Saturday, November 7, 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

Brooklyn (recommended): The dependable Saiorse Ronan shines in this gorgeous, sweeping tale of coming to America, a story that feels vibrant and fresh despite its familiar premise. Now playing at AMC Lincoln Square, Regal Union Square, and City Cinemas 123. Read my review from Sundance.

Sand Dollars (recommended): Geraldine Chaplin carries her weight in this intriguing and moderately involving tale of a young Dominican woman living two lives in the Dominican Republic's official Oscar submission for this year. Now playing at Cinema Village. Read my review from yesterday.

Spotlight (highly recommended): Michael Keaton leads a large and strong ensemble cast in this extremely well-crafted and interesting dramatization of the Boston Globe's long-term probe into the abuses of the Catholic Church in a surefire Best Picture Oscar nominee. Now playing at AMC Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square. My review will be up on Monday.

Theeb (mixed bag): Jordan’s official Oscar submission is a film that makes the most of its desert setting for its story of impossible endurance and survival in the Ottoman Empire in the 1916, but isn’t quite as excellent as most seem to find it. Now playing at Lincoln Plaza. My review will be up tomorrow.

Trumbo (recommended): Bryan Cranston is the standout as the outlandish proudly Communist-affiliated screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in this colorful and enlightening story of Hollywood in a strange and censored time. Now playing at AMC Lincoln Square and AMC Village. Read my review from Wednesday.

New to DVD

Best of Enemies (highly recommended): This extremely engaging documentary chronicles the rivalry between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr., intellectual pundits from complete opposite ends of the spectrum, who, after both have died, have their relationship analyzed for all to see, an effective and informative look at what happened when opposing opinions were presented in the same space rather than on different networks.

The End of the Tour (recommended): This recreation of the time shared by an eager journalist and one of the most prolific authors in recent history who died far too soon is an interesting and immensely watchable portrait of two people with sharp, memorable dialogue. Jason Segel does a great take on David Foster Wallace in this appealing if unresounding film.

Inside Out (highly recommended): I still haven’t written a review, but rest assured that this animated film is a real winner, an endlessly entertaining and equally clever externalization of emotions that I somehow neglected to review when I saw it. Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith are just two of the many great voice actors to help animate this lovely story about the emotions at work within the brain of a young girl struggling to adapt to a difficult move.

Now Available on Instant Streaming.

August: Osage County (mixed bag): This adaptation of the popular play features an astounding cast, led by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, but it’s not nearly as satisfying or even as it should be. Margo Martindale is the standout player, and it’s the subtler background performances in this loud film that make it most worthwhile.

Five Star (recommended): This 2014 Tribeca entry is a matter-of-fact look at two men, one following a stint in jail and the other just starting to get into criminal enterprises. The performances are strong and the film is involving if not too memorable.

The Gunman (anti-recommended): This film may feel a lot like “Taken,” and while the two share a director, this mindless action blockbuster doesn’t have nearly the brains of that already questionable prototype. Sean Penn is at his least enthusiastic in this truly absurd flick.

She’s Lost Control (recommended): Brooke Bloom is a true breakout as a sex surrogate in this intimate and affecting drama that serves as a reliable and involving independent film.

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