Double Feature Recommendation: Ghett’A Life

This weekend the latest “all Jamaican” production was released in theatres. If you’re thinking about seeing the film or interested in my take check out my review here.

However, I’d like to take a moment to rather push you in a brighter direction as it were and ask you, instead of spending your cash on a film at the cinema where the crowd is going to quite rambunctious and difficult to get along with, to stay home and see the amalgam that will give you a far superior version of Chris Browne‘s latest effort.

The story of Ghett’A Life is about a teen in the inner community who wants to become a national class boxer for Jamaica. However, along the way he has the gang violence spurred on by politics as well as a highly segregated community stopping him from fulfilling his dreams. So taking those elements, gang mentality and sporting film I’d like to propose a Martin Scorsese fueled double feature for the weekend:

 

Raging Bull (1980)

I doubt there’s a man out there willing to say a bad word about this movie. It’s one of those movies that you list when someone decides to enter your conversation and talk ill of Robert De Niro. It is one of the greatest sports films ever made, while being a biopic that I’m not sure how factual it is but seems to be quite psychologically brutal to sit through. There’s the relationship between the brothers, the husband and wife, the man and mistress and even the man and his community (which just happens to be the local mafia). If you’ve made it this far in life and missed out on this movie it’s time for you to see it.

The Departed (2008)

Here’s the remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. While some may argue that Scorsese has done better crime films, I tried to find a movie where it evenly shows both sides working towards each other (the cops and the robbers, just like the PNP and JLP in Ghett’A Life just not as well executed). This is hands down one of my favourite Scorsese films and I doubt he’s going to surpass this level of greatness ever again.

Let me know what you think of the Double Feature.

Double Feature Recommendation: Monte Carlo

So this week in the Double Feature recommendation I take on the Selena Gomez feature film, which I’m sure none of you have seen, that’s hit theatres this week.

The film talks about a young woman who finds her doppelganger in Monte Carlo. The odd bit is that her twin from another mother happens to be like some celebrity who wants to get away from it all. Sick of staying in crappy hotels and not being able to do all the teenage girl awesome stuff from her dreams in France she decides to take over this girl’s life and have some fun. Obviously something more than she expected comes along with the package, blah blah blah.

So I have the French angle of the film as well as the “Prince and the Pauper” style tale to pick on in this movie. I think that might just be it. France is a particularly special location for films to take place. While Monte Carlo is the place of this film I really think that you can’t take away from the magic of Paris. At least the magic that it holds for certain films.

I’ll also keep typing hoping I’ve written enough to pass the poster image to my right. Ok:

Before Sunset

I don’t know a movie less French than this. There are many movies where their location influences how much you believe it. This film’s story of two former lovers, who were only together for one day in Vienna, meet up again (by chance) and revisit all their old emotions. Love at first sight is very hard to believe in these days, people are becoming more and more cynical and the idea of the casual relationship becoming more and more popular. However, somehow when you enter the world of Paris love just comes alive and people will just fall head over heels for the smallest reason. This movie is one of those emotional roller coasters that I love to sit through over and over again. Nothing beats the taxi ride, the coffee shop or even the final scene in Celine’s apartment. It’s all beautiful, and very French.

An American in Paris

The film’s plot stands only second hand to the comedic timing and general musical and dancing talents of the one and only Gene Kelly. He is able to take a scene that would be unforgettable with almost any comedy actor and make it even more special through the addition of his feet. Also it’s another film which could only happen in Paris, or at least the idealized version of Paris that we see in films. The American in Paris meets a girl and falls in love and all while trying to keep his financier, a woman, off the scent of the other. Art and love all come together fondly in Paris, and in classic Hollywood.

What do you think would work well here?

Double Feature Recommendations: Cars 2

Not that I’m recommending you go and waste your time, or your hard earned money, on this movie which is the closest Pixar has ever come to cashing in on every molecule of the credibility. Rather, look at this week’s entry in the Double Feature Recommendation as films you might want to check out instead of spending the 3D ticket price for you and your entire family to go to the theatre and watching Cars 2.

What made Cars such a marketable franchise, was not just the stars that were attached – Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin and Paul Newman – but the fact that it appealed to NASCAR fans. NASCAR fans are some of the most die hard sports fans that you’ll meet just after talking to your 13 year old cousin who just finished reading the Twilight books for the fifteenth time and just replaced her My Little Pony poster with that of Robert Pattinson.

So with that in mind, I’m going to do my best to appeal to the NASCAR family with some fun NASCAR films to fill your time rather than Cars 2. Enjoy:

Days of Thunder

Did you say cars? Did you talk about charismatic leads driving in circles for hours on end with someone talking in his ear with pretty much advice that he barely needs? Do you want people who take a sport, that I laugh at on a constant basis, way too seriously being really intense? Then I recommend you check out Tom Cruise, Michael Rooker and Nicole Kidman in pretty much the NASCAR remake of Top Gun. The movie was released in 1990, but still has the heart of pretty much every 80s films you’ve ever seen. Nostalgia is really fun at times.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Honestly, how could you not expect me to bring up this movie? It is the NASCAR movie that reminded me the true spirit of NASCAR, i.e. people with two first names, going fast and making left turns. What’s even bigger than that, which you only get glimpses of through minor characters, is getting so drunk that you forget who’s actually in the lead since the race so damn boring. The story of Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) and Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly) having their accidental moment in the spotlight being disturbed by F1 extraordinaire, Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen). It’s a story of friendship, love and racing…. nevermind, it’s funny people being really stupid and making fun of a lot of stereotypes that makes me laugh. It’s honestly one of Ferrell and McKay‘s best films to date and I just can’t get enough of it.

