Saturday, September 20, 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 Theatres

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (highly recommended): Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy star in this moving, involving story about a couple struggling to get back to a sense of normalcy after their lives are rocked by an unthinkable event. Both performers are incredible, and the film is extremely powerful. Now playing at Landmark Sunshine and the Paris Theatre. Read my review from Friday.

The Drop (anti-recommended): Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini star in this grim and relatively pointless adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s latest work which is far from worthy of comparison to his previous efforts, “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone,” and “Shutter Island.” Now playing in limited release. My review will be up tomorrow.

The Green Prince (mixed bag): This documentary from Sundance has a fascinating premise – the son of a top Hamas official turned to spy for Israel – but its narrow focus on the son and his handler doesn’t offer a complete perspective that a more comprehensive showcase might have. Now playing at Lincoln Plaza. Read my review from Sundance.

Life’s a Breeze (mixed bag): This harmless Irish film stars Fionnula Flanagan as a matriarch whose adult children clean out her apartment unaware that she has hidden her life savings in it. The search that follows is entertaining and enjoyable if not terribly memorable. Now playing at Quad Cinema. Read my review from Friday.

New to DVD

God’s Pocket (mixed bag): John Slattery is great on “Mad Men,” but his directorial debut, which screened at Sundance this year, leaves much to be desired. Its talented cast, including the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Richard Jenkins, and Christina Hendricks, has done better, and don’t do much with this half-interesting premise.

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

Beginners (highly recommended): This tremendously entertaining and creative film features fabulous performances from Ewan McGregor, Mélanie Laurent, and Christopher Plummer, who took home an Oscar for the part. Though he got all the attention, the film as a whole truly is terrific.

Defiance (recommended): This story of survival about Jews living in the woods in Russia during the Holocaust is a strong film from director Edward Zwick with great performances from Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Mark Feuerstein, and others. Definitely worthwhile for those interested in the subject.

The Duchess (anti-recommended): This 2008 regal film starring Keira Knightley earned an Oscar for its costumes, which was deserved, but little else about it is all that appealing. Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes have been much better in other projects, and the only noteworthy thing about it was the promising start of Hayley Atwell’s international career.

Just a Sigh (recommended): I was thrilled to see this film, which I watched almost a year ago when it was playing at Tribeca, on the marquee at Lincoln Plaza. It’s an engaging and well-told story with a great lead role for French actress Emmanuelle Devos.

The Moment (mixed bag): Jennifer Jason Leigh stars in this drama about a war photographer trying to get a grip on what happened to her missing boyfriend following an injury in the field. Its story is relatively intriguing, and it has its strong moments.

One Day (recommended): This romantic drama follows one couple for one day a year over the course of twenty years. That novel approach presents its advantages and its complications. The movie features great performances from Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, and ultimately proves to be quite moving.

A Single Man (highly recommended): The best film of 2009 is a masterful art movie from director Tom Ford with a magnificent lead performance from Colin Firth. The scenery is nothing short of incredible, and every piece of this film is fully fascinating.

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