Saturday, October 10, 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 and Netflix. I invite you to add in your thoughts on any films I haven’t seen in the comments below.

Now Playing in Theatres

Freeheld (recommended): Julianne Moore and Ellen Page star as a lesbian couple whose own personal love story becomes a much larger battle for equality in this moving adaptation of the Oscar-winning documentary short from 2007. The cast is strong and the film, from director Peter Sollett, is too. Now playing at AMC Lincoln Square, AMC Empire, Bow Tie Chelsea, Landmark Sunshine, and City Cinemas East 86th St. Read my review from Wednesday.

Manhattan Romance (recommended): This energetic, engaging romantic dramedy features great performances from Caitlin FitzGerald, Katherine Waterston, Gaby Hoffmann, and director Tom O’Brien. Read my review from the 2014 Big Apple Film Festival.

The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers (recommended): The second part of the adaptation of Ambassador Yehuda Avner’s novel about his time spent working with Israel’s prime ministers is a major improvement on the first, offering an extremely informative analysis of Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin and the circumstances that defined their terms in office. Now playing at AMC Village 7. Read my review from yesterday.

Reversion (mixed bag): The concept of this film – an executive marketing her father’s invention that allows its users to relive happy memories starting to doubt the validity of her own experiences – is a great one, and the resulting film is an intriguing but far from satisfying thesis with a strong central performance from Aja Naomi King. Now playing at AMC Empire. My review will be up tomorrow.

Shanghai (mixed bag): John Cusack stars as an American agent dispatched to Shanghai in October 1941 who becomes embroiled in a rebellion plot while war is about to break out. The setting is strong, as are performances from Gong Li and Chow-Yun Fat, but the film isn’t an entirely solid or crucial period thriller. Now playing at Village East Cinema. Read my review from yesterday.

Steve Jobs (highly recommended): Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet astound as the famed Apple founder and his most loyal associate in this excellent and magnetically interesting take on Steve Jobs’ most formative moments from the winning duo of director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. It’s a surefire Oscar contender and a must-see for all. Now playing at AMC Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square. My review will be up on Monday.

New to DVD

Felix and Meira (recommended): Hadas Yaron, who starred in “Fill the Void,” plays a different kind of Hasidic woman in this story of a religious woman and a secular man who find an unexpected comfort in each other’s arms. The performances from Yaron and Martin Dubreuil enhance a film that starts off from an intriguing vantage point and isn’t entirely sure where it’s headed.

Manglehorn (mixed bag): Al Pacino stars in this mediocre, forgettable tale of an older man dealing with his age and memories of a woman he could have had, all of which feel like an ineffective ode to a long and prolific career of an actor who used to try much harder.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (highly recommended): It’s difficult to convey just how awesomely creative and engaging this film, which took home both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, where I tried to see it but didn’t get in, is. The child and adult actors are equally excellent, and it’s hard to match this film’s wondrous style and dialogue.

People, Places, Things (highly recommended): Jemaine Clement of “Flight of the Conchords” is a wonderful lead in this terrific comedy featuring a comic book artist father of two trying to get his life on track. The whole cast is great, and this film is a lot of fun.

Ten Thousand Saints (mixed bag): Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld, two terrific young actors, deliver great performances in this film about teenagers who grow up much faster than most. Their performances are authentic, but the film doesn’t always feel as real.

Now on Netflix Instant Streaming

Cheatin’ (recommended): This 76-minute animated film is mostly silent and uses detailed evocative images to tell its story of romance and infidelity. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is a captivating wonder to behold for those with an interest in imaginative animation.

The Face of an Angel (anti-recommended): This fictionalized version of the infamous Amanda Knox trial involving an American college student accused of murdering her British roommate in Italy might have been interesting had it focused on the case itself and not the egotistical filmmaker and journalist, played by Daniel Bruhl and Kate Beckinsale, respectively, who covered the story.

The Wedding Singer (recommended): This happens to be one of my favorite Adam Sandler movies, the first of three cinematic pairings between Sandler and Drew Barrymore, with the former playing a moderately successful wedding singer whose latest gig turns out to be the love of his life. It’s more highbrow than much of what Sandler has produced, and highly entertaining.

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