Saturday, November 15, 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 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

Beside Still Waters (mixed bag): Actor Chris Lowell’s directorial debut is an interesting and entertaining film about childhood friends reuniting at a lake house, but it’s not a groundbreaking or particularly compelling story in its own right. Now playing at Quad Cinema. My review will be up tomorrow.

Foxcatcher (mixed bag): Bennett Miller’s third feature film, following “Moneyball” and “Capote,” is an intriguing look at an eccentric billionaire and the two wrestling champions he takes an interest in, but its story arc isn’t as compelling or fulfilling as it should be. Steve Carell’s transformative performance, on the other hand, is more worthwhile. Now playing at AMC Lincoln Square, Landmark Sunshine, and Regal E-Walk. Read my review from NYFF.

The Homesman (anti-recommended): Tommy Lee Jones’ second time behind the camera is about as bleak and uninviting as his first, “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.” If watching his disgruntled drifter and Hilary Swank’s buttoned-up Midwesterner transport three crazy women across territorial lines sounds appealing, go ahead and check this one out. Read my review from Thursday.

Rosewater (recommended): Jon Stewart’s directorial debut isn’t something you might expect from him, but it does dramatically spotlight the story of one journalist imprisoned in Iran. Its story and star Gael Garcia Bernal are its strongest assets. Now playing in limited release. Read my review from yesterday.

New to DVD

Happy Christmas (recommended): Anna Kendrick is perfectly charming as an immature screwup who has difficulty being an adult when she stays with her brother, his wife, and their baby. Director Joe Swanberg gives a great companion performance in this enjoyable comedy.

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

Nebraska (recommended): This quiet black-and-white Best Picture nominee tells an endearing, surprisingly funny tale of an older man with a fading memory who embarks to reclaim the prize money he believes he has won and experiences a true life journey on the way to find it.

Pirates of the Caribbean (highly recommended): Before this turned into a franchise that wasn’t even worth watching, this first film, which earned an awesome and well-deserved Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp’s maniacal lead performance, was a tremendous accomplishment in entertainment and bringing fantasy to life in the most terrific way.

Quartet (recommended): This 2012 Golden Globe nominee for lead actress Maggie Smith’s performance is actually an extremely competent and worthwhile film, featuring superb performances from Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, and Michael Gambon as senior citizens in a home for retired musicians. Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut is an endearing hit.

Siddarth (recommended): This drama, which I screened as part of last year’s South Asian International Film Festival (this year’s begins on Tuesday), is a stirring and emotional story about a man who goes to great lengths and personal sacrifices to track down his missing son in India.

Tasting Menu (recommended): This food movie isn’t all about its appetizing dishes, but instead offers up a handful of fun and involving storylines that, for the most part, come together in a positive and enjoyable format.

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