MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS - Summer 2011
11 Jul 11 - By J. Ganz - TheRazzLine Compilation
This latest list movie recommendations is sure to keep you entertained this Summer! It has both current movies and those now available on DVD.
"Atlas Shrugged" received many votes, so you'll find a quote by Ayn Rand at the end of this edition.
MOVIES! - Summer 2011
A biopic with a great story.
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.
The Golden Compass (2007)
Netflix: After overhearing a shocking secret, precocious orphan Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) trades her carefree existence roaming the halls of Jordan College for an otherworldly adventure in the far North, unaware that it's part of her destiny. Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Sam Elliott co-star in this fantasy-laden family adventure based on the first book of the Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials.
Inside Job (2010)
This should be required viewing for all American citizens.
Netflix: From filmmaker Charles Ferguson comes this sobering, Oscar-winning documentary that presents in comprehensive yet cogent detail the pervasive and deep-rooted corruption that led to the global economic meltdown of 2008. Through unflinching interviews with key financial insiders, politicos, journalists and academics, Ferguson paints a galling portrait of an unfettered financial system run amok -- without accountability. Actor Matt Damon narrates.
Still Crazy (1996)
Along the lines of "Spinal Tap" and has some very funny moments in it.
Netflix: In this "coming-of-middle-age comedy," Still Crazy chronicles the goofy exploits of Strange Fruit, a successful 1970s rock band that reunites 20 years after an acrimonious breakup. Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly and Juliet Aubrey shine in performances that evoke the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap and comedies such as The Suburbans.
A very off-the-wall French movie that is funny and entertaining.
Netflix: French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet takes a satirical look at the global arms trade with this foreign-language comedy starring Dany Boon as Bazil, who rallies his friends to take down weapons manufacturers responsible for his father's death. Bazil also discovers a dump into an underground haven for cool tools and sculptures crafted from discarded junk. Dominique Pinon, André Dussollier and Jean-Pierre Marielle co-star.
Fair Game (2010)
An excellent movie based on true events. We really enjoyed it. Sean Penn and Naomi Watts did fantastic.
IMDB: CIA operative Valerie Plame discovers her identity is allegedly leaked by the government as payback for an op-ed article her husband wrote criticizing the Bush administration.
Atlas Shrugged - Part 1 (2011) (4 Votes)
1st Vote: I've never read the book but my daughter has, and has most of Ayn Rand's books. I read one of them and was quite taken by her writing; she was so ahead of her time. This is a great thought provoking movie.
Moviefone: This adaptation of Ayn Rand's 1957 objectivist novel Atlas Shrugged tells the first installment in the story of a dystopian future in which a collectivist society has forced the great thinkers of the world to go on strike, leaving the functioning world without scientists, engineers, philosophers, or artists. Set against this stark backdrop, a railroad heiress named Dagny Taggart tries to bring her failing company back from the brink with the development of a new alloy to repair breaks in the lines, and hopefully calm the business' vital corporate partnership with an oil company. But with the endless bureaucracy of an evil and corrupt government fighting her at every turn, and her own inept brother fighting her for control, Dagny soon finds that in order to set things right in her world, things must be set right in the world at large.
2nd Vote: I found that the movie stayed true to the book for about 95% of the time which is amazing, as there are so many characters, plots and subplots. The actors obviously read the book, all 1100 pages of it. I recommend this movie to my friends. Last but not least, the train on the John Galt line is stupendous. I want to ride on it.
3rd Vote: Atlas Shrugged is Brilliant!!!!!!!!
4th Vote: This story is SO powerful that it didn't need A-list actors to create an impact. The actors might be unknown to you, but they all gave wonderful performances. Awesome movie!
The Bourne Identity (2002)
We just watched this again for about the 4th time, but it has been a while since the last time. Still love it!! The best action/spy thriller around. What fun. Great chase scenes, stunts, and very good story. It’s an “edge of your seat” movie. All of the actors were really good.
IMDB: The crew of a fishing vessel find a body floating in the middle of the ocean. They bring it on board and the improvised 'doctor' finds two bullets in the back and a Swiss bank account code implanted in the hip of the body. The 'body' indeed is not dead but unconscious: he is Jason Bourne (Matt Dammon), a CIA very well prepared assassin agent with amnesia.
After moving into a new home, Josh (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) confront terrifying tribulations when their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into a coma and his body starts to attract malevolent forces from a mysterious netherworld. But when the family decides to move again, hoping to leave the evil spirits behind, they realize that their problems are just beginning. James Wan (Saw) directs.
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Netflix: Tasked with defending rich lothario Louis Roulet, who's been charged with assault, lawyer Mick Haller finds himself and his family in danger when he deduces the truth behind this and former cases he's worked on.
