Saturday, March 28, 2015

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

Apartment Troubles (recommended): Jess Weixler and Jennifer Prediger play endearing unmotivated young women struggling to get by as real adults in New York City in this fun and involving comedy they wrote and directed together. Read my review from Thursday.

52 Tuesdays (recommended): This Australian indie, which played at the Sundance Film Festival last year, checks in with a 16-year-old girl and her mother, who is undergoing a sex change, every Tuesday for a year. It’s an energizing and powerful journey anchored by strong performances Now playing at Quad Cinema. Read my review from Sundance 2014.

Man from Reno (recommended): This alluring mystery that finds a Japanese woman in San Francisco and a concurrent suburban police investigation is a strange but enticing film that manages to be entertaining, haunting, and ultimately satisfying in its own bizarre way. Now playing at Regal E-Walk. Read my review from yesterday.

The Riot Club (recommended): Lone Scherfig, who made “An Education” and “One Day,” has created another eventful British drama filled with comedy and drama, this one an unevenly engaging story of a premiere dining club known for its bad behavior. Now playing at IFC Center. Read my review from Wednesday.

The Salt of the Earth (highly recommended): This documentary, which was nominated for an Oscar this past year, is easily the best of its category, a captivating account of the life of one photographer and his many long-term projects that chronicle much of the world over the past few decades. Now playing at Lincoln Plaza and the Angelika. Read my review from Monday.

New to DVD

Into the Woods (recommended): Another major movie musical is this production of a cacophony of fairy tales mixed together. Emily Blunt stands out among a relatively talented cast in an epic adaptation that isn’t extraordinary but is still fun.

Kabbalah Me (recommended): This documentary from directors Steven Bram and Judah Lazarus follows Bram’s own personal journey into the world of Kabbalah as he strives to make a connection with his religion. It’s a fun and enlivening journey from an involved filmmaker.

Song One (recommended): I was actually very impressed with this 2014 Sundance Film Festival selection, which stars Anne Hathaway as a woman who connects with her comatose brother’s favorite musician. Hathaway is great, and the film has good music and a strong script.

Sukkah City (mixed bag): This documentary about a competition to propose and build a creative Sukkah to be brought to life and displayed in Union Square has an undeniably interesting subject but its framing as a film isn’t nearly as intriguing.

Unbroken (recommended): Angelina Jolie’s second time behind the camera isn’t as dark or haunting as her first, “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” but it’s still an engaging and emotional journey with a strong performance by Jack O’Connell holding it all down.

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

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. Start with “Him,” then watch “Her,” then watch “Them” for the full experience (not the order I saw them in, but I think it’s the best idea).

Life Itself (highly recommended): This documentary seemed worthwhile enough to me to rank as the fifth film of my second-ever quintuple feature, and fortunately, it delivered. This retrospective of Roger Ebert’s life and his enthusiasm for movies is a resounding and entertaining endorsement of the whole concept of cinema.

Syriana (recommended): This 2005 film, which won George Clooney an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, is a strong and complex thriller with an effective ensemble and plenty going on, well worth seeing for those with an interest in this genre.

Viva La Liberta (highly recommended): This Italian movie about a politician who decides he needs to take time off from his public life stars Toni Servillo as the mild-mannered man in question and his far more eccentric and entertaining identical twin brother. It’s a marvelously entertaining and clever film with plenty to say about politics and relationships.

Water and Power (mixed bag): This Los Angeles drama about two brothers is a very literal manifestation of what growing up in different worlds and ending up in different places can mean. It’s effective at times but more than a little over-the-top.

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