- Arts & Entertainment
- Health & Lifestyle
- Bits & Bytes
- Events calendar
Top Ten Cinematic Treats
I watch many movies; so many in fact that it’s impossible for me to review everything I see. So to bring in the New Year with a bang, I thought that I would provide you with ten of my top cinematic treats. These movies, some on DVD, some in theatres now, are not necessarily from the past year. They are just movies that I think have a certain quality, whichever time frame they come from.
1. Contagion: While somewhat disturbing, this film features remarkable performances from Jude Law, Matt Damon and Lawrence Fishbourne. Also featured in the cast are Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Jennifer Ehle. Directed by Steven Sodenberg, it is about the American response to a deadly flue pandemic. An excellent film.
2. The Muppets: It has been 11 years since Jim Henson’s lovable Muppets graced the big screen in Muppets from Outer Space. That film lacked the innocence and vaudevillian qualities of the earlier Muppet movies, and was really awful. This latest movie is not. It recaptures the childlike wonder that infused Henson’s work in the 70s and 80s. Watch for Chris Cooper’s marvellously evil turn as Tex Richman, the movie’s over-the-top bad guy.
3. Puss in Boots: Focuses on the adventures of, well, Puss in Boots, the roguish, yet lovable, co-star of the last two Shrek movies, and his quest to steal the goose that laid the golden egg. Not as hip, nor as ironic, as the Shrek franchise but still a solid family film.
4. The Guard: The film details the escapades of an American FBI agent (Don Cheadle) and an Irish cop (Brendan Gleason) as they attempt to take on drug smugglers on the west coast of Ireland. Definitely worth renting.
5. Coraline: The engaging story of Coraline Jones, a quick witted, sharp tongued 12 year old, who gets trapped in, and tries to escape from, a dark bizzaro world controlled by a demon who feeds on the souls of children. Created by Henry Sellick, the man who helped Tim Burton bring The Nightmare before Christmas to life, this is a good animated feature. But I would think twice before letting children view it without adult supervision. It’s just too frightening for some.
6. 50/50: A movie about Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a kind-hearted, level-headed young man, his slovenly best friend, Kyle (Seth Rogen), and their trials as they try to cope with the fact that Adam has cancer. It’s a good film mainly because Rogen, who cannot act his way out of a paper bag, is not allowed to take centre stage. Wonderful performances include Phillip Baker-Hall and Matt Frewer as fellow cancer patients and Anna Kendrick as Lerner’s psychologist and love interest.
7. Red State: Perhaps Kevin Smith’s best movie, Red State deals with a Christian fundamentalist cult and its relationship to the outside world. It features an excellent, but very scary, performance from Michael Parks (From Dusk ‘til Dawn) as the cult’s creepy and charismatic leader. Also giving good performances are John Goodman as the head of a group of agents from the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), Melissa Leo as the cult leader’s daughter and Steven Root as the local sheriff. Please be aware that this movie is extremely violent, but still worth renting.
8. The Rum Diary: Based on a novel written by Hunter S. Thompson in the early 60s, it is the story of Paul Kemp, a young journalist with a drinking problem, who comes to Puerto Rico looking for work with the Peurto Rico Star and ends up trying to bring down a group of ruthless real estate developers. It features good performances by Johnny Depp as Kemp, Michael Rispoli as Kemp’s middle-aged sidekick, Giovanni Ribisi as the Star’s perpetually stoned religious affairs correspondent, and Richard Jenkins as Kemp’s boss. Definitely worth seeing.
9. Roger Dodger: It is the story of Roger Swanson (Campbell Scott), a misogynist playboy who works at an ad agency, and his attempts to teach his young virginal nephew, Nick (Jessie Eisenberg), how to seduce women. Scott is superb as the greasy Roger, an excellent counterpoint to the innocence of Eisenberg’s character, and the film actually says more about the female experience, than it does about the male libido. A wonderful film.
10. Guinevere: This movie deals with the romance between Harper Sloane (Sarah Polley), a neurotic 21-year-old from a family of wealthy lawyers, and Cornelius (Connie) Fitzpatrick (Stephen Rea), a middle-aged bohemian wedding photographer. The film follows Harper as she is moulded by Connie into a successful photographer. Bittersweet, this film is far from director Audrey Wells’ more conventional romantic comedy Under the Tuscan Sun, but it’s still really worth renting.