Saturday, May 3, 2014

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 in NYC

Belle (recommended): Underrated actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw gets the lead role she deserves in this epic story of a black woman well ahead of her time in 1700s England. The film’s story is compelling, even if not all of its parts are fully engaging or enthralling. Now playing at Landmark Sunshine and Lincoln Plaza. Read my review from yesterday.

New to DVD

Gloria (recommended): Star Paulina Garcia is hands-down the best part about this past Chilean Oscar submission for Best Foreign Film. She delivers a dedicated, honest, humorous performance in a film that’s often as entertaining as she is but not consistently so.

Whitewash (mixed bag): Thomas Haden Church stars in this intriguing but uninvolving tale of a drunk snowplow driver who accidentally hits a stranger in the middle of a storm. It’s a worthwhile concept, but the execution here is slow-paced and less than inviting. The film is currently available from Oscilloscope Laboratories on all digital platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, and XBOX Live.

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

Diana (mixed bag): This unfortunate effort starring the usually great Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews tries and fails to capture the gravitas of Princess Diana and the way in which she seduced the world. Highlighting her personal life proves to be much less interesting and dynamic than it should be.

Forrest Gump and Gladiator should need no recommendations, but these two Best Picture and Best Actor winners are often maligned as being overrated. They are both excellent epics and films in their own right, and anyone who hasn’t seen them truly should. Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe are excellent, as are Oscar-nominated costars Gary Sinise and Joaquin Phoenix. These are terrific technical achievements (both films won Best Visual Effects) and deserve to be seen by all.

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