Wednesday, October 24, 2007

All the Back-Shelf Picks

I'm sometimes asked for a complete list of recommended movies from my Back-Shelf Pick column. Here's all of the movies I've featured so far. (And check the comments for some great suggestions from readers!)

The Triplets of Belleville
Two Girls and a Guy
Next Stop Wonderland
Waking Ned Divine
Strictly Ballroom
The Last King of Scotland
The Hoax
Talk to Me
Big Fish
Sweet Land
The Laramie Project
The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club
Sexy Beast
Polish Wedding
Heartbreak Kid (the original)
Gods and Monsters
Notes on a Scandal
Run, Lola, Run
Whale Rider
Music of the Heart
Dirty, Pretty Things
The Queen
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Shipping News
SLC Punk!
This Is My Father
Riding Giants
The Autumn Heart
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway
Sweet Lorraine
Lord of War
The Producers
Butcher Boy
Blood Simple
The Spanish Prisoner
The Good Girl
Attack of the Bat Monsters
Better Than Sex
Me Myself I
Okie Noodling
One Hour Photo
The Sweet Hereafter
Mystery Train
Everything Is Illuminated
Minus Man
American Movie
East Is East
The Aristocrats
The Year of Living Dangerously
The World's Fastest Indian
Bagdad Cafe
Me and You and Everyone We Know
Touching the Void
The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition
A Slipping Down Life
The Cooler
You Can Count on Me
The Straight Story
Requiem for a Dream
House of Sand and Fog
Calendar Girls
Kingdom of Heaven
Saint Ralph
Clay Pigeons
The Big Kahuna
House of Games
The Missing
Plots with a View
A Love Song for Bobby Long
Love and Sex
The Quiet American
The Deep End
Rabbit-Proof Fence
Howl's Moving Castle
I Capture the Castle
Eve's Bayou
The Professional
A Walk on the Moon
Cop Land
Billy Elliot
Two Family House
Searching for Bobby Fischer
In the Bedroom
The Ref
Hear My Song
Green Dragon
Garden State
21 Grams
28 Days Later
Personal Velocity
To End All Wars
Dear Frankie
Truly, Madly, Deeply
The Tao of Steve
Danny Deck Chair
In America
Scotland, P.A.
Into the West
The Woodsman
Happy Texas
The Safety of Objects
Happy Accidents
Smoke Signals
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

I hope you find some movies here you like. I've tried to pick under-watched movies with the most wide appeal. I have plenty of favorites that are Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese ... But I know that so many moviegoers won't bother with subtitles.

This column was so easy the first year. Now it's getting tough. Anybody have more suggestions?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Is Brandon Too Easy?

I've been getting lots of letters praising our film critic, Brandon Fibbs.

But we just received his first hate letter. (Hey, Brandon, it was bound to happen.)

It's anonymous, of course.

Dear Mr. Epstein,

Is Brandon Fibbs your nephew of something? (He's not, just a former intern and former student) Or has he been sent to your newspaper by the major Hollywood studios to work for free? (No, but he'll tell you he's nearly working for free.)

Your reviews used to be sanguine enough (glad people still remember) -- but this guy has never met a movie he doesn't LOVE -- as his A and A- ratings for every film he reviews shows.

Personally, I prefer the more down-to-earth reviews of Roger Moore. At least he tends to see films as they ARE -- especially the mostly-junk now turned out by the hideous people presently controlling Hollywood.

Oh for the days of Frank Capra, William Wyler and John Ford!

(I can understand why this person feels that way. Brandon has given out lots of As and Bs lately. But it's really be a great time for Hollywood and off-Hollywood films. The end of the year is when all the Oscar contenders bunch up. I'm guessing this letter-writer hasn't gotten out to the movies since 1960.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Where are all the kid flicks?

I get that summer's over and now it's time for more adult films.

But it's been a long time since I've seen this kind of slim pickings for family fare.

All the great films I've wanted to see are R: The Kingdom, 3:10 to Yuman, Eastern Promises, Feast of Love, In the Valley of Elah, The Brave One, Death at a Funeral, Resident Evil: Extinction (we all need our guilty pleasures.)

Want a family picture, you have to settle for the disgustingly cute "Game Plan." Argghhh.

I decided to throw caution to the wind and take my boys -- 11 and 15 -- to 3:10 to Yuma, and I'm so glad I did.

It contained one unnecessary F bomb, and was as violent as any Western shoot-'em up. But it's also the most moral film I've seen in years. It's all about what "doing the right thing" means.

The kids loved it and so did I. ... By the way, if you get a chance to see the original 1957 Glenn Ford, it's also terrific (if you can get past the corny theme song.)