The movies which are nominated in various categories for Academy Awards are being shown constantly over this week at Savoy 16. This means newer films are or have been delayed so that everyone can have a chance to see the films that were nominated. I strongly recommend you also check out those films as well as consider this week’s brilliant new releases.
Why to Watch: Almost everyone played with Legos as a child.; now Legos are more popular than ever. This seems like a hilarious film for the whole family as it is filled with pop culture jokes and popular characters both you and your kids are familiar with. I mean, how much more awesome can you get than having Morgan Freeman voice the character of Vituivus (aka God). The characters are incredibly well animated, and, while they don’t seem realistic, it’s nice to see characters I’m familiar with on screen.
The Monuments Men (Savoy 16 IMAX and Carmike 13): This George Clooney-directed feature starring the actor tells the true story of an unlikely team of men who work to save the world’s greatest art pieces from being destroyed by Adolf Hitler’s followers.
Why to Watch: I have seen other films directed by George Clooney and they range from great (Goodnight and Good Luck and The Ides of March) to the horrible (Leatherheads and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). It is my sincere hope that this film falls in the former category. What I love about this film is important people doing some very vital work. Clooney never likes to take easy projects, and I think audiences will find themselves not only immersed in the period on screen but also rooting for the characters to succeed. I’m expecting brilliant comedic performances from Bill Murray, Jean Dijardin, and John Goodman. I’m a complete sucker for period pieces, so I hope the film comes through on what it promises.
Oscar-Nominated Shorts — Animated, Documentary, and Live Action (The Art Theater Co-op): The thing about short films—no matter what kind they are, or whether if they are good or even great—is that they compel you to want to know more about the subject featured. This is my hope for the shorts featured in this year’s category. Included in this year’s nominated roster is an intriguing live-action film called The Voorman Problem. In it, a psychiatrist is called to a prison to examine an inmate named Voorman, who is convinced he is a god. The film, starring The Hobbit and Sherlock‘s Martin Freeman, is a scant 13 minutes long. Among the short documentaries is Jason Cohen’s Facing Fear, in which Matthew Boger, who was savagely beaten by skinheads at age 13, encouters one of his attackers 25 years later.
The Room (The Art Theater Co-op): Tommy Wiseau’s cult “masterpiece” starring the writer/director tells the story of a banker whose fiancé works to seduce his best friend Mark after becoming bored with him.
Why to Watch: This film is something completely unique. I personally call it a quotable fiasco. There are so many small weird things about this film, from the “Oh hi” cliché to the fact that the men of this film throw footballs around in full suits. I could go on and on and on. This film is a watchable disaster that will stay in your head long after you watch it. I just need to hear Tommy Wiseau yell “Lisa!” in person once more in my life, and I will be happy for a long time to come. You must entertain yourself with at least one bad movie a year. I beg of you: if you’re going to do that, let it be this movie.
The Princess Bride (The Art Theater Co-op): A little boy (Fred Savage), sick in bed, listens to a story ready by his grandfather(Peter Falk). Amazingness ensues.
Why to Watch: This film, which opens on the 14th of February and plays the rest of the week, is the fascinating tale of a princess who falls in love with a peasant. I absolutely love this film and want to bring special attention to the fact that having a quote-a-long for this film is endless fun. Cary Elwes is brilliant as Wesley, and the formidable Robin Wright, makes a beautiful yet brilliantly fierce princess bride. My favorite scene from this film has to be the scene featuring Wallace Shawn involving the poison cup. This film is a classic that everyone should see.
Why to Watch: Kate Winslet. Not enough for you? Well, I like films like this one because it shows that, no matter what your background is, there is almost always someone willing to believe in the good in you. This concept was seen repeatedly in Pay it Forward, Down in the Valley, Monster, and many others. Belief in someone being good is a powerful thing that needs to be on our cinema screens more often. Winslet and Brolin seem to have great romantic chemistry.
Frozen (Savoy 16 and Carmike 13): Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, the story involves a young woman who is chosen to be queen but is ostracized because she has the power to freeze things. Her sister is the only one capable of breaking the spell that froze the entire kingdom indefinitely.
Why to Watch: Frozen is the second feature by Disney to be a mixture between hand drawn animation and CGI (the first being Tangled). This new approach worked well for Disney, and it succeeds again here but only because the film has such a strong story to tell. Kristen Bell voices the heroine, Anna, who is out to rescue her sister, Elsa (voiced by Tony winner Idina Menzel). This film again harkens back to the 90s’ Disney feature catalog and reminds us why we love those movies so much. For me, it’s the fact that the characters stand for something and seem like people who could learn from if they existed in reality. Most of the film’s comedic moments are provided by a snowman named Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad). Olaf is a Disney supporting character treasure, and I’d be more than happy to see this film multiple times just for his antics. See this film with the whole family. You’ll have a great time.
Why to Watch: Aaron Eckhart’s makeup as Frankenstein’s monster looks phenomenal. The visuals are bleak and gothic, which help the films tone. My main problem is I’m not motivated to even like this film because Frankenstein’s monster is neutral in the fight. Will it look great in IMAX 3D? Without a doubt. Will teenagers enjoy it? Sure. Is there something in it for everyone? Not really. Nothing really gives this film any weight or makes me want to read the book this dismal movie is based on.
Why to Watch: Despite the fact that Hollywood is continually refusing to come up with an original concept, this film looks promising. Rising stars Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) and Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now), and former teen heartthrob Zac Efron are three amigos working to understand how to move on to the next steps in their relationships. This film is the rare guy romantic comedy. There are funny moments in the trailers from Teller and Efron, but Jordan doesn’t get a showcasing moment. I think movies like this could be good as long as viewers can learn something from them while enjoying the film. A film worth watch even though you suspect all the guys will get their girls by the time the credits roll.
About Last Night: This remake of the 80s-era Edward Zwick “classic” that once starred Demi Moore and Rob Lowe as a new couple with disapproving friends is now directed by Steve Pink and features an all-African American cast. I know this film will be funny because dating has changed so much in the last 28 years. This film is also aided by the fact that Kevin Hart is its lead.
Winter’s Tale: Fresh off a compelling turn as P.L. Travers’ father, Colin Farrell tries his hand at a romantic drama. This film is about a burglar who falls in love with an heiress only to learn too late that she has a fatal illness. After her death, the burglar discovers he has the power to reincarnate himself and sets out to save her. I like this fairy tale film because of Farrell’s devotion to finding his love again. For some reason his performance comes through as more sincere than in his previous work. Another reason to see this film is that Will Smith is in it playing a supporting role. I didn’t see that coming. This film has me cautiously optimistic—unlike the feature that I’m previewing next.
Endless Love: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…. Privileged rich girl falls in love with poor troubled rebel guy and together they fight to have the love the world seems to want to deny them. Oh, so you have seen this before? You mean in every teenage romantic movie ever, like: A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Cry-Baby, Titanic, Romeo and Juliet, and Save the Last Dance? The only thing that makes this film special is that it was written by Josh Saffran, head writer of The CW’s Gossip Girl. If you want to take your lady to a real romantic movie on V-Day, may I suggest Winter’s Tale or the cinema classic Casablanca, which will be showing at the Art Theater?
Robocop: A remake of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven classic, this film features The Killing’s Joel Kinnaman in the title role of Alex Murphy. Murphy was a cop, critically injured in the line of duty, who, through the help of OmniCorp, was given a new lease on life as Robocop. What makes this film special? Simply put, better special effects and a heavier focus on OmniCorp’s involvement in creating and later attempting to eliminate Robocop.