Cindy and I rarely go to the movies. It costs too much, and the popcorn and soft drinks we enjoy during the flick cost too much, too.
So, what we do is wait for the good movies to come out on DVD and watch them at home. We have a large, flat screen TV with a great sound bar that mimics theater sound. We pop the disc in and sit back with our cheap movie, cheap homemade popcorn and cheap soft drinks and enjoy the movie anytime we choose. Aaaahhhhhhhh.........life is gooood.
This past couple of weeks we have been blessed to watch six truly entertaining movies. I liked all of them and recommend them. Here are my notes.......
1. Take Shelter (2011)
---Stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain
---Directed by Jeff Nichols
---Plot: A young husband struggles to interpret a series of apocalyptic visions, and how to shelter his family and himself
---Notes: Story revolves around the issue of mental illness combined with true apocalyptic events, which makes for a real mental quandary for the viewer. Great acting. Great special effects. Much to discuss with fellow viewers after the credits.
2. Drive (2011)
---Stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Albert Brooks
---Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn. Refn received "Best Director" award at the Cannes Film Festival. The film itself received a standing ovation at the festival.
---Plot: A Hollywood stunt driver moonlights as a getaway driver.
---Notes: Outstanding acting. Gosling plays a strong, quiet, violent type. Reminiscent of McQueen and Eastwood roles. Extreme violence. Very well done and entertaining. Do not watch if you cannot stand violence.
3. Moneyball (2011)
---Stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
---Directed by Bennett Miller---Nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Picture
---Plot: Based on the 2003 book of the same name. This is the true story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics' baseball season and the efforts of their general manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) to field a competitive team by thinking "outside the box" and making decisions not in alignment with traditional baseball thinking.
---Notes: A "must see" movie. There are lessons in this film that go far beyond baseball. The lessons apply to how we are trained to think in rigid, dogmatic ways. A great, true story. Great acting. Cindy does not like sports, but she loved this movie.
4. 50/50 (2011)
---Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Angelica Huston
---Directed by Jonathan Levine. Nominated for 2 awards at the 69th Golden Globe Awards. Gordon-Levitt was nominated for Best Actor. The film was nominated for Best Picture
---Plot: A 27 year old professional man (Gordon-Levitt) is diagnosed with cancer and learns that his odds of survival are 50/50. The film explores the actions of friends, relatives and romantic interests toward the cancer patient.
---Notes: Sad, funny, all-too realistic depiction of the world of serious illness. You certainly learn who your friends are---and aren't. I'll give the ending away, however---it's happy. Very good flick. Great acting.
5. Ides of March (2011)
---Stars Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright and Evan Rachel Wood
---Directed by George Clooney
---Plot: This is a political drama encompassing a two week time period during the Ohio democratic primary. The film depicts the rough, down-and-dirty strategies of the opposing political camps and involves high drama
---Notes: The acting in this film is sensational...some of the best I have seen in a while. If I didn't care for Clooney before, I love the guy now. Much high drama is involved in showing the dirty, dog-eat-dog side of politics
6. Midnight in Paris (2011)
---Stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Carla Bruni, Adrien Brody and Michael Sheen
---Directed by Woody Allen
The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay and received four Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Original Screenplay and Best Art Direction
---Plot: This is a romantic comedy. An American couple spending time in Paris finds their world taking an unexpected turn as Gil (Owen Wilson) discovers a hidden, magic world of living Parisian lore.
---Notes: Superb acting. Delightful story. Much wry humor and an honest look at interactions between lovers. Great direction. The first Woody Allen film I ever liked---and I LOVE this one. Much to discuss at the end.