Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Night Movie Recommendations with Abe

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. Absent a wealth of new film reviews during the weekend, I’d like to start providing a handy guide to a few choice movies currently playing in NYC as well as several films newly released on DVD. I’ll also aim to comment on those films I have not yet had the chance to see, and 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 NYC

Sad to say, but, in addition to being out of town for a while, I’ve been busy screening films that are showing at the Tribeca Film Festival (which will take the place of all weekly features aside from this weekly feature and full movie reviews for the next week or two) and therefore haven’t seen a single film opening this weekend. I’d love to have seen a few. The Conspirator sounds interesting, and I’ve heard great things about the documentary Armadillo, playing at IFC. I don’t know enough about Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 to know if I’d be interested. I haven’t seen the three films in the series leading up to Scream 4, and I’m not a horror fan at all. Rio could be fun, but I imagine I’ll be able to catch that one on DVD this summer if I so desire. I’ll be much better equipped for the next few weeks, with at least a couple of titles to preview.

Now on DVD

Country Strong (recommended): This early January release flew way under the radar despite its sole Oscar nomination for Best Song (for “Coming Home”). In addition to having two other standout numbers (“Country Strong” and “Me and Tennessee”), this film boasted strong performances, but not so much from its top-billed players as its supporting ones, Garrett Hedlund, and, surprisingly enough, Leighton Meester. This is a nice ode to country music and a better film that it needed to be, even if it isn’t perfect.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (recommended): I cut myself off from civilization to read the seventh book on the day it came out, more so because I had the sixth book, which I had put aside for months to finish AP English summer reading, spoiled for me, and didn’t want the same fate to befall the last book. I skipped the second through sixth movies, for no good reason, and the first half of the seventh entry is action-packed and generally exciting, but the last part, due this summer, is definitely going to be much more thrilling. If you’re a fan of the series though, you’ll like this one.

Heartless (anti-recommended): Don’t make the same mistake as I did with this one. I went in blind to a press screening, presuming that the title was a metaphor and that the film might follow a jerk with no care for the women he hurts. It turns out that it’s literally about a guy who cuts out peoples’ hearts. It’s a rather depressing, peculiar film that definitely didn’t do anything for me other than turn me off to it nice and quick. Don’t do it.

White Material (recommended): This film is both a pictorial beauty and a showcase of powerhouse acting by one Isabelle Huppert as a coffee plantation owner who braves violent civil war to continue growing her crop. It’s a hard film to get through, but ultimately a powerful, enduring one. Not for the faint of heart, but certainly much more rewarding than “Heartless.”

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