Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday Night Movie Recommendations with Abe

Welcome 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 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

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (recommended): This David Fincher-directed remake isn’t as good as the Swedish original, but were it not for the existence of the other, this might be much more impressive. Rooney Mara is a fantastic Lisbeth Salander, and it’s still plenty thrilling and unsettling. Now playing in wide release. Read my review from yesterday.

War Horse (recommended): This Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of the acclaimed play isn’t initially interesting but does manage to become more appealing as new characters are introduced and its equestrian protagonist is revealed to be increasingly brave. The visuals are its strongest element. Opening tomorrow in wide release. My review will be up tomorrow.

I really want to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but I’m not sure I’ll make it a priority during this busy holiday season. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is on my list, as is Albert Nobbs, playing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center for one week only. The Adventures of Tintin, In the Land of Blood and Honey, and We Bought a Zoo, all have some appeal, but I’m not sure I need to see any of them. The same goes for Oscar contender Pina.

New to DVD

Warrior (highly recommended): This sports movie about two brothers both making separate strides towards an intense mixed martial arts competition really surprised me, since the genre hardly interests me. There are great performances, but more importantly, stellar depictions of the fights. Nick Nolte is SAG-nominated, but he’s hardly the best part.

Midnight in Paris (recommended): Woody Allen’s latest endeavor is not merely an ensemble tale of adultery. Instead, it stars a distracting Owen Wilson as a novelist who finds himself transported back to the 1920s each evening. The cast is fun and the writing is smart, as long as suspension of disbelief doesn’t detract from the fantasy experience.

I’ve been meaning to catch Margin Call, which has picked up a handful of debut director, independent film, and screenplay prizes this award season.

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

A Mighty Heart (highly recommended): The movie that didn’t end up earning Angelina Jolie an Oscar nomination is actually quite terrific and extremely powerful, featuring an equally tremendous performance from Irrfan Khan. Michael Winterbottom directs a profoundly affecting and worthwhile film that didn’t garner nearly enough praise.

Hey Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird (recommended): This documentary explores the life of the reclusive author of one of the most famous and important books in recent history, and should prove more than properly enthralling to those enticed by its subject matter.

Orgasm, Inc. (recommended): This documentary isn’t nearly as incendiary as its title suggests, looking at the science behind drugs for female sexual dysfunction. It’s a thorough and occasionally entertaining look at a complex and crazy industry.

The Constant Gardener (recommended): This 2005 film was Fernando Meirelles’ follow-up to “City of God,” and while it’s hardly as magnificent as that movie, it’s still quite compelling, thanks to an intriguing storyline and strong performances from Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, who won an Oscar for the role.

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