Saturday, March 2, 2013

Saturday Night Movie Recommendations with Abe

Welcome back 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 theatres 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

Koch (recommended): This documentary was slated to open yesterday before its subject, famed former New York Mayor Ed Koch, passed away just one month earlier. This chronicle of his time in politics and the way he perceived is less linear that it is focused, and it represents a hard, deep look at a truly interesting man. Now playing at the Angelika. Read my review from yesterday.

New to DVD

Anna Karenina (recommended): This gorgeous adaptation of the classic literary work comes from Joe Wright, director of “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement,” in his third collaboration with Keira Knightley, and bravely and boldly tells a timeless story with a creative approach to set design and a keen eye for costumes and colors.

Argo (highly recommended): Everyone in the world has heard about the newly minted Best Picture winner, a strong third film from director Ben Affleck, which works as a more than competent and extremely engaging thriller about the impossible and often entertaining mission to smuggle six Americans out of the very volatile Iran. Not to be missed.

The Master (recommended): Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film received Oscar nominations for its major cast members, but also deserves credit for painting an intoxicating and gripping portrait of a man detached from society seeking a way to reconnect and drawn in by the allure of a cult. It’s a visually stunning film featuring all-around great performances.

The Sessions (highly recommended): This year’s most touching film also features the biggest Oscar snub in recent history, which is the immensely natural and charming lead performance from John Hawkes as paraplegic poet Mark O’Brien. Helen Hunt also shines as a kindly sex surrogate who works to help him achieve his first sexual experience. This is a magnificent film that was ignored all too much this awards season.

Skyfall (recommended): The twenty-third James Bond film marks the fiftieth anniversary of the franchise, and it’s quite the celebration. The film kicks into high gear from its opening moments, thanks to a scenery-chewing villainous turn from Javier Bardem and a commitment to action and explosions throughout. Any Bond fan will love it, and others will enjoy it too.

Now Available on Netflix Instant Streaming

Compliance (recommended): This chilling thriller features one of this year’s biggest Oscar snubs, my winner for Best Supporting Actress, Ann Dowd, as an all-too-willing fast food restaurant manager who takes it upon herself to be deputized by an alleged legal authority to conduct a horrific invasion of privacy and decency. A great film not to be missed.

Revenge of the Electric Car (recommended): This sequel to “Who Killed the Electric Car” takes an in-depth look at the electric car and why its fate has turned out how it has, using Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk as a compelling protagonist to represent the audacious quest undertaken to revitalize the auto industry.

The Runway (recommended): This harmless Irish film stars Demian Bichir, who netted an Oscar nomination in 2011 for “A Better Life,” as a South American pilot who lands in a small town in Ireland in the 1980s and must overcome language barriers and preconceived notions to persevere thanks to his friendship with a young boy full of hope.

Safety Not Guaranteed (recommended): This little movie features the amazing Aubrey Plaza of “Parks and Recreation” in a perfect role as a journalist exploring the claims of a man, played by Mark Duplass, seeking a companion for time travel. Its imagination and dialogue are both equally strong, and it hits just the right quirky notes.

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