Thor: The Dark World (aka Thor 2, aka why bother with these long ass titles no one will recall years later) is a nice installment in the Avengers superhero series. The flick was directed by Alan Taylor, who is slated to direct a new Terminator and has worked in TV up until this point. His credits include Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. I’m actually pretty impressed by that as the film looks amazing.
To 3D or not to 3D, that is the question? Thor 2 was converted to 3D, not filmed in it. Some scenes looked nicely dimensional but I don’t think that seeing it in 3D is a must.
The cast, which includes all of the main characters from the first Thor, is fantastic. I’ve read that some thought that Kat Dennings was used too much. I’m confused as to how there can be too much Kat Dennings.
The plot involves random portals that just pop up bridging worlds, which is pretty eye catching. The baddie is a freakin evil elf (Malekith, played by Christopher Eccleston but you can’t really spot him under the makeup/prosthetics). An elf might not sound scary but these elves look as though they’ve escaped from hell. Good job!
So there’s a feud between these elves and Thor’s dad, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), as well as that whole fabric of reality ripping apart to displace folks from other worlds thing going on. This makes for a lot of great action sequences.
While watching the first Thor I think that many of us thought, hey, what’s Asgard (Thor’s home planet) like? Now we know, it’s like the middle ages. There’s fighting and feasting and existentialism?
Well Thor is a bit broody in the beginning of this flick as he misses that hot scientist Jane (Natalie Portman), whom he met two years ago. WTF man? Yes, this movie does take place two years after the first. Apparently Thor totally never contacted her at all. That’s bullshit, okay. I write a dude off FOREVER after 3-4 weeks of not hearing from him. Don’t give me that viking crap, I’m pretty sure that even in the dark ages warriors tried to see their women every few months.
Okay, I must calm down. No wait, Loki’s in jail and his dad is still a prick. But at least his hair still looks fab, even when he can’t gel it down.
No, I don’t want to give too much away. There are a couple of twists. Hey, Loki’s a trickster man, we know this. There are also a couple of funny and interesting cameos plus the prerequisite one by Stan Lee.
Even without being able to tell you much without ruining it, if you enjoyed the first Thor then go see this sequel. You’ll most likely enjoy it. I know I did.
You want reasons? Cool special effects, check. Tom Hiddleston in handcuffs, check.
Miss Dior…(is the) perfume of a young Parisienne, as seen by Dior. Miss Dior is an elegant young woman full of vitality. But she’s also a seductive woman. –Dior.com
Okay, how much am I loving this Natalie Portman for Miss Dior campaign? It’s simply glamorous. The song in the commercials is Je t’aime moi non plus (translation=”I love you me no more”) by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. They were directed by Sofia Coppola. The print ads were shot by Tim Walker. Miss Dior is a blend of jasmine, Turkish rose and Tunisian orange blossom. You can check out the making of video here.
Back during my Vincent Perez phase I bought this on VHS. It’s decent as far as his flicks go. He doesn’t have a great Spanish accent (which is odd since he grew up all over the place) but I’ll overlook any problemos in that area. This movie is about an Irish woman who goes to Spain and becomes a governess. She finds political pressure in Spain, just as she did in Ireland. Polly Walker, Frances McDormand and Penelope Cruz costar.
Did you ever want to see what it would be like to see Prue and Cole in love? Lucky that you came across this flick then. Shannen Doherty is in love with Julian McMahon but ends up going back in time to shortly before her former, late lover’s death.
I love everything about this film, the idea, casting, visual choices, etc. Mickey Rourke stumbles into a traveling sideshow and meets a beautiful young woman (Megan Fox) who plays the part of an angel. They fall for each other. Their love unravels since he’s tangled up with some other unsavory folks. The movie costars Bill Murray, Kelly Lynch and Rhys Ifans.
Good Dick is listed under romcoms but it’s anything but. The movie is about a man who works at a video store and falls for an introverted woman who rents a lot of porn. It’s a very touching drama that I definitely recommend. Marianna Palka (also the director), Jason Ritter, Martin Starr and Tom Arnold star in this flick.
Conversations with Other Women is a personal favorite. I own and have watched this film and the special features often. (I have entertained thoughts of making independent films and it was shot on a DV camera). The writing is top notch. It’s about a woman (Helena Bonham Carter) who is attending a wedding and meets up with a man (Aaron Eckhart) that she shares special chemistry with.
Last Night is about a married couple (Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington) who’ve been together for a while but are both tempted to cheat on the same night. Knightley’s character is definitely more fleshed out and relate-able. Worthington mainly seems like a stock faithful husband who is confused and tempted (by Eva Mendes though so it totally makes sense).
