Welcome back to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. I'm going to be providing a handy guide to a few choice movies currently playing in theatres as well as several films newly released on DVD. I invite you to add in your thoughts on any films I haven’t seen in the comments below. Understandably, some weeks will have considerably fewer releases to address than others.
Now Playing in Theatres
Closer to the Moon (anti-recommended): This dramatization of a real life heist by Jewish Romanian resistance fighters staged to look like it was a movie being filmed takes what could have been an interesting story and incorporates none of its involving elements into its execution, resulting in a bland and uninviting disappointment of a film. Now playing at IFC Center. Read my review from yesterday.
Felix and Meira (recommended): Hadas Yaron, who starred in “Fill the Void,” plays a different kind of Hasidic woman in this story of a religious woman and a secular man who find an unexpected comfort in each other’s arms. The performances from Yaron and Martin Dubreuil enhance a film that starts off from an intriguing vantage point and isn’t entirely sure where it’s headed. Now playing at Lincoln Plaza. Read my review from the New York Jewish Film Festival.
Tangerines (highly recommended): The last of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Film is also one of the best of that slate. Estonia’s first nominated film is a powerful and worthwhile account of a tangerine farmer who saves two men on different sides of a war, with strong performances, an engaging story, and a stirring score. Now playing at Lincoln Plaza. Read my review from yesterday.
True Story (mixed bag): James Franco stars as a man on trial for murdering his family and Jonah Hill plays the journalist he wants to tell his story to. It’s a decent premise, based on a true story, but nothing about the film makes it come alive or feel necessary. Now playing all over New York City. Read my review from Sundance.
New to DVD
Antarctica: A Year on Ice (recommended): This documentary looks at what it’s like to spend the whole year in Antarctica. It’s a marvelous collection of stunning imagery and informative and entertaining interviews with those precious few who can call themselves residents of this legendary continent.
Beside Still Waters (mixed bag): Actor Chris Lowell’s directorial debut is an interesting and entertaining film about childhood friends reuniting at a lake house, but it’s not a groundbreaking or particularly compelling story in its own right.
Big Eyes (mixed bag): Tim Burton directs this strange tale of a female painter in the 1950s whose husband took credit for all her work. Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz aren’t challenged all that much, and this film manages to be even more peculiar than its story dictates to mixed effect.
Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (mixed bag): The story of the 1980s abduction of beer magnate Freddy Heineken by a group of criminals is an inherently fascinating tale, but it doesn’t translate to gripping cinema that way that it should despite a strong cast including Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthinton, Ryan Kwanten, and Anthony Hopkins.