I love to sit inside a darkened cinema, munch on a handful of popcorn, and lose myself in a fictional world filled with colorful characters and inventive dialogue. While many films end up being a disappointment, the pleasant surprises more than make up for it. Since you may not have as much time to devote to motion pictures as I do, I’ve put together a list of recent movies that are well worth seeing. Some of these should be available at your local multiplex, while others will require a trip to a theatre that shows independent and art house films. But either way, these selections should restore your faith in the art of cinema.
Winter’s Bone (2010) – Sure to be a favorite during Oscar season, Winter’s Bone stars Jennifer Lawrence in a breakthrough role as Ozark resident Ree Dolly. Forced to care for her younger siblings and incapacitated mother, Ree doesn’t even have time to attend high school. While she hunts for food, skins it, and dreams of running away to join the military, she receives some bad news: Her meth-dealing father got arrested, put the family farm up as bail, and then skipped town. If he doesn’t show up to court, Ree and her kin will be without a home. Lacking a car or cell phone, she takes to the backwoods trails in a dangerous quest to find her father and bring him back in time for the trial.
Let Me In (2010) – A bullied 12-year-old (Kodi Smit-McPhee) befriends the new girl across the hall (Chloe Moretz), but it turns out she’s an ancient vampire who may not even be a girl at all. The two outsiders form a bond, one which threatens to forever doom the young boy’s soul. A brilliant remake of the Swedish film Let the Right One In.
Never Let Me Go (2010) – Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, this film blends drama and romance with an element of science-fiction. Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield play three friends who deal with life and love while growing up in a secluded community. I don’t want to spoil all the film’s surprises, so let’s just say that the world has found an inventive new method for organ transplants.
The Town (2010) – Ben Affleck serves as both star and director in this film about a bank robber who begins a relationship with a woman he once held captive (Rebecca Hall). He intends to leave the criminal life behind, but he gets pulled back into one last heist by his old pal (Jeremy Renner) and a local crime boss (Pete Postlethwaite). Jon Hamm (Mad Men) co-stars as a tenacious FBI agent.
The Tillman Story (2010) – This powerful documentary takes a look at the life and controversial death of Pat Tillman, a former NFL player who gave up millions of dollars to serve his country in the aftermath of 9/11. The focus is on his death under fire, the subsequent government cover-up, and his family’s search for the truth.
Get Low (2010) – Robert Duvall is at his crotchety best as Felix Bush, a hermit who emerges from seclusion to purchase a “living funeral” for himself. Bill Murray is the owner of the funeral home, and Lucas Black is his young assistant. The whole town is invited to come and share the stories they’ve heard about Felix over the years, but the old man also has a story of his own to tell. Sissy Spacek co-stars. allstate customer service