Soul Surfer (2011)
From director Sean McNamara comes this inspiring film that dramatizes the real-life story of Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb), a Hawaiian teen who bravely returns to competitive surfing after losing her left arm in a vicious shark attack. On the road to recovery, the gutsy young wave-rider relies on determination, faith and family, including her mom (Helen Hunt) and dad (Dennis Quaid). Carrie Underwood, Craig T. Nelson and Kevin Sorbo co-star.
Thor (2011) (2 Votes)
My son took me to see this - It was very entertaining and the actor who plays Thor is hubba hubba!
Netflix: Kenneth Branagh directs this Marvel Comics-inspired action flick about the thunder god Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a powerful warrior whose father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) -- the king of Asgard -- forces him to live among humans on Earth and learn humility. Once there, he finds a friend (Natalie Portman), along with unexpected enemies sent from his world. Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård and Rene Russo co-star.
The Dillema (2011)
Netflix: Oscar-winning director Ron Howard serves up a delicious comedy about two best friends and business partners -- Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) -- who are about to land a fantastic deal when Ronny learns something about Nick's wife, Geneva (Winona Ryder), that rocks his world. Ronny turns amateur sleuth to determine whether Geneva's cheating on Nick and learns that telling a friend the truth is even more difficult than concealing it.
The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
Very suspenseful and very good. John Travolta and Denzel Washington are both fantastic. I highly recommend it.
Netflix: When a group of hijackers led by criminal mastermind Ryder (John Travolta) take the passengers aboard a New York subway train hostage and demand a king's ransom, it's up to subway dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) to bring them down. Directed by Tony Scott (Man on Fire), this action thriller -- an update of the 1974 film from Joseph Sargent -- also stars James Gandolfini, John Turturro, Luis Guzmán and Michael Rispoli.
Flicka 2 (2010)
This film is about a girl and a mustang and demonstrates so well the definition of responsibility and following your dreams under hard circumstances.
My wife and I enjoyed "Arthur" thoroughly. We were with a younger crowd in the theater who laughed throughout the movie and applauded at the end. There was something for everyone. The actors were excellent.
Netflix: Recasting the 1981 comedy classic starring Dudley Moore, this romantic chuckler chronicles the dilemma faced by philanderer Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) -- whether to give up a respectable life and an inheritance of millions for the sake of romance. Jennifer Garner co-stars as Susan Johnson, the gorgeous socialite that Arthur's family has chosen for him. Greta Gerwig plays Naomi, the girl who steals Arthur's heart in the meantime.
The Adjustment Bureau (2011) (3rd Vote)
I loved The Adjustment Bureau! It's been out a while, but worth seeing again. A congressman (Matt Damon) who's a rising star on the political scene finds himself entranced by a beautiful ballerina (Emily Blunt), but mysterious circumstances ensure that their love affair is predestined to be a non-starter. Screenwriter George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum) makes his directorial debut with this romantic adaptation of Philip K. Dick's classic sci-fi short story "Adjustment Team."
The World's Fastest Indian (2005) (Has received many votes in the past!)
This is a highly under-rated, funny, make-it-go-right movie, starring Anthony Hopkins.
Netflix: This fact-based drama stars Anthony Hopkins as quirky New Zealander Burt Munro, a 67-year-old grandfather who flies across Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats and blazes into the record books at 183.586 mph on his customized Indian Scout motorcycle. Set in 1967, the film is the second pairing of Hopkins and writer-director Roger Donaldson; the duo also collaborated on the seafaring epic The Bounty (1984).
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Trilogy) (3rd Vote)
Well, of course The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy is fantastic! Yes, it is in Swedish but honestly the performances are not at all diminished by the subtitles. (Editor's note: the DVDs are available dubbed iin English also.) I think all three movies are great but I like the last one, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the best. Note: the first one particularly is not for the squeamish! By the way. this trilogy is being made in the US as an American movie in English. I'm not sure I'll see them.
Netflix: Third in a trio of films inspired by Swedish author Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, this thriller follows feisty computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) as she finds herself hospitalized, suspected of murder and targeted for death by thugs. Meanwhile, Lisbeth's journalist pal, Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), crusades to prove her innocence. Daniel Alfredson directs this film that also stars Lena Endre and Jacob Ericksson.