A Beautiful Life (Mei Li Ren Sheng) (China/Hong Kong) (Available Until December 13, 2012)
A booze and high heel loving real estate agent meets a police officer. She leads him on while using him to do things for her. It’s one of those friend zone relationships that actually goes somewhere.
Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr, Gena Rowland and Kathy Najimy star in this film about love and starting over. It’s about what happens when your husband is a piece of shit so you have to heal and start again.
Random Hearts is definitely a different kind of movie. It has a slow build and it’s long. Plus it’s very sexy without being very sexual. This Sydny Pollack movie stars Harrison Ford (ahhh!) and Kristin Scott Thomas as two people whose spouses both die in a freak plane accident. They fall for each other while grieving, but her job gets in the way. Charles S. Dutton, Bonnie Hunt, Dennis Haysbert, Richard Jenkins, Peter Coyote and Dylan Baker costar.
It took me a long time to get around to catching this flick but since I’ve seen it I must heartily recommend it. Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges star as struggling jazz musicians who hire the sexy, talented Michelle Pfeiffer as their singer.
No matter how many times I see Where the Heart Is I will never stop being amazed by it. I read the book back in the day and it was incredibly schmaltzy and just okay. However the movie is totally made by the amazing, believable performance of Natalie Portman as Novalee Nation (I know). She’s a pregnant teen whose bf is such a dick that he ditches her at a Walmart. However she makes the best of things, befriends a bunch of really great people and finds her passion in life (and love) while bringing up her son. Ashley Judd, James Frain, Stockard Channing, Joan Cusack and Sally Field costar.
The first time that I saw Suburban Girl I was dissapointed. However I don’t blame the film, I blame US Weekly. During filming all of the on set picks made it seem like it was fun and upbeat. Then it was released and marketed as a romcom. However it’s actually more dramatic. The flick is about a book editor (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who starts dating a much older man (Alec Baldwin).
I originally rented this on a whim and it definitely turned out to be a good idea. It’s a period drama set in wartime London about the lives, loves and friendship between two women played by Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller. Matthew Rhys and Cillian Murphy costar.
At First Sight was mercilessly bashed upon it’s release but I’ve always loved it. It was actually put down for not being realistic while it was based on a true story and Val Kilmer shadowed the guy that it was actually about (I know, so wrong). Kilmer is a blind masseuse who finds love with Mira Sorvino. She helps him experience new things when he undergoes an operation that gives him his sight back but will it last? Kelly McGillis, Steven Weber, Nathan lane and Bruce Davison costar.
This post is in the spirit of those year in review style posts. To be clear, these aren’t what I consider to be the best movies of 2011 out of every movie. Although a couple will also appear on that forthcoming list. These are just the best on Netflix. I know you need to watch something up to date every once in a while.
Technically some of these films are dated as being from 2010 but I’m going on when it was actually available to be seen by the majority of folks in the US. So I’ve included some that had a foreign, limited or festival release in 2010 but went wide on DVD in 2011.
Simply click the film’s title to be whisked away to it on Netflix.
It’s certainly difficult to describe Certified Copy without giving away the movie. So let’s put it this way, a man and a woman who have a barbed attraction share a day together. Yes, it’s a talking movie. I loved it! The film stars Juliette Binoche and William Shimell.
Oh, Passion Play. I love the entire idea, casting, visual choices, et al of this film. Mickey Rourke stumbles into a traveling sideshow and meets a beautiful young woman (Megan Fox) who plays the part of an angel. Of course they fall for each other. Then there’s the fact that he’s tangled up with some other unsavory folks. The movie costars Bill Murray, Kelly Lynch and Rhys Ifans.
Limitless is about a writer (Bradley Cooper) who ends up trying a drug that gives you hyper focus and confidence, or as I saw one commenter remark, something like a mix of Ritalin and Cocaine. Limitless was originally entitled Dark Fields and I get the feeling that it was supposed to be darker but it still works so well as this polished finished product. I’m still not sure of the character’s motivation but yeah, it was awesome!
Last Night is about a married couple (Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington) who’ve been together for a while but are both tempted to cheat on the same night. Knightley’s character is definitely more fleshed out and relate-able. Ah, maybe that’s just to me, she’s a novelist who currently writes fashion pieces. Her possible fling is with a hot, foreign ex. Worthington mainly seems like a stock faithful husband who is confused and tempted. It’s by Eva Mendes though so it totally makes sense. In real life I believe cheating is basically the worst thing you can ever do but when it’s possibly going to be Worthington and Mendes getting it on, well, yes, I was egging them on. And Griffin Dunne plays a writer! I love when he does that.
