Saturday, January 7, 2012

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

Reviews of last week’s New York-only releases of “The Iron Lady” and “In the Land of Blood and Honey” are forthcoming. I can recommend the Streep starrer to anyone, while I’d caution those with an aversion to the sight of war crimes away from Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut. I generally try to avoid January/February releases that aren’t foreign or spillover from the previous year, but I may make an exception for “Contraband” and “The Grey.”

New to DVD

The Guard (highly recommended): This very clever and entertaining film comes from John Michael McDonagh, the brother of Martin McDonagh, the man behind “In Bruges.” This similarly unique film with Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle is a must-see, and Gleeson earned a very well-deserved Golden Globe nomination.

Puncture (mixed bag): This dramatization of a drug-addicted lawyer played by Chris Evans who tries to get safety needles into hospitals around the world has a definitive aim which it doesn’t quite achieve. It’s occasionally stirring and affecting, but more often than not, far less interesting and invigorating than it wants to be.

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

The African Queen (recommended): This classic 1951 John Huston film won Humphrey Bogart his only Oscar for an extraordinarily loose comic role opposite a buttoned-up Katharine Hepburn. For any fan of formative Hollywood cinema, this is a must-see.

Antitrust (recommended): I enjoyed this 2001 thriller starring Ryan Phillippe as a programmer who crosses paths with an evil Bill Gates type played by Tim Robbins. It may not be the most sophisticated, logical film, but it is quite enjoyable and full of suspense.

Office Space (recommended): This cult classic 1999 comedy starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston isn’t nearly as superb as most make it out to be, but it is enjoyable and rather funny. Definitely good material for a home viewing.

True Grit
(mixed bag): Joining the 1969 original is one of the two Best Picture nominees from last year that didn’t do it for me. It should have been great, but there’s something about it that just didn’t work. I also know that I’m relatively alone in that, and most loved it. Hailee Steinfeld delivers a fine breakout performance, and Matt Damon is terrific.

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