Let’s Rent a Movie

Tuesday, 2 March 2010 | Tags: , , , , ,

The Olympics are over but there is soon another reason to sit collectively glued to our TV screens - the 82nd Academy Awards on Sunday, March 7th. Okay, maybe not as gripping or death-defying as some Olympic events (Go, Hurt Locker, go!), but still a good occasion to gather with friends, indulge in three bean dip and tortilla chips, and take part in the fine sport of trashing celebrity outfits.

Once you’ve watched all of this year’s contenders (ten films this year. Academy, are you kidding? We barely could make time to watch the usual five!), here are a few rentals that are on my recommended to-see list.  

3:10 to Yuma 

I’m generally not a huge fan of westerns, though this Christian Bale and Russell Crowe remake of the 1957 version made me come around to the genre.  (Unforgiven was amazing, and this one’s up there too.) 

It’s a battle of wills between these two photogenic leads who are playing a bit off type, with Bale the good guy rancher and Crowe the bad guy outlaw. Oh, who to cheer for?!?




I’ve seen this one a bunch of times and still leave it scratching my head.  Guy Pearce plays a man suffering from short term memory loss who tries to piece together the events surrounding his wife’s death.  The catch is, every time he learns something he has to take a picture of it, make a note or tattoo it onto his body before his memory fails him once again.

To make matters more interesting for viewers, this jigsaw of a story is told in reverse.  Brilliant!  This one will give those little grey cells a workout. 



Pan’s Labyrinth

This Spanish film, written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (who later went on to direct Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, bringing to that franchise some of his unique, often dark vision) takes place in 1944 fascist Spain. 

A young girl tries to escape the harsh reality around her by creating a rich and often equally terrifying fantasy world. It’s different, beautifully executed and suspenseful.  



The Lookout

If you liked him in (500) Days of Summer this year, check out Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this crime thriller. He plays Chris, a former high school star athlete benched after a tragic accident that’s left his memory out of whack.  (Apparently memory lapses = perfect occasion to entwine innocent victims in crime sprees.) 

He’s forced to take a job as a night janitor at a local bank, only to fall prey to some local bad boys who want to stage a bank robbery. 

Matthew Goode, Isla Fisher and Jeff Daniels also star in a little movie with some memorable performances.  




Trois Couleurs: Bleu

One of a trilogy of Kryzsztof Kieslowski’s films about life in French society, Bleu stars Juliette Binoche, one of my favourites, as a wife struggling to get through the tragic death of her composer husband and her child. Moving and chilling.  

Red (Rouge) and White (Blanc) are also worth checking out, but in my mind don’t come close to the haunting images and sounds attained in Blue




Books into movies

Two Dennis Lehane novels made into movies that I just loved (you’ve probably seen them but I want to make mention of them here) are Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone. Great stories, and Sean Penn’s portrayal of a grieving father in Mystic River was the performance of a lifetime.

Martin Scorsese’s eerie thriller, Shutter Island, in theatres now,is also based on a Dennis Lehane novel, and I can’t wait to see it.

Which brings me to another great director, Clint Eastwood, and his work on Unforgiven, Mystic River, not to mention Million Dollar Baby, also one of my top picks due to Hilary Swank’s moving performance.  Though we can’t forget her gender-bending breakout roll in Boys Don’t Cry. I could go on forever…

As you can see, I love dark tales and gripping thrillers.  If you have any recommendations, please pass them along! 


Join the conversation:

On 03 2, 2010 at 11:51:56 AM, Sally H. said:

One of my new favourites is The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. I am not a huge fan of Jack but in this movie he fits the role perfectly. It was hard to watch as I had just been recently diagnosed with cancer just before it came out but it made me want to go home and make my own bucket list. Not that I am dying anytime soon 🙂 It was an amazing story of Ying and Yang, two completely opposite characters who came together with a common goal. Awesome movie! Another of my favourites are the Bourne Trilogy movies with Matt Damon. But then I love political dramas! I can’t wait for Matt’s new movie coming out in the same genre. Thanks for your post. I know what I will be planning this weekend!! Rent a bunch of movies and stay in my jammies with my husband and just watch movies!!

On 09 14, 2011 at 11:06:37 AM, Hasse C. said:

Try Klopka. Amazing movie about how far a father will go to get the money to cure his dying child.

On 10 13, 2011 at 01:17:50 PM, Kristina Matisic said:

Thanks for the recommendations, Sally and Hasse!


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