the their adventures: "A Close Shave," "A Grand Day Out" and "The Wrong Trousers." In each, Wallace and Gromit foil the plans of dastardly penguins, conniving robotic sheep dogs and others who threaten to destroy the equilibrium of their happy, predictable lives.
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
It's absolutely incredible! This movie is filmed entirely in India, entirely in English, but with subtitles due to the strong accents of the actors. It has romance, aesthetics with lots of color and different ethnic twists, as well as familiar aspects that carry through from one culture to the next, the interaction between family members.
Netflix: As the monsoon rains loom in director Mira Nair's romantic drama, Lalit Verma (Naseeruddin Shah) and his extended family reunite for the last-minute arranged marriage of his daughter Aiditi (Vasundhara Das) in New Delhi. But long-guarded secrets threaten to tear the family apart. As wedding preparations proceed, five stories intersect, highlighting different aspects of love and crossing boundaries of class and continent.
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Netflix: In this adaptation of Fanny Flagg's novel, flashbacks reveal the remarkable and mysterious story of soul mates Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth Jamison (Mary-Louise Parker), whose antics cause an uproar in their rural Southern town during the 1920s. Feisty Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy) tells the tale to a repressed Alabama housewife (Kathy Bates), who becomes obsessed with Idgie and Ruth, and ultimately finds inspiration in their story.
The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
Netflix: Mr. Holland (Alec Guinness) has supervised his bank's bullion run for years. He's fussy and unnecessarily overprotective, but everyone knows he's absolutely trustworthy. And so, on the day the bullion truck is robbed, he's the last person to be suspected. But there's another side to Mr. Holland -- he's also "Dutch," the leader of the titular mob. Ealing Studios writer T.E.B. Clarke won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Stanley Holloway co-stars.
Netflix: While cruising the waters of Australia's Kakadu National Park, a jaded American journalist (Michael Vartan) and a spirited outback tour guide (Radha Mitchell) must join forces to fend off a giant man-eating crocodile, which lurks beneath the surface of a remote lake. The rogue reptile is just waiting for one of them to make a mistake and fall overboard. Will the duo's plan to outmaneuver the ravenous beastie work?
That's Entertainment (1974)
Just a joy to watch, from beginning to end :)
Netflix: Take a trip back to Hollywood's golden age with this tribute to MGM musicals that features scenes from nearly 100 celluloid gems, such as An American in Paris and Singin' in the Rain. The collection of nostalgic clips includes song and dance numbers from the likes of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Cyd Charisse, Donald O'Connor, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, Debbie Reynolds, Bing Crosby, Esther Williams and Jimmy Durante.
Netflix: When Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) hears a signal being broadcast from outer space, the race is on to interpret humanity's first contact with alien intelligence in this adaptation of Carl Sagan's thoughtful novel about the divide between science and religion. Matthew McConaughey co-stars as Palmer Joss, a Christian philosopher who is Ellie's friend as well as her lover. Robert Zemeckis directs.
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Audrey Hepburn, one of my favorite people of all time and a tribute to Director Blake Edwards, who passed recently. Wonderful movie!
Netflix: In this Blake Edwards-directed adaptation of Truman Capote's novel, fortune hunter Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) finds herself captivated by aspiring writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard), who's moved into her building on a wealthy woman's (Patricia Neal) dime. As romance blooms between Paul and Holly, Doc Golightly (Buddy Ebsen) shows up on the scene, revealing Holly's past. The film received Oscars for best song ("Moon River") and best score.
Netflix: When retired thief Robert "Mac" MacDougal (Sean Connery) is implicated in the disappearance of a priceless painting, insurance investigator Virginia "Gin" Baker (Catherine Zeta-Jones) sets a trap to catch her suspect. But Gin is not exactly who she seems. Soon, she and Mac have joined forces to pull off -- quite literally -- the heist of the millennium in this lively crime-caper flick from director Jon Amiel.