What else do you recommend to go along with these films?

 

Double Feature Recommendations: Mr. Popper’s Penguins

So for those of you who went out and saw Mr. Popper’s Penguins, or didn’t, I have a few films that I think would work well to compliment the film.

Every once in while you’ll watch a movie and think to yourself that you’ve seen bits of this before, or it looks very similar. Well that’s usually because it’s true. However, with that said that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anything wrong with the film, just that you’ve watched one too many. What a lot of people, including myself, like to do is to compliment that movie by checking out related (directly or indirectly) films that might give you a bit of more insight into the genre, filmmaker, actor or just general idea of the film. I think today’s selections may seem a bit obvious, but I hope that coming weeks will prove a bit more interesting.

Now I didn’t go and see the film, but after seeing the trailer and reading the full plot synopsis (spoilers abound) on the wikipedia page I thought long and hard and tried to focus in on what I think is the most important element of the latest theatrical release and find it some really great movies. The most integral part of this movie is that a man is trying to win back his family after it all falling apart already, the penguins are just a facilitator for that action.

So here’re my recommendations:

Liar Liar

In this film, starring Jim Carrey, a lawyer can’t lie for a whole 24 hours after his son makes a wish on his birthday after his father (the lawyer) lets him down again. This movie isn’t something that I’d say is worthy of any awards, but in the context of playing right after Mr. Popper’s Penguins you’ll probably find it amazing, also you’re children can watch it too (which was a big factor in all of my choices for this weekend’s recommendations).

Fantastic Mr Fox

A father is starting to get bored with living the straight and narrow and after moving his family into a new neighbourhood he decides to return to his life of stealing birds from three of the meanest farmers you’ve ever seen. The film is written and directed by Wes Anderson in one of his most ambitious projects I’ve ever seen. Almost every film that he’s made has been about father’s in dysfunctional families or the aftermath of a questionable father. Here a father puts his family and his entire community all in danger with a smile on his face like he has everything under control, it’s a blast to see how this man can break this family apart and bring them back together right after that.

The Incredibles

Just like Fantastic Mr. Fox a father gets bored of moving from being a superhero to being a regular Joe. So he decides to go out at night and do good deeds. This however has consequences as his family becomes to target of the villains and while it creates a lot of tension among the family and a lot of danger at the same time it’s the thing which relieves all the tension that existed before when the father just couldn’t go to work every morning and hate himself for not being able to truly helping people when he has the ability to. The film is amazing and might just be the touch you want to see when you get home from the matinee.

What films do you think would go well with Mr. Popper’s Penguins?

Double Feature Recommendations: Super 8

So here’s a new feature I’d like to take a crack at. Every week, linked to a theatrical release show in my This Week in Cinema, I’m going to recommend a couple (occasionally more) films that I think would go well with a film that’s been released in cinemas. Sometimes I’m going to be a bit shallow or really introspective, since from time to time I’ll not have seen the latest release myself yet, but that’s besides the point. So make sure to comment and let me know what you think:

Every once in while you’ll watch a movie and think to yourself that you’ve seen bits of this before, or it looks very similar. Well that’s usually because it’s true. However, with that said that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anything wrong with the film, just that you’ve watched one too many. What a lot of people, including myself, like to do is to compliment that movie by checking out related (directly or indirectly) films that might give you a bit of more insight into the genre, filmmaker, actor or just general idea of the film. I think today’s selections may seem a bit obvious, but I hope that coming weeks will prove a bit more interesting.

This week the big release has got to be J. J. Abrams‘ latest science-fiction directorial effort, Super 8. The film is about a group of children in a small town that witnesses an accident with a train and a number of weird happenings start to take place in their town.

Three films I think would go down well with this movie would be:

Cloverfield

In 2008, out of almost nowhere, came Cloverfield. The movie was heavily marketed, but in all honesty a lot of the general audience wasn’t sure what to expect. The marketing was filled with a lot of holes of what the film was actually about and it played a lot on the element of surprise, which it delivered beautifully.

In New York City one night it has been attacked. We’re not sure by what, but it’s obvious that something has gone very wrong. We follow a group of people documenting their survival through the night as they run from block to block trying to stay together, alive and as far away as possible from whatever is making all that ruckus.

I feel this movie is a great, and possibly the most obvious, accompaniment to Super 8 since it is the same idea as it, but just done a bit differently. If you remove the child focused subplot and about 80% of the movie making references then you’re going to get this movie pretty much.

But if Cloverfield isn’t your kind of thing, or you’ve already seen it then maybe;

Stand By Me

One of the most powerful aspects of Super 8 is that it’s a story about children. Children have a very interesting perspective on life and every once in a while their innocence can push them do amazing things. If there’s a film out there that allows us to study children and let their innocence push them into a story that can seem gargantuan then that’s Stand By Me.

While I won’t go so far as to say that this movie has all the science-fiction elements of Super 8, obviously, that doesn’t make it anymore a good follow up to the film. You get to spend a lot of time just hanging out with these children and as the story gets more and more involved the characters find themselves having to grow up a lot quicker than you’d imagine, just like the main cast from Super 8.

But if you really just want a sci-fi kick then maybe;

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

I’ve seen a lot of people on twitter, and I guess I have to agree with them, claiming how much Super 8 basically “ripped off” from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s true, you can basically rename the town and turn Dreyfuss‘ character into a group of children making a movie and you’ll get Super 8. However, what I think makes CEotTK a bit more unique is the contact that we’re given. While Super 8 shrouded itself in mystery this movie decided to allow a lot more contact with not only the aliens but also the government and made it into a lot more interesting detective film that happened to be about aliens.

What other films do you think go well with Super 8?