A Beautiful Life (Mei Li Ren Sheng) (China/Hong Kong) (Available Until 12/13/12)
A booze and high heel loving real estate agent meets a police officer. She leads him on a bit while basically using him to do things for her. It’s one of those friend zone relationships. Do they get together? Ooh.
Well this is one of the two fuck buddies movies that were released in 2011 and it’s not the better of the two, that would be Friends with Benefits. However this is a decent, entertaining movie. Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher are two acquaintances who keep meeting. Eventually they hook up and then fall into a friends with benefits situation. I adore Portman playing a woman who is now trying to compartmentalize her life into just work (as a doctor) and sex after seemingly just working for a while. Kutcher works in TV. Kevin Kline and Cary Elwes costar. I feel like they were underused. Well Kline gets some scenes but is a bit cartoony. Elwes gets to say like two words. Ludacris, Lake Bell and Mindy Kaling costar.
Topher Grace stars in this 80s themed comedy as a high school graduate (who was promising) but has been squandering his time since then. He runs into a crush (Amber Heard) and decides to lie his way into her good graces. The bulk of the film is set at a party involving a ton of great actors, Anna Faris (as his sister), Dan Fogler (as his sidekick), Chris Pratt (Faris’ IRL hubby as her onscreen fiance), Lucy Punch, Michael Ian Black and Michelle Trachtenberg. Funny flick. Check it out.
Potiche (Trophy Wife) (French) (Available Until 03/17/13)
Catherine Deneuve stars as the housewife of a jerk who runs a plant. She ends up taking it over. In doing so she meets up with a youthful dalliance (Gérard Depardieu) who opposes everything that her husband stands for. And it’s set in the 70’s! The costumes are awesome.
Milla Jovovich witnesses a murder and then is attacked by the murderer. In the process she is injured resulting in Prosopagnosia, which is severe face blindness. She can’t recognize anyone. Not only does this interfere with her day to day life but now she has no way of identifying the criminal. Julian McMahon costars as a police detective who takes a shine to her.
This was so frickin’ funny but it wasn’t really promoted at all. Tyler Labine (Reaper, Mad Love) and Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Dollhouse) are two likeable hillbillies who’ve saved up to buy a vacation cabin in the woods. They are all excited about chilling out when they meet some yuppie college kids who only see them as scary backwoods stereotypes. A ton of hilarious deaths ensue.
Three high school kids go in search of tail but end up in a really fucked up situation in this Kevin Smith film. Supposedly Kyle Gallner actually had a real panic attack during filming. The cast also includes John Goodman and Michael Angarano. The movie drags a little at one point but it picks back up.
Dylan Dog wasn’t that great or anything but I still feel the need to include it because there’s some good stuff in it. Brandon Routh is a supernatural PI who’s bestie, Sam Huntington, dies and is shocked to find out that he’s now one of the undead. Huntington always cracks me up. Routh’s chest is mesmerizing. Some of the undead stuff is pretty inventive. The big bad is way too Spawny though.
The creative team behind the first Saw film, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, wrote and directed this flick. It’s a vintage feeling ghost story. A family has to deal with a haunting. Rose Byrne (barf) and Patrick Wilson play the parents. Eventually they bring in a team of Ghost Hunters type investigators (including Lin Shaye and Leigh Whannell). The movie has a great ambiance. I didn’t see that first little twist near the ending coming either.
Please share your 2011 picks with us in the comments section.
These movies focus on characters in their 20s. Most are about people who are out of school or didn’t go to college but some include characters who are in college because I consider a movie about college characters to be different than one about teenage characters even if they overlap. It’s the 90s so slackers, Ethan Hawke, Chris Eigeman, flannel and slip dresses abound. Many of them are what my, then 11 year old sister, would have referred to as “talking movies”. What she meant by this is that they are about the characters just hanging out and talking about life.
Click the film titles to be taken directly to the film on Netflix.
This comedy is told in the Tarantino style of separate plot lines for characters who know each that are told out of order. I’ve watched this film so many times and it’s still fantastic. It takes place on Christmas Eve. The lead is played by Sarah Polley. She is a grocery store cashier who decides to do a one time drug deal to make her rent money. Timothy Olyphant plays the hottest fucking drug dealer. This was the first movie that most of us ladies noticed he’d grown up and become hot in. (We’re still trying to forget him in Scream 2 though). Other plot lines revolve around her fellow cashiers. One is a hot Brit (Desmond Askew) who goes to Vegas and ends up on the run from some really shady characters. Scott Wolf and Jay Mohr play adorable soap actors. Pretty much the only peeve I’ve ever had with the flick is that initially Katie Holmes is irritating in it. The film costars William Fichtner, Taye Diggs, Breckin Meyer, James Duval and Jane Krakowski. It was directed by Doug Liman.
