Tuesday, August 24, 2010


WINTER'S BONE is one of the best films of the year. So many people have been saying there's nothing to see at the movies this summer. And if you're just patronizing your local mainstream multiplex, it's pretty bleak. But here's a quick run-down of better films you may have overlooked and you'll find them at what we used to call"art houses"--which are few and far between these days, but if you're in the Boston area, check out The West Newton Cinema, The Stuart Street Playhouse, and Kendall Square in Cambridge

Here goes:
--WINTER'S BONE is a chilling but ultimately inspiring coming of age tale starring Jennifer Lawrence as Ree, a teenage girl whose father has disappeared. It's up to Ree to rescue her nearly insane mother and destitute younger siblings from crushing poverty and the equally crushing rituals of tribal life in the Ozarks. Lawrence's performance will stir your soul, and what she must face will curdle your blood. The film sheds a terrifying light on a grim corner of American life. Extraordinary film.

--THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO & THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE are the film versions of the late Stieg Larsson's first two books in the best-selling Millennium Trilogy starring red-hot Noomi Rapace as Scandinavian ice queen, hacker slacker Lisbeth Salander at the heart of this murder and sex thriller. Rooney Mara (who can be seen in the upcoming Facebook biopic, THE SOCIAL NETWORK)will take over the role when Hollywood takes a crack at this material. For now see it in Swedish. The first two films are better than the books.

--PLEASE GIVE stars Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, and Rebecca Hall in a subtle and quirky slice of NY life. Keener's character buys and re-sells the belongings of the recently deceased; she lives next door to an elderly woman and her two granddaughters who squabble while waiting for grandma to die. Keener is also waiting--for the vacancy so she can then expand her apartment. This is not as harsh as it sounds. The characters wrestle with guilt and life and death in this inescapable generational roundelay, while director Nicole Holofcener gives us reasons to be kind to ourselves and each other, please.

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