You can see the synopsis for Part 1 here: http://www.netflix.com/Movie/The-Girl-with-the-Dragon-Tattoo/70116686?strkid=1245828624_0_0&lnkctr=srchrd-sr&strackid=6c39b62573f270b7_0_srl&trkid=222336
And Part 2 here: http://www.netflix.com/Movie/The-Girl-Who-Played-with-Fire/70132756?strkid=934434748_9_0&lnkctr=srchrd-sr&strackid=11bda91d6a5ed49b_9_srl&trkid=222336
I Am (2010)
What an incredibly uplifting movie! By the directer who did all the Ace Ventura Jim Carrey films. He had a bike accident and got a concussion. In his recovery he started questioning the meaning of life. He then made a documentary on what is wrong with the world and what is the solution! Went to top writers, thinkers etc and came up with great conclusion!
A Shine of Rainbows (2009)
I bill this movie as a must-see! http://ashineofrainbows.com/
Netflix: Ostracized 8-year-old orphan Tomás (John Bell) finds his colorless life transformed after spirited Maire (Connie Nielsen) adopts him and instills in him the confidence to make friends -- and magic -- in this inspirational Irish tale of self-discovery. But the boy's hopes for a bright future are in danger of fading when Maire's husband, Alec (Aidan Quinn), has trouble accepting the withdrawn Tomás.
Mao's Last Dancer (2010) (2 Votes)
We loved this autobiography. It shows someone making it go right - despite opposition from his country. By the way, even my husband liked the movie and his comment was, “This movie is really well done and it is the first time I have enjoyed watching ballet.”
Netflix: A delegation from Madame Mao's Beijing Dance Academy selects 11-year-old peasant villager Li Cunxin to study ballet in far-off Beijing, where he trains for seven grueling years to become one of China's greatest dancers. His efforts win him the opportunity to dance in America, opening his eyes to a new love and the possibility of a dramatic defection from China in this remarkable true story based on Cunxin's autobiography.
2nd Vote: We saw a wonderful movie recently, Mao's Last Dancer. Wonderful story and the dancing was superb. The fact that this is a true story makes it extra special.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Woody Allen's new movie Midnight in Paris is a delight. It is a feast for the eyes. It opens with scene after scene of the most beautiful places in Paris. The plot is very imaginative and a joy to watch. I smiled throughout the whole movie!
Netflix: In this bittersweet dramatic comedy, legendary director Woody Allen focuses his lens on a young engaged couple whose experiences traveling together in Paris make them begin to question the kind of life they want to live as a couple.
The Hangover: Part II (2011)
I thought that Hangover II was fantastic very funny better than the first one.
Netflix: In this booze-and laugh-soaked sequel to The Hangover, the buddies from the earlier film's bachelor party reunite for a wedding trip to Thailand where one of them, Stu Price (Ed Helms), is planning to tie the knot. Stu is determined that his own pre-wedding party should be a restrained and dignified affair, but between the habits of his friends and the multiple distractions of Bangkok, fate has other plans in store for him. Todd Phillips directs.
The Green Lantern (2011)
Green Lantern was great! At first I thought it wasn’t going to be so good, but to my surprise it was great and the 3D special effects..wow! I loved the story of someone fighting evil for mankind. That got my attention!
Netflix: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a brash, talented test pilot, is chosen by an alien force of warriors to become their representative on Earth and use his new powers as the Green Lantern to promote order and justice before conflict destroys his world. Despite being the first human to wear the ring that bestows his abilities, Hal must combat villain Parallax. Fellow pilot Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) aids Hal in his quest to save the galaxy.
This is a movie about various views of what happens "hereafter". The main characters are all "good guys" even if they don't know what really happens. I'll see almost anything Clint Eastwood is involved with and here we have him, Steven Spielberg and Matt Damon.
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.
I just watched last night, it is a great story!
Netflix: When Ross (Rufus Sewell), a bankrupt entrepreneur, decides to sell his family's priceless wine collection to buy a failed manganese mine, his girlfriend Kendall (Minnie Driver) and Uncle Cullen (Nigel Hawthorne) desperately try to stop him and get him back on track for success.
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)
Snow Falling on Cedars is the most visually interesting and aesthetic movie I have seen in a very long time. I am surprised that Hollywood let this one slip through, as it is also a very good demonstration of honor and integrity.
Netflix: When a fisherman is found drowned, suspicion falls on Japanese-American Kazou Miyamoto (Rick Yune). Local reporter Ishmael Chambers (Ethan Hawke) may hold the key to proving Miyamoto's innocence, but there's a problem: Chambers is also in love with Miyamoto's wife (Youki Kudoh). The smoldering tensions of World War II ignite into open racial conflict in director Scott Hicks's powerful period drama set in the Pacific Northwest.
As promised, here's the so-true quote from Ayn Rand:
"Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received - hatred. The great creators - the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors - stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish, the airplane was considered impossible, the power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.” - Ayn Rand