The Dog Days of summer are here and as we revel in the sizzling heat and party through the night let’s remember to power down, take a break, throw it in neutral and give the couch a good workout with some of your favorite flicks. So, heeding that sage advice, here are this week’s suggestions for some quality downtime.
- And let’s start off with a stunning, sparkling, timeless masterpiece from Director Terence Malick, “Days of Heaven”. A revelation of a film that feels like a dream as you’re transfixed by the wanderings of a Man-on-the-Run (Richard Gere), his True Love (Brooke Adams) and her younger, wiser Sister (a striking Linda Manz) as they seek a new life away from his crime and the crushing poverty of home. The star crossed trio flees to Texas where a wealthy farmer (Sam Shepard) falls in love with Gere’s girl and the story spins helplessly toward tragedy. Epic and unforgettable imagery tells the tale almost without the use of dialogue as you feel the heartbeat of the characters every step of the journey.
- New this week is Director Ang Lee’s moving story of true love between two conflicted cowboys who have strayed off the ranch, “Brokeback Mountain”. Late Oscar Winning actor Heath Ledger powerfully plays the torn would-be rancher Ennis, Jake Gylenhall is his wayward lover and Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams play their long suffering wives as forbidden love achingly transforms into tragedy. A beautiful western backdrop only adds to the painful sweep of the doomed romance. Crying will be allowed.
- Looking for a deeply twisted tale of murderous rampage and poisonous revenge? Then look no further than Korean Director Ji-woon Kim’s frighteningly intense film about the wages of sin, 2011’s, “I Saw the Devil”, with rising star Byung-hun Lee as the vendetta crazed cop-on-a-mission in pursuit of a vile madman. WARNING: This film depicts numerous scenes of shocking, horrifying violence and is STRICTLY FOR ADULTS ONLY! If you have nightmares after viewing don’t blame us.
- Alternative Pick of the Week– 2012’s enthralling, inspiring political sports documentary about the price of freedom and the joys it can bring, “The Other Dream Team”, is a story that will move you to the core. Tracing the long, tragic history of Lithuania as a backdrop for eventual formation of the Medal Winning National Team of 1992 along with evocatively depicting the deep love for the game of basketball in their homeland, this doc is a film you’ll want to come back to again and again.
- Looks like it’s epic week and new on HP is another great drama, Director Peter Weir’s 2010, “The Way Back “ with Colin Farrel, Ed Harris and Saoirise Ronan in a story of prisoners escaping a Siberian gulag the only way they can which happens to be the very hard way. An inspiring story of human endurance.
- And in another tale of human endurance, check the fascinating 2006 documentary (if you haven’t already), “The U.S. vs. John Lennon”. The film follows the singer/songwriter and then Ex-Beatle through his New York years as the US government doggedly seeks to deport Lennon as an “undesirable”. An absorbing look at the tumultuous life of a great musician, activist and free thinker.
- Alternative Pick of the Week– 2006’s “The Last days of the World” from Director Eiiji Uchida. A young boy believes that the world is coming to an end and decides to live his life accordingly. A compelling premise leads to an unusually uplifting tale of strange faith in the unknowable.
- Just in time for the sequel, 2010’s Original “Kick-Ass” has arrived with Chloe Grace Moretz, Aaron Johnson and Nicolas Cage as foul-mouthed, home-made heroes on a quest for truth, justice and the mostly American way. Extremely salty language and extensive violence make this wacky comedy unsuitable for most children so put the kids to bed before you tune in.
- Also available this week is Director Neil Bloomenkamp’s first feature film, 2009’s “District 9”, a political allegory that wades into the waters of immigration, endemic racism and cultural assimilation in a fascinating Sci-Fi spectacle that is ultimately very down-to-earth. A powerful debut that is sparkling with fresh ideas.
- And speaking of political allegories, why not give 2006’s, “V for Vendetta” another chance? Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore this film may not be the perfect rendering of Moore’s vision that fanboys are still waiting for but with Natalie Portman (with or without the shaved head) along for the ride this explosive take on fascism and totalitarianism lurking right around the corner is always thrilling in its momentum and you can search for dull moments but they just won’t be there. Hugo Weaving plays the Masked Man with an agenda and you just might find yourself uncomfortably cheering the destruction of beautiful buildings in the end.
- Free App of the Week– “SoundCloud” from SoundCloud Ltd. What you got here is a free music app that works and that just can’t be bad.
That’s all for this week so pop the popcorn and save us a seat!