Sunday, November 11, 2007

5 Movies You May Have Missed

Just in case your Netflix queue is running dry, here are a few suggestions of some decent movies you might not have seen.

You Can't Take It With You- This is a delightful treasure of a Frank Capra movie. The story concerns the engagement of a young man, (James Stewart) who comes from a rich banking family, to his secretary, who has a rather... eccentric family. Her relatives are the engine of the film: her father makes fireworks, her sister makes candy amidst her ballet dancing, and grandpa spends his time playing his harmonica and making the neighbors happy. The family has also taken in various other occupants, and their home has become a screwy funhouse filled with music, laughter, explosions, and the occasional person sliding down the banister. Though released in 1938, the film doesn't feel dated at all, and I'd expect even those who don't care for old movies to get a big kick out of it. You'll probably find the family to be decidedly odd at the start of the movie, but I'll be surprised if by the end of it you aren't ready to move in with them too.

Murder By Death: An offbeat but truly hilarious spoof of detective movies, Murder By Death will have you doubled over with laughter if you can allow it to be weird and see it for its comic genius. Featuring an all-star cast including Alec Guinness (playing a blind butler named Jamesir Bensonmum), Maggie Smith, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, and Truman Capote (yes, you read that right), this comedy/mystery spoofs some of the most famous literary detectives, including Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, and even Nick and Nora Charles of the Thin Man movies (appearing in the movie as Dick and Dora Charleston). Some may find it a little too slapsticky and self-referential, not to mention overwhelmingly silly (the house address is 2-2 Twain), but it's also a lot of fun. Plus, it has some terribly clever dialogue, such as the following conversation between Tess and Sam, whose character is a sendup of Humphrey Bogart- type characters....

Sam: I'll be around if you need me. All you gotta do is whistle, and you know how to whistle, don't ya, baby?
Tess: Certainly. What do you mean? I don't understand you...
Sam: All right, never mind. Forget it. You ruined it.

Equilibrium- If you are a fan of smart action movies, Equilibrium would be worth your time. It takes place in a post- World War III future, where no music or art is allowed- similar to Fahrenheit 451- type stories. Christian Bale gives an amazing performance as a security officer who slowly discovers what he has been missing. Look for a truly remarkable scene where his character hears an opera for the first time. It's definitely a treasure that demonstrates the power of music in movies. Sean Bean and Taye Diggs also star.
Tip: When John Preston heads in to raid the building in the first scene of the film, be sure to turn off all the lights in the room. It will definitely complete the experience, and you'll thank me later.

Galaxy Quest- Not the most sophisticated brand of comedy, but a likeable film none-the-less. I'm sure we all saw the previews (even if you didn't see the movie): Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Alan Rickman are Star Trek-like TV stars who actually end up in space saving some aliens. Not the deepest plot, but still a funny and entertaining movie. Sam Rockwell is hysterical as a castmember who really was more of an extra, and Tony Shaloub has a hilarious turn as the actor who falls in love with an alien. It's terribly silly, but if you get a big group together that's ready to laugh, I promise you'll have a good time.

Treasure Planet- Largely dismissed by critics, this little gem of a movie is beautifully animated, with enchanting music and delightful characters. It follows the Treasure Island storyline remarkably closely, but giving everything an imaginative sci-fi spin. Treasure Planet features the voice talents of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, and Martin Short, who all seem to have a lot of fun with their parts, for good reason. It's a fun movie, and if you love classic Disney movies but somehow missed this one, I'm pretty sure you'll find this to be just as entertaining.


*DC* said...

Remember when we watched Equilibrium together and were like, "Where has this movie BEEN?! Why is Christian Bale such an incredible bad-ass?"

And then we remembered the answer: muscles. Actually, that doesn't answer the lost movie question at all, but muscles is always a good answer.

Adam said...

I was all "OH I want to see Equilibrium! That looks cool!"

Then I saw Dani's comment, and was like, "OH I see why y'all liked it, maybe I don't want to see it so much."

~lady j said...

1) muscles are great, but i think a perfect execution of the gun kata combined with a somewhat reckless affection for very cute puppies is what makes john preston an incredible badass. :)

2) treasure planet made the list!!! i am touched. and my heart is happy. :) if i was animated, and Dimitri was in russia... i would totally marry Jim Hawkins...

Actually, now that i think about it, i believe i'd pick him over Dimitri no matter what. Sure would. :)

patrick said...

gotta respect equilibrium for the originality of those gun fights... plus there's an admirable amount of underlying meaning to the movie for substance's sake