Saturday, August 4, 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

The Babymakers (mixed bag): This R-rated Broken Lizard comedy has the makings of a funny movie, but it doesn’t deliver the laughs by offering a relatively tame and unexciting story featuring affable enough lead performances from Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn. Now playing at the AMC Village 7. Read my review from yesterday.

New to DVD

Nothing of note this week!

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

Capote: (recommended): This 2005 Best Picture nominee is most notable for its Oscar-winning lead performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman as famed author Truman Capote. The film itself, while haunting and compelling, isn’t quite as strong, but it’s still worth seeing.

Captain America: The First Avenger (highly recommended): It seems like there have been so many Marvel movies lately, especially featuring those superheroes that make up the Avengers team. I’m pleased to report that this latest entry is a superb, all-American success, perfectly enthralling and entertaining.

Death at a Funeral (mixed bag): This 2007 ensemble comedy, which was remade in 2010 with an all-African-American cast, is full of laughs but lacking in coherent content. It’s most worthwhile for the hilarious British-accented performance from Alan Tudyk of “Firefly” fame.

Dogtooth (highly recommended): This 2010 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film from Greece is an incredible exploration of a family whose adult children have a warped, wholly incorrect vision of the world thanks to the systematic deception practiced by their parents. It’s an utterly fascinating treasure not to be missed.

Extract (mixed bag): Like this week’s new theatrical comedy release, this 2009 film is very forgettable despite having great potential and showcasing the talents of stars Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, and a handful of others. It’s not bad, but there just isn’t anything terrific about it.

In the Land of Blood and Honey (recommended): Aside from a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film, Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut didn’t capture much attention. Refreshingly, it’s an extremely affecting, sober, unsettling, and powerful dramatization of the 1990s Bosnian War.

National Security (anti-recommended): Unlike, say, “Bad Boys,” this 2003 action-comedy is not a highlight of Martin Lawrence’s career. In fact, it’s a miserable mess of a buddy cop comedy, and watching it should remind viewers that Steve Zahn can do much better, as evidenced by his role on HBO’s “Treme.” Just don’t see this movie.

Platoon (highly recommended): This 1986 Oscar Best Picture winner comes from director Oliver Stone and stars Charlie Sheen. It’s most memorable as an extraordinarily effective portrait of the Vietnam war and a showcase of excellent Oscar-nominated performances from Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe as warring sergeants.

Small Soldiers (mixed bag): Unlike the above film, this 1998 kids’ movie isn’t about real soldiers, but rather toys that come to life. That said, it’s actually a remarkably violent and decently terrifying film that isn’t necessarily kid-appropriate, though adults likely won’t enjoy it either.

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