The Curve (1998) (aka Dead Man’s Curve) (Available Until January 31, 2013)
The Curve was the melodramatic version of Dead Man On Campus. The film was direct to video and as I recall was also played on TV in that same time span. It even felt like a made for TV movie. It’s about a group of college friends who plan to kill one of each other to get a 4.0 because of the policy of the college to give them out automatically if your roommate commits suicide. It’s not the best movie but all of the lead male actors were eye candy at the time. It stars Matthew Lillard, Michael Vartan, Randall Batinkoff and Keri Russell.
“Don’t even ask where I’ve gone”
“Don’t even imagine that I care”
To say that I was obsessed with this movie is an understatement. It’s a romantic fantasy about some angels (Holly Hunter and Del Roy Lindo) who are trying to get an unlikely couple together. The couple is a spoiled rich bitch (Cameron Diaz) and a poor janitor (Ewan McGregor). When McGregor is fired he freaks out and accidentally and kidnaps his bosses’ daughter, Diaz (with prodding from her). Then they fall in love while they are on the run and trying to get ransom money out of her dad. I love everything about this movie. I knew that it was too weird to last at our small town box office for more than a week. I saw it three times that week and I was correct when it was rushed out by the next Friday. This movie was released the same year as Excess Baggage (which has a similar plot) and both were picked apart by critics. However Ewan won best actor of the year in my own movie awards for that year. Silly, yes, but I don’t care and I was 14. The film costars Ian Holm, Stanley Tucci, Dan Hedaya, Tony Shalhoub, Christopher Gorham and Timothy Olyphant. It was directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting).
This is still my favorite Jennifer Aniston movie. She plays Kate who is in advertising but is having trouble advancing because she doesn’t have a family. (It’s like the 90s equivalent of a male storyline in the 50s!). She has a big crush on her jerky co-worker (Kevin Bacon). Plus she has a kooky best friend (Illeana Douglas). Things get complicated when she is accidentally photographed with videographer (Jay Mohr) and everyone assumes that he’s her boyfriend. She then decides to spin a web of lies to use that photo as the springboard for her promotion. It’s an adorable romantic comedy with a love triangle and really cute 90s outfits.
Plot: “Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT, has a gift for mathematics but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.” (from IMDB.com. Stars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Casey Affleck, Stellan Skarsgard and Robin Williams.
Chasing Amy is a great comedy that proposes the question “Isn’t Ben Affleck so hot that a lesbian would fall for him?”. Just kidding, she falls for him as a person. The problem is that he can’t get her exes out of his head (which could happen in any relationship). Because it’s a Kevin Smith film (from his View Askew oeuvre) it has his trademark filthy humor but is also touching. Plus they are all comic writers (or tracers) so it’s like a good geek fantasy. The film stars Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee (Banksy!) and Jason Mewes. Characters from this film make a cameo in his later film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. This title is also included in my Top Gay Movies on Netflix Streaming post.
This is a great independent comedy starring Catherine Keener who is having trouble with just dating guys while her best friend Anne Heche is getting married. The movie costars Liev Schreiber, Randall Batinkoff and Kevin Corrigan.
Beautiful Girls is a great film. The film is about Timothy Hutton’s character who is conflicted and visits his family. While he is there he develops feelings for his teen neighbor Natalie Portman because she has her whole life ahead of her. He always spends a lot of time with his friends. All of them have their own problems and all of their characters are really fleshed out, which is often ignored in a film like this. The film costars Lauren Holly, Michael Rappaport, Mira Sorvino, Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman and Rosie O’Donnell. This title is also included in my Top Romantic Comedies on Netflix Streaming post.
Swingers (1996) (Available Until September 1, 2012)
“I don’t want you to be the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone’s really hoping makes it happen. I want you to be like the guy in the rated R movie, you know, the guy you’re not sure whether or not you like yet. You’re not sure where he’s coming from. Okay? You’re a bad man. You’re a bad man, Mikey. You’re a bad man, bad man.”
Swingers is still a great movie. It’s about a group of friends who are trying to break into acting. Jon Favreau wrote the film and stars in it as the sappy one who is also trying to find love. It’s called swingers because there was a whole swing dancing revival in the 90s (check out this clip of 90s film Blast From the Past). Even though times change there is still the same dynamic between men and women. For instance, they have a big conversation about how long to wait to call a girl back. Now we have to consider how long to wait to text someone back (Note: I hate texting mind games!). Plus since it’s set in LA they get to take a trip to Vegas. This was Vince Vaughn’s breakout role. Ron Livingston and Heather Graham costar. It was directed by Doug Liman.
