Now that the TV season is coming to an end, are you ready to catch up on all those movies that have come and gone at the theatres? Our guest movie critic, Paul McGuire, gives you his top three recommendations. Pop some popcorn, open a box of Junior Mints and enjoy!
For Your Consideration
It’s that time of the year again when our favorite television shows are coming up on their season finales. We sit at home wondering who’s going to have an unexpected pregnancy, which beloved character will get killed off, who will be getting married, who will be crowned American Idol, or which couple will win the Mirror Ball Trophy. Due to your weekly addictions to Thursday night line-ups or the need to erase items on your DVR, you probably missed some wonderful movies that came and went at the theaters. Lucky for you, you have a whole summer to catch up on movies while those TV shows are on summer hiatus. Head to your video store, nearest RedBox, or Netflix queue because here are some movies you might have missed out on while glued to your television.
Director: Lisa Cholodenko
Starring: Annette Bening (The American President, American Beauty), Julianne Moore (Magnolia, The Hours), and Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island, Zodiac)
Joni and Laser are being raised by their two moms, Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore). They were both conceived via artificial insemination by the same biological father, Paul (Ruffalo). When Joni turns 18, she and Laser decide to learn who their father is and contact him. Unfortunately, they do this behind their moms back. After a successful first meeting with Paul, Joni and Laser try to have a relationship with Paul. Nic and Jules find out and embrace the situation. Jules is more open to Paul and offers to help landscape his backyard. Nic stays hesitant and doesn’t like the idea of Paul just waltzing into their family. After Jules’ and Paul’s friendship takes an interesting turn, the family is torn apart and they are forced to examine the true definition of family and forgiveness.
Julianne Moore is one of my favorite actresses. Jules is a very different kind of role for her, and she succeeds just like she always has. She was one of four performers I thought were robbed of an Oscar nomination this year. I’ll mention another one coming up. Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo are also wonderful and truthful. They both earned nominations for their performances.
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Starring: Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, Lars and the Real Girl) and Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Wendy and Lucy)
Cindy (Williams) and Dean (Gosling) are a young couple trying to make their relationship work even though they are bound for the worst. Blue Valentine cuts back and forth between the beginning of their relationship when they fall for each other and years later on their final weekend escape, trying to save their relationship. The style really works for this kind of movie. You watch them smile and flirt with each other in one scene and watch the tears and pain of them falling apart in the next.
As an actor, I love watching two actors play off each other and challenge each other. Gosling and Williams make an amazing couple and you can see the intensity in their performances. In my mind, Gosling was robbed of a best actor nomination. He puts his whole heart, mind, and soul into his performance and gives 110%. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He ages Dean perfectly between both time frames. I’ve been a fan of Michelle William’s since her “Dawson’s Creek” days. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role. While she was as amazing as always, she couldn’t have done with it without Gosling.
Director: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting, Armageddon), Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
What happens when you fall in love with a man that just happened to rob your bank and hold you at gunpoint? That’s just one of the many interesting concepts in The Town. The movie opens with a suspenseful bank heist led by Doug (Affleck), James (Renner), and some other hooligans. After they realize the silent alarm has been triggered, they take one of the workers, Claire (Rebecca Hall), hostage while making her open the vault. Doug later runs into a vulnerable Claire at the laundromat and sparks heat up. Claire has no idea who Doug is, as the thieves wore creepy character masks to conceal their identity.
The Townis a sharp, edge of your seat, action/mystery/thriller that has more character and brains behind it than you would assume. Renner received a supporting actor nomination for his role. Ben Affleck directs, stars, and co-wrote the screenplay for The Town. It belongs in his set of Boston themed movies (Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone). It seems he has found a niche he’s good at.
These are three very different movies depending on what mood or style you are up for. You may be saying to yourself “I’ve never heard of any of these.” or “What about The King’s Speech?” I wanted to bring some different movies to your attention that might have gotten lost in the shuffle when filling out the Oscar ballot. I’m assuming you’ve seen the bigger movies like The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Black Swan, or Inception. After seeing The Kids Are All Right and Blue Valentine, I had strong emotional reactions afterwards. They were very different emotions, but none the less, they provoked something in me. While I enjoy a light fluffy movie from time to time, I love leaving a theater after a movie has punched me in the gut or provoked some internal emotion I’m too stubborn to let out.
Paul McGuire; Movie Critic, Professional Actor, Life-Long Movie Buff.
Check out Paul’s blog at http://elblogdepmcg.blogspot.com/