Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Triple Features

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies With Abe, Thursday Triple Features. Throughout college, I would often head to the movies for three films in a row on a Friday or Sunday, and I’m excited to recall some of my most memorable experiences. I don’t necessarily advocate that you try this at home, but I’ll explore that as well.

My fourth triple feature experience was, appropriately enough, a quadruple feature. Returning from a summer in Massachusetts where I had to drive almost an hour to get to anything independent, I decided to catch up on recent cinema by spending the entire day at the Angelika Film Center, seeing all the most buzzworthy of films at the time. I even documented it in Minutes with Abe. You can watch all four segments here.

August 21, 2008

Movie #1: Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Time of Day: 11:00am
Runtime: 96 minutes
Before last year’s “Midnight in Paris,” this was widely considered to be Woody Allen’s big comeback. It won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Penelope Cruz. Aside from eliciting amusing performances from Cruz, Rebecca Hall, and Javier Bardem, this film did what many Allen films of late do: transplant New York City characters and dialogue to another city, where they feel considerably less comfortable.

Movie #2: The Wackness
Time of Day: 1:20pm
Runtime: 99 minutes
This peculiar film is a low-key, sedated experience featuring Ben Kingsley in a highly entertaining performance as an untraditional therapist. Olivia Thirlby is also great as his daughter, and though lead Josh Peck is considerably less enthusiastic, this film succeeds as a result of its funky dialogue and amusing premise.

Movie #3: Frozen River
Time of Day: 3:30pm
Runtime: 97 minutes
This dark drama about border smuggling functions exceptionally well as a subtle thriller, and showcases a powerhouse performance by Melissa Leo that earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Its snowy landscape helps establish its eerie, surreal feel, and this original story is highly enthralling and captivating.

Movie #4: Elegy
Time of Day: 5:15pm
Runtime: 112 minutes
My second encounter with Cruz and Kingsley for the day was this strong human drama adapted from the novel “The Dying Animal” by Philip Roth. The talented cast also includes Peter Sarsgaard and Patricia Clarkson, and a powerful romance with deep, complex characters.

The review: Though I didn’t love the first film as much as most, the next three were all great, albeit quite varied in tone and style.
The grades: B-, B+, B+, B+
A good lineup? Absolutely. The first film was something I needed to see for awards reason, and the other three were very good films. Quite random to be sure, but highly worthwhile.

Coming next week: back to three films for an adventure in October!

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