Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday Night 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

I’m going to try my hardest to see both The Iron Lady and A Separation, each playing in a grand total of two New York City theatres this weekend, so instead I’ll offer recommendations for what you should see this holiday weekend wherever you are, if it’s playing in a theater near you. Happy New Year!

Highly recommended:
The Artist
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

The Descendants
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Young Adult
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
War Horse
J Edgar
Happy Feet Two

New to DVD

The First Grader
(recommended): This sweet story about an 84-year-old Kenyan man who goes back to school to learn how to read is both moving and dramatic, if not a bit slow along the way. Tony Kgoroge gives a strong lead performance, and this film, if appealing, is genuinely affecting.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (recommended): This wild comedy stars Jason Sudeikis, Tyler Labine, and a whole slew of other people. Like this year’s “Our Idiot Brother,” it’s not as hilarious as it could have been, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a lot of fun and highly enjoyable.

Brighton Rock (anti-recommended): This film noir, starring Andrea Riseborough, soon to be seen in Madonna’s “W.E.” is moody, unexciting, and can’t decide whether or not it wants to be taken seriously. Don’t bother.

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

Certified Copy (highly recommended): For those who don’t like subtitles, this might not be the best choice, but it’s not hard to follow the fascinating conversation that happens between two strangers in English, French, and Italian, thanks to an entertaining script and strong performances from Juliette Binoche and William Shimell.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (recommended): This horror comedy is extremely funny, featuring Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk as best friends who end up with a slew of college kids determined to put themselves in danger thinking that they’re deranged murderers. It’s not for the faint of heart in terms of gore, but for everyone else, it’s absolutely hilarious.

Mao’s Last Dancer (recommended): This tale of a state-trained Chinese dancer whose time spent in the United States changes him is notable for the strength of its dancing and the lead performance of non-actor Chi Cao, with able support from Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan, and Joan Chen. See it for the dancing, but the story isn’t bad either.

No Strings Attached (mixed bag): This is indisputably the lesser of the two relationship comedies released this year. Natalie Portman is fun, but Ashton Kutcher is generally worthless, and the jump from “sex friends” to “best friends” doesn’t track since they were never best friends to begin with, making this a decently entertaining but otherwise ineffective film.

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