Been a long cold winter with too many hours spent in front of my computer monitor seeking distraction and entertainment. However, I did find a few items worth mentioning and figured I’d pass them on.
1. The Green Prince
The incredible true story of Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a Hamas founder, and top secret informant for Israeli intelligence for more than ten years. The movie also features his main handler, Gonen Ben Yitzhak, and chronicles their unlikely alliance and friendship during the violence of the first Intifada. I won’t spoil it, but it is a gripping, well-produced and fascinating documentary well worth your time.
2. Blue Ruin
Free on Netflix, this smoldering, stripped down revenge flick was actually Kickstarted to life on the screen. To describe it as a straightforward revenge-type flick doesn’t do justice to the realistic portrayals, the lean, taut writing, the rock solid characterizations. No glamor, snarky one-liners, or trite rationalizations, this is a bloody straight-edge razor of tragedy, confusion, and the mess of vindictiveness and retribution. Worth it but be prepared.
3. Black Mirror
Called the Twilight Zone for the Facebook and Twitter generation, this is another Netflix find. Essentially a ’15 minutes into the future,’ kind of sci-fi, Black Mirror extrapolates and toys with the effects of rapidly advancing technology on the social media generation. The title is apt; it does indeed reflect the darker side of human nature. After watching several episodes, I was both jealous and horrified at the brilliant and terribly plausible scenarios. British-produced, it has the usual deliciously understated acting and polished script. Be warned however, this show is blunt and handles mature themes. It somehow manages to be explicit without being graphic, but there are some very difficult moments.
And there you go. Have an excellent weekend.
SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY on Amazon
I don’t know why critics panned this. No, it’s not exactly like Thurber’s short story and no, it doesn’t have visceral grit, sensuality or angst. It’s a straightforward, well-made, charming movie about overcoming fear and disappointment to venture out and recapture the magic of life. Maybe that’s too sweet and positive for some. It’s essential all the same. Maybe those critics should take a hike or something. Put down the latte and get out of the office.
Well written, superbly acted with solid, almost understated eloquence, featuring some epic landscapes and hilarious daydream sequences, this is a fine, dare I say, family movie. It’s poignant, encouraging, delightful. Well done, Mr. Stiller.
My opinion? Buy it, don’t just rent it.
p.s. the Stretch Armstrong bit had me laughing out loud.
On a lighter side: Movies
Is there anyone you can have a complete conversation with entirely in movie quotes? I’m curious if it’s just me.
I had a movie flashback driving to the Post Office the other day, specifically the Waffle Hut scene from (the remade) Ladykillers, which had me cackling at random, inappropriate times all morning, then trolling YouTube for clips during lunch. I realized it’s definitely on my Top Ten Quirky list. (Action flicks get a separate list.)
So in no real order:
Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
I used to sing “Man of Constant Sorrow” at the top of my lungs when my teenage kids’ friends were visiting.
“Sometimes it’s the only way!”
Shaun of the Dead
The whole movie is quotable
Edna Mode. Period
Wristcutters- a love story
“If there is trap, set up for you…”
Away we go
The various friends are classic.
Henry Poole was here
Great little movie.
A Neil Gaiman story
Paul Giamatti as… Paul Giamatti
Good Will Hunting
Best thing either of them has ever done, IMO
Honorable Mentions: Ink, Everything is Illuminated, the British version of Death at a Funeral, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along-Blog.