Yes, I’ve listed Bio-Dome before but how can I not list it here? Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin are some dim bulbs who accidentally get locked in a bio-dome and hilarity ensures. Joey Lauren Adams costars.
This dramedy by Richard Linklater is about a group of slacker friends who hang out at a convenience store in a suburb of Austin, TX. They are forced to examine their lives when a former member of their clique shows up and is now a big rock star. The movie stars Giovanni Ribisi. Steve Zahn and Parker Posey costar.
“And I have this idea for this show that would last twenty-four hours a day for a year straight, right? What you do, is you get three hundred and sixty-five people from cities all over the world, to do these twenty-four hour documents of real time, right, capturing life as it‘s lived. Um, you know, it would start with uh, a guy waking up in the morning, and, uh, you know, taking the long shower, eating a little breakfast, making a little coffee, you know, and, uh, reading the paper.”
Before Sunrise is one of my all time favorite romances. Ethan Hawke was in his perfect slacker mode at the time. Hawke meets a French woman (Julie Delpy) on a train and they enjoy talking to each other so much that they hang out in Vienna talking some more for a whole night. 9 years later the sequel Before Sunset was released. I was initially disappointed in the sequel (the character is more like Hawke himself at that point in his life, pretty unlikable due to the dissolution of his marriage to Uma Thurman because he cheated on her) but you still have to watch it after seeing the first one. It is also available on Netflix Streaming, here(Available Until January 1, 2012). It was written and directed by Richard Linklater.
Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming is about a group of college graduates who don’t want to grow up. The movie stars Chris Eigeman, Carlos Jacott, Josh Hamilton, Eric Stoltz, Olivia d’Abo and Parker Posey.
“There’s no point to any of this. It’s all just a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes.”
It sounds silly because Reality Bites, as is common, stars ridiculously good looking leads but it’s a movie that gets better the older that you are because it’s so realistic. You will have to do things like beg for terrible, menial jobs in your life or become so depressed that you don’t get off the couch for a week. It’s about a group of friends who are starting their working lives after college. They also have to deal with love and modern life. Winona Ryder stars as an aspiring documentary filmmaker, Ethan Hawke is a frequently unemployed singer, Janeane Garafalo manages the Gap and Steve Zahn is in the closet. Ryder has an entry level job in her field but gets herself fired because she can’t stand her boss (John Mahoney). She has an unrequited attraction for Hawke which is fine until he gets upset because she starts dating a yuppie played by Ben Stiller (who also directed the film).
Clerks was Kevin Smith‘s first film which he notably financed himself with credit cards. The reason that the film was shot in black and white is because black and white film is cheaper than color. This also makes it hard to get some people to watch it. I didn’t see Clerks when it first came out because I was too young but when I saw it a few years later it became a favorite of mine. It’s about two friends who work at adjoining convenience and video stores. Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) is the lead who hates his job and is attending college at the same time but isn’t taking it very seriously. His friend Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) gets mad at the customers too but he doesn’t let it get to him so much. The movie is set during a day that Dante is supposed to be off but must go into work instead so he doesn’t take things as seriously as normal and a few crazy things happen. This was the first movie in Smith’s View Askew Universe and characters that are in or are discussed in this film appear in many of his other releases. Clerks: The Animated Series aired in 2000 but was quickly canceled despite being hilarious. The sequel, Clerks 2, was released in 2006. Some original fans of Clerks dislike the sequel but I love it. It’s ridiculously funny.
Airheads is a super funny flick about the band heavy metal band The Lone Rangers. It stars Brendan Fraser (when he was hot), Adam Sandler (when he was likably stupid) and Steve Buscemi (man, he’s awesome). Plus there are tons of other actors in the huge cast. The dimwitted band members end up holding a radio station hostage to get their music heard.
This is a cheesy movie but I liked it. It’s about a group of students at Harvard who let a homeless man (Joe Pesci) live with them. The movie stars Brendan Fraser, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Hamilton and Moira Kelly.
“There’s no rule that says that when you’re kidnapping, you can’t be cordial and nice.”
This is my second favorite Adam Rifkin movie (Detroit Rock City is tops). It stars Charlie Sheen as a wrong convicted man who ends up kidnapping a heiress (Kristy Swanson). They fall for each other during their high speed chase from the cops and media. Henry Rollins, Ray Wise, Cary Elwes, Flea and Anthony Kiedis costar. It’s such a fun movie.