Multi Talented Filmmaker

I couldn't sleep one night and I was sitting in my office and I realized that I was an independent filmmaker - Darren Aronofsky

Happy New Year’s Eve with Netflix (PHOTO)

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If you’re like me, choosing to stay home and watch a movie (and no, that does not make you a loser), then I say good for you.  Cozy up on the couch, grab something good to eat (high fat and caloric content) don’t worry about –  New Year’s resolutions don’t start until tomorrow.  I’ve put together a short list of some of my favorite movies streaming on Netflix right now. They’re not necessarily New Year’s Eve movies, but they’ll make you smile (or laugh) and I think that’s the best way to begin a New Year!

 

 

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ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

A couple’s relationship ends badly and both decide to undergo a radical procedure that will permanently erase memories of the other from their mind.  I know this sounds fantastical, but If you’re familiar with the writings of Charlie Kaufman, you’ll get it. The story unfolds is a most unconventional way. More like snippets or flashbacks. It starts either at the end, the middle or the beginning I’m still not totally sure but if you’re confused in the beginning, I promise by the end you will be satisfied.

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HUMP DAY

When this movie came out it was covered by every website, magazine and film blog out there.  The reviews were great but for some reason I was distrusting of them. So when it showed up on Netflix, I put it in my cue but was in no hurry to watch.  Boy, was I wrong. This film is funny and surprising in its depth.  It sounds like a silly premise; two male friends – both heterosexuals – decide to make a porno of them having sex.  But the way the story unfolds is totally on point – definitely worth watching.

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SHE’S HAVING A BABY 

A great 80’s film about marriage, career and the realities of life in the suburbs.  It’s both funny and sweet.  One of the most touching scenes in the film is a montage of the couples life together highlighted by the song This Woman’s Work performed by Kate Bush (later covered by Maxwell for MTV Unplugged).  Despite the clichés of marriage and suburban life, this film works and in the end is heartwarming.

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RUNNING SCARED

Not the Paul Walker movie of the same name,  but the 1986 release starring Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal. Two very different movies.  In the 1986 version Hines and Crystal are street wise, joke cracking Chicago cops pursuing a notorious drug dealer. The movie is a buddy picture that is a change of pace for both Crystal and Hines but still manages to allow Crystal’s comedic genius to shine through. If you’re a fan of Billy Crystal or Gregory Hines definitely add to this to your cue.

 

theartistTHE ARTIST

Yes, the hype around The Artist was above and beyond sickening but I must admit, well deserved.  I was curious, so I went to see it in theaters with an unmistakable chip on my shoulders. I sat there thinking ok “wow” me. Not even ten minutes in, they had me. They had me at title card “ Speak”. It’s a fun movie to watch. I was surprised at how wrapped up in the film I got. You’re reading the screen but it doesn’t feel like a foreign film, it’s truly a different experience.

 

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EVE’S BAYOU

I loved, loved, loved this film when I saw it back in ’97. The film is about a successful Louisiana doctor, who has a beautiful wife, two loving daughters and a wandering eye.  The film unfolds through the idealistic eyes of the youngest daughter, Eve. The family’s secrets and betrayals threaten to destroy them – it’s smart, sexy and a bit mysterious. It was writer/director Kasi Lemmons feature film debut and a definite must see.

 

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THE BURNING PLAIN

This film pleasantly surprised me.  Especially after reading the many bad reviews that it received. It sat in my Netflix cue for a while before I decided to watch it.  And I was blown away.  The story is about a mother and daughter who try to form a bond after the young woman’s difficult childhood.  What I loved most was the way the story intersects. The ending of the movie wraps it up so well, that I wanted to go back and watch it again.

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WHALE RIDER

The imdb synopsis defines Whale Rider as a contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.  A coming of age story that deals with feminism and gender bias. I would add that its also beautifully shot and an interesting look into another culture. I felt that this film was very uplifting.

 

 

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EVERYBODY’S FINE

This is one of those deeply felt movies that remind you of your own family and it had me crying all the way through.  During a recent TV appearance, Robert DeNiro mentioned this film as one of his favorite roles and his disappointment by the films’ promotion (or lack thereof) and reception.  I agree, this is truly one of those underrated overlooked gems. It may not have satisfied the critics, but it certainly satisfied me.  Grab your box of tissue and prepare to cry.

 

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MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY  

The opening scene in this film is priceless and unexpected.  It sets up the tone for the rest of the movie. We experience 24 hours in the lives of two strangers as they get to know each other, during an exploration of San Francisco.  A refreshing independent film that’s not loaded down with plot or lots of action, but is well acted, well written and well crafter.  A thoughtful character study and one not to